For Valentines Day… For your marriage!
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By Dana Doyle

ringsThis week is National Marriage Week! As you are probably well aware, Valentine’s Day, February 14th, is swiftly approaching. It is one saint feast day that most know by heart! 🙂 It is a day that we show our love and affection for all of the important people in our lives – especially our boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife.

In a world where marriage is portrayed as being all about the perfect dress, venue and honeymoon, Catholics know that it is ever so much more! We are taught to pray for our future spouses as teenagers, when we are just beginning to dream of “Mr. or Mrs. Right.” We are taught that one of the most important jobs a husband or wife will ever have is that of helping his/her spouse get to heaven. We are taught that marriage is a vocation – a special calling from God.

Some may think that marriage is not as noble or “holy” a vocation as the religious life. In fact, we are all called to holiness – religious, consecrated and married alike. Marriage is unique in that it is the vocation through which all other vocations are born. Husbands and wives have the crucial role of fostering vocations within the family. Creating fertile ground – environments of prayer and support – cannot be minimized or underestimated.

Not only is marriage a vocation, but it is a sacrament as well. Sacraments impart special graces to those who receive them. It is important that a husband and wife remember that there are not “two” in a Christian marriage, but “three” – God, husband and wife. Marriage can be difficult at times, but we are never alone. God is always with us to help us through the tough times. The key is in putting Him first in our marriages.

These Valentines are sweet, but consider a spiritual gift for your Valentine this year, too!
These Valentines are sweet, but consider a spiritual gift for your Valentine this year, too!

With that in mind, consider giving your spouse/loved ones spiritual gifts this Valentine’s Day– in addition to the flowers or chocolates! Praying with your spouse, attending mass or adoration together can strengthen your marriage.

Our archdiocese offers other wonderful opportunities for marriage enrichment that couples may enjoy! Marriage retreats are offered periodically through the Family Life Apostolate. Some offer alone time and inspiration for couples, and others offer help for marriages that are troubled. Willwoods Community holds married couple retreats, Supper and Substance dinners, and provides inspirational marriage presentations for events. In the past couple of years, our Archdiocese has also instituted a low cost counseling program for couples that need assistance. That information can be found on the Family Life Apostolate page of the Archdiocese of New Orleans website. Find some great articles and resources at For Your Marriage, too!

Saint John Paul II said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and the whole world in which we live.” We owe it to ourselves, and more importantly, to God to cherish the sacrament and vocation of marriage.

Dana Doyle is a teacher and religion coordinator at Lady of the Lake School in Mandeville, a wife, a mother of three, an author and an avid blogger. Visit her blog, “Catholic Working Mom” at http://www.danardoyle.wordpress.com. Read more about this blogger here.

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