2 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine
Wedding Guide 2013
Inside this issue: 6 | Marrying in the church:
11 | Pre-marriage programs:
What you need to know about in the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The schedule of workshops and retreats.
9 | Wedding FAQs:
Shared values keep couples together.
An in-depth look at situations that ensure the validity of Catholic marriage. Wedding Guide 2013
14 | Common ground: 16 | Celebrations:
Local couples mark wedding milestones. Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 3
Catholic MAGAZINE pg
135 First Ave. • Suite 200 Pittsburgh, PA 15222 1-800-392-4670 www.pittsburghcatholic.org
Vol. 4, No. 10
20 | Knowing when it’s right:
Publisher | Bishop David A. Zubik General Manager | Robert P. Lockwood
Questions to explore before the big day.
22 | Intimate details:
What role does intimacy play in today’s marriage?
Editor | William Cone
24 | Voice of experience: Reflecting on the practical realities.
27| What’s your “spending personality?”
Confronting the financial issues.
Operations Manager | Carmella Weismantle Wedding Guide Project Editor | William Cone Associate Editors Phil Taylor (Special Projects) Chuck Moody (News) Staff Writer | John W. Franko Graphic Designers David Pagesh | Karen Hanlin Director of Advertising | John Connolly
Frequently asked questions from engaged couples
On the cover... “While marriage is a special blessing for Christians because of the grace of Christ, marriage is also a natural blessing and gift for everyone in all times and cultures. It is a source of blessing to the couple, to their families and to society, and includes the wondrous gift of co-creating human life. Indeed, as Pope John Paul II never tired of reminding us, the future of humanity depends on marriage and the family.” — U.S. bishops, pastoral letter, “Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan,” 2009 Cover design by Debbie Skatell-Wehner
Account Executives Michael A. Check | Paul Crowe Brandon McCusker | Michael Wire Circulation Mgr./Parish News Coord. Peggy Zezza Administrative Assistant | Amanda Wahlen
Office Assistant | Karen Hanlin
Pittsburgh Catholic Wedding Guide is a complimentary publication available at all 203 Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Pittsburgh from the Pittsburgh Catholic Publishing Associates, Inc. Paid first-class delivered subscriptions are available. Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial: email@example.com
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Wedding Guide 2013
Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 5
By the Staff of the Department for Canon and Civil Law Services
Getting married in the Catholic Church Couples considering marriage within the Diocese of Pittsburgh can avoid many problems and misunderstandings if they become familiar with the diocesan regulations for this foundational sacrament before they begin planning their wedding. Questions that one couple has are generally common questions that many couples have. The purpose of this article is to clarify and provide answers to some of these common questions.
6 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine
When should the engaged couple contact a priest?
The engaged couple should contact their parish priest to discuss their plans at least six months before their intended wedding date, since the church considers all plans tentative until the marriage applications and documents are completed. Additionally, there may be necessary steps that the couple needs to take if one or both of them have lived outside of the diocese as
an adult, and these steps can take time to complete. The priest determines if there is freedom and readiness to marry or if other reasons prevent the marriage from taking place in the Catholic Church.
Are marriage classes still required? Yes, marriage preparation classes are considered an important component of the coupleâ€™s readiness to assume marriage. Couples can choose from various formats
Wedding Guide 2013
contingent upon their personal schedules and preferences. Four evening sessions are held at St. Paul Cathedral Parish, Pittsburghâ€™s Oakland neighborhood, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at certain times during the year. Engaged Encounter weekends (http://www. pittsburghengagedencounter.org/) are held at various locations within the diocese. This consists of a Friday evening through Sunday afternoon format. Also, various parishes throughout the diocese conduct their own classes. Couples should contact the Office for Faith Formation (Adults, Families and Persons with Learning Needs) at 412-456-3160.
May I get married any day of the week?
Weddings may not be performed on Sundays nor on holy days of obligation in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Church law also prohibits weddings during the Easter triduum â€” Holy Thursday to Holy Saturday. Though permitted, in serious circumstances, marriages are discouraged during the penitential season of Lent.
the sacraments of the church. Just as there are regulations, for example, for the reception of the Eucharist, for baptism and for confirmation, there are regulations that the church imposes for the reception of the sacrament of marriage.
Is it possible to have a Catholic priest and a non-Catholic minister perform the ceremony?
No, because canon law does not permit two distinct ceremonies. Similarly, services in which both the Catholic marriage ritual and the non-Catholic ritual are performed jointly or successively are not permitted.
Also, for example, a priest may not elicit marital consent from the Catholic party while a minister elicits consent from the non-Catholic party. It is permitted, however, for a nonCatholic minister to participate in the Catholic marriage service. The minister may give additional prayers, blessings or words of greeting or may read a lesson if the ceremony is not part of a Mass. In ceremonies of dispensation from canonical form, the Catholic Rite of Marriage is dispensed in favor of the non-Catholic partyâ€™s wedding service, which takes place in a nonCatholic church. The Catholic priest may or See Getting Married, Page 8
What happens when one of the couple is not Catholic?
