National Marriage Week, now in its fourth year, is a collaborative effort to promote marriage as a benefit to husbands, wives and the community, as well as the best environment in which to raise children.
World Marriage Day will be observed on Sunday, February 10th. For more than 30 years this Day has been promoted by Worldwide Marriage Encounter. If you’re looking for resources that your parish can use to celebrate World Marriage Day, check out the WWME website.
In honor of National Marriage Week, here are three questions often asked about marriage.
(1) We just got engaged. Do you have any suggestions for tools that can help us to deepen our relationship?
First, congratulations on your upcoming marriage! Try starting with the Personality Audit. It’s a great way to understand yourself and your fiance(e) better.
Family of origin issues arise in many marriages. Take the Family of Origin exercise to discover how your experiences growing up were similar or different.
Most of us tend to avoid topics that are sensitive, or where we think we might disagree with our spouse or fiance(e). Here are some ideas for those “Must-Have Conversations” on such topics as intimacy, finances, and commitment.
(2) How can we find a marriage education or marriage enrichment class in our area?
Many organizations—religious and others—offer programs to help couples improve their marital skills. These classes can cover everything from communication and conflict resolution to budgeting and time management. To find a program in your area, try starting with the Smart Marriages directory of programs. Also check out the list of classes on the National Marriage Week website.
Another possibility is to contact your diocesan Family Life Office. For contact information, go to the Family Life Office locator on the homepage.
Finally, many couples at all stages of marriage have benefitted from a Marriage Encounter weekend. For information go to the Worldwide Marriage Encounter website.
(3) My spouse and I are experiencing problems in our marriage. Where can we go for help?
First of all, check out the article “Finding Help When Your Marriage in Trouble.” It explains a range of options for couples who are experiencing marital difficulties.
If you’re looking for a counselor, try asking your pastor or parish staff member for a recommendation. Many parishes maintain lists of counselors who deal with various issues. The counselor should have specific training and experience in marriage counseling.
Many diocesan Catholic Charities offices offer counseling or can refer you. Contact information for Catholic Charities is usually available on the diocesan website.
Couples with serious problems may consider making a Retrouvaille weekend. Retrouvaille has a solid record of bringing couples back from the brink of divorce. Information about local Retrouvaille weekends is available on their website.