The fundamental concept of the Catholic family is that a particular married couple participates in Christ’s marriage to his Church. As Vatican II put it, Christ “fills the Church, which is His body and His fullness, with His divine gifts so that it may expand and reach all the fullness of God.” So in the family that participates in Christ’s marriage to his Church, Christ works through each member of the family so that each gifts the others with the fullness of God’s gifts.
For starters, the man and woman get to know each other chastely – how otherwise would they know that they are really meant for each other? Their union is not based primarily on feelings; it is based on scriptural love seeking and working daily for the good of the other person. Husband and wife and children all love in this way as far as they are each able. The good of a person is what God wishes for that person starting with the basics for survival and ranging all the way to manifesting God’s glory by sharing His goodness as a family. Part of that good even lies in helping each other to achieve God’s good.
Such a family is self-preserving. Each member of the family does what he/she can to preserve the family community understood in this way. Given how rare such families are these days, there is something in them to be especially cherished and preserved. The members should learn early on that they will often be unaided in their special tasks in the world at large, but will, we hope, get support from their extended family and from like-minded families. Their parish probably needs some groups for like-minded families, with or without the presence of clergy. That was one of the good things emphasized during last year’s Synod on the Family.
Read more at The Catholic Thing.