By Danny May, Special to The Western Kentucky Catholic
What have you done for your marriage lately?
The trend these days is for spouses and parents to be so busy caring for kids and performing at our jobs that we forget to care for ourselves and our spouses. As moms and dads, we can easily fall into doing whatever the kids want, taking them wherever they want to go, signing them up for everything under the sun. If we’re not careful, we go, go, go, until there is nothing left to give our spouses. Or ourselves.
And sadly, divorce is also the trend these days. Though on a slight decline since the 80s, the divorce rate in the U.S. is still hovering between 40-50 percent, according to the American Psychological Association.
But thankfully, anyone who stays current on what Pope Francis and the U.S. bishops have to say about marriage and family life can clearly see that supporting marriages is an extremely high priority. That message was spoken loudly and clearly from the Synods on the Family in 2014 and 2015, which Pope Francis addressed head-on in Amoris Laetitia (the Joy of Love).
Fr. Richard Meredith, at a mentor couple training at SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Hopkinsville on Jan. 6, summarized it this way: “For the New Evangelization to take root, it must be through the family. And it must come through strengthening marriages.”
So again, I ask, what have you done for your marriage lately?
Now that we’re past all the Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations, our thoughts naturally turn to St. Valentine’s Day, which is why National Marriage Week is Feb. 7-14, culminating with World Marriage Day on Sunday, Feb. 11.
So in light of World Marriage Day and National Marriage Week, I have a couple suggestions you could do for your marriage in the month of February.
Husbands, consider attending the Catholic Men’s Conference of Western Kentucky on Feb. 17. As the spiritual head of your household, feeding your own faith can greatly impact your spouse, kids, and grandkids. Not only will your faith grow, you will be setting an example for your family. (Women, you’ll have your chance at the women’s conference later this year.)
Couples, instead of buying chocolate this year, give each other the gift of a marriage retreat. Thirty couples enjoyed the Diocesan Marriage Retreat at Lake Barkley last year. This year, it will be April 13-15 at Kenlake Resort. What could be a better Valentine’s gift than a weekend away in a beautiful, lakeside setting filled with good food, great company, adoration, Mass, and uplifting, encouraging reflections that will strengthen your relationship?
Lastly, here’s a free idea. During the week of marriage, (Feb. 7-14) the Office of Marriage and Family Life will be posting each day a reflection on Chapter 4 from Amoris Laetitia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you want to take it a step further, take the 28-day Joy of Love challenge. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email a daily reflection directly to your inbox the entire month of February.
Danny May is the director of the Office of Family Life for the Diocese of Owensboro.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.