With Pope Francis’ visit to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia last month and the Synod on the Family that took place in Rome this month, there has been lots of talk about the importance of marriage and family. For those who are married, thinking about marriage, or struggling in their marriage, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a great online initiative called For Your Marriage that provides resources, support, and helpful articles about Catholic marriage.
One of their articles outlines the key components of what makes a marriage work. With so much talk recently about the need to strengthen marriage, this is a timely reminder to read and share:
What is the one indispensable ingredient for making marriages work? Family life educators usually answer: communication. This is good news, because effective communication can be learned. Skills such as active listening, using “I” statements, paying attention to my feelings and those of my spouse, and learning tips for “fighting fair” make marriage easier. Some couples use these skills intuitively because they saw them modeled in their own upbringing. Others can learn them through classes, workshops and reading.
Of course, the hardest part of communicating usually comes when there is disagreement between the two of you.
Commitment and Common Values
Some ingredients, if missing, can doom a relationship from the start. Two primary ones are commitment and common values.
Commitment bonds a couple together when you are tired, annoyed, or angry with each other. Sometimes, remembering your vows can prompt you to push past these problems and try to forgive and start again.
Common values are important. If you aren’t together on basic values such as children, honesty, fidelity, and putting family before work, no amount of learning or effort of the will can resolve the conflict. For example, constant tension will result if one spouse wants to live simply while the other wants life’s luxuries.
Read the rest at For Your Marriage.