By Deacon Roger Carr-Jones
Marriage and Family Life Coordinator
It is always something of a relief when the dark nights begin to fade into memory, and we get to enjoy that great speciality of England: the joy of twilight. Twilight is that in-between time when our perception of the things around us is different. It can be great fun sitting outside enjoying the gradual move from light into darkness, watching the light fade, the shadows lengthen and to glimpse a world not visible in the day or night.
Growing together as a married couple or a family, we enter a new landscape where the colours are different, and we experience times of twilight as we learn a new language of love and a new way of being. In this new landscape, which often has hues of grey, we need to remember that God is always with us: when we allow ourselves, God can transform the hurts and share the joys. As I get older, I understand more fully that greyness is an important feature in cultivating a healthy marriage and a happy family life. That is often because I have learnt that my perception of the truth of a situation is not always right!
A Jesuit friend once advised me that if we want to transform the everyday happenings of life, especially within marriage and the family, it would be best to start learning the phrase ‘it would have been better if’. It is not a case of ignoring something that has happened, but seeking better ways to communicate what we think, feel or experience. We might think that these are simple words and yet, how often do we cling onto negative words and experiences that leave our relationships in a cul-de-sac? We all need God’s grace to flood into and change the dynamics of our marriage and family life.
We often forget that how we behave is learnt behaviour, which means we have the freedom to walk a different path and to see our own impulses and reactions in a new light. The joy of Christian marriage and family life is that we can allow ourselves to be liberated by the action of the Holy Spirit to guide us through the twilight. Sometimes we need the courage to ‘just ask’ for that extra insight to explore our relationship to achieve clarity and healing.
If so, there are lots of Catholic organisations offering different levels of support and encouragement: SmartLoving, with their excellent Breakthrough workshops; or Retrouvaille, with their in-depth weekends and follow-up sessions for couples needing healing; or Marriage Care, who offer a professional relationship counselling service if you prefer a more individual approach and many other providers. So, why not take a peek at our resources page on https://rcdow.org.uk/diocese/marriage-and-family-life/resources/.