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Building Intimacy in Marriage




Living In Love is a life-changing retreat that is building many passionate marriages!  Did you know that being in love is not a stage you grow out of? We can grow more passionately in love each year. Come and experience Living in Love, a liberating retreat which gives insight into how differently men and women prefer to achieve intimacy. It helps couples get in touch with the resources that draw them to each other and fuel their romance. Living in Love is a practical application of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and provides a life-changing experience. This remarkable retreat gives married couples of all ages the opportunity to reconnect with their own love history while gaining a joyful sense of hope, purpose and direction for the future. The action-oriented, common sense approach is refreshingly “male” friendly. Don’t miss this opportunity to grow more in love with your spouse! 

Here are Living In Love's Top Ten Tips for Marriage - used with permission from Ron and Kathy Feher:

John Paul II’s Theology of the Body provides the inspiration and motivation to live a life of total mutual self-donation, but it is the everyday ways that we embrace a Theology of the Body lifestyle that truly empower us to live in love.

Conjugal spirituality is a sacramental couple’s way of loving.  Here are ten ways to make the Catholic theology articulated in the work of John Paul II a lived reality:

Love is indeed “ecstasy”, not in the sense of a moment of intoxication, but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God. - Benedict XVI - Deus Caritas Est

1. Approach marriage as a proactive “vocation”
Seeing marriage as a proactive and unilateral mission to convince the other that he or she is loved and lovable changes our whole mindset and focuses our energies on loving at a higher standard of success.  We will live our marriage with more intentionality. We can ask the Lord for the specific graces we need to bring His love as well as our own to our spouse.

2. Affirm each other as a man or woman every day
Affirming the other lifts our own spirits and makes us feel grateful to have this man or this woman as our spouse. If we look for virtue, we will find it. It is not just that he or she is a “nice” person. It was their unique masculinity or femininity that drew us to them in the first place. When we affirm them as a man or woman it resonates most clearly with their innate personhood and is the most powerful affirmation. Criticism is a cancer that kills marriages, and the best way to root out criticism is to actively affirm the other.

3. Love “smarter”
Too often, we give the gift that we would want rather than what the other most wants and needs to feel “in love.” If we are to be a gift to each other, as Pope John Paul II suggests in his Theology of the Body, it helps to find out what our spouse would put on their “gift registry.”  Is it eye contact? laughter? music? tender verbal sentiments? Learning what makes the other feel “in love” makes it easy to put a smile on their face.

4. Make love as something you are “saying” not doing
If we approach making love as something we are “saying” to each other rather than just an activity that we are “doing,” it becomes a powerful “language of the body” that speaks the total, permanent self-donation of our wedding vows. Ask yourself what you most want to say to the other before you make love. Then, make sure you say it verbally as well as non-verbally.

5. Be “spiritually naked” in prayer
We are most open and true to ourselves in prayer.  Allowing each other to overhear our sincere prayer is a spiritual nakedness that is profoundly bonding.  When we also tell each other about our personal faith experiences and share our relationship with God, we deepen trust and achieve the most profound intimacy. Recent studies indicate that couples who share faith and belong to the same church have the lowest recorded incidence of divorce.

6. Nurture the atmosphere of being “in love”
There is a difference between loving and being “in love.” We did not get married just to be “loving” or "nice” like a brother and sister. Unless we are “in love,” marriage is too much work. If we flirt before we speak, we remind ourselves of what is attractive about the other and reconnect with all the memories we have of being in love. It is better to pray for passion than patience.

7. Relate rather than debate
“We” are more important than any issue. We can feel emotionally connected, even in areas where we are conflicted, if we suspend judgments and opinions and simply describe the emotions we are feeling.  We can encourage the other to relate to a time when they may have felt the same way. Describing our feelings in writing can help us to get in touch with more than we would share just by speaking.

8. Never go to bed angry
Anger can replay in our minds and cause more distance and hurt than the original offense. Learning to reconcile hurts promptly and well can actually bring a couple closer than before the incident. The experience can teach us how to love the other better and help us grow in humility and sensitivity.  Love means saying more than just, “I’m sorry.” It requires trust and vulnerability to say, “Will you please forgive me?” Reconciling well is a fundamental act of recommitment that strengthens the bonds of love.

9. Be a couple first
Consider what is in the best interest of the marriage before you parent, work, play, or relate to friends.  What will absolutely advance our coupleness is always God’s plan for us. The truth is that nothing is more important than our marriage. Our own happiness and our children’s happiness absolutely depend on it. If we are not growing closer, we are growing apart. When we prioritize our marriage, we set ourselves up for success.

10. Be a “living” sign
Couples set the level of love in their homes and in their community. They also reveal and make manifest the passionate, intimate, permanent, and life-giving love that Christ has for the church. When a husband and wife are in love and allow that love to be visible, everyone around them and especially their children will experience God in a real and tangible way. The realization that others are depending on us motivates us not to take our love for granted and to be more conscious of the way we live.

The Living in Love program suite consists of:

Living in Love - a parish-based romance retreat workshop for married couples and priests

Living in Love Every Day - a Theology of the Body life skills course for couples and priests who have experienced Living in Love

Preparing to Live in Love - a parish-based, one-on-one, mentoring program of marriage preparation with a seven session experiential curriculum that is a practical application of the Theology of the Body

 
     
 

  

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