For struggling couples stuck in a world unsupportive of their lifelong commitment, the Augustine Institute has an answer.
In a newly-released 12-episode DVD series called “Beloved—Finding Happiness in Marriage,” staff from the institute worked with couples and experts to uncover the mystery and meaning of marriage—and how to make it last.
“We’re looking at what is really love,” said Edward Sri, content director of the series and professor at the institute. “Many people think love is just a feeling and a few years into your marriage you realize you don’t have those warm fuzzy feelings. … Love is much more than a feeling. It’s a choice. It’s a commitment for the good of the other. We talk about how to live that commitment.”
The breakdown of marriage is a central topic in the Church, especially this year as she prepares for the ordinary synod of bishops in October. The gathering at the Vatican will address topics on marriage and family.
“Oftentimes the Church focuses on marriage prep but the synod says we need to help couples with the ongoing living of marriage,” he said. “You can’t just prepare them, get them to the altar, and then say good luck after that.”
Sri said this DVD series is designed to help couples prepare for marriage and help married couples—whether married one year or 20 years—to enrich their bond. Workbooks tailored for couples or marriage prep leaders guide them through the series divided into two parts. The first part addresses the theology of marriage.
“We show how our individual love story is meant to be caught up in the largest love story of God’s love for us,” Sri explained. “That’s really what the sacrament of marriage is all about.”
Couples may ask fundamental questions about why marriage is needed.
“Deep on the human heart is a desire to love and be loved. We want a lasting love. The only arena setting for this kind of relationship in where I can really be vulnerable like that and give myself to someone and then be received by someone in a total way … is in the lifelong commitment of marriage.”
The second part focuses on the practicalities of marriage. Dozens of couples appear on the video to share their own joys, suffering, trials and triumphs. Insights on communication skills and conflict are given, including the need for virtue to protect the bond of marriage.
“We get into the real messiness of real married life,” said Sri, who’s been married for 15 years. “We talk about the challenge to lay down your life on a day-to-day basis.”
The series is meant to give a model for marriage and witness to the hope couples can have regardless of the trials they may face, he said.
“Beloved” is the next of a series under Symbolon, a DVD series on the basics of knowing and living the Catholic faith. Symbolon is being used for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and faith studies in more than 3,000 parishes and in 12 countries across the world.
The “Beloved” 12-episode DVD set is sold for $149.95 at the institute or online at LighthouseCatholicMedia.org.
“We want to give people hope that no matter what troubles they may face or trials that come, they can have a great marriage. And God can help them,” Sri said.
“Beloved—Finding Happiness in Marriage”