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What are your needs and dreams?

Money tip:

A family financial plan: what are your needs and dreams?

After openly discussing attitudes and dreams about money, couples must take time to map out their goals and future as a family. To endure, their financial plan must be philosophically built on a spiritual and biblical perspective, not secular. It must also be covenantal in nature, like the sacrament of marriage; not contractual, like most other financial issues.

Discuss the big picture with each other: How do these issues impact our family’s finances, lifestyle and faith?

1 Stewardship – Time, talent and treasure are gifts from God, to share through this sacred ministry.

2 Budget – No financial plan works without a budget. Quite simply, make one and follow it, and revise it often!

3 Careers – What are your time commitments and expected earnings? Can you afford to have one major breadwinner, so one of you can stay home with the children or retire early?

4 House – Where do you want to live? How big a house do you need right now and in the future?

5 Saving – What about retirement, college, Catholic schooling, vacations or other dreams? This is your family’s future. We can’t escape the realities of our get-and-spend world, but we must let our faith guide our thinking and journey through it.

– John Morris

 

Time matters: part 2

Recapture the good times

Revisit the basics! Remembering the time spent dating your spouse can provide valuable insight into what made your relationship grow – the time spent looking into each other’s eyes; holding hands while taking a walk; talking on the phone to each other. Those were special times together when you shared your hopes, dreams and plans for the future. They are basic building blocks of a healthy relationship. So maybe it’s time to revisit the events of the past and rediscover what made your spouse that special person.

– Tom and JoAnne Fogle are members of the diocesan Family Ministry Committee.

Time tip: Create a mission statement for your life, expressing what is most important to you. It should be both realistic and short enough to memorize. Pray for the wisdom to know God’s plan for your life, and make sure your mission statement reflects this. Remind yourself often of your mission statement when choosing how to spend your time.

 

Connecting:

Couples quiz: find out how well you and your spouse communicate

Simply asking yourself about your communication is a good place to start, so that you can move forward from wherever you are. The activity below will help you to answer this question together.

Quiz: Separately, reflect on the following nine statements and for each one, respond: True, False, Sometimes or Not enough. Write down your answers on a sheet of paper or below.

___1   We make enough time to communicate with each other.

___2   We are best friends and share with each other often.

___3   Small arguments often snowball into large blowups.

___4   My spouse respects me and what I have to say.

___5   We almost always get interrupted when we share.

___6   I avoid conversations because they often lead to fights.

___7   I’m afraid to share my true feelings; I don’t feel accepted.

___8   There’s too much going on with work and kids to share.

___9   I feel my spouse listens well to me and rarely interrupts.

After you have finished: come together to discuss your answers. But, first keep the following in mind:

• Listen. • Show respect. • Validate. • Don’t judge. • Paraphrase back your spouse’s statements, so you’re sure you got their message. • Stick to one topic at a time.

Remember: all couples have issues. What’s really important is how you deal with them!

– Tony Sperendi

 

Romance and intimacy:

3 ways to liven up any marriage

1 Affirm your spouse every day and avoid too much negativity and criticism. Nothing dampens the passion in a relationship more than nagging or criticism. The goal is to build up, not tear down your spouse. According to Anthony J. Garcia in his book “Rekindle the Passion While Raising Your Kids,” every criticism, put down, or negative interchange needs five positive exchanges to counter it.

2 Become best friends. Close friends make time for each other and support one another. But even good friends have disagreements, become distant or take each other for granted. We may need to repair the friendship with our spouse to enliven romance. Start by performing a “care check” every day. That might be a phone call, going for a walk, or a “cuddle-huddle.” These check-ins are a time of caring for each other, not for keeping score or venting your own problems.

3 Pay attention to your health and appearance. Romantically speaking, keeping up your health and appearance goes a long way. It works best when you exercise or diet together. You will gain more energy and stamina in the long run. When it comes to appearances, approach time with your spouse as if it’s your first date together. Present yourself well-groomed and put on that special outfit.

– Rick and Diane Peifer

 

Prayer moment:

Prayer for nurturing a healthy married life

May we be one as you are one, O Lord.

May we begin our days together in prayer.

May we eat our meals together with thanks.

May we rest at day’s end in your love.

May we be united in mind, body, and soul.

May our love for each other last as You are everlasting.

May we carry our burdens together.

We do not know what is before us, except You are before us.

May we accept and nurture time for each other.

May we talk over our concerns together.

May we listen with our hearts without judging each other.

May we feel no shame in each other’s company.

May we forgive and forget one moment to the next.

May we love each other without counting the cost. Amen.

– Pat Nischan