This week we focus on marriage in anticipation of National Marriage Week and of course, Valentine’s Day. We invite you to consider our authors’ insights and comment with your own.
By: Christopher Yurasko, Marriage Prep Coordinator for the Diocese of Arlington
Our Diocese is very blessed to be filled with many marriage experts. Some are experts because they have been married for many years and some because they have prepared many couples for marriage. In cases like Deacon Silva, it’s both. We put these experts to work at the Conference for the Engaged, where they can impart their experiences and wisdom with engaged couples as part of their marriage preparation.
I asked presenters from the Conference for the Engaged to share some of their inside information — wisdom and experience — with you. Here are the top six pieces of advice I received.
The No. 1 responsibility that you undertake when you marry someone is to do everything in your power to help that person get to heaven. Do not lose sight of this important reality. You must love your spouse such that your love for them leads them to heaven.
–Rev. JD Jaffe, Director of the Office of Vocations for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington
Ask each other about things – really want to understand each other and where you are coming from, even if it means talking about something uncomfortable.
—Dr. Lisa Klewicki
Pray together and often. Suffering infiltrates every marriage and if you haven’t been praying, it will feel like you are running a marathon you never trained for. If you have been praying, it will be tough but you will be able to keep pace.
—Mary Kathryn Sparrow
It is not your spouse’s responsibility to interpret your communication; it is your responsibility to learn to communicate effectively.
—Deacon Marques Silva
To quote Benedict XVI, listening is the most important thing; genuine reflective listening to Christ through the Catholic Church and listen to your fiancé or spouse with empathy, even when — especially when — you disagree.
—Dr. Art Bennett, co-author, The Temperament God Gave You
We both came from similar upbringings, in terms of, sharing things, hand me downs, inexpensive vacations; but, our parents made it work. Some of our fondest childhood memories come from the things we did together as a family that didn’t end up breaking the bank.
—Chris & Katy Vander Woude
The Conference for the Engaged is a diocesan program that fulfills part of the Pre-Cana requirements for engaged couples. It takes place either as a 1-day course on a Saturday or over three consecutive Thursday nights. The presenters at the conferences include married couples, psychologists, deacons and priests. Couples hear presentations on a variety of topics, from the basic nuts and bolts of the ceremony itself to issues like finances, communication and raising children.
To learn more about the Conference for the Engaged, visit here.
Christopher Yurasko is the Assistant Director and Marriage Prep Coordinator for the Office of Family Life.