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Giving the gift of self

Money tip:

Who gets the checkbook?

Who pays the bills in a family seems like an almost trivial issue. Yet, going from single – my money – to our combined money can be scary. Furthermore, when it comes to money, it can feel like a loss of control or identity – not so trivial, after all.

Organizing the bills, investments, bank statements, deposits and cutting checks is tedious and tiresome, but vital to your family’s financial well-being. Decide together the breakdown of who is responsible for what bill-paying tasks, based on time and ability. Too many hands in the same cookie jar can cause confusion, but be mindful that neither spouse feels controlled or left out. Above all, both should know the family’s system, and how to access information, regardless of who takes the daily responsibility. Trust each other to follow the budget and financial plan, but give the checkbook a check-up frequently.

– John Morris

 

Time matters: part 6

Giving a gift of self

Are there some “busy” chores that don’t need to be completed immediately – such as mowing the lawn because it grew another 1/2 inch overnight and no longer looks perfect, or cleaning the kitchen top-to-bottom because the children fixed their own meal? Spending too much time making things “perfect” may detract from making your marriage relationship perfect. Instead of doing chores, giving extra attention to your spouse is a very special gift – a gift of self. All “things” can wait, but your special time with your spouse cannot.

– Tom and JoAnn Fogle

Time tip: If you find yourself needlessly stretching out the time you spend on tasks, try the “vacation principle.” Rather than using all of the time allotted for a project, pretend you can’t go on vacation unless you finish your work before a certain time. (tip from Time Management for Catholics by Dave Durand)

 

Connecting:

3 steps to resolving conflicts     

It’s not that you have conflicts but how you handle them that matters. Work as a team.

Don’t rush to solutions. God gave us two ears and one mouth. Maybe He is telling us to listen twice as much to our spouse as talking. These three steps are adapted from the book A Lasting Promise, by Scott Stanley, et. al.

Step 1: Discuss the issue thoroughly. Try using the “speaker-listener technique” described in last month’s issue of FAITH. (June 2004) It stresses the need for each person to speak what is on one’s mind and, while listening, to only paraphrase what is being said.

Step 2: Pray. Put God first in your marriage, and remember that marriage is God’s idea in the first place. “Ask and you shall receive.” God blessed the couple at Cana and He wants to bless your marriage, too!

Step 3: Decide what to do, by following these rules:

A. Be specific about your goal. Too many issues muddy up the water. B. Brainstorm. Keep a record of ideas, and be creative. C. Agree through compromise on a plan of action. D. Follow up. Solutions often need to be adjusted, and following up helps to build accountability.

– Tony Sperendi

 

Romance and intimacy:

Romancing the rock: what can the Church tell us about romance?

Statistics have shown the divorce rate among churched couples is much lower than the general population. These couples have the greatest role model in a lover who ever lived. Jesus summed it up when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15) When we die to the single life, or make sacrifices for the sake of our spouse, we are walking in His footsteps. Living a faith life that reflects the life-giving unity within the marital act is a holy life indeed.

Romance is wrapping up the gift of self and presenting it to our spouse in its best light. When the receiver accepts this gift along with all our broken parts, real love and intimacy take root. St. Paul says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed Himself over for her to sanctify her.” (Eph 5:25-26) When either partner in a marriage sacrifices their individual needs out of love for the other, that person “dies” to self and gives new life to the marriage. As love in the marriage increases, the life-giving presence of Christ also increases. In this way, our romance helps build up the body of Christ’s Church.

– Rick and Diane Peiffer

 

Prayer moment:

Asking for forgiveness

Him: Lord, help me not only say I’m sorry, but to understand things from my loved one’s viewpoint.

Her: If I am not forgiven right away or ever, help me bear the rejection as you bore it.

Him: Help me forgive myself for blundering and hurting someone I love.

Her: Help me be alert, so I don’t fall into this pit again.

Together: Help me make amends. May this happen according to your will. Amen.

– Pat Nischan