Is there a recipe for a happy marriage in a country where one in four is falling apart? How are crises overcome by those who say "We are happy"?

Spouses loving each other, kneeling together with their children to pray every day - this is a beautiful example of a strong family with God. And although they experienced different moments, they are happy. So we ask them for a prescription for a successful marriage.

Dialogue, date and community

Angelika and Matusz Olszewski met during the years at high school, in a drama club at Halina and Jan Machulski. They shared common values. They both listened to the conference of Fr. Piotr Pawlukiewicz about loyalty, premarital purity and love for the whole life. They studied in different cities: she studied at the Theater Academy in Warsaw, he at the Film School in Łódź. They got married after seven years of acquaintance. In the first year of their marriage, Klara was born, 2 years later Helenka was born. - We could not imagine not taking part in a family retreat with Klara and her 6-week-old sister. A trip with two children turned out to be possible, although after the birth of the first daughter it seemed unreal - they say. Retreats for the Olszewski family include an opportunity to hear the testimonies of other families and see that they are not alone with various problems.

They have recently celebrated their 6th wedding anniversary. They celebrated together with families from the Water of Life Evangelization Community, to which they belong since the beginning of their marriage. There was a cake and a white dress. They admit that they are happy spouses. - This is the path on which God has called us to holiness, we overcome all difficulties with Him - they confess. - We talk about various issues on an ongoing basis. We can't imagine silent days and offending each other - says Angelika. Although the spouses admit that they often have a different opinion, everyday marital dialogue builds their relationships. - We talk about our feelings and emotions. But above all, we pray together every day and look at each other with love. My husband is the greatest person in the world, despite the fact that sometimes we get nervous for some reason - says Angelika. Mateusz adds: - Even if I disagree with my wife, I know that he doesn't hurt me. Her different opinion is due to some other reason.

The Olszewscy family indicate that the recipe for a happy marriage is daily cultivation of relationships, which requires striving for compromises. – It is necessary to talk about one’s needs and respect each other. In marriage, honesty is the key, says Angelika. - To this sense of humor, without which we cannot imagine everyday life - adds Mateusz with a smile. They admit that despite numerous duties and trips, they find time for each other. - We order sushi and organize a marital date at home when the children go to sleep. We discuss important matters related to the last month of our lives. We also try to go to the theater, for example. We just like to spend time together - say the spouses.

The importance of marriage dialogue in family life is noted by the psychologist and priest, Fr. Wojciech Szychowski. - I suggest that marriage dialogue should always be linked to a date. It does not matter in what form it takes place. Sometimes in the other room and sometimes in a cafe. If we are able to pay the babysitter to stay with the children, because we are going to the doctor, it is worth organizing the care for 2 hours longer, for example, to go for a walk and be able to be only with each other - emphasizes the priest. And he adds that it is important to talk about both joyful and difficult experiences for each of the spouses. – A dialogue must concern specific situations. The spouse cannot hear constant criticism and repetition: "You are always the same" - says Fr. Szychowski. He also notes that it is important to be able to specify what love, faithfulness, honesty in marriage are to us, and what mutual support is about. The clergyman indicates that the common daily prayer of the spouses is the foundation of their relationship. - It's standing together in God's presence. Marriage prayer is especially important in later years of marriage, when misunderstandings and crises come. It is the basis for forgiveness - he emphasizes.

Anna and Wojciech Rakusa-Suszczewski, who got married 43 years ago, experienced it. They have six children, including one who died during pregnancy. Their youngest son has Down syndrome, the other children have already started their own families. - Our son was not able to speak or read, but during his development we experienced miracles - they say. The 20-year-old disabled boy is a great gift for them. "It's a gift for our old age," they say with a smile. A few years after entering the sacramental relationship, the couple went through a serious crisis. Long conversations (sometimes up to 5 am), reconciliation, forgiveness and healing their relationship by Christ saved their marriage. - We have experienced God's grace, purification and the power of sacramental marriage, which is not a relationship written only on paper - they confess. The Neocatechumenate was helpful in overcoming difficulties.

Common meal and understanding

For Anna and Wojciech, the words of St. Paul were always a signpost: "Let the sun not set upon your wrath" (Eph 4:26). They always invited children to pray. - It was an opportunity to apologize to each other for various annoyances, including parents towards children - they say. Unity in their family was also built by a daily sitting with their children at the common table. - Then you talk about what happened at work, or about situations that upset us on a particular day. It builds relationships - unless the TV is on - explains Fr. Szychowski.

Ewelina and Radosław Grałek, who have been married for 9 years, also experienced various crises. One of them was caused by an incorrect understanding of duties. - I thought that since I earn money to support my family, I deserve everything. After some time, I realized that I should not leave the house keeping only to my wife, but I have the duty to participate in cleaning or cooking - says Radosław. Spouses overcame crises also through conversations and common prayer. Their life changed after a difficult experience, which was the abduction of Radosław - a truck driver. Since then they have clung to Christ and the Mother of God. They both wear the scapular. They also pray every day, even though Radek is on tour during the week. - We also have an unwritten rule that we start each week in harmony - explain the spouses.

A love that will endure everything

For Dominika and Michał Chorosiński, actors known from many series who have been married for 18 years and raise five children, forgiveness is the cure for all the pains, crises and tensions in marriage. - Marriage certainly cures selfishness. You must open up to other people and learn to live in a community - says Michał. - I have the impression that over the years we soften towards each other, facing up difficult circumstances - Dominika admits and points out that for her the most important thing in marriage is love, friendship and respect. - If I were to put it in one word, I would say: love, because it contains everything. Love, according to the letter of St. Paul, which is patient, does not look for its satisfaction, is not full of pride, it will endure everything - enumerates the actress, also known to many readers by her maiden name: Figurska.

The Chorosiński married couple also have a serious crisis behind them. Sometimes the actors admitted in the media that they were one step away from parting. They overcame difficulties by reworking different matters. The crisis strengthened their marriage that hung by a thread. - We can say that we are a happy family. We have five wonderful, healthy children - that's a great grace, "says Dominika, and her husband adds:" In many ways, we feel happy, but there are aspects that leave us unsatisfied. For me it is time spent together. Because I often work outside the home, I feel unsatisfied - says Michał, for whom trust is the key in marriage. When asked how actors manage to find time for each other among their many household and professional responsibilities, they answer that marital dates are still ahead of them. - We have promised each other many times: this week for sure - but it failed - says Dominik. The Chorosiński couple make sure that during the year it is obligatory for only them two to go somewhere. They tell 'Niedziela' that if everything goes according to plan, this year they will have a unique journey - to Mexico, to Guadalupe.

The spouses are aware that not everything in life depends on us.

They build a family on God. - There is Someone who is the principal Director of life. We can improvise, but the ending will not depend on us - says Michał. His wife points to a fragment of the poem by Zygmunt Krasiński ("Psalm of Good Will"): "(...) But you had to leave free will - / You cannot save us without us!" - These words are eloquent to me - says Dominika Chorosińska and emphasizes that the choice of good or bad depends on our will.


„Niedziela” 38/2019

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl