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Violets Aren't Blue

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M any people will remember a childhood poem for Valentines. The following is the original 1784 translation from French, but you might remember it a bit differently; [i] The rose is red, the violet’s blue The honey’s sweet, and so are you. Thou art my love and I am thine; I drew thee to my Valentine This poem never made sense to me, since violets are not blue. In the original French it says cornflowers which makes more sense! What do we think when we hear this? Is it sappy or sentimental? Is it just for children? On February 14th we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Last year, some 224 million roses were grown for Valentine’s Day and it is estimated that Americans will spend 19 billion dollars this year on that day [ii] On the one hand, we seem to spend an enormous amount of money on our relationships, on the other hand, we don’t seem to be doing very well at relating as couples. Being grateful, thanking our spouse, celebrating our love for them, are all good things, but are we focusing too

Finding Joy in Your Marriage (Week 2: Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration)

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Finding Joy in Your Marriage  (Week 2: Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration) I can recall some of the first memories I have of meeting my wife more than 35 years ago. We met at a Baptist church, and were introduced by the young adult pastor. We had both just completed our first university degrees, and I had moved to Vancouver and was now attending a local interdenominational Protestant seminary, and Wendy was training to be a teacher. Although we had previously attended universities in different cities, we were both deeply involved in the same campus ministry, so we shared an immediate spiritual connection. After a brief introduction, I tried to sit by her in church, but she grabbed some other girl and made her sit between us! I didn’t take this as rejection, and continued my pursuit. Soon after this we both ended up going out for coffee with a large group of young adults from church. I made sure to sit across from her. We immediately fell into a deep conversation, so deep in fact, tha

Gottman and Faith

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I wanted to take a minute to reflect on our faith in relation to the book we are reading. Dr. Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is not about our faith, but the psychology of good relationships.While not directly about the faith, there is nothing in the book which I believe conflicts with our faith, and the author John Gottman is a practicing Jew from an Orthodox Jewish background. Since Gottman’s book is a work of psychology, someone might wonder how psychology in general relates to our faith. In fact there are two ways of knowing things, faith and reason. Catholic tradition has always seen these as complementary ways of knowing truth.  In the Old Testament, the main Hebrew word for ‘truth’ is emeth . This word has the basic meaning of fitness, and trustworthiness. From this emeth takes on the meaning of “that which is opposed to falsity and falsehood.” (Ramsdell, 264) In a similar manner the Greek word for truth found in the New Testament, alÄ“theia mean

Finding Joy in Your Marriage (Week 1: Enhance Your Love Maps)

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Finding Joy in Your Marriage  (Couple’s book study) Week 1: Enhancing Your Love Maps Dr. Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work begins with a review of his research (p. 1-52). Previously a great deal of advice for married couples was based on what many people thought intuitively must be good advice. The problem is that very little actual research had been conducted to prove that this typical advice for married couples was effective. Some popular ideas in the 1980’s for improving marriages included improved communication skills, and active listening. Therapies focused on conflict resolutions skills, and dealing with personality problems. These are obviously excellent relationship goals! The problem is, researchers discovered that the typical strategies for improving these areas were completely ineffective.They also discovered some simple actionable behaviors which instead made a big difference! Gottman and his colleagues set out to study couples in a more scienti

The Vulnerability of Christ

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    I don’t know about you, but I am often concerned about getting things right, and often find myself thinking about, what other people might think if I make a mistake. A few years ago, I went through a job transition where my entire department was reconfigured and after twelve years of working at this institution, my position was eliminated. I was discussing my feelings about all of this with an insightful friend, and he asked me if this made me feel ashamed. My immediate response was to say, no, but to be honest, at that point I had never really thought much about the topic of shame. Guilt is a feeling we have when we realize we have done something wrong and the feeling is directly connected to our own action. Shame is a more general feeling of failure or unworthiness that we can feel, even if we can’t point to a specific thing we have done wrong. If fact it is possible for someone to experience shame when they are merely the victim and have done nothing wrong personally. Looking b

Marriage Enrichment

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  Marriage Enrichment For married couples, second only to our relationship to God, our relationship to our spouse is the most important priority in in our life. It is also the key to our happiness and sense of fulfillment in our vocation to married life. In fact, researchers have shown that on a purely human level, happily married couples have stronger immune systems and live healthier longer lives. The Domestic Church There is also an important spiritual dimension to marriages. Families formed through marriage are understood to be the Domestic Church . For married couples, the family is the spiritual center of their lives together.  Parish Activities For more information on these parish activities please contact Deacon Scott McKellar Finding Joy in Your Marriage: Understanding, strengthening, and repairing your relationship. A Twelve-Week Couple Journey (January - March 2021)   Light-Life/Domestic Church Movement Light+Life Retreat and formation process. (Spring 2021) Re

Finding Joy in Your Marriage

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  Finding Joy in Your Marriage: Understanding, strengthening, and repairing your relationship A Twelve-Week Couple Journey In every other area of our life, if we want to improve in something, we read, study, find a coach, or join a support group. No one would begin training for a marathon, or learn a new style of cooking by simply buying shoes or a wok. Why does it make sense to think we should just intuitively ‘get’ relationships, without seeking any help or coaching to find a more satisfying friendship? Our relationship with our spouse is intended to be our greatest source of connection and happiness. The reality is that a sustained sense of deep connection with another person takes work. Is it enough to have good intentions? Every year, across the country, the local gym memberships swell in January and unfortunately return to normal again by February. But what makes a good marriage? In the 1980’s some popular ideas included communication skills, active listening, conflict resoluti