Family matters

Column: What did you agree to on your wedding day?

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

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

by Deacon Tony Zimmerman

Wedding days are filled with anticipation, hopes and dreams.

So much happens in a short period of time. For many or most couples, it is “our day.” That is true.

But that word “our” is not confined to the bride and groom. As Christians, that “our” includes the church! The church offers each couple coming for marriage a mission: to love and serve your spouse and, if you are so blessed, your children, with the unselfish love of Christ.

Here are some practical ways to accept and answer this holy calling:

  1. Be eager to seek and offer forgiveness. So often in a busy day, the pressures of life overwhelm us. We are impatient with each other as demonstrated by our words or even our facial expressions. When this occurs, stop, name the unloving act and ask for forgiveness. The one who offers forgiveness should be lavish in affirming the goodness of their beloved! Let your children see this model of forgiving love. When they were baptized, you agreed to be the first and best teachers of your children. Remember: Never let the sun set on a hurt between you.
  2. In the coming days, there will be times when your spouse or children come to you looking for someone who will just listen to their cares, worries or frustrations. Resist the urge to fix a problem. Just listen! Put the iPhone, laptop, and the TV aside and sit close to or next to the person. How affirming is it when someone puts everything else aside and just focuses on you!
  3. Affirm the goodness of your spouse and your children on a daily basis. This time of year is filled with spending our time and money at the mall looking for the perfect gift. This is good, but there are some gifts that money can’t buy, in terms of what they mean to those who receive them. One such gift is affirmation. Pray each morning and night to God to help you see the goodness that he sees in your spouse or your child. Share those affirmations over breakfast or just before bedtime with a hug and a kiss. How easy it is to criticize! This practice of affirmation will help eliminate the pain of criticism in your family.

If you are currently single, this same mission is yours as well. The mission of the family is to love! We are all part of a family —either as a spouse, parent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt or uncle. Make this your mission as well.

Accept this holy calling and lay your lives down for one another as your gift to Jesus this Christmas!

About the author

Deacon Tony Zimmerman

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