Archive for ‘tips and advice’
Fighting Fair Tip: Never say “Never” or “Always.” It may seem like your spouse always leaves the gas tank on empty, but there’s always an exception that blows your argument. Be more accurate by saying “often” or “sometimes.” It stings less and creates less defensiveness.
(Our Lady of Guadalupe) What’s the first image of Mary, the mother of Jesus, that comes to your mind? Is she of the same race and age as you are? Latinos celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe today. Have you ever pictured Mary as a different race than your own?
It may seem unrealistic to “rejoice always” as St. Paul encourages us to do, but surely you can find one thing to be grateful for today or to rejoice over. Think hard.
Christmas shopping started? Done? Consider committing to at least one gift of service. It can be done as a couple or family during the 12 days of Christmas. (Examples: repair a broken toy, or clean a child’s room, visit a lonely person, clean up a park)
Some couples readily and happily conceive when they are ready to have children. Others wait, sadly, as months turn into years without a beloved child. Natural Family Planning can help infertile couples know the optimum time to conceive. Check it out.
“John (the Baptist) appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mk 1:3) In any marriage hurts are inevitable. It may not be major, like a sin, but often small, like a pinch. Is there anything to forgive today?
What’s your spouse’s primary love language? Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, or Physical Touch. (Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages) Is yours the same or different?
(St. Nicholas) St. Nick was a secretive giver. Is there anything nice you can hide for your spouse to find later in the day? A treat? A note? A chore finished? Be creative.
Tomorrow is St. Nick’s Day which means that many parents will put a treat in their child’s shoe tonight. Even if you don’t have a child living with you, consider treating a child whose parents may not. Planning together for ways to help others can draw you closer as a couple.
Surprise your honey with an early Christmas gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive—fix his favorite dish or give her a back massage.
“Children benefit from our ‘presence’ more than our ‘presents’”(Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference). During this Advent ponder the tone that time with your spouse, children, and extended family will take during the upcoming Christmas season.
If your parish or employer has a Giving Tree, take your children with you when you buy the gift. Or at least, let them help you wrap it. Your example of helping others will speak more loudly than any words.
(First Sunday of Advent) One way to prepare spiritually for Jesus’ coming is to try to correct a bad habit. Have you been overly critical of your spouse? Judgmental? Too preoccupied to really listen? Pick one fault and work on it.
What is a unique endearing quality of your beloved? Have you told your spouse? No harm in saying it again. Do it today.
(Thanksgiving) For most families Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect. It’s also a time when in-laws often mix. Happy marriages benefit from healthy extended families. Seek to know at least one extended family member better today. Don’t fight. Bite your tongue if you must.
What are you thankful for? Jot down your answers. Is your spouse on the list?
The holiday season is about to start. How will you and your spouse connect with each other during this busy time? Make a plan to share an activity at least once a week, even if it’s just coffee at the local cafe.
You may be starting to think about what to get your beloved for Christmas. Consider a “Gift of Words.” Put 10 (25, 52, whatever) reasons that you love your spouse on separate pieces of colored paper and put them in a jar or envelope. Voila! A priceless gift from the heart.
The Thanksgiving feast is over, the house full of stuff or people. It’s a great opportunity to tell others something you appreciate about them today.
What is your spouse’s attitude towards sickness? Do they want to be left alone or fussed over? Find out, and let your spouse know what you prefer.
Take a trip down memory lane. Remember your first date or the first time you said, “I love you” to your beloved. Recall the early days of your courtship and how you came to recognize that you wanted to spend your lives together. Who knew it first?
President Kennedy said: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” These words can be applied to marriage. “Ask not what your beloved can do for you, but what you can do for your beloved.” Answer the question today.
Some individuals are poor, some have disabilities, some are facing a personal crisis. Pick a person who is struggling and imagine yourself in their shoes today. It might be a family member or someone you’ve heard about on the news. Developing empathy makes you easier to love.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” (Mt 25:35-36) Which of these works of mercy do you already do? As a couple?
“A man never stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child.” (Knights of Pythagoras) Stooping and bending are perhaps done even more by women. Is caring for your child(ren) shared by both of you in a fair way?