For a wedding to take place in the Catholic Church, at least one of the parties must be Catholic. Permission for this type of marriage (between a Catholic and a non-Catholic Christian) is required from the diocesan bishop. To obtain permission from the diocesan bishop for a mixed marriage (a marriage in which each party is of a different faith), the Catholic party must sign documents stating he or she will do everything possible to remain in the faith and to raise children as Catholics. The non-Catholic party is to be aware of these promises but is not required to sign any documents.
Can there be a nuptial Mass when one of the parties is not Catholic?
Although is it not the norm, the law of the church permits the celebration of a nuptial Mass for the marriage of a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic, if the couple wishes. Marriage between a Catholic and a nonbaptized person always take place outside of Mass.
Why does the Catholic Church have all of these marriage requirements?
Marriage between the baptized is a sacrament. So, of course, the Catholic Church is concerned with the proper and dignified celebration of this sacrament, as well as all of
Wedding Guide 2013
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Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 7
GETTING MARRIED Continued from Page 7
may not be present. If he is present, the priest may participate by giving additional prayers or blessings at the end of the service, but since he is not the official celebrant, the Catholic priest does not sign the license or receive the consent from either party.
May a non-Catholic bride or groom receive holy Communion at the wedding?
No, it is not permitted. This is called inter-communion and it is not permitted at weddings, and permission will not be granted for inter-communion for a mixed marriage. Neither is holy Communion given to nonCatholic congregants who attend the wedding.
What happens when one of the parties has been married before?
If one party has been previously married, couples should be advised to discuss the details of the prior marriage(s) with the priest before setting a wedding date. It is best not to assume that a prior marriage “did not count” or that it is a simple matter of submitting certain documents. A priest is not to set a wedding date for a couple until documents have been issued resolving the question of a prior marriage. This might be an involved matter resulting in a final decree of nullity following a formal nullity (annulment) process, or it might be a more simple matter of a decree or the submission of a death certificate. The best advice is to have the necessary decrees or documents in hand before considering a wedding date as confirmed. This advice is given to avoid cancellation of wedding venues, bands, invitations, etc., if the wedding cannot take place at the exact location and date as was anticipated.
Where is the usual place of marriage?
The parish church of the bride or the groom is the ordinary place of marriage. If the couple wishes to marry in a Catholic church other than their own, they must receive permission from each of their pastors and from the pastor of the church in which they wish to marry. A couple should be aware that there may be financial charges for the use of a church other than their own. Wedding ceremonies held in chapels are discouraged, since the parish and
8 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine
the parish church are considered proper for celebration of this sacrament. Couples who wish to marry in an approved chapel, however, may receive special permission for the ceremony from the Office for Matrimonial Concerns. Weddings are never permitted outdoors.
What happens if one of the parties is a Catholic, but of one of the Eastern rites of the church? The marriage may be performed in the rite of either Catholic party; however, premarital forms must be submitted to the Office for Matrimonial Concerns in time to seek permissions that might apply from the Eastern-rite chancery.
Why does the church ask if we have a prenuptial agreement? Why is that the church’s business?
The marriage forms ask about a prenuptial agreement because there is an underlying premise in the church’s law that the parties to a marriage enter the marriage without condition. Marriage is to be a “partnership of the whole of life,” which by its nature is for the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children who bless the marriage. When the prenuptial agreement deals with the consequences of property ownership at the time of death, there is no canonical problem. However, when an agreement is so structured to deal entirely with the maintenance of separate property and which party gets what after a divorce, this appears contrary to a partnership for the whole of life. It places into question the understanding of the permanency of marriage that the couple holds. Further, there is an inherent contradiction in planning for the divorce and the wedding in the same time frame. An acceptable reason to have a prenuptial agreement, however, might be to provide for children of previous marriages or if it is the requirement in a business partnership to protect the interests of the other business partners. Each agreement must be examined individually to assure the church that the couple to the agreement understands and accepts the nature of marriage as binding, lasting and permanent, for the couple’s natural life.
For more information about diocesan marriage regulations, call the Office for Matrimonial Concerns at 412-456-3033.
Wedding Guide 2013
Wedding FAQs Why does the church teach that marriage is a sacrament? Because it is sacred. Marriage is to be a union of love, and the sacraments make Christ, the author of all love, present in our midst. For this reason, marriage between two baptized people is a sacrament. Like the other sacraments, marriage is not just for the good of individuals or the couple, but also for the community as a whole. The Old Testament prophets saw the marriage of a man and woman as a symbol of the covenant relationship between God and his people. The permanent and exclusive union between husband and wife mirrors the mutual commitment between God and his people. St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians says that this union is a symbol of the relationship between Christ and the church. Do Catholics ever validly enter into nonsacramental marriages? Yes. Marriages between Catholics and non-Christians, while they may still be valid in the eyes of the church, are non-sacramental. They are still blessed by God, and with permission a priest or deacon may witness such marriages. What is the difference between a valid and an invalid Catholic marriage? Just as individual governments have certain requirements for civil marriage (e.g., a marriage license, blood tests), the Catholic Church also has requirements before Catholics can be considered validly married in the eyes of the church.
