February: Month of the Family

Your Marriage Matters!
Ideas to keep your marriage happy, healthy and alive ...

Through marriage, God calls a man and a woman to proclaim love and unity! In the tender plan of His providence, God our Almighty Father has given married love, with its faithfulness (and its fruitfulness), a special significance in the history of salvation! God created man and woman (Gen. 1:27; 2:20-23) and established and sanctioned marriage (Gen. 2:24). as the ideal relationship between the two. However, marriage, like a child, needs nurturing and time. Many marriages crumble because of lack of love, commitment and devotion. What fundamental principles can you practice to build a happy marriage?

Here are some ideas (... call them crucial building blocks, if you like ...) to keep your marriage happy, healthy and alive!

  • Have you hugged your spouse today?

  • Your spouse is the most special and most important person in your life. Know this for a fact and express the feeling to your spouse.

  • Reach out and touch your spouse, a touch on the cheek, a hug, no matter what, even the littlest, helps to show your love.

  • Communicate your love to one another. Call your spouse at least once in the day and say "I Love You". Better still, leave secret love notes around the house for your spouse to find.

  • Your marriage relationship is the most intimate relationship possible on earth. Be proud of it and the joys and sacrifices that have made it strong.

  • Create a comfortable and secure environment for your love to grow and your relationship to deepen.

  • Stay committed, stay connected, be concerned, intimate and always faithful to each other.

  • Be your spouse's best friend! Cultivate your friendship.

  • Be attractive for each other. There's no reason to look your drabbest at home.

  • Keep your spouse's interests in sight. (Some even put their spouse's interests first!) Stay committed to keeping the other happy! Be nice to each other!

  • Take out your wedding pictures (at least once a year) and share a memory with family and friends.

  • Give your spouse a tiny gift from time to time, a hand-made card, a garden tool, even a kitchen utensil. It shows that you care, especially about their interests or hobbies.

  • Cook his or her favourite meal on weekends.

  • Share your love with your children. They are the most important part of your marriage after both of you.

  • Renew your wedding vows with your spouse — privately or with your parish.

  • Keep special days special, such as, birthdays, anniversaries, annual house blessing, etc.

  • Accept, appreciate and compromise your differences. Each of us is different and that makes us special. Even if you married someone who lives in the same city, chances are that your family culture is different in many ways. Celebrate your differences, turning them into relational strengths.

  • Be concerned about each other at the same time give each other space to grow.

  • Encourage each other's talents. Praise each other's accomplishments (honestly), boost the other's morale. A pat on the back can do wonders!

  • Communication is the key to a happy marriage. Good listening makes for good communication. Listen first, speak only if you must.

  • Tell each other how much your marriage means to you (and, how much you mean to each other). Talk about (discuss) your needs, your children, your dreams and goals for the future.

  • Only very gently and lovingly communicate the other's faults, whenever.

  • If you experience something about your spouse that you don't like, you've got to learn to close one eye and not let every little thing bother you. If it's a big issue, use tact and love.

  • Do not discuss your disappointment with your spouse with your friends, colleagues, parents, siblings, etc. Don't un-necessarily divulge family and spousal confidences. This amounts to betrayal and can only cause unhappiness in marriage. If you can, work out matters, as soon as possible, between your spouse and you.

  • One secret that should NOT be kept is when you are being abused by a spouse. If you are being hit, kicked, punched or assaulted by your spouse, speak to your parish priest as soon as possible. Help IS possible. Domestic violence CAN be resolved by competent intervention, before it becomes too late.

  • Before arguing, think: is this really going to matter in the long run? Never fight, especially in front of your children. God has blessed each of you with the gift of reasoning, so reason out and settle unpleasant issues! Also, Don't argue in front of other people. Don't insult each other or each other's families.

  • Never threaten divorce. It creates unhappiness, withdrawal and insecurity in a marriage and pain will replace the passion.

  • If marriage problems are snowballing out of control, seek help and advice from your local priest or a marriage counsellor who is preferably attached to, or recommended by your church / parish. The Catholic / Christian perspective on how to deal with marriage issues is important. Attending the regular services of a family-oriented (support) parish prayer group, such as, "Couples for Christ", also helps ... to pray, discuss, and offer mutual help in living out the challenges of married life.

  • Pray together. Pray for each other. Ask Christ into your marriage. Encourage and support each other to live out the call to holiness. Pray for other married couples. Read and meditate on the Bible together or as a family. Pray to the Holy Spirit to enlighten you concerning any dark areas in your married life. Praying the Rosary as a family is a powerful weapon against every evil.

  • Jesus "gave himself up for his bride the Church to make her holy..." (Ephesians 5:25-26). Marriage is above all a path to sanctification, a way to achieve holiness. Your vocation is to witness to the power of Christ’s love through your marriage.

