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.
Come Holy Spirit Enkindle us ….
Hello married couples, God’s children, are your hearts on fire with His love? We’ve heard ‘the closer we come to God, the closer we come to each other’ and also ‘the closer we come to each other, the closer we come to God.’ Are we burning with love in our relationships or are we bumbling along?
Our annual celebration of Pentecost is a reminder to us that God HAS sent His Spirit, His Spirit is with us, ALWAYS. Just as Jesus’ disciples spoke to the people who all heard them in their own language, so we speak our own language to each other as husband, wife…YET…we were raised differently, our childhood experiences and life lessons were different, however, we can grow through and because of that. There might be times when we feel like ‘We can’t take anymore, our relationship is not bringing me life anymore.’ Pope Francis in The Joy of Love reminds us that:
Amoris Laetitia 232…Each crisis becomes an apprenticeship in growing closer together or learning a little more about what it means to be married…Each crisis has a lesson to teach us; we need to learn how to listen for it with the ear of the heart.
He talks of our relationships maturing, like fine wine. With him the Church family shall soon be celebrating The World Meeting of Families, June 22-26 in Rome, its theme – Family Love: a vocation and path to Holiness. The more we seek to strengthen our relationships as married couples, the stronger it can make our families.
Are we willing to place ourselves in God’s hands? Are we open to the gifts that come to us through God’s Holy Spirt? It’s true that sometimes the demands of marriage on our energy, emotions and spiritual strength are so strong that it is difficult to hold on, but we can pray together daily: ‘Holy Spirit, help us to learn how to fan the flames when we have doubts. Strengthen our resolve to say ‘yes’ to you and to each other and to trust… to TRUST ALWAYS
Brian and Maureen Devine, Coordinators Two in One Flesh,
Reflective Resources for Couples, Priests and Parishes
Detox and Refresh your relationship this Lent
Lent gives us an opportunity to open ourselves, to be renewed for the most powerful of feasts; the resurrection on Easter Day
Detoxes sound great – a sort of internal shower! Refreshing and renewing, and then ready to face anything. Looking up the NHS view of detox diets, we found a summary including “marketing myth, sounding like a fabulous great concept, wild and exaggerated claims …. better to stick to sound nutrition”
What of our relationship with each other, with our community and with the Lord? What fabulous concept could we use to improve our relationship with each other?
Like all improvements in any aspect of life, improvements need a focus, a determination and a plan. As couples, if we want this, we can sit down with each other, ask what we would like to improve, or to ‘detox’ in our lives. We would then sit-down, dialogue and decide together how we will find excellent nutrition for our relationship and our souls this Lent.
When we married 42 years ago, we were introduced, by another couple in Teams to the “spiritual triangle” – with Man and Woman on two points and God on the third; and with this model that when we move closer to each other along the sides we also get closer to God – and similarly as we get closer to God we get closer to each other.
St John says “God is Love” – and so as we really get closer to Love – and His truth – about him, about ourselves and about each other, we grow God’s Love between us in a special way. How fabulous it would be to be able to shout about this claim … that we have grown closer, ready for the Church’s most important feast at Easter.
So what’s the sound nutrition of Lent….. the three regular practices of Lent that we aim to maintain in a more sincere way during our 40 days are Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. (and don’t take any notice of people who say Sunday’s don’t count for our Lenten efforts) So to with our special relationship with our partner, could we try three Lenten practices
- Communicate with each other more …double up the weekly date-nights (or date- hours)
- Be the fastest to apologise to your partner for misunderstanding and being blunt
- Give help….speak to another (couple) about your Lenten relationship endeavour
Annette and Paul O’Beirne
Equipes Notre-Dame Teams of Our Lady
Harvest and Renewal – September 2021 Blog
September brings a time of harvesting what we have grown and a time of restarting. In fields we see bales of straw hoping that the yield was good – and in shops we see promotions for ‘back to school’. This year the ‘begin again’ perspective is even more acute than usual; we hope. Life has not been “normal” for two harvests – weather patterns across our country and the world have had devastating impact for many. Schools have tried to adapt to the pandemic disruption with some families coping better than others.
So, as we start again, a question or two for all couples
- What has been my own personal internal response to the disruption?
- What do I pray that the next year will be like for us as a couple / family?
These are questions that we can tackle first on our own with a notebook –Then the important thing is to exchange our ideas with our partner and to talk about them. Sit down, light a candle, pray for openness to the Spirit, perhaps reflect on a line of scripture before welcoming each other’s thoughts and feelings.
We found a book* recently relating to being open with our thoughts and feelings; Brené Brown writes about vulnerability. We believe that being open and trusting with our partner is all about vulnerability, so it was great to find this – and also that Brené Brown’s TED talk on the topic (https://tinyurl.com/Brown-vulnerability) is in the top ten watched. We say “take that risk to open ourselves, respond in love, …. pray first…”
Like the harvest, some of us will have managed a short holiday or some time off – has this refreshed us and lifted our souls to see the wonders of Creation? September starts with the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation. Pope Francis encourages us to continue until October 4th remembering the “Time of Creation” inviting us to join in prayer and action for the preservation of our Common Home.
For the Laudato Si prayer see section 246 of Laudato Si www.tinyurl.com/laudatosi-2
Annette and Paul O’Beirne – Teams of Our Lady – Responsible Couple for the Transatlantic Super Region.
*Daring Greatly: Brené Brown Penguin Life
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