The Five Year Marriage could be a sin, or at least be against the teachings of the Catholic Church. That’s according to “Rita” who teaches Catholic Pre-Cana Marriage Prep classes.
Rita read an advance copy of the book, Five Year Marriage. After she did, Rita and I had an interesting conversation during which she vigorously disagreed with the concept.
Citing the Theology of the Body, based on the teaching of Pope John Paul, Rita conceded that she found
a lot of “good stuff” outline in the Five Year Marriage process. Still, she insisted, “it’s the same thing you could do in a traditional marriage.”
In one way, Rita is correct. If people ran their traditional marriages like a Five Year Marriage, there would be fewer divorces.
However, the reality is this: THEY WON’T. Inherent in the Five Year Marriage, is something very seductive. Because it’s “until death do you part,” you can be easily seduced into thinking you have “forever” or “the rest of our lives” to solve
a problem or fix something that’s not working. So, when something is going wrong, it’s truly more comfortable to put it on the back burner.
Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t fix itself. Instead it gets worse, and the negativity around it festers. By the time that backburnered problem finds its way to the fore front, it’s like overcooked food. It’s too bad to eat and has to be thrown out.
The reality is that most human beings tend to do better with deadlines. Deadlines promote vision, stimulate action, and drive priorities and, as a result, push you out of your comfort zone and into your better version of yourself.
Part of the “magic” of the Five Year Marriage is that you are on a deadline. That isn’t going to make your marriage problem-proof. Nonetheless the deadline (and the commitment that created it) will foster a mindset that is more likely to make you proactive. At the same time, it will make you less likely to settle into relationship-killing complacency.
So, is the Five Year Marriage a sin or anti-Catholic/anti-Christian?