These tips have been written for use in parish bulletins, so that couples will find little nuggets that will help them as they grow in love and relationship in their marriages. The hope is that those reading the tips will find inspiration to enrich their marriages in a manageable way, but in a way that will positively influence the love they share with their spouse.
Tip #1 – There are three essential components of successful marriages: the ability to communicate effectively; a commitment to longevity, depth and growth; and an ability to resolve conflict. Each of these components require skills which, when learnt, become the keys to a lasting marriage. Taking the time to improve your skills in these areas will result in a continual renewal of your relationship and the ability to persevere through times of stress.
Tip #2 – In every couple relationship there are two rhythms, one belonging to each spouse. Some people are slow-walkers who like to stroll through life, others are quick-steppers who like to keep up a fast pace. When two spouses have different rhythms, big strains in the relationship can occur, especially if one spouse expects the other to match their own style. We should learn to love and celebrate both our own rhythm, and that of our loved one, but we must also learn to accept that our spouse may not want to walk at the same pace we enjoy. So, use compromise and learn to understand, not fight, the rhythms of those you love.
Tip #3 – As Catholics we are called to an understanding of marriage that goes beyond the secular definition and is understood as Sacrament. Therefore, married couples are called to be a sign of God’s unconditional love for each of us, by the way they embody unconditional love for each other. Even when stress and conflict make their way into our lives, we are called to make sacred the ordinary. Stop and ask if your words and actions are reflecting Christ. If the answer is no, then change your response until you can honestly answer “yes”!
Tip #4 – It is easy to let all the responsibilities of marriage and family overtake our time and energy as a couple. To be sure to give time to your couple relationship, schedule at least one hour a week to do something fun with your spouse. Sharing fun activities together each week can be enough to get you through the more stressful times that will inevitably come along.