If God and family are your priorities, invest in them

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann heads the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

One of the super priorities for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas is to strengthen marriage and family life. 

The family is the foundation of our community, nation and church. If you want to help make our community and nation better, then make your marriage and your family a priority. 

The future of the church and culture pass through the family. It is in the family where future citizens and parishioners are being formed. 

The foundation of the family is marriage — the faithful love of a husband and a wife. The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love and cherish their mother, and the greatest gift a mother can give her children is to love and esteem their father. 

The faithful and unconditional love of husbands and wives for each other provides children with a nurturing and stable home.

In a culture where there are so many forces working against marriage, no matter how committed one spouse is to the marriage, sadly many marriages do not survive, much less thrive. I have nothing but the highest admiration for the heroic love of single parents who labor unselfishly to provide a nurturing and happy home for their children.

I urge couples to make the health and strength of your marriage a priority. Next to your relationship with God, your marriage and family should have the first claim on your time and energy. One way to measure the value we place on something is the amount and quality of time we devote to it.

I meet so many parents who are wearing themselves out physically and emotionally by attempting to allow and support their children’s participation in many sports and other youth activities. 

These parents are striving for what they believe to be best for their children. However, if the end result is placing significant stress on their marriage and family, it is time to re-evaluate.

School of Love KC, founded by Mike and Kristi Dennihan, is an initiative to strengthen people’s spiritual lives, while at the same time nourishing marital and family relationships. 

Aware that inviting couples to participate in another activity outside the home may contribute to the problem, Mike and Kristi developed Pier, a daily online prayer resource for families. 

Pier is easy, digital, beautiful and faithful to Catholic teaching. By committing just a few moments a day, your family can have meaningful prayer time, better conversations and grow closer to God and each other.

School of Love also offers on the first Thursday of the month Date Night for married and engaged couples. Date Night starts with a happy hour and appetizers, followed by a brief talk on faith, marriage and family. 

Couples are given suggested questions based on the substance of the talk to help stimulate the conversation for however each couple chooses to spend the rest of their evening.

School of Love also offers on the second Thursday of each month Face to Face, a time for family eucharistic adoration in the old stone church at Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa. This is followed by an optional family dinner. It brings the entire family together for prayer and inspiration, followed by food, fun and good conversation.

Visit the School of Love KC website to learn more about these and other resources to help strengthen marriages and families. Also, I encourage you to visit our own archdiocesan website and click on “For Your Marriage” to find many more opportunities to strengthen your marriage and family life.

Review the activities of this past week. Have you had meaningful conversations with your spouse or your children? If an unbiased observer examined this past week’s activities, would it be obvious to them that God, marriage and family are the top priorities of your life?

Christian marriage is a religious vocation. We believe that God calls a couple to marriage. Our Lord wants to use husbands and wives to make his love real and tangible for each other. Jesus calls Christian parents to be the first and most significant teachers and witnesses of the faith to their children.

I exhort couples to invest in your marriage by prioritizing the time you devote to strengthening and nourishing your relationship. In doing so, you will be honoring God. You will be giving your children the most important gift you have to offer. You will be making our culture better and our nation stronger. 

You will be helping to build the kingdom of God by making your home a place where the “Joy of the Gospel” is alive and well.

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