The Alliance of Catholic Marriage Organisations exists out of a shared desire to be united around our service to the Church and our commitment to offer clearer, more joined-up pathways of support for couples. The Alliance recognises that this commitment is best achieved through the deepening of our relationships – not formal structures – but with the hope that a more visible display of our unity will be a blessing to the Church and the couples we serve.
Here a list of tips from Marriage Encounter to help couples through the current pandemic crisis:
Tip 1 As a couple
Take your own space and respect each other’s space at the same time. Share planned moments together, such as a romantic dinner or activity together, rediscovering board games, or watching a movie. Having a shared goal can help you endure and support each other more. Forced cohabitation can create discomfort, misunderstandings and discussions. Solving the problem now, clearing up misunderstandings, is the way to maintain a peaceful atmosphere at home. Respect the silences and moments of solitude of the other, they are precious: thinking, reasoning, relaxing in solitude can often be the way to abandon negative thoughts and rediscover yourself.
Tip 2 Managing Stress and Developing resilience
Stress is an adaptation reaction that depends a lot on how we see the events and situations we face. Resilience indicates the ability to cope positively with negative events. To develop it, we need to adopt a constructive attitude, remaining open to the opportunities that life can offer in every situation. With a resilient attitude, we can best manage our stress, using our resources in a way that is useful for ourselves and those around us. eg the house can be seen as a refuge rather than a prison, and time as found rather than lost.
Tip 3 Giving Dignity to every aspect of the day
We bravely face a completely different and mostly slowed down daily routine. It seems important to give space and time to small gestures: the rite of breakfast, the care of our body, the time spent with our children, the reading of newspapers(without over exposing ourselves too much to anxious news), the coffee break, the evening aperitif, preparing meals, organising the time to devote to a good movie or reading a book, in addition certainly to work time. In this particular moment, each of these activities regains dignity and time.
Tip 4 Managing Negative Emotions
When we are agitated, our perception of risk changes greatly. A good way to get rid of the load of emotions that understandably stir inside us these days is first of all to recognise them for what they are (for example: I feel scared or I feel sad) and then to let them go, without trying to solve them, control them or hide them. A practical tip is to try simple relaxation techniques ( like concentrating for 5-10 minutes on slow, regular breathing).
Tip 5 Applying digital minimalism
Never as in this period can a digital diet come in more handy. Perhaps we should take a moment to reflect on the value that social networks have for us. What do they add to our daily life? What do they take away? What is the best use we can make of them to enrich our lives? Being bombarded with information from morning to night because we compulsively look at our mobile phones, rather than reassuring ourselves, risks increasing the cognitive load and consequently the feeling of being constantly under pressure. It is better to just consult official sources, avoid word-of-mouth and update yourself once or twice a day on how the situation is developing
Sharing Our Love – December 2020 Blog
When starting a lasting love relationship there is the desire and the determination to be happy by living one for each other. This desire is stronger than any doubt or hesitation. We all have a dream of a covenant relationship, i.e. a way of living together in which the relationship itself is at the centre. A covenant is a promise to be faithful and to love each other no matter what. There is never a question of equity or justice between what is promised and what is expected; in other words, this love is unconditional. The love between the two of you is more important than the agreements you make. You want to invest in your relationship and therefore enrich it. This type of covenant relationship makes love visible, a sign. As Catholics we understand that our relationship also can make Love visible, i.e. Jesus’ love for His people; this is what we call a sacrament.
When you live a covenant relationship, you discover that you are more than just two people who are committed to each other. Your relationship may also be a sign, that your life as a couple can make love visible. How do you do that? Quite simply in the way you talk to one another, the way you listen to one another, the way you live your relationship, in the way you affirm one another, the way you face conflict/arguments and still stay together in your differences. To live a covenant love, we need a community, people who share the same dream and who are prepared to invest in it. As believers on our journey we discover a community around Jesus, which is a real help to live a covenant love, and an enrichment for society.
In this time of isolation, as we prepare for Christmas, it is important to continue to be visible in our Love relationship to our community as its ripples bring hope for the future.
Mark & Sue Stubbings – Advent 2020
Worldwide Marriage Encounter England & Wales Leadership