Column: Communication must be learned in peace to be practiced in difficulty

Family matters
Deacon Tony Zimmerman is the lead archdiocesan consultant for the office of marriage and family life.

by Deacon Tony Zimmerman

On June 5, the archdiocesan annual Mass for those celebrating 50 years of marriage will be held at the Church of the Nativity in Leawood.

This celebration is one of the best blessings associated with my work. Seeing these couples stand, take each other’s hands and look into each other’s eyes as they reaffirm the promises they made 50 years ago is a breathtaking sight!

Part of being married 50 years is being asked the inevitable question: “What’s your secret for being married 50 years?” We ask this question because we know faithfulness to the lifelong vocation of marriage means being true to one another in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. Marriage is a joy-filled vocation, but reaching the joy means persevering through the times of difficulty. How is it done?

Pope Francis in his recently released apostolic exhortation “‘Amoris Laetitia’ (‘The Joy of Love’) on Love in the Family” wrote that married couples need to “create opportunities for speaking heart-to-heart. Unless a couple learns to do this, they will find it harder and harder as time passes.

Communication is an art learned in moments of peace in order to be practiced in moments of difficulty. Spouses need help in discovering their deepest thoughts and feelings and expressing them. Like childbirth, this is a painful process that brings forth a new treasure” (234).

Why is it difficult to choose to learn the art of communication in our moments of peace? I think it is because it requires saying no to the many distractions of our life. We are so busy! We fall into the trap of thinking that he or she will be around tomorrow. We think, “We are doing just fine; we don’t need an enrichment or retreat.”

What sense does it make to wait until we really need it? I extend an invitation to you that Barbara and I received 36 years ago: Sign up for the next Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend. It will be held on May 13-15 at Savior Pastoral Center in Kansas City, Kansas. We said yes to that offer 36 years ago, and we learned the art of communication in the peaceful moments of that weekend. This summer, we will be married 45 years. What is our secret? It was putting everything else aside and spending that weekend with each other.

So I ask you, what are you waiting for? Don’t wait until you need it! Recapture that moment that you experienced as you gazed into one another’s eyes as you spoke your wedding vows to each other. You deserve this experience!

To register go online to: www.wwme4youand me.org or call (816) 741- 4066.

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