Pope Francis is always dropping little nuggets of wisdom, whether he’s calling Donald Trump’s plans to keep immigrants out of the United States completely un-Christian or encouraging Catholics and non-Catholics alike to embrace the poor and disenfranchised as brothers and sisters in humanity.
But it’s not too often that the Pope strays into the arena of romance — that is until he does. Yesterday, the Catholic Church leader released a 256-page document entitled “Amoris Laetitia,” or “The Joy of Love.” It’s in this document that he not only encourages Catholics to be more accepting of gay people and divorced people, but offered some advice to those who are married or in relationships on best practices. Here are a few of his tips via the folks at NPR:
Love isn’t easy and all great relationships take time
“It is not helpful to dream of an idyllic and perfect love needing no stimulus to grow,” writes the Pope. “A celestial notion of earthly love forgets that the best is yet to come, that fine wine matures with age. … It is much healthier to be realistic about our limits, defects and imperfections, and to respond to the call to grow together, to bring love to maturity and to strengthen the union, come what may.”
When it comes to sex both parties should walk away satisfied
“God himself created sexuality, which is a marvellous gift to his creatures. Sex should never be pursued for just one person’s pleasure, or in a way that treats your partner as ‘an object to be used.’”
“It does not matter if they hold me back, if they unsettle my plans, or annoy me by the way they act or think, or if they are not everything I want them to be. Love always has an aspect of deep compassion that leads to accepting the other person as part of this world, even when he or she acts differently than I would like.”
It’s important to make time for the one you love
“Love needs time and space; everything else is secondary. Time is needed to talk things over, to embrace leisurely, to share plans, to listen to one another and gaze in each other’s eyes, to appreciate one another and to build a stronger relationship. Sometimes the frenetic pace of our society and the pressures of the workplace create problems. At other times, the problem is the lack of quality time together, sharing the same room without one even noticing the other.”
Forgive your partner and try not to hold their shortcomings against them
“[Irritableness or resentment is] a violent reaction within, a hidden irritation that sets us on edge where others are concerned, as if they were troublesome or threatening and thus to be avoided. To nurture such interior hostility helps no one. It only causes hurt and alienation.”
Check out more of Pope Francis’ excellent advice on love and relationships over at NPR.