Wedding Guide 2013
A valid Catholic marriage results from four elements: (1) the spouses are free to marry; (2) they freely exchange their consent; (3) in consenting to marry, they have the intention to marry for life, to be faithful to one another and to be open to children; and (4) their consent is given in the presence of two witnesses and before a properly authorized church minister. Exceptions to the last requirement must be approved by church authority. If a Catholic wants to marry a non-Catholic, how can he or she ensure that the marriage is recognized by the church? In addition to meeting the criteria for a valid Catholic marriage (see question 3), the Catholic must seek permission from the local bishop to marry a non-Catholic. If the person is a non-Catholic Christian, this permission is called “permission to enter into a mixed marriage.” If the person is a non-Christian, the permission is called “dispensation from disparity of cult.” The priest or deacon helping to prepare the couple for marriage can assist with this permission process. Why does a Catholic wedding have to take place in a church? Marriage is not just a private or family event but also a church event. For this reason, the church teaches that marriage should be celebrated in the midst of the community, like in the parish church of one of the spouses. Only the local bishop can permit a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.
If a Catholic wishes to marry in a place outside a Catholic church, how can he or she be sure that the marriage is recognized by the Catholic Church as valid? The local bishop can permit a wedding to take place in another church or in another suitable place for a sufficient reason. For example, a Catholic seeks to marry a Baptist whose father is the pastor of the local Baptist church, and the father wants to officiate at the wedding. In these circumstances the bishop could permit the couple to marry in the Baptist church. The permission in these instances is called “dispensation from canonical form.” As long as the couple follows proper protocol, including having a priest or deacon present to witness the wedding, the marriage would be recognized as valid by the Catholic Church. A priest or deacon would help the couple with the requirements. If two Catholics, or a Catholic and nonCatholic, are married invalidly in the eyes of the church, what should they do? They should approach a priest or deacon to resolve the situation. When a Catholic marries a non-Catholic, must the couple promise to raise the children in the Catholic faith? The non-Catholic spouse does not have to promise to have the children raised Catholic. However, the Catholic spouse must promise to do all that he or she can do to have the children baptized and raised in the Catholic faith. See Wedding FAQs, Page 10
Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 9
WEDDING FAQs Continued from Page 9
Is it required that a wedding celebration have expensive flowers, clothes and other accompaniments? The Rite of Marriage makes no reference to any of these cultural elements. The focus of the couple should be on the celebration of the sacrament. Many priests and deacons repeatedly emphasize that a couple does not have to postpone celebrating the sacrament of marriage because they cannot afford such things. How much does it cost to get married in the Catholic Church? Individual parishes regulate the stipend, or offering to the church, that is customary on the occasion of a wedding. This might also include a fee for the organist and vocalist if this is included in the ceremony. In a situation of true financial difficulty, however, couples can come to an agreement with the pastor so that true financial hardship would never prevent a marriage from taking place. What is a nuptial Mass and when can a couple have one? A nuptial Mass is a Mass that includes the celebration of the sacrament of marriage. It has special readings and prayers suitable
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10 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine
to the celebration of the sacrament. The sacrament of marriage between two baptized Catholics should normally be celebrated with a nuptial Mass. If the situation warrants, and the local bishop gives permission, a nuptial Mass may be celebrated for a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized person who is not a Catholic, except that Communion is not given to the non-Catholic spouse and non-Catholic guests. In such instances, it is better to use the appropriate ritual for marriage outside of Mass. The celebration of a marriage without a nuptial Mass is always the case in a marriage between a baptized Catholic and a nonbaptized person. What should a couple do when they decide that they want to marry in the Catholic Church? They should contact their parish as soon as possible and make an appointment to talk with the priest, deacon or staff person responsible for preparing couples for marriage. This must be done at least six months prior to the proposed date of the wedding. It is important that it be done before any of the arrangements for the wedding are made, e.g. renting a hall, hiring a disc jockey, etc. The priest, deacon or staff person will explain the process of marriage preparation and the various preparation programs that are available. Why does the church require engaged couples to participate in a marriage preparation program? You can only love something that you know, and as your knowledge increases so can your love deepen. As part of its pastoral responsibility the church requires every couple to participate in a marriage prep program in order that they will be properly ready to be married. Marriage preparation offers couples the opportunity to develop a better understanding of Christian marriage; to evaluate and deepen their readiness to live married life; and to gain insights into themselves as individuals and as a couple. It is especially effective in helping couples to deal with the challenges of the early years of marriage. What kinds of marriage preparation programs does our local church offer? In the Diocese of Pittsburgh there are several options, and every couple is required to attend one. The diocesan pre-marriage program, consisting of four evenings, is offered at St. Mary of Mercyâ€™s Lawless Hall
every other month starting in January. Engaged Encounter Weekends are offered several times a year. Also, many parishes and clusters of parishes offer marriage preparation programs. Some parishes offer programs for groups of couples as well as a marriage-mentoring program with an experienced married couple. For further information about any of these programs, contact the Office for Adult and Family Faith Formation, 412-456-3160, or e-mail email@example.com. As part of their preparation many couples also complete a premarital inventory, such as FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study), to identify issues for discussion. What key issues are covered in marriage preparation? Marriage preparation programs help couples to understand both the practical and spiritual realities of married life. Typical topics include the meaning of marriage as a sacrament; faith, prayer and the church; roles in marriage; communication and conflict resolution; children, parenthood and natural family planning; finances; and family of origin. Is there a cost for marriage preparation programs? Most programs charge a modest fee to cover the cost of materials. Programs that require an overnight stay include an additional cost for rooms and meals. Assistance is frequently available for couples who would otherwise be unable to participate. Does the church offer any programs to help couples to improve their marriage? Yes. Peer ministry for married couples is widespread. Many couples participate in Marriage Encounter (www.wwme.org), which offers a weekend experience and ongoing community support. Many couples meet in parish-based small groups; ministries such as Teams of Our Lady and Christian Family Movement also use the small-group approach. Some parishes sponsor a retreat day or evening of reflection for married couples. Others offer a mentoring system that matches older couples with younger ones. Retrouvaille offers a lifeline for troubled marriages that has proven itself effective. For information about any of these programs, call the Office for Adult and Family Faith Formation at 412-456-3160. For other helpful resources, consult the Diocese of Pittsburgh website at www.diopitt.org/ education/oflc.
