Archive for December, 2011
New Year’s Eve can be a rousing time – if you’re single. Less so, if you’re married and even more complicated if you have young children. Why not use this day to take stock of what you liked best about last year? Share it in a quiet moment with your honey and kids.
In a healthy family life we experience some of the fundamental elements of peace: Mutual help in the necessities of life. (Pope Benedict XVI)
Time with family, a brand-new niece and … ice-fishing! Sara and Justin celebrate their first Christmas as a married couple.
“On the 5th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me – 5 gold rings.” Really only one is necessary and that’s the wedding band. But gold is a precious metal and reminds us of the precious love we share. Which of you cares more about jewelry? Both? Neither?
It’s the end of the year–a time to evaluate and to make lists: best movies, biggest news stories, best dressed, and so on. In the Catholic spiritual tradition, we have a method of self-evaluation that might be a valuable spiritual exercise at this time of year. It’s called an “examination of conscience.”
“On the 4th Day of Christmas my true love gave to me – 4 Calling Birds.” What do you call each other? Honey? Babe? Darlin’? What pet name would you like your beloved to call you? When do you call each other? On trips? From work? On a smart phone?
Married life can go more smoothly if we learn to laugh at ourselves. And it helps to have someone with whom to share that laughter, as Josh discovers.
“On the 3rd Day of Christmas my true love gave to me – 3 French Hens.” French hens are known for their gentleness. Be gentle with each other today, a tender caress or a soothing word would be perfect.
“On the 2nd Day of Christmas my true love gave to me – 2 Turtle Doves.” Turtle doves are migratory birds that form strong pair bonds. Perhaps you are traveling over the holidays, hopefully together. Even if you are separated, confirm your commitment to each other.
(Christmas) “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) If you are a parent, take a moment today to ponder the awesome miracle of your child’s birth. If you are not a parent, ponder a mysterious way that God has acted in your life. Look around. It’s there.
(Chistmas Eve) Christmas traditions are important but some just add stress to our lives. Christmas Eve Mass is nice but not with cranky kids. A special meal is unifying – but not if it makes you cranky. Pause for five minutes today to be quiet. Simplify your expectations.
(Reader’s Tip) I stayed when I felt like leaving.
Justin and Sara have taken the plunge and bought their first house!
What makes a happy marriage? Many things, of course, but one glue that helps a lot of couples is being able to laugh when things go wrong. Is there a blunder that happened in your past that you’re now able to laugh about?
(Winter Solstice) Dec. 21 is the longest night of the year. Advent is about waiting in the uncertainty of darkness. Ponder the times you have waited in the dark with a family member. Perhaps it was illness, or maybe fear, that kept you in vigil together. Be not afraid.
Thirty years ago it was rare to see a stay-at-home Dad. These days it’s a common feature of marriage and parenthood. Even the experts don’t know where trends are heading, but we do know that fathers are more involved than ever in child care.
“[Our vocation] calls us to enter into diapers and runny noses and “did not, did too” screaming matches and basketball practice and giggles over knock-knock jokes. The trick…is how to stay connected to God in all that noise.” Josh offers some practical advice.
What husbands like to hear: “I love being married to you.” “I think you’re a hunk.” “I really respect the way you handled that.” “You turn me on.” “You are right.” What could you say today?
“We do not need to retreat to a monastery, convent or mountain cabin for prayer, fasting and a traditional contemplative life in order to become increasingly virtuous, Christ-like persons,” says the author, David Sanderlin. “We can become increasingly virtuous, Christ-like persons in our own home by acting with love, wisdom and other Christian virtues in our busy marriage and family life.”
What wives like to hear: “Let me help you with that.” “I’m so glad I married you.” “I love the way that outfit looks on you.” You’re an awesome wife and mother.” “Sounds like you had an exasperating day.” “You are right.” What could you say today?
“Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary.’” Sometimes it can be frightening to embark upon a big change in life – a birth, a death, changing a job, retirement…Call to mind a fear from the past or a current one. Trust that sharing it with your beloved will be safe.
Parenting teens can put stress on a marriage. If you have teenagers, you know that you can’t always pick the time when they are in the mood to talk. When they do open up, the parent needs to STOP and LISTEN.
Within your family, when you shun violent words and actions and look for peaceful ways to resolve conflict, you become a voice for life. (Follow the Way of Love, USCCB)
Sara and Justin have finally found a house they like. Will their offer be accepted? They’re both anxiously waiting to find out.
(Reader’s Tip) I make sure I point out one thing my spouse does well every day.