“While being in love is largely characterized by today's joyful experience, love and marriage encompass all life: the whole past, the whole present and the whole future of these two people”, rightly says Peter Blank, the author of May the Marriage Be Happy (pp. 115), originally written in German and translated already in English and in Spanish (Que el matrimonio sea feliz: Un diseño de amor).
The short and insightful book delves deeply into the innate human desire to be loved and to love. Marriage is the traditional way in which couples express this basic desire to live in love through all the challenges that they may face in life: sickness and health, poverty and wealth, youth and old age. This book strives to promote and encourage the practice of marriage in a time filled with failed marriages and reluctance to commitment. It is a look at the origins, development, and constant work needed to achieve and maintain true love.
Blank attempts to clearly outline the importance of being prepared for married life, once the feeling of infatuation has faded and the glamorous (and expensive) wedding ceremony has ended, and he does it by tying in Pope Francis’ teachings on love and marriage. The author’s descriptions help paint a clear and understandable image of a Christian marriage.
Blank’s initial chapter really focus on prioritizing the importance of the courting phase—developing a friendship first and foremost while creating open and sincere dialogue. Overcoming crisises and challenges that the future will unavoidable bring, requires a firm foundation: speaking heart to heart, and this is “an art learned in moments of peace in order to be practiced in moments of difficulty” (Pope Francis. Amoris laetitia, n. 234)
Married life is a holy vocation. This book ties the beauty of married life to the beauty of the work of God. It shows the connection between the sanctity of the mission of a man and woman bonded together and its resemblance to God’s work in salvation history. But the book also encourages all people, single, engaged, and married, to develop realistic ideas about married life. Unrealistic and idealistic notions about marriage are often the root of unhappiness and dissatisfaction between spouses.
“May the Marriage Be Happy” is an in-depth marriage workbook geared at aiding both individuals and couples. Whether you are single, in a relationship, or married for 50 years, Peter Blank’s breakdown of relationships serves as a guide to understanding yourself and your significant other. With sections centered on love, openness to life, fidelity, 10 principles on how to listen, good humor, and many more, Blank presents these characteristics as essentials to a good relationship. His central and unifying message behind a properly ordered and successful relationship is a deep faith relationship with God. “Divine essence and conjugal love are uniquely and originally mutual image and likeness” (63). Love between a man and woman is the same love that originates from God; in a marriage, the couple experiences a share in God’s creative love. This is the key to a successful relationship: recognizing God as the core. Blank’s work is a reminder of God’s centrality and importance in a relationship in a culture pushing the emphasis solely on the couple.
With the bombardment of false advertisements of perfect marriages in film, TV, music, and literature, people often enter married life with a distorted idea of marriage. This can often lead to divorce and separation. Analyzing and identifying the unrealistic ideas and expectations people place not only on themselves, their spouses, and the relationship in general can lead to a breakdown of the marriage. Blank confronts these problems, works through them, and gives couples ways in which they can resolve them.
May the Marriage Be Happy is an inspiring book for lovers, whether young or old.