Wedding Guide 2013
Diocesan Pre-Marriage Program Location
St. Paul Cathedral, lower-level social hall, 108 N. Dithridge St., Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.
7-9:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Please arrive early the first night to sign in and receive the couples’ information packet.
Every couple is required to participate in a marriage preparation program. Pre-marriage classes should be taken at least four to six months prior to the wedding. Classes are offered in several models. Any one of three will satisfy the requirement: diocesan-sponsored classes, parishsponsored classes or Engaged Encounter weekends. Couples wishing to attend diocesansponsored classes must pre-register by mail at least one week before the first class. Sixty couples can be hosted per session. Couples are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Once a class is full, couples will be contacted and asked to attend another session. No walk-ins will be admitted to the program. The social hall is wheelchairaccessible. To register, go to www.diopitt.org/premarriage. Fill out the form (signed by your parish priest) and mail it in with a $60 check made payable to “Diocese of Pittsburgh.” Send to: Department for Religious Education, 111 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
If you cannot attend one session during a particular week, you may attend the other.
• Tuesday, Feb. 26, March 5, 12, 19 • Thursday, Feb. 28, March 7, 14, 21
• Tuesday, April 30, May 7, 14, 21 • Thursday, May 2, 9, 16, 23
• Tuesday, July 9, 16, 23, 30 • Thursday, July 11, 18, 25, Aug. 1
Sessions run once a week for four weeks, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Tuesday and Thursday classes are the same each week.
• Tuesday, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22 • Thursday, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24
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Wedding Guide 2013
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Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 11
Parish Pre-Marriage Classes 2013
Parish PRE - MARRIAGE CLASSES 2013
(Updated in JANUARY AND JULY)
TO REGISTER: Call the contact person at the phone number provided.
St. Therese of Lisieux (Munhall) holds class EVERY month (for 6 months) at 10:30am after Mass 412-462-9976
8:15am – 5pm
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St. Catherine of Sweden
St. Richard-Sponsor Couples
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6:30 - 9pm 8:30am-3pm 7 – 9:30pm 12 – 6pm 1 – 5 pm 6:30 – 9pm 9am – 4pm 8pm Fri thru 4pm Sun 6:30-8:00pm 6-9pm 8am – 5pm 7 - 10pm 9am – 3:30pm 12:45 – 5pm 1-6pm
Sponsor’s homes Upper St. Clair Castle Shannon
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St. Benedict the Abbot
Mary Lou Fraticelli
10am – 4pm
8pm Fri thru 4pm Sun 7 – 9pm 9am – Noon
Diocese of Pittsburgh ~ Office Family 11:15 – 6:30pm 2 days St. Peterfor Adult andYes 7– 9 pm 10am - 3pm
APRIL 2013 4/5/13 Fri thru 4/7/13 Sun 4/12/13 Fri & 4/13/13 Sat 4/13/13 Sat & 4/20/13 Sat 4/26/13 Fri & 4/27/13 Sat
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412-351-3710 412-486-4100 x203
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6-9pm 8:30am-2pm 7 – 9pm 9am – Noon
12 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine
Cindy Deschaine Deacon Ralph
Diocese of Pittsburgh ~ Office for Adult and Family Faith Formation
Wedding Guide 2013
Weekend retreats Engaged Encounter
Dates and locations
The Engaged Encounter Weekend is an in-depth, private, personal, marriage preparation experience within the context of Catholic faith and values. Though Catholic in origin, this experience is open to any engaged couple. Through a series of writings and shared exercises, couples are invited to explore many aspects of their relationship, spiritual lives and expectations of marriage. Weekends are led by two married couples who give a series of brief presentations about issues, such as communication, commitment, conflict resolution, values, the roles of faith and the sacrament of marriage. Couples have time and space to share their thoughts and feelings privately with one another.
