End everyday with forgiveness.

Pope Francis regularly offers advice to newlyweds that can help them make their marriage last forever.

This is the bit of advice the Pope repeats most often to couples. “There are always fights in marriage,” he has warned. “Sometimes, plates fly.” He’s saying that it’s all right to disagree because that’s part of human nature. The difference between successful couples and the rest is how they handle such arguments. What the Pope wants people to realize is that we’re all imperfect, and we will make mistakes on a regular basis. Therefore, we must always remain humble, say, “I’m sorry,” and ask for forgiveness.

“Don’t end the day without making peace,” Pope Francis has said. “To make peace, it’s not necessary to call the UN. A small gesture is enough, a caress, for example. Then, move on and wake up the next day and start again.” 

Ask permission.

So, you’re reading this as outdated and antiquated. No one asks anyone for permission to do anything. We’re all adults. Right? Actually, therein lies the problem. The Pope is telling people to be courteous to their spouses in the same way they are with strangers.

Ask if the other wants to go out tomorrow night or wants to eat what you’re eating or likes the idea of spending the holidays with the in-laws before assuming what you want is fine for the both of you. Of course, this extends to bigger issues like how to raise children, whether to buy a house, where to live, etc. Basically, he is asking married folk to learn to live together in harmony by communicating.

“To be able to enter into the lives of others with courtesy is not easy. It is not easy,” he has said. “Sometimes, instead, manners can be a bit heavy, like hiking boots!” While it’s a challenge, discussing your plans big and small and getting on the same page is a must for a happy marriage. Doing so with grace, dignity, and sympathy for the other person will take you far.

Show gratitude.

Far too many people get so comfortable in marriage that they start to take their spouse and the life they’ve built together for granted. Pope Francis wants to remind people, who have found commitment for life, how lucky they are. “It is important to keep alive the awareness that the other person is a gift of God, and for the gifts of God to say thank you,” he has said. More so than uttering the words, you should live your marriage full of gratitude always. Appreciating your spouse, his or her love, and this family of yours helps you keep perspective, stay faithful, and constantly work toward improving your life.

Help your spouse reach his or her greatest potential.

Advice like this isn’t uttered enough. “Always act so the other person will grow,” the Pope has said. “Work for this.” Many people, even those who have been married for a long time, think of themselves as individuals, which is important but only goes so far once you’ve tied the knot. The fact is that you now have to think about the other person in the decisions you make, the things you say, and even your behavior. You are reflections of one another. More so, you drive each other forward (if you have a healthy and strong relationship). Your goal should always be to bring out the best in the other person by supporting his or her ambitions and helping realize  strengths and work on weaknesses.

Keep alive the romance.

Yes, the Pope can be a bit of a romantic. “Never stop dreaming of each other,” he has said to couples. “Never stop dating.” Since people are always evolving, couples need to stay in touch and keep getting to know one another. To avoid getting so comfortable that you start taking what you have for granted, you need to keep dating, keep wooing each other. You don’t want a stale marriage. You want a fresh one. Holding hands, whispering sweet nothings (or texting them for that matter), and, yes, dating can help you keep the fire lit so to speak.

Don’t give up so easily.

Recently, Pope Francis spoke to engaged couples and lamented the fact that many people have no patience and want everything right away and run when faced with the first challenge. Those who act impetuously will have a hard time succeeding at marriage. You have to go into this covenant, from the start, with plans on making it last forever. “Engagement develops the desire to care for something together that is never to be bought or sold, betrayed or abandoned, however tempting the offer may be,” the Pope has said. In other words, from the moment you decide to share your lives together, act as though staying married is your only option.

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