  • Respect, help and love the other's families (parents, siblings). Your marriage can benefit from all the support and love that you can get in return. Pray for each other's families.

  • Don't lose track of romance or humour in your everyday married life.

  • Have common friends. Spend time together. Marriages grow in the garden of friendship.

  • Never take each other for granted. At the end of the day, thank God for your spouse. Thank each other, too, for what the other has done.

  • Never go to bed angry. Remember, the only person you can change is

  • Sometimes, it's not just what your spouse is saying, perhaps, it's what he / she is NOT saying, that is important.

  • Take time for each other; be patient with, and listen to one another.

  • Share your joys as well as your fears. Bear one another's burdens with joy and patience.

  • Forgive each other 70 times seven! Forget past hurts, especially don't keep bringing it up in your conversation (or arguments!) Never hold grudges.

  • Don't feel discouraged, don't despair when things go wrong. It's not the end of the world. Take your problems to the Lord in prayer.

  • Start and end each day with a prayer and a kiss.

    Well Known and Researched Facts:

  • A kiss from your spouse, when leaving the house, makes for a safe and more productive day.

  • Hug your spouse often ... it helps to relieve stress.

  • Communicating the positive in your heart will increase the happiness in your life.

  • The Lord our God is the "glue" that keeps a couple together.

  • A holy marriage makes for a happy marriage. A Christ-centered marriage survives all odds!

  • Deception, lies, secretiveness, manipulation, jealousy, anger, rudeness, fault-finding, name-calling, domineering ways, making comparisons, infidelity, suspicion, lack of trust and disinterest are marriage breakers. Be vary of them. Don't indulge in them.

  • There is no such thing as a "perfect" marriage (it's not realistic). There are only happy, healthy and alive ones and it all depends on YOU!

  • True love exists! Actually, it grows from a tiny seed which has been nurtured with love, selflessness and sacrifice.

  • The world's most expressive four letter word is still "love".

  • Marriage is a sacrament of faith. Prayer and the Christian sacraments enable couples to keep this faith vision of marriage alive.

  • Couples that pray together, stay together. The same is true of couples that pray for each other. Prayer strengthens spouses in challenging situations.

  • Acceptance, and not expectation is the key to a good marriage.

  • A joint establishing of boundaries, goals and plans benefit a family / marriage, so also the proper management of family resources and finances by both partners.

  • Patience and Understanding can save a loveless marriage. Love will follow, surely.

  • Honesty, Respect and Kindness can do wonders for a marriage.

  • Sharing of tasks around the house pays dividends. It leaves the other time to refresh and pursue other interests. It also keeps the other feeling more fulfilled and you have a happier and more interesting mate.

  • The more you invest in your marriage, the more valuable it becomes.

  • Marriage is not about keeping score... it’s about keeping the faith.

  • Marriage is for better and for worse, but most of all, it is for keeps!

  • The total self-giving in marriage must be mutual.

  • Some important words in a marriage: “I love you,” “Thank You,” “I am sorry,” “I was wrong,” “I forgive you.”

    Intercessory Prayer for Families:

    That, all husbands may have the wisdom and courage to help their wives grow and develop their talents, to become all God wants them to be.

    We pray to the Lord.

    That, all wives among us have the knowledge and the will to encourage their husbands to grow and fulfill all the rich potential that lies within them.

    We pray to the Lord.

    That, we may receive the gifts of patience, imagination and understanding in our relationship with our children in these changing times.

    We pray to the Lord.

    That, all couples may be delivered from the dangers of boredom and routine which can erode the deepest love relationship.

    We pray to the Lord.

    For the courage to overcome fear and reveal ourselves more openly and honestly through more intimate communication.

    We pray to the Lord.

    That, all our relatives, friends and neighbours may experience the joy of family love.

    We pray to the Lord.

    That, all the families on earth may have the resources they need to lead happy, healthy and prayer-filled lives.

    We pray to the Lord.

    Eternal Father,

    You love us so much that You gave us Your only Son. You have so exalted the unbreakable bond of marriage that it has become the sacramental sign of Your Son's union with the Church as His spouse. Grant that all who are in the union of marriage may reflect the beauty of Your love and share it with others.

    Look with favour on married couples, whom You have united in marriage, as they ask for Your help and the protection of the Virgin Mary. We pray that in good times and in bad they will grow in love for each other; that they will resolve to be of one heart in the bond of peace.

    Lord, in their struggles, let them rejoice that You are near to help them; in their needs, let them know that You are there to rescue them; in their joys, let them see that You are the source and completion of every happiness.

    We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN.

    Now is the time!

    ... to begin building a happy marriage! May your marriage be filled with perpetual bliss. May God bless you with a happy family and may you share marital happiness with many others!

    Other Useful Links:

    Family Life Center International : Faith & Family
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    World Marriage Day
    Worldwide Marriage Encounter

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