• Gilmary Center, 601 Flaugherty Run Road, Findlay Township: Feb. 22-24. • Toftrees Resort, 1 Country Club Lane, State College: April 5-7. • Four Points Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport, 1 Industry Lane, Moon Township: Sept. 20-22. • Bishop Connare Center, 2900 Seminary Lane, Greensburg: Nov. 15-17. For reservations and information, call Jay and Judy Shock, 412-635-7775, or visit www. wwme.org or yourmarriageisworthit.org.
Retrouvaille (French for “rediscovery”) weekends offer help for troubled marriages. Hope is offered to couples considering separation, as well as to those already separated or divorced who want to take another look at their marriage commitment. Dates for local weekends: April 12, July 12, Sept. 27. For information and to register, call Dianne and Jett Sanner at 412-277-3434 or visit www.retrouvaille.org.
1 Windmere Road Pittsburgh, PA 15202 412-761-2900 www.shannopincc.com
Dates and locations • Kearns Spirituality Center, 9000 Babcock Blvd., McCandless Township: April 5, May 17. • St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center, 148 Monastery Ave., Pittsburgh’s South Side: June 7. • Gilmary Center, 601 Flaugherty Run Road, Findlay Township: Aug. 16, Oct. 11. For information and to register, call Brian and Nancy Stevens at 412-8610262. To register online, visit www. pittsburghengagedencounter.org.
Marriage Encounter Marriage Encounter is a weekend experience for any married couple who desires a richer, fuller life together. It is neither a retreat, nor a marriage clinic, nor group sensitivity. It’s a unique approach aimed at revitalizing Christian marriage. Weekends are presented by a trained team consisting of three couples and a priest. Through a series of presentations given to the group as a whole, couples have the opportunity to look at themselves as individuals and at how they interact with each other.
Wedding Guide 2013
Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 13
Common values: The glue that holds marriages together
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14 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine
By Susan Vogt My husband and I have been married 35 years and have led marriage preparation programs for 30 of those years. We estimate that over that time we’ve prepared more than 5,000 couples for marriage. I’m not sure if that makes us experts or outdated and, therefore, irrelevant. I can tell you the obvious — that times have changed and we have changed. Early in my career, when I taught high school or college students about marriage, I’d say that communication was the key in choosing a mate and keeping a marriage healthy. I’ve changed my mind. Yes, good communication is essential to a thriving marriage, BUT it is not sufficient and probably not the most important criteria for choosing a mate. I say this because in my counseling, I repeatedly came across couples who had learned the right communication skills and could use them. They knew how to use “I statements,” listen to the whole person and use active listening. They were often fine, caring men and women, but they had serious difficulty living together happily — not at the beginning, but after several years. The bottom line often came down to either very different personalities or very different values. The other significant variable was the inability of at least one partner to make a lasting commitment. Personalities cannot easily be changed, so it’s a red flag when dating couples have very different personalities.
Wedding Guide 2013
Complementary personalities, however, can also be an advantage. For example, she’s a talker, he’s a listener; or he’s a detail person, she sees the big picture. Often people with different personalities can work out accommodations as long as the difference is not too extreme or on too many different fronts. I tell my students that it’s fine to differ on one or two elements of the MyersBriggs Type Indicator, but if you differ on three or four and the differences are great, you’ll probably have a lot of stress in your marriage.
P riority differences
couples don’t have good communication skills, learning them can be a marriage saver. But if the values are significantly different, it’s unlikely that even the best communication will be enough.
Is it too late? This is fine, you may say, for engaged couples who have not yet made a marriage commitment, but what about us married couples? Is it too late? Can value differences be fixed or changed? The answer is that prevention is always preferable, but seldom is a situation hopeless. A lot depends on the severity of differences and whether there are compromises that both spouses can tolerate.
I would never want a spouse to violate his/her conscience in order to please a mate, but sometimes one spouse may be too scrupulous. Over time they may learn that not everything is black and white. On the other hand, a spouse who rationalizes away ethical decisions, saying they are unimportant, may, with commitment and effort, develop a more sensitive conscience. It’s not easy, though, since these are life-long behavioral patterns. Sometimes a couple can agree to disagree on a few values and live their lives in different spheres. For example, one night a week she goes to a prayer group and he plays his favorite sport. He supports her and does not interfere with her Sunday worship, even though he doesn’t find it important for himself. Most serious value differences require counseling. That’s the bottom line.
