Four hours to a stronger, happier marriage

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

by Deacon Tony Zimmerman

Sit down with your spouse and write the answers to the following questions: What did you first find attractive about your spouse? What was it about him or her that you first fell in love with? When did you know you wanted to marry him or her? Now, exchange your answers.

This exercise is the first written reflection engaged couples complete in our marriage preparation course, Preparing to Live in Love. The exchange of answers by the couples is always followed by smiles, loving looks, laughter and hugs.

Maybe you are married for a short time and the answers are fresh in your memory. Perhaps you have been married for 47 years like me. Whatever the amount of time we have been married, we need to focus on what it was about our beloved that captured our heart, and then to share it with them.

Try these questions: What do I find most attractive about you today? What is it that keeps me falling in love with you every day? What dreams do I have for our future years of marriage?

Most — or all — of us have to admit we don’t often get the chance to stop and reflect on the great gift God has given us in our spouse. Oftentimes, it is on an anniversary or a birthday that we get such a chance to reflect and share. What about the other 363 days each year? Shouldn’t there be more rejoicing?

Most married couples agree that it is worthwhile to spend time to rediscover the joy and the gift present in their spouse. Enriching and strengthening their marriage should be a regular priority. Yet, with the demands of jobs and caring for children, where do we find time? Here is the solution:

Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak, authors of “Just Married: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Five Years of Marriage” and “For Better . . . Forever!: A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage,” and hosts of a daily radio call-in show on EWTN “More to Life” will present two talks: “Celebrating the Catholic difference in marriage” and “Building your marriage castle: 8 building blocks for a lifelong love.”

The date is Oct. 6. The location is St. Michael the Archangel Church, Leawood. The day begins with Mass at 8:15 a.m., followed by coffee and doughnuts from 8:50 to 9:20 a.m. The first presentation runs from 9:30-10:30 a.m.; the second from 10:45 until 11:45 a.m. No registration is needed. There is a limited amount of child care available. Call the parish for this information.

All you need is four hours. The cost: free. You get great hints on enriching your marriage from speakers recognized worldwide. Why wouldn’t you come? (By the way, if you are engaged, come, too.)

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