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No time for prayer? Do it first

Money tip:

Stewardship: you’re responsible for God’s money

Stewardship. It’s that 10 percent thing, you know – giving of the first fruits. Who really gives 10 percent anyway? Asking that question is how we justify why we don’t! Stewardship is more, however, than sharing our good fortune – time, talent and treasure – or a yardstick for giving.

Rush Limbaugh says he functions with “talent on loan from God.” A steward is one who is entrusted with someone else’s affairs. All that we have is God’s. Our gifts are not really our own. Rather, we are given the privilege and challenge to manage them for God. Wow!

As married couples, we must deliberately decide what to do with these gifts. What actions as God’s stewards of life will you demonstrate to your children, so they might learn to give of themselves and know the source of that giving?

–  John Morris

Time matters: part 3

No time for prayer? Do it first

Make time and stick to it. We can learn a lot watching a world-class athlete train for a major championship. It takes discipline, commitment and a lot of work over an extended period of time before excellence is achieved. To succeed, athletes make use of every available minute preparing for and building up strength to endure over the long haul. The same is true with marriage. It takes self-sacrifice, discipline and total commitment in the form of a covenant. A successful marriage doesn’t just happen in our spare time. We must make time for it in our daily schedule.

– Tom and JoAnn Fogle

Time tip: If you resolve to pray once everything else is done, you’re putting God last in your priorities, regardless of where you claim He is. Make Him first. Pray first; do everything else later. Don’t worry if you have a lot to do. If you commit to prayer, God will help you through everything else. (tip from Time Management for Catholics by Dave Durand)


Danger signs of bad communication: escalation and invalidation

Like a roadside sign that tells us “hazardous conditions ahead,” there are definite negative patterns of communication to be aware of in marriage. The following ideas are borrowed from the book Fighting For Your Marriage, by Howard Markman, et. al.

The first danger sign is escalation. This is when both partners respond negatively to each other in an argument. The volume tends to go up along with increased anger and frustration. You say things you later regret. The antidote to this behavior is to stop the argument before it gets out of hand. Agree to talk about the issue as a couple. Remember your team-marriage. You work things out together. You can also agree to talk about the issue later, so you have time to cool down. It’s OK to disagree; it’s the escalation that hurts the relationship.

The second danger sign is invalidation. It’s when you don’t acknowledge the feelings or thoughts of your spouse. You don’t have to agree, but you do need to accept what the other is saying or feeling. Invalidation may also come across as “put-downs” or ridicule of your spouse. Invalidation is a terrible way to communicate. It says to the other, “I don’t accept you for who you are.” Do you ever feel invalidated? Talk about it.

– Tony Sperendi is a group speaker for couples in marriage preparation.

Romance and intimacy:

How can we enhance the romance we already have?

A proven method: Once a year, go on a retreat or attend some kind of marriage enrichment. Most of us don’t hesitate to go on business trips or conferences to learn about a new product line or sharpen our work skills. We come back to work refreshed, ready to try out new ideas and approaches on the job. The same thing can be done for your marriage. Marriage enrichment programs like Worldwide Marriage Encounter require only a weekend, but offer couples a lifetime of marital rewards with new insights and skills that can dramatically recharge any marriage.

One of the many things we learned when we attended a Marriage Encounter weekend was that marriages repeatedly cycle through the three stages called Romance, Disillusionment and Joy. This knowledge gives us hope because we know that experiencing a difficult time of “disillusionment” can ultimately lead to deeper intimacy and renewal in our marriage when we use the skills we learned on the weekend. If you think romance is a wonderful state for your marriage, wait till you get a taste of the spiritual high in “Joy”!

– Rick and Diane Peifer

Prayer moment:

Time and eternity

Him: To the young, O God, you give energy and curiosity;

Her: To the middle-aged, the benefit of their experience

Him: And the fruition of talents developed.

Her: To the old you impart the satisfaction

of life well lived and the hope of seeing you face-to-face.

Him: When do we come to feel less immortal?

Her: When will we confront our sinful paths and patterns

that keep us from recognizing your own image in one another?

Together: Teach us – now is the hour to turn fully to you –

So that the time we have left is sufficient to prepare for an eternity with you.

The alternative – eternity without you – is too terrifying to contemplate.

Guide us in the path we must go. Amen.

– Pat Nischan