Common values, however, can be a deal breaker. If one spouse values a simple lifestyle and the other values accumulating wealth, it doesn’t matter how well they communicate, their basic life orientation will present constant opportunities for conflict. If one spouse values faith and the other resents religion, conflict is inevitable. This doesn’t mean both spouses have to have the same religion, but both must value a spiritual dimension of life. Another important common value is one’s attitude toward having children. One partner may really want children and feels marriage would not be complete without a child, while the other is ambivalent or, worse, thinks children would impinge upon their lifestyle. Good communication can only clarify this difference, not solve it. Likewise, if one spouse believes that career is the top priority and the other puts family first, the argument will be eternal — either by outward criticism and fighting or by going underground with general dissatisfaction or depression. Whether one spouse should stay home with young children is a subcategory of this issue. Different beliefs about respect for human life and other moral values are deeply rooted. Getting new information and talking through differences usually only lead spouses to realize that they have vastly different life goals and values. These will not change without violating one’s integrity and conscience. Yes, communication is vital, and if
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Wedding & Annive
Mary Ann (King) and Matthew (Regis) Kearns celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. Plans included a luncheon at the Claddagh restaurant, followed by recognition during the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Rosalia Church in Pittsburgh’s Greenfield neighborhood. Both are life-long members and current volunteers in the parish. Mary Ann is retired from Mercy Hospital. Rege is retired from U.S. Steel and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They are celebrating with their six children and 14 grandchildren, who all live in the Pittsburgh area.
John and Jane McCarthy Conner were married on Sept. 8, 1962, at St. Bede Church in Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze neighborhood. Officiating were Father Glenn Conner and Father Dennis Sweeney. A reception was held at the Churchill Valley Country Club. They have three children: Joan, a critical care nurse; Jeffrey, a U.S. Marine Corps colonel currently serving in Afghanistan; and Jerry, a 1990 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who is a charter financial adviser with Federated Investors. The Conners also have eight grandchildren: Brian, Caitlyn, Erin, Courtney, Bennett, Griffin, Mathilda and Quinn. A family celebration is planned this summer upon Jeff’s return from Afghanistan.
Dennis Wodzinski of Ben Avon and Gemma Pantanella of South Park Township were married June 30, 2012, in Duquesne University’s chapel, with Holy Spirit Father Sean Hogan presiding. They now live in Bethel Park. Dennis is an archivist for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Providence of God, and Gemma is an elementary school teacher.
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John and Victoria Indovina: Although we were from different parishes, John and I met by working on a joint activity for CCD teachers in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Six months later, John gave me my engagement ring at the statue of St. Joan of Arc in St. Paul Cathedral. Three months following, we were married at St. Stan’s in Ambridge. The Lord blessed us with four beautiful children (Joseph, John, Jerome and Judene), a beautiful daughter-in-law (Kristi), and four wonderful grandchildren (Lauren, Anthony Joseph, Katherine and Mona). As a couple, John and I continued to teach in the diocese as natural family planning instructors. These past 50 years have gone by swiftly and have been filled with many graces from Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Thomas and Helen Scherer of Baldwin celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in July 2012. They were married July 28, 1962, at the former Annunciation Church on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Tom and Helen have one daughter, Michele (“Shelly”), who is married to Paul Lavelle. Helen is retired from Fortis Benefits Insurance Co. She was previously employed by Morris Paper Co. Tom was a longtime employee of the Diocesan Purchasing Commission before becoming business manager and retiring from St. Sylvester Parish in Brentwood. Tom and Helen are active members of St. Albert the Great Parish in Baldwin, where among other activities they are extraordinary ministers of holy Communion. Tom is also a lector. A reception was held in July 2012 at the Georgetown Center in Pleasant Hills.
Jessica Joy Davanzati and Joseph Carl Stanish will celebrate the holy sacrament of matrimony on May 11, 2013, at St. Joseph Church in Cabot. Jessica is the daughter of Mike and Joyce Davanzati of Sarver. Joseph is the son of Mark and Margie Stanish of Niles, Mich. Jess and Joe look forward to the new adventures God has in store for them, and they thank everyone for their love and prayers.
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Edward and Maureen Murzyn, having stood together through good times and bad, will celebrate 50 years of marriage this year. Ed and Maureen have two daughters, Melissa Janisin and Janet Bennett, and seven grandchildren, all of whom love them dearly. They plan to renew their marriage vows in a ceremony at St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Munhall on May 18, 2013.
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Frequently asked questions from engaged couples each other for a long time and can’t imagine we’d learn anything new.
How do I know if I’m ready to marry?
Do you love this other person so much that you are willing to lay down your life for him or her and are ready to put their happiness before your own? Are you marrying out of strength (I know who I am and am happy with myself) rather than weakness (I need someone to fill the gaps in my personality)? Have you had more than one serious love relationship so that you can tell the difference between love and infatuation? Have you lived independently (supporting yourself) for at least a year? Are you financially stable? This doesn’t mean you have to be rich and out of debt, but at least have a steady employment that is not a dead-end job. Do most people consider you emotionally mature, able to compromise, share your feelings and handle anger constructively? Are you able to keep commitments and delay gratification?
How do I know if this is the right person?
Do you love this person with all your heart and no longer feel an urge to look further for happiness? Do you share similar basic values about respecting human life, fidelity, what’s right and wrong, honesty, life goals, lifestyle? Are you physically attracted to this person? Can you imagine growing old together?
Is it necessary to feel “chemistry” between us for this to be the right person to marry?
