Does your spouse ever “go nuclear” on you, i.e. suddenly blow up over nothing? Although there’s no excuse for abuse, sometimes it helps to note what triggered the explosion. Counselors are trained to look for the comment or action that precedes a shut down. If it’s non-violent and only occasional, look for what’s out of balance in your beloved’s life. If it’s a violent pattern, get counseling or make an escape plan.
Who married you? “It is the spouses who give their consent to each other by a solemn promise…As baptized Christians, they are ministers of the sacrament of matrimony in the church.” (Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 1981) Resolve to be a worthy minister today.
What sacrifice has your marriage called you to make for your beloved, i.e., moving, putting your life on hold, changing an annoying habit? Can you die (just a little) to your own needs today to give life to your spouse or children? Do it generously, not begrudgingly.
Are you in a “mixed marriage?” Traditionally this term has been used for spouses of different religions, but it could mean mixed races, mixed classes, mixed ethnicities. or even mixed technology (PC vs MAC). How has your life been enriched by the difference your spouse brings?
"One advantage of marriage, it seems to me, is that when you fall out of love with each other, it keeps you together until maybe you fall in love again." (Judith Viorst) What stirs you back to your love when it becomes routine? Try it soon.
"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?" (George Eliot) What might your spouse be struggling with today?
(Father’s Day) If you are a father, hopefully your child(ren) will honor you on Father’s Day. Think also of your own father and how your life honors him. And then there are fathers who come by their role indirectly (foster and adoptive fathers, fathers-in-law, stepfathers, and those who have been like a father to you.) Honor an honorary father this week. Your spouse will respect you for it..
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.” (John 15:13) “On your wedding day you laid your very life into the hands of another person without knowing what the future held.” (Leif Kehrwald, Marriage & the Spirituality of Intimacy) Sometimes it is hard to love unconditionally, isn’t it?
For some couples children come readily or even by surprise. Others painfully wait month after month hoping to become pregnant. Whatever your circumstance, pray for those who have a different struggle. Believe that they are praying for you.
"Discuss your family of origin's attitudes about pets.” (Trudy Costa, How To Create a Satisfying, Lasting Marriage) Did one of you bring a pet into your marriage? Who is responsible for any pets you have now? What’s your pet peeve?
"Our love must be not just words or mere talk, but something active and genuine" (1 John 3:18). Talk is cheap. Show your devotion today by doing something active and genuine.
"I talk and talk and talk, and I haven't taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week" (Mario Cuomo on the importance of a father). What has your father taught you?
Summer officially begins today. Do something "hot" for your spouse: a hot meal in a cool place, hot clothes for a romantic date, or just hot popcorn and conversation.
"Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction" (Antoine De Saint-Exupery). What is your most cherished common goal?
How do you feel about growing old with your spouse? Talk about your hopes and fears regarding aging--even if you're young.