This is a guest post from Lori Lowe at Life Gems. I hope you find it as encouraging as I did in the battle for stronger marriages. It’s up to us to support and defend the institution of marriage.
“What have you done for your marriage today?”
That’s the question posed by Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory on downtown Atlanta billboards. In fact, the question is a key message of the U.S. Catholic Bishop’s National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage.
TV, radio and billboard ads are broadcasting PSAs from the Catholic Church, and a web site offers ideas and tips for strong marriages. The media push is part of a larger public service campaign—aimed not just at Catholics but at the larger community—to encourage couples to remember the little things—the everyday expressions of affection, respect and love.
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Archbishop Gregory was recently featured on his local news advocating for “healthy, loving, giving, life-giving marriages” and offering support for couples undergoing rocky times. It is encouraging to see the Church stand up publicly for strong marriages.
We as lay people also have important roles in promoting lifelong sacramental marriages. After all, when our Church families are fractured (and almost half of them are), our Church is fractured. If our children don’t experience successful marriages and families, why would they choose that path?
Here are some ways you can be a marriage-builder right where you are—in your home, church and community:
- Model a genuinely loving marriage and family to those around you. Generation X grew up during a doubling of the divorce rate. Many in that generation and younger have not had many positive marriage role models.
- Work to improve your marriage skills. Marriages, just like cars, need regular maintenance. The site www.foryourmarriage.org offers tips on managing finances, careers, prayer and more (sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops).
- Help teach children and adolescents about the value of marital sex and lifelong marriage. Explain why this is God’s plan and how it leads to joy.
- Be a positive voice for marriage in our culture.
- Pray for marriages and for families in jeopardy, and offer support to those you know.
- Provide support and mentoring for young married couples, three-fourths of whom leave the Church until they are expecting their first child.
- Set aside prayer time with your spouse. Praying as a couple has been shown in research to improve relationships.
- Be aware of resources to help local marriage ministries, such as the Association of Marriage and Family Ministries.
So, what will you do to help build marriages within your sphere of influence?
Lori Lowe is an author and marriage advocate who writes research-based marriage tips at www.lifegems4marriage.com. She and her husband, Ming, and their two children live in Indianapolis.
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