Date Mass: Unlock the Romantic Potential

The Eucharist is a ‘communion of life and love’ and so is marriage. Why not celebrate them together?

You’ve probably heard a common piece of advice to married couples for keeping romance alive: Have a regular date night. Good idea! But have you ever tried a date Mass? Though it may sound unconventional, the idea of a date Mass actually points to the heart of Catholic sacramental marriage. And this is not just romantic, it’s passionate. So, Catholic husbands and wives, good news! Something as routine as going to church together can have a powerful effect on your marriage.

Nathan and I planned our first date Mass a few years ago when we were members of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Everett. We sang as part of a small schola at the Saturday vigil Mass. We usually had our young school-aged daughters in the choir loft with us. Continue reading →

Pray Together Stay Together: Fact or Fiction?

Strengthen your marriage and share in the sweetness of Christ’s love

I remember it felt a little awkward the first few times Nathan and I prayed at home as husband and wife when we were first married. It felt so intimate to speak our deepest prayers out loud. Just before falling asleep, we faced the ceiling together — toward heaven! — thanked God for our marriage, and prayed for our family, relatives, friends, the church and the world.

Thirteen years after our wedding, through many major life changes — including children (four), job changes (seven for him, four for me), school degrees (four in all) and household moves (also four) — our nighttime prayer routine has become a familiar habit that strengthens our marriage and draws us closer to each other and to God, the source of all love. Even if I’ve stayed up after Nathan falls asleep, I’ll still snuggle up and pray aloud next to him. I’m often surprised to hear him join in at the end with a groggy “amen.” Continue reading →

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Marriages

This presentation was given at Holy Family Church in Kirkland, WA, on August 5, 2013.

View the Prezi slideshow here.

The Benefits of Marriage:

Why work on strengthening marriage? Husbands and wives enjoy better physical health, quicker recovery from disease and injuries, longer life, greater incomes and household wealth, greater mental health and happiness, and greater satisfaction in their sexual lives than their single, cohabiting, or divorced counterparts. Children growing up with their married mother and father are happier, do better academically, have fewer problems with drugs, delinquency, and early sexual activity, and have more successful marriages of their own than those raised by single, unmarried, or divorced parents. Married households have more resources to devote to the community in volunteer and service work.

Marriages facing serious trouble can find great help in the Retrouvaille program

The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Marriages:

1. Develop Good Communication Skills

2. Work Together on Money Management

3. Learn how to Manage Conflict

4. Share Faith and Values

5. Respect the Sanctity of Sex in Marriage

  • Premarital sex and cohabiting are linked to higher rates of divorce
  • They are correlated with higher rates of infidelity in marriage, another big factor in divorce
  • Pornography use is also cited as a major factor in divorce
  • Chastity is the virtue of using sex as God intended: exclusively with your husband or wife to celebrate a total mutual self-giving in a faithful, life-long and life-giving covenant.
  • No matter what choices we’ve made in the past, Christ can always give us the grace to be made new in Him. He can restore our dignity and help us grow in chastity, healing the effects of sin and giving us the power of His own love to strengthen, purify, and elevate the love we share with our husband or wife in our marriage today and in the future.

6. Practice Natural Family Planning rather than contraception to space births when necessary

  • The levels of intimacy, communication, respect, self-control, and mutual responsibility required by NFP draws couples together. Here is a great post about the benefits in marriage of using NFP from the husband’s perspective (he and his wife switched to NFP from the Pill after several years of marriage). And some more testimonies of NFP couples.
  • Some data suggests that couples practicing NFP have a divorce rate of 0.2%. Conservatively adjusted, still less than 5%.

7. Grow in Holiness and Virtue

  • Draw on the power of the Sacraments to connect with the Source of Love (God Himself!).