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.
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