May 15, 2020
Dear Couples of St. Patrick’s,
We know that this time of quarantine presents unique challenges for each person and each family. We also realize that it can be particularly stressful on your marriage. The St. Patrick’s Marriage Team has put together a few ideas and resources (see below) to help you keep your marriage alive, healthy and flourishing during this unprecedented time of quarantine. Please know that we all miss seeing you and we keep each of you and your marriages in our prayers.
From Deacon David Stowell:
“There are so many resources for doing things for one’s marriage. One of the biggest issues that people are facing is being together too much. Each person in the household should have their own space. It sounds strange but this little segregation of the home will pay off big time. When we are constantly around the same people each and every day this little away time will allow everyone to recharge a bit.
Go Back to the Basics
That being said, since every married couple is in the house, finding new and “exciting” things to do – why not go back to old school ways? We can all get trapped in the impersonal google searches and web crawling has its finds, but for the most part it is a waste of time. Look around the house for things of the past – that old Hungry Hippo Game that has been sitting on the shelf for 40 years, Scrabble, – these all keep the mind active and the feeling of togetherness starts to take over. This spreads to the rest of the day. Most of these games can be worked as teams as well. Keep in mind these games are for those from child to as old as “dem dar hills.” So if possible, have a game night using technology bringing kids, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. together. There are very few times that the entire family can get together physically but technology doesn’t really limit us visually and aurally.
Cook for your family
Everyone should be doing some sort of cooking together… okay curbside service and supporting one’s local stores is great… but cooking together generally gets the couple very close. Yeah there might be some differences in how each of you likes to cook, but that is part of the fun, and it doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, – hamburgers and chips can be a start and then while you were looking for that old board game… you might have come across a recipe book. None of those recipes are undoable. Most are very simple… and most tell you the preparation and cook time… but I guess time isn’t an issue now….. They use simple techniques that help if you are not sure how to do something. Thea and I have our favorite DIY resource — YouTube!
Learn something new… even your Faith
Speaking of YouTube, do you want to learn how to organize, play the guitar, or learn about our Catholic Faith? The resources here are incredible. Looking up Mary Spender, Marty Schwartz will introduce you back to the world of music. Bishop Robert Baron has an amazing channel, Saint Patrick parish has a channel for its live streams and other events. Be Good, Play Nice, Think God (Hey that’s me!) has even started a video series on learning the Catechism. There are tons of things to learn as even mom and dad can listen together and learn new things. As a matter of fact, it is a tremendous thing that brings us together as a family. As you can talk to everyone about the new things you have learned. Your excitement will be contagious as well.
Dance the Night Away
Speaking of music, when you are done learning to play jazz licks, one can take at home dancing lessons it might have been a dance when you were able to look into your husband’s or wife’s eyes for the first time and realize Yep… that just might be the one…. Once you have basic guitar down you know you have some rhythm… you both might feel a bit sheepish at first but hey after that and the music starts and the eyes lock… bliss.
An Album for your thoughts
Okay after all that romantic dancing you probably are a bit wobbly on your feet… depends on how long those eyes were locked… Another fantastic thought is… way back before the jpg images that we have throughout our computers there were actual photographs. And I bet you have a few around the house. Maybe from your mom or dad or if you are old enough you just might have that album of wedding pictures. Or, mom and dad when they were around playing baseball or what have you. This is entertaining for all. The younger ones get to see something new… static pictures that just sit on the page… but seem to bring joy to their moms and dads… what kid would not be mesmerized by that???
There are a number of ideas and quite literally these days the ideas are endless. But remember always that at the center of any family is God. So, pray together for an end to this crisis for sure. But remember the good things and thank God for all of these things. I have found it hard to get others to remember all of the good things that happen each and every day. Maybe we take this as just normal. But try to come up with one thing you want to thank God for and let the kids say whatever they want, -probably be about you anyway… don’t get embarrassed. It just means you are doing a great job, and the most amazing thing is something your child might say will really ring in your heart and will start off a great idea for tomorrow.
So always pray, always enjoy yourself… if and when you need a “timeout” you have your spot. And then put on that 80’s glam rock album on your record player that has been up in the attic… yeah the kids will chuckle, but they will have fun too !!!!”
God Bless, Deacon David and Thea Stowell
A few other ideas from team members:
– Movie Night
– Dance Night (there are several online couple dance lessons you can sign up for.)
– Game Night
– Karaoke Night
– Art/Craft Night
– Holy Hour
– 3/5/10 Year Vision/Mission Planning
– Write Letters to Friends and Family
– Go Through Old Photos
– Get Outside Together – walk, run, kayak, canoe, bike ride
– Drive and Park Somewhere with a View – for a change of venue
– Cook or Bake Together
– Garden Together
– Check out the App – “How Well do You Know Me?”
– Check out “Formed” for Resources on Enriching Your Faith Together
“In the morning, (or night before) think of some thoughtful or loving thing you can do for your spouse and make it your mission to do it that day.”
“Each night while you are praying together, write a note of something you are thankful for in your spouse. Keep the notes and share at the end of the week.”
“Put together your favorite love songs to listen to together.”
“As a couple or family, you can sit in front of your computer and look at your digital photos together. With one of the photo creating programs or websites you can create calendars or photo books of your many couple and or family adventures.”
For further resources on enriching your marriage, we also encourage you to check out the For Your Marriage section of the USCCB Website (US Conference of Catholic Bishops.) Author, parishioner and team member, Kathleen Billings, has 33 blogs on Catholic Marriage on the website. Click here to access: A Final Blog Post and New Beginnings
Did you know arguing about money is a top indicator of divorce? Talking about money can help strengthen the bonds in a relationship. To further emphasize this point we worked with experts on a guide that provides solutions to help couples overcome common financial challenges.
Financial Playbook for Couples – https://www.moneygeek.com/financial-planning/finances-after-marriage/