During his papacy, Pope Francis has given practical advice for married couples to avoid struggles in their marriage. Whether in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, or in addresses, the Holy Father has made marriage a key area of teaching.

In one speech, Pope Francis shared three words he says are key to a successful marriage.

“Sometimes they ask me how to make it so that the family always goes forward and overcomes difficulties, I suggest to them to practice three words. These words can help to live married life because in married life there are difficulties,” adding that marriage is something we have to take care of, “because it’s forever.”

The three words are “permission, gratitude, and forgiveness.”

 On the topic of permission, the Pope said to “always ask your spouse, the wife to the husband and the husband to the wife, ‘what do you think, what do you think if we do this?’” rather than just “running over” the other without getting their opinion.

He also stressed the need to be grateful, “because it’s the spouses who confer the sacrament of marriage, one to the other. And this sacramental relationship is maintained with this sentiment of gratitude, of thanks.”

The third word, he noted, is forgiveness, which is “a very hard word to say.” In marriage, mistakes are always made, he said, noting that the important thing is to know how to recognize one’s mistakes and ask for forgiveness.

This “does a lot of good,” Francis continued, urging families and engaged couples to “remember these three words, which will help you a lot in married life: permission, thank you, and forgiveness.”

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