NFP Awareness Week – Hormonal Contraception Linked With Depression

July 23-July 29 is the USCCB National NFP Awareness Week. This is a great time to raise awareness about NFP in your ministry or parish.

The Pill has been correlated with higher risks of certain forms of cancer, blood clotting, and lower libido. This new study from Denmark finds its correlates with increases rates of depression, especially among teen girls. Shouldn’t they develop a way for couples to manage their fertility in a way that respects womens’ bodies and doesn’t harm their health and wellbeing? They did! It’s called NFP.

 

Wine Out of Water

Photo: Courtesy Carrie Anderson

“We had been craving community at St. Monica [Parish on Mercer Island], just wanting some kind of couple’s group,” Bill recounted. “Father Freitag was talking about the dissolution of marriages. … Divorce after divorce. It was on his heart that we need prayers for these marriages, and they need help. So it was something that was on our heart,” he told me.

Inspired during eucharistic adoration together, Bill and Carrie Anderson gathered a group of six couples from the parish to meet regularly for dinner about two years ago. They share wine, laughter and fellowship. After dinner, they pray a rosary. They meet in the spirit of the wedding at Cana, as indicated by their name, WOW: Wine Out of Water. (see John 2:1-11)

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Couple Prayer: The Ultimate Instant Messaging

Which of the following simple, free, daily activities will: 1) make God smile on you and send you powerful help, 2) connect you even more deeply and build spiritual intimacy with your spouse, and 3) dramatically reduce your odds of divorce?

A) Sit in the same room while you each interact with your respective smartphones.
B) Text each other sweet notes throughout the day.
C) Pick up the towels off the floor.
D) Pray together as a couple.

What did you pick? Let’s look at each possibility:
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The Power of Couple Prayer

“Praying together is the most powerful predictor of marital happiness that researchers have yet discovered,” wrote the late sociologist Father Andrew Greeley.

One survey found that couples who prayed or read the Bible daily, in addition to weekly church attendance, divorced at a rate of less than 1 per 1,105 marriages. And while 60 percent of couples who pray together “sometimes” checked the box in a survey marked “our marriage is happy,” that number bumped up to 78 percent for those couples who pray together “a lot.” (All research is cited atcoupleprayer.com.) Couple prayer is a powerful means of drawing close to your spouse and blessing your marriage. But how do you do it? Continue reading “The Power of Couple Prayer”

Speaking at the Faith of Fire Catholic Family Conference at St. Mary in Anacortes this weekend!

I gave two talks this weekend for the awesome Faith on Fire Catholic family conference; for the kids and youth I gave a vocation talk we called “Your Amazing Future: Preparing Yourself for Your Own Happily Ever After.” For the women, I gave a talk called “Women of Mercy: The Dignity and Vocation of Women and the Year of Mercy.”

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Saints Louis and Zelie Hold Open the Doors of Mercy

The marriage and family life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s parents invite us to practice mercy

This year in our archdiocesan Catholic schools, students have been making “Doors of Mercy” art projects. Behind brown construction-paper sets of cathedral doors, they have glued or drawn a picture of their own families. So when the door-flaps are opened, the family is revealed inside.

If we open wide the “Doors of Mercy” and look through them to see the ways we can let mercy flood in to our own marriages and our own families, what beautiful scenes of compassion, forgiveness, tenderness, presence, healing and encouragement are revealed? Celebrating the July 12 feast day of newly canonized Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her four sisters (they also had four little ones who died in infancy and early childhood), can help answer that question. Continue reading “Saints Louis and Zelie Hold Open the Doors of Mercy”

Get Touchy with your Spouse

Drawing closer physically ‘incarnates’ your love and can strengthen your marriage

Elizabeth Jordan was unhappy in her marriage. Her husband Tony was a jerk. They argued about money. They were emotionally distant. The love between them was almost dead. Elizabeth could, justly, complain long and bitterly about her husband.

What happened to transform their marriage so that they were helpful, loving and united again? Surprisingly, it was one party’s conversion. Elizabeth’s change of heart toward her husband changed her own behavior in the relationship. Together with her intense prayer support for him, this triggered the softening of his heart toward her and his own conversion to Christ.

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Courtship vs Dating

The term courtship may sound as old-fashioned as bustles and buggy-driving. It may call to mind a famous song about a certain Froggy and what he went a-doin’. But actually, the concept of courtship is experiencing a revival, with good reasons.

Reframing dating in terms of courtship can help parents set healthy boundaries on teen dating. Shifting from a “dating” to a “courtship” mindset can help single adults achieve greater happiness, too.

What’s the difference between dating and courtship?

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Marriage vs. Cohabitation

Ten reasons God’s plan for families is good news for everyone

Madeline and Matt Example have been together five years. Because of a choice they made, they are in a category of couples who are statistically happier, healthier and better-off financially than their neighbors, Caitlyn and Chris. They will stay healthier, live longer, accumulate more wealth and report higher levels of happiness and satisfaction in their relationship and in their whole lives. Their household is less likely to witness violence or abuse. Their 2-year-old daughter, Maggie, is in the safest, healthiest and happiest categories of kids. Because of her mom and dad’s choice, she is at the lowest risk of child poverty; she is likely to succeed in school and be a happy adult.

Caitlyn and Chris have also been together five years. But because they made a different choice, they are in a group that statistically reports lower levels of happiness. They are more likely to get sick, suffer from anxiety or depression, and will likely not live as long. Despite having similar jobs as their neighbors, Caitlyn and Chris have lower incomes and smaller savings. Sadly, abuse and violence is more likely in their household, between them and against their 3-year- old, Cooper. Compared with Maggie, Cooper is at a much greater danger of child poverty and academic problems.

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All Saints: Married, Widowed, and Divorced

November is the perfect month to call attention to happily married saints, as well as to men and women who stand out as shining examples of holiness after suffering the unhappiness of marriage’s end through death or divorce. The great celebrations of All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day and the solemnity of Christ the King make us mindful of our own deaths and the world’s end. Our hope and fulfillment is in Christ, our ultimate goal, whose mercy embraces and sustains us through the ups and downs of family life. He is near to the widowed and divorced as well.

In keeping with the upcoming Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, may the mercy manifest in these saints’ lives inspire us to be generously merciful — especially with our spouses, our children and even with ex-husbands and -wives!

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