Money tip: Tired of fighting about money? Money and Marriage: You can’t avoid it as a married couple. It’s the number one reason cited for marital discourse. Sure, it isn’t fun, or exciting, but neither are the fights that come from not talking about it. The vitality and health of every family relies on its foundation. This secular issue of getting-and-spending can either be a rock of that foundation, or it can break it. Every couple needs a financial plan – a philosophy to follow “religiously,” so to speak.
Start by discussing money with your spouse: 1 Disclose: No matter how long you’ve been married, share your financial dreams, fears, habits and attitudes with each other. No good family plan works without risk-taking openness. 2 Discuss: Talk about your philosophy of money. Any and every topic on money you can muster should be exhausted. Remember, both of you should be heard. Only then can you agree on a lifetime family financial plan and budget – look for that in coming issues. It’s hard work at first, but it beats arguing! Quote: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through Him. (Col 3:17)
by John Morris, diocesan FOCCUS couple trainer
Time matters - part 1: Is your marriage a priority? Setting priorities is fundamental. We have all said, “If only we had an extra two hours in our day, we would have time to spend with each other and our marriage would be better!” If we can’t manage the 24 hours in the day that God has given us, why would we want another two hours? We wouldn’t need more hours in the day if we learned how to set priorities. Building a marriage relationship – spending time together focusing on your spouse – must take precedence over other needs that call for our attention. How do you spend your time? See if your marriage is a priority: Time Tip: Together, write out how much time you spend: 1 with the kids 2 at work 3 driving 4 chores 5 watching TV 6 etc. Compare that with the time you spend with each other. Do you give your spouse enough time? If you don’t, do something about it. Other areas in your life depend on the strength of your relationship. If your marriage is most important, make a change.
by Tom and JoAnn Fogle
Connecting: People say communication is so important for marriage, but I say, ‘Why dredge stuff up?’ I often give one-day retreats to married couples on the themes of spirituality and communication. They often complain they’re too tired, too busy and too distracted to communicate. Or they argue too much, so they would just rather avoid it. But communication in a marriage is like oil to a car – smooth running with it, disaster without it. If humans came with a manual, the first few chapters after spirituality would be on communication. And communication fuels the fire of spousal friendship. It’s really that important. Start where you’re at and move forward. If it seems like a lot, slowly build up to it. Ideas to jump-start your communication: Tip 1: Talk to each other on a daily basis for 20 minutes. Choose a time – preferably when you’re not asleep. Stop what you’re doing – turn the TV off and don’t answer the phone – and just catch up on the day. Show concern and respect for your spouse. It will help your relationship immensely! Tip 2: Have a weekly couple sharing time for an hour. Bring up concerns and issues that need your attention, such as the kids, finances, household chores, work, etc. Be proactive.
by Tony Sperendi
Romance and intimacy: How can busy parents keep the romance alive? True intimacy: A key factor that contributes to the failure of so many marriages today is the couple’s inability to sustain true intimacy. The problem is blamed on everything from shifting priorities to shifting waistlines. There are no simple answers. It requires sacrifice, time, energy, dedication and a lot of imagination. Or, put another way, it’s 10% physical and 90% mental. Parents and Romance: Parenting diminishes two important ingredients for intimacy: time and energy. Couples that prefer romantic spontaneity must learn to adapt. You must seriously commit to time alone together. Take advantage of every moment. Surprise dates may not work out with busy conflicting schedules. Schedule routine nights out. Schedule a “date” where you stay in after the kids are put to bed. Let the family know not to disturb you unless there is a true emergency. Try lighting some candles or taking a bath together. Don’t be defeated by an exhausted spouse, setbacks or lost opportunities. Make up for it next time. Finally, don’t be afraid to flirt in front of the kids. the best thing you do for them is become a role model of a healthy, affectionate marriage. Whenever we kiss and hear the familiar “Gross!” – we know we’re making a good impression. Faith and love: Catholic married couples have an added advantage. In this sacrament, romance becomes a holy word and deed modeled after Christ’s love for His Church. This realization puts us on a path that continues to open our minds and hearts to new ways of seeing each other and our marriage through all the changes we face. Next issue: 3 tips to liven up your marriage. by Rick & Diane Peiffer
Prayer moment: Make of me, God, what you can use as with a pen or chisel tools. Use the mind that I have honed, use all my skills whose strength you’ve loaned. Use my ears to hear and tell, use my mouth, too, for speaking well, the Word of God, sharp and alive; use all my talents, grit and strive. Above all else, wrap around me Love, that’s fit to be like hand in glove. I am here, your Word to bear, I am here to serve and care. Make me a vessel without leak, to carry water to the weak. Make me a staff to lean upon, to carry lightened burdens on.