Marriage Encounter

One of the memorable experiences of my life was the marriage encounter week end my wife and I had in 1983 or 1984. It was like going to the school and to learn about the subject after I had the licence to operate for years!

In my days there were no lessons on marriage before engaging in such a great lifelong and noble venture. Couples were left on their own to experiment on their own to embark on the way to married life. I am pleased to note that the Catholic Church will accept a wedding in church today only after the married couples have been through a session of preparation. I do encourage all couples to experience a marriage encounter week end and recommend an engagement programme to the new couples.

Love is not a feeling, it is a decision. Men and women are attracted to each other more through feelings but it would be wise to marry not only out of feelings but more out of thought out decision.

This is an extract from the Marriage encounter organisation:

Here are ten easy steps you can take to keep your relationship with your spouse on a healthy track.

1. Make a weekly date night. Lives of lovers in the 21st century are more than just full. From day to day, we are bombarded with one thing after another that screams “Prioritize me!!!” Push back, for the sake of your relationship. Make a commitment to put each other first, once a week. Have breakfast at a coffee shop, do to dinner and a movie, or just go for a long, easy walk – but make it happen.

2. Touch each other. A touch can say it all. Whether it’s holding hands while walking, putting a hand in each other’s lap while watching TV, or brushing against one another in the kitchen – touch is another way of reminding each other “I love you, and I love to be near you.”

3. Celebrate the intimacy of marriage. A married couple’s sexuality is an important part of their life together. Stress, long hours, or the demands of family life may often lull you into thinking you haven’t time, energy, or desire for physical intimacy any more. Don’t fall for it! Woo one another into sharing this gift of marriage. Don’t depend on spontaneity – put it on the calendar if you have to!

4. Write love notes to each other. Whether it’s texting, email, or a good old-fashioned note taped on the windshield, commit your love for each other in writing. It’s a gift worth giving.

5. Be polite. After putting on our best face for the ones we work with, it’s tempting to think of home as a place to “let my hair down”. So let it down. Throw on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, put your feet on the sofa – but remember that it’s the little things that make life pleasant. Getting up for a mid-game beer? Offer something to your spouse. Had a sweaty day in the yard? Wash up so you’re pleasant for others to be around. This may seem elementary, but too often we think it’s okay to drop the niceties around those who love us most. Miss Manners would be the first to say, “It isn’t.”

6. Celebrate special days. Anniversaries, birthdays, and Valentine’s Day’s aren’t just about Hallmark – they are special days to be reminded of how much we are loved. Make the most of them while you can.

7. Allow each other personal expression. Being a couple isn’t about liking and disliking the very same things. More often it’s about loving each other despite your differences – and learning more about yourself along the way. Rather than pressing your spouse to adapt your likes and dislikes, work a little harder to understand theirs. Allow one another the luxury of being able to say, “I feel depressed”, or “I feel sad” without having to make excuses for their emotions. This is the key to deeper intimacy – true, deep, acceptance.

8. Trust your spouse. You can’t do it all. You need each other. You are a team. Trust each other to fulfill their part. Trust your spouse to say the right thing, to follow up on what they said they would do – to take out the trash before 9. Learn the difference between nagging and sharing the load.

9. Pray for one another. Whether you pray together before work, as a family, or if you are just making passing comments to God as you drive past the church each day – find ways to make God a part of your daily relationship. Prayer is the key to all those things you don’t know about each other – because He does. Prayer is one way of truly giving your spouse pure, unconditional love.

10. Make a Marriage Encounter Weekend. Millions of couples the world over have rediscovered and grown in their deep affection for each other through a Marriage Encounter weekend. Your relationship deserves this! If you have gone before, maybe it is time to go again. Or find a marriage enrichment event to attend.


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