24 August 2018
World Meeting of Families

Geraldine Hallahan, “Dancing to the Future with Hope: Strengthening Marriage & the Family Today”

Conjugal life is a dance. Geraldine Hallahan, who has been married for 40 years, has two children, five grandchildren and another one on the way, is convinced of this. As a facilitator of Accord, the Catholic Marriage Care Service, in Dublin, she has worked with nearly two thousand couples. She told about her experience on the third day of the Pastoral Congress at the Dublin World Meeting of Families (21-26 August). “Where does my passion for this work come from?” responding to this question, she explains, “I believe that Christian marriage is the basis of our society. I also believe that marriage is a journey, not a destination, and it is wonderful to be able to work with couples who are beginning their journey. It is a privilege for me to be able to share the joy and excitement of engaged couples who are preparing for marriage and are ready to commit themselves to one another.”

The course that Hallahan O’Brien proposes is composed of eight modules. “We try to focus on some issues that we consider fundamental,” she clarifies, “Each person must be self-aware through their family of origin. Then, it is important to ensure that couples are conscious of how their family of origin influences them as a couple and recognize of the impact this has on their relationship. The couples who complete the path, at the end, have a different view of the importance that the family of origin has for the couple.” The conjugal journey has the rhythm of a dance, “The step must be done by two, following together the rhythm of life,” she explains, “and if your parents were good ‘dancers,’ it is likely that you too will be a good dancer. Now, if we do not know how to dance, we must be open to learning how to do it. It could be fun. Fred Astaire said, ‘Some people seem to think that good dancers were born like that, but all the good dancers I ever met went to school or through a training course.’ The path must be full of hope, and both together need to have a positive outlook towards the future.”