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February 8, 2009

Love Is the Greatest Gift of All!
                                    
         This weekend we celebrate World Marriage Day.  This is a day that originated in Baton Rouge, La., in 1981 when couples encouraged the major, the governor and the bishop to proclaim St. Valentines Day as “We Believe in Marriage Day”.  By 1982 43 governors had officially proclaimed the day and celebrations spread to U.S. military bases in several foreign countries.  In 1983 the name was changed to World Marriage Day and was designated to be celebrated each year on the second Sunday of February. 
   
    Marriage is a beautiful vocation that is given to men and women who find their partner in love and are willing to share this love for the rest of their lives.  When we are young and inexperienced we think and sincerely believe that love is something that happens to everyone with or without the willingness to sacrifice or to commit oneself.  We believe that love is simply a romantic feeling that will never go away.  As we mature and live our married life we slowly realize our errors.  There is much more to love than romance (although there is nothing wrong with romance).  We begin to understand that our love will not last if we are not willing to put some effort into it.

    Growing in love doesn’t happen by itself.  It is not something to be taken for granted.  Tony Sperendi has taken the time to write several articles on this topic.  He writes: that one way to help your marriage grow in love is to learn the great languages that communicate love.  The 2nd greatest commandment tells us that we should love our neighbor as ourself.  Shouldn’t this apply to our spouses most of all?  Many of us interpret this to mean we should love our spouses in exactly the same way as we would want to be loved.  Wrong!  Each of us experiences love uniquely. 

    A great example of the above is as follows:  If a husband is very busy and comes home one night with flowers and candy, he might think he’s really pouring on the love.  But perhaps his wife would feel more loved if he simply spent more time with her. (Sperendi)  There are many ways of demonstrating love.  Some examples are: Quality time, giving and receiving gifts, (not the least of which is affection), helping one another, making it a point to use words of affirmation and of course, physical touch.  How do you fare?
   
    Sperendi also writes on the topic of building a team-marriage.  Being in a team marriage presumes you are deeply committed to each other and to your marriage.  Notwithstanding your other commitments to work, raising children, caring for aging parents, keeping in shape, etc., your marriage is a foundation for life.  It’s your vocation, your calling from God.  If your marital relationship isn’t firm- guess what happens?  Everything else suffers.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t do the things you have to do, but try putting your marriage at the center of your life together and working everything else around it.  It will bring you peace in the long run.  Consider the following:
-    Do your lives feel out of control?  Are you doing too many things?
-    Are you communicating on a regular basis?
-    Set aside at least 20 minutes every day for sharing and a one-hour block every week for more in-depth conversations.
-    Make room for God.  He’s the source of your unity.
-    Accept that you’re each unique and different.  Use each other’s strengths to build a great marriage  (T. Sperendi)  
 Happy World Marriage DAY to All!
                                                Lorette P. Nault