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Pope Francis says these 3 words are the key to a healthy relationship; do relationship experts agree
The Catholic leader addressed couples on Thursday night in Krakow, Poland. Family life has been one of his key concerns during his papacy. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
Pope Francis was in Poland last week to spend time with the young people attending World Youth Day. On Thursday, he stepped out onto the balcony of the palace where he's staying to share a special message for engaged and married couples.

"It's not easy to form a family. It's not easy to make a life commitment. It takes courage, and I congratulate (couples) because they have courage," the Catholic leader said, according to Catholic News Agency.

Pope Francis has focused on family life throughout his papacy, working to strengthen the Catholic community's understanding of church teachings on love, parenthood and relationships. In April, he released "The Joy of Love," a 245-page reflection on family life, as the Deseret News reported at the time.

"No one can think that the weakening of the family will prove beneficial to society as a whole," the pope wrote in the document.

In Thursday's address, Pope Francis reiterated his belief in the importance of marriage while also admitting that romance is never easy.

"There are always problems or discussions. It's habitual and it happens that the husband and wife argue, raise their voice, fight," he said. "But don't panic when this happens," and focus on restoring peace.

He also shared these three key terms for couples to keep in mind, which should sound familiar to relationship experts.

1. Permission

Pope Francis urged couples to communicate openly about their plans and goals, CNA reported.

"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?'" he said.

Although some therapists or psychologists might take issue with the idea of asking your significant other for permission, most agree that good communication skills form the foundation of a healthy relationship.

"It's not a matter of asking permission it's a matter of being courteous," Cosmopolitan reported in 2014.

2. Thanks

Cultivating gratitude is a valuable way to strengthen your bond to your significant other, according to relationship experts. Saying "Thank you," or even just thinking it, may be as important as "I love you."

"Research suggests that it is feeling gratitude for our partner not necessarily expressing it to him or her that predicts both how satisfied we feel with our relationship and how satisfied our partner feels as well," reported the Greater Good Science Center in 2011.

Pope Francis seems to agree with this wisdom.

3. Forgiveness

The pope acknowledged that accepting an apology isn't easy. But it's an essential part of a healthy marriage, he added.

"In marriage, mistakes are always made, he said, noting that the important thing is to know how (to) recognize one's mistakes," CNA reported.

Relationship therapists and researchers agree that forgiveness is a key ingredient in a successful bond. After all, no partner is perfect, wrote psychology expert Lisa Firestone for The Huffington Post last year.

"It's important to accept that we all have separate minds and points of view. Each and every one of us is inevitably going to make mistakes," she wrote. "However, if we want to enjoy a lasting relationship with someone we value and choose to spend our lives with, we may want to grow our ability to forgive."
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