Three Magic Phrases to Say to Your Spouse in the Italian Language

Apr 10, 2014

Couple arguing blog

terapia matrimoniale

marriage counseling

"L'amore è più forte del momento nel quale si litiga" (love is stronger than the moment in which you fight), Pope Francesco told the faithful who recently gathered to celebrate il sacramento del matrimonio (the sacrament of marriage) in Rome.

Although he does not claim to be a terapista matrimoniale (marriage counselor), the Pontiff offered some sage advice:

* “Non finire la giornata nella quale avete litigato senza fare la pace.” (Don’t end a day in which you argued without making peace.)

* “Non è necessario chiamare le Nazioni Unite” (It’s not necessary to call the United Nations) with every little disagreement.

*  “Basta una carezza; questa è la vita.” (A hug is enough; this is life).

* “Bisogna portarla avanti così, con coraggio.” (You need to move forward like this, with courage.)

The course of love never runs smoothly–or, as Italians put it, “L’amore non è bello se non è litigarello,” (Love isn’t beautiful if not for little spats). 

The Pope’s recommendation: “Aiuta tanto ricordare le tre parole magiche che si devono dire sempre: permesso, grazie, scusa." (It helps so much to remember the three magic words that one must always say: May I? Thank you. Sorry.)

Today’s couples encounter many difficulties, the Pope conceded: “I soldi non bastano.” (There isn’t enough money.) “I bambini hanno problemi” (The children have problems.) “Così tante volte gli sposi diventano nervosi, sempre si litiga nel matrimonio.” (So many times the spouses become anxious, always arguing in the marriage.)

And then? “Alcune volte volano i piatti." (Sometimes the plates go flying.) When the congregation chuckled, Papa Francesco observed, "Voi ridete ma è la verità." (You laugh, but it’s the truth.)

Linguistically, un matrimonio italiano (an Italian marriage) can take many forms:

* matrimonio d’amore — love match

* matrimonio d’interesse — marriage of convenience

* matrimonio combinato –- arranged marriage

* matrimonio bianco –- a white or unconsummated marriage

* secondo matrimonio –- a second marriage

In the Pope’s view, "l'immagine di Dio è la coppia matrimoniale” (The image of God is the married couple) “è l'uomo e la donna, tutti e due, non soltanto il maschio, l'uomo, non soltanto la donna, no: tutti e due.” (It’s the man and the woman, both of them, not only the man, not only the woman, but both.)

"Siamo creati per amare, come riflesso di Dio e del suo amore.” (We have been created to love, as a reflection of God and of his love,” Papa Francesco observed. “Il mistero del matrimonio” (the mystery of marriage) is that “Dio fa dei due sposi una sola esistenza” (God makes of two spouses just one life).

And so on their wedding day, the bride and groom pledge, “Finchè morte non ci separi!” (Till death do us part!) 

Words and Expressions

chiedere in matrimonio — to ask in marriage

le nozze –- nuptials, wedding

letto matrimoniale –- double bed

terapia di coppia — couple therapy

tra moglie e marito non mettere il dita — between wife and husband, don't put a finger; never come between spouses

Dianne Hales is the author of LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language and MONA LISA: A Life Discovered.

Click below to listen to Jovanotti's "Ti Sposero" (I will marry you). I like the last two lines: "Che ogni giorno sia un giorno d'amor / e ogni luna una luna di miele." (May every day be a day of love and every moon a honeymoon.)

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