Family matters

How well do you really know your spouse?

Family matters

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

by Deacon Tony Zimmerman

If you knew today was your last day together, could you say, “I did all I could to let my wife/husband know how much I love them?” Are you ever surprised to know your beloved felt a certain way?

The truth is, our work, our children, our “I” Phones and connections to social media all place heavy demands on our time and energy.

So, time spent with our spouse in intimate conversation (sharing who we are inside, our feelings, hopes, dreams and needs) gets squeezed to a minimum or squeezed out.

Experts on marriage report that couples who maintained their love for each other spent a minimum of 15 hours a week in time giving their spouse their undivided attention; that’s 15 hours to just maintain your love.

If you want to continue to grow in your love, you need to spend more time. You might be saying: “Who has that kind of time?!”

Pope Francis wrote in “Amoris Laetitia,” his 2016 apostolic exhortation:” “Dialogue is essential for experiencing, expressing and fostering love in marriage and family life. Yet it can only be the fruit of a long and demanding apprenticeship. . . . Take time, quality time. . . . How often do we hear complaints like: ‘He does not listen to me.’ ‘Even when you seem to, you are really doing something else.’ ‘I talk to her and I feel like she can’t wait for me to finish’” (136, 137).

Here is a simple test to see if you are spending enough time each day focused only on talking to and listening to your spouse.

St. John Paul II wrote in “Love and Responsibility”: “Tenderness (sharing one’s feelings and state of mind) is the ability to feel with and for the whole person, to feel even the most deeply hidden spiritual tremors, and always to have in mind the true good of that person.”

Do you have that level of communication or tenderness with your spouse? HUSBANDS: St. John Paul II wrote that our wives not only desire this sort of communication, they deserve it and have a right to expect it.

This level of communication does not happen by accident. You have to plan for and schedule it. One way is to retreat to a private space in your home and just talk about your day over a glass of wine and a little romantic music.

The School of Love monthly date night is another excellent, ongoing opportunity for enriching your marriage. Go online to: for information on the April 5 gathering at St. Ann, Prairie Village, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

For the long-term plan, sign up online for a weekend retreat getaway like Worldwide Marriage Encounter (www.wwme on April 20-22 or a “Living in Love” retreat on July 7-8 at Most Pure Heart of Mary, Topeka.

For more information, go online to: The Joyful Marriage Project or The Office of Marriage and Family Life.

About the author

Deacon Tony Zimmerman

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