Chemistry is good and necessary for a fulfilling marriage, but it is not sufficient. Unfortunately chemistry is sometimes confused with infatuation, which can be fleeting. In the good sense, chemistry means you feel a strong physical attraction to the other and want to continually become closer. You feel happy in his or her presence and want to smile. Infatuation means you are consumed with thinking of the other person to the
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point of doing silly or risky actions to be together. You are blind to the faults of the other and consumed with being noticed by him or her. Your need to be liked is so strong that you are willing to give up your own personality or morals for the other’s affection. Often infatuation is an unequal relationship between the object of adulation and the infatuated person. What begins as a crush or infatuation, however, can develop into love if the feelings are mutual and the partners see each other as equals. The test is time.
Doesn’t living together before marriage prevent me from marrying the wrong person and thus getting divorced later on?
Although it may sound counterintuitive, studies show that cohabiting couples: Increase their risk of breaking up after marriage (46 percent higher divorce rate). Increase the risk of domestic violence for women, and the risk of physical and sexual abuse for children. Have lower levels of happiness and well-being compared to married couples.
Why should I attend a marriage preparation program? We’ve known
You don’t have to discover all the things that make a marriage work by trial and error. Others have done some of that work for you. You also get a glimpse into other couples’ marriages so you can have a more realistic sense of what’s normal and is not. Although every marriage relationship is unique, there are many tips experienced couples can share that will help you when you face bumps in your own marriage. Marriage preparation programs don’t give answers, they give you an opportunity to talk with each other about the wide spectrum of “musthave conversations” before marriage. You’ve probably talked about most of them, but you may have avoided a few. This is a time to check yourselves. Most likely you will find that you gain confidence in your decision to marry as a result of attending a marriage preparation program. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
How much income should we have between us to marry?
You need enough income so that you’re not living week to week. More important than a specific annual income, however, is to have a reliable job that has potential. It’s not bad to struggle a bit as you start your life together, but if lack of income is causing you to live in an unsafe environment, not eat nutritiously, or not have health or auto insurance, you’re probably cutting it too close.
How much does a typical wedding cost?
Many wedding planners will tell you that the average wedding costs between $20,000 and $30,000, but it doesn’t have to. Remember that these are people whose business it is to help you spend money on your wedding. Although the ante has been rising as to what is considered “typical” for a wedding, simplicity can be elegant. Don’t let wedding debt keep you from financial solvency. Remember, a wedding is a day; a marriage is a lifetime. From the website www.foryourmarriage.org.
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22 Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine
Why do men and women get married? Such a simple question deserves a profoundly simple answer â€” because they want to share their lives with a spouse in a very intimate way. As humans we yearn to be close to another, to be fully known; yet, despite this, to be unconditionally loved. â€œIntimacyâ€? includes physical closeness, and to many this quickly gets translated to meaning a sexual relationship. Of course, married love includes sex, as it should, but long-married couples will often relate that the sexual part of their relationship is only one of many ways they are intimate with each other. Other forms of intimacy are emotional, intellectual, heart-to-heart conversations, working together at common goals and spiritual intimacy. True marital intimacy usually involves being honest with your spouse and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Because you know your spouse well and trust him/her not to hurt you, you are willing to give yourself completely and risk the unknown. In emotional intimacy a couple shares their joys, fears, frustrations, sorrows and, yes, anger with each other. This doesnâ€™t mean that spouses yell and scream at each other â€” or worse, hit each other â€” but it does mean that hard feelings can be shared, too. The challenge is to find ways to do this respectfully. It can be scary at times to let down oneâ€™s emotional guard, but when trust is developed over time, it feels safe. Emotional intimacy is one of the strongest bonders in a marriage. It is violated when a spouse shares intimate thoughts and feelings with a friend, co-worker or online. This can feel like betrayal even though it doesnâ€™t involve sexual infidelity. Intellectual intimacy comes when spouses share a vibrant life of the mind with each other. It may be discussing a book, movie or play, dissecting all the nuances of the plot and symbolism. It might be the high of attending a concert together that stirred your souls. It might be knowing that you share similar opinions on social, political or religious issues. Itâ€™s not a matter of equivalent education, but rather equivalent thirst for knowledge that feeds your common spirit. Heart-to-heart conversations might be the way that you develop emotional or
of intimacy intellectual intimacy, but sometimes the conversations might not be about anything that momentous. It might just be sharing the stuff of everyday life. What concerns are you carrying about your child? Is there a decision to make about a job or a move? Is there a joke that you know your spouse will understand even though itâ€™s not laugh-out-loud funny? Sometimes deep intimacy can come without words. It may be a knowing glance as you drive along the highway, and you appreciate the view together, or a long consoling hug when a tragedy strikes your family. It can also be the feeling of satisfaction when doing yard work, household repairs or working on a social cause together. Spiritual intimacy should not be dismissed as too esoteric or something just for â€œholy people.â€? Prayer is a personal encounter with God. Letting your spouse peek into a sliver of that relationship by saying heartfelt prayers of petition or thanks together is the beginning of becoming soulmates. And, of course, there is sexual intimacy. This physical intimacy is so special and profound because it lays bare our bodies in their beauty and imperfection for the pleasure of our spouse. Such a private moment. Such a momentous act of total self-giving and trust that we donâ€™t share with anyone else. It celebrates our joy and stirs us out of apathy. The possibility of new life being born from this loving act is a miracle almost beyond comprehension. Being human, we are not perfect. At times weâ€™ll fall short of the ideal of never hurting our spouse. There may be times when trust between spouses is broken. At times like this a couple must reach deeply into their reserve of love, change what needs to be changed, and ask forgiveness. That too, is an intimate act. From the website www.foryourmarriage. org.
