Everyone wants a strong marriage and a healthy, happy family. That is what God wants for us too. Marriage is the vocation for the vast majority of the human race. You want a strong marriage because you won't be happy unless there is a lot of love, trust, devotion and commitment in your marriage. And if parents love each other, then their children feel very secure because the foundation that supports them, which is marriage, is secure.
As God designed marriage, it takes a lifetime to fulfill one. You can't accomplish a marriage in ten or fifteen years. In fact, at the 25th silver anniversary, a couple should be moving into the richest years of their relationship together. Marriage is an intimate communion of love and life where a husband and wife share each other's destiny, and face the challenges of life together. When marriage is lived well, the couple finds more to love and give of themselves as the years progress. That is why being a widow, or widower, can be so difficult. The survivor feels like a large portion of their life has been torn from him or her.
Happiness comes when we know God's plan for the inportant matters of life, and then we put this plan into practice. Freedom means that we are free to pursue the good, the right and the true. We abuse our freedom when we choose to reject our commitments, walk away from our responsibilities, attempt to redefine marriage and spousal love, and simply reflect the values of the secular culture.
If we want to be happy, then we need to know God's plan for marriage, for spousal love and for the family. And this plan can be known! God wants it to be known! He gives it to us in divine revelation (think of Genesis 2 and Matthew 19), in the constant teaching of the Church over the centuries, and through the use of good reason. If you think about it for a while, you realize that the human nature has not changed much over the centuries; neither have basic human realities like marriage, spousal love, and families.
A couple experiences many stages during married life. Each stage has its own characteristics providing both joy and concern. There are times when couples may think they are no longer in love and this causes grief and disillusionment. This is not a time to give up. There are many sources which provide help during these troubling times: counseling through Catholic Human Services, parish personnel.
Other Marriage Enrichment programs are sponsored by World Wide Marriage Encounter and Interfaith Marriage Encounter. Dates and contact people may be obtained by calling the diocesan office at 989-732-5147, Dannie Brzezinski.
Teams of Our Lady is a lay program wherein several married couples and a chaplain meet monthly for a shared meal, prayer and discussion. Contact Tom and Carol Gietzen(231-347-6935) for more information
Help for persons experiencing divorce, widowhood, or separation can be found through Beginning Experience The contact persons are Marilyn Perski-231-723-4318 and Lucy Cowles-231-536-2994. Beginning Experience is a healing process for adults and children experiencing the trauma of loss and life-altering changes in living situations and new persons coming into their lives.
Other sources for Marriage Enrichment please go to other national organizations such as: Christian Family Movement and Movimiento Familiar Cristiano and the USCCB websites For Your Marriage and Marriage, Unique for a Reason.
What Have You Done for Your Marriage Today?
That’s the question the Catholic Church asks in a series of TV and radio spots launched June 27 by the U.S. bishops’ Committees on Marriage and Family Life and Communications.
The answers, which come from people interviewed on the street, range from getting up early with the baby to carrying a spouse’s purse. They show that short-term kindnesses cement a lifelong relationship. With humorous bits of life, the spots prompt people to think of and do more for their own commitments.
The couples featured were filmed in parks and other public sites in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Texas and Providence, Rhode Island. They include young and old and a rich variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Together the couples offer insights into marriage.
For the upcoming wedding season, engaged couples can find all the possible choices for the wedding liturgy readings, each accompanied by a commentary. There are also tips for choosing wedding music and options to personalize the ceremony.
“Healthy marriages are the bedrock of our church and our society,” said Archbishop-elect Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, chairman of the bishops’ Marriage and Family Life Committee, announcing the campaign. “The church seeks to do all it can to encourage what goes into a solid marriage: prayer, fidelity, commitment, and the little things that count.”
The campaign is part of a multi-year National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage of the U.S. Catholic bishops to convey th e meaning and value of married life for the Church and for society. The initiative will develop guidance and resources, including a pastoral letter, to promote, strengthen, sustain, and restore marriages.
The bishops approved the effort at the November 2004 meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bishops launched the campaign at the annual meeting of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers in Denver.
Production of the TV and radio spots was funded by the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign, which collects money in parishes nationwide to support church media efforts. Here in the Diocese of Gaylord, a portion of gifts to the annual Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) are forwarded to the Catholic Communications Campaign.
For more information and marriage tips visit the For Your Marriage website.