Family matters

Column: Mini-retreats offer couples chance to grow their marriage

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

Perpetual motion: It is an idea which seems very attractive.

With one burst of energy, one shove, one kick forward, something continues on indefinitely without any other external force. Wouldn’t this be great if such a principle were possible? Life would be a breeze. We wouldn’t worry about $4 a gallon gasoline.

But perpetual motion and perpetual motion devices are impossible because of what I’ll call friction. Something is always there to slow or bring motion to a halt.

In marriage, that burst of energy from our love for one another that launches us forth on our wedding day also runs into friction. The friction that slows us down is found in the time and energy we must devote to our jobs if we want to provide food, shelter and clothing for our family.

Our children need our time, attention and love. How many Moms or Dads have driven with a sandwich in one hand for dinner as they struggle to get their children to practices, games or school events?

Then, of course, we do tend to get distracted and caught up in some form of entertainment where we find relaxation.

Whew! Are you tired yet? We all need something to keep us living and growing in the love that launched us forth on our wedding day.

In the introduction of the Rite of Marriage, couples are told to “nourish” and develop (grow) their marriage by “undivided attention.”

In our daily lives of work, bills, children and busyness, the idea of “undivided attention” seems like an impossible demand. When we met, in our courtship and early in our marriage, it was that “undivided” attention that was a natural part of our love for each other. But the “friction” of everyday life can rob us of that attention to one another.

So, how can we return to that time of undivided attention? More importantly, how can we continue to live in this love?

Over the next 12 months, a miniretreat for married couples, called “Living in Love,” will be offered at 10 parishes across the archdiocese.

This is a two-day retreat that is held at a parish. It requires no stay-over in a motel or retreat center. You will have a chance to focus on what attracted you to one another. You will begin to get in touch with all that you have going for you as a couple and with all the times it has been wonderful in your marriage. You will then look for ways to help you to live like that all the time. Included in this retreat is a romantic dinner on Saturday night. The best surprise of all: It costs only $30 per couple.

To register at a parish near you go to the website at: livinginlove.

About the author

Deacon Tony Zimmerman

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