Wedding Guide 2013
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Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 23
They said it wouldnâ€™t last
Thinking that my being in his life could impact his eternal destiny was very sobering. Far be it from me, I thought, to be the reason he hated or did not forgive. We loved each other and needed to work harder at not allowing issues to blind us to this fact. So I washed those dishes I didnâ€™t dirty, for a clean home was important to me. And I paid bills we both had entered into without waiting for him to sometimes, for that too was a matter of honor and I had been blessed with the means to do so. I draw comfort too from two Scripture verses: â€œAll have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesusâ€? (Romans 3:23-24). They remind me that while I am married to someone who, like me, is at war with a human nature bent away from God, we are not alone; God is with us â€” and in us! â€” to help us make the right choices in life. What an awesome duty it is, then, to be entrusted with the fuller knowledge of anotherâ€™s struggle, to be the voice that cries out to God on that personâ€™s behalf. What a privilege to imitate Christ who both demands and freely offers unending faithfulness!
By Carole Norris Greene There have been many ups and downs throughout my marriage of 19 years. Some folks said my husband and I wouldnâ€™t last six months; we were so different! I like things in order and I take commitments seriously. My husband, on the other hand, is laid-back, even catch-as-catch-can on occasion. At times I wanted to disappear and not look back. I am sure my husband felt the same way. Then it hit me one day: Our marriage is not about how we make each other feel. Our marriage is about keeping our vow to love and honor each other even in the midst of problems and, in doing so, imitating the faithfulness of God to his unfaithful people. Such an imitation of Godâ€™s faithfulness gives God glory, a minister friend assured us. It is why every single human being on earth exists â€” to give our Creator glory, and to trust Godâ€™s promises of eternal life with him in paradise for
those who do not grow weary in doing good. At first I could not see how washing dishes I did not dirty or paying more than my share of bills gave God glory. I sought counseling, talked to long-married couples and read everything I could get my hands on that encouraged me as a wife. Then I asked myself: What was more important â€” prevailing when in conflict or my husbandâ€™s well-being physically and spiritually? The answer became apparent to me one night when I found him fast asleep in front of the TV, the TV remote practically welded to his hand, his slumped shoulders free of the weight of the world.
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T AT GE PY CO H UR RC EK! YO HU WE C Y ER EV
Faith and spirituality
religious beliefs can bringNewspaper: comfort. Many people think of spirituality as something connected to Your Catholic Community Spirituality influences how we1844 view the world and relationships. organized religion. Certainly that is one path to spirituality. In Continuous Operation Since After 9/11, the United States saw a kind of spiritual awakening. Some people also consider being spiritual as the opposite of Attendance at religious services increased and people talked about being physical. If it has to do with the body it doesn’t have to do with the meaning of life and the spirit of sacrifice. Married couples talked spirituality. Actually, spirituality touches the lives of those who go more openly about their love for each other and not taking the other to religious services and those who don’t. It touches our physical Editorial Deadline: 11:00 a.m. Friday for granted. selves as well as our souls, or unseen selves. Advertising Deadline: 11:00 Wednesday For most people, the desire fora.m. a spiritual dimension in their life One newly married wife said that she had been raised in a very religious family, but when she met her fiance she stopped practicing is strong and finding a way to express it is a quest. We live out, as best we can, what we believe is a good life in conformity with our her faith. He did not have a strong religious background and had no values. This sometimes puts us at odds with our culture. “Love does desire for a faith community, though he believed in God. no evil to the neighbor,” says St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans, Over the last year, however, she began to feel a need to attend “therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.” Our efforts to live a church again. She discovered that when she goes to church she good life, to live with love as our north star, will be the hallmark of feels more peaceful. He discovered that they get along better. Even our spiritual selves. though he still does not go to church, he supports her desire to go. From the website foryourmarriage.org. They both realize it will be a challenge when they have children, although he has no objection to raising them in her religious tradition. Couples like this one do not share the way they express their spirituality, but they respect each other for the way they live out their spiritual lives. This is key. Couples who do share the same faith expression experience many benefits. Worshipping together helps them to feel closer. In difficult times their shared reliance on
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Utilitarian: I shop for what I need and that’s it. I’m usually in and out of a store quickly. Laissez-faire: When I see something I like, I buy it. I don’t plan for it, I just follow my whim. Bargain hunter: I check the ads. When something’s on sale, I snatch it and stock up. I feel great when I know I’ve gotten a good deal. Shopping is like a sport for me. Therapy: When I’m
Do financial problems cause divorce? Financial counselors often point to finances as the most common cause of divorce. That’s only partially true. A study by Jason Carroll of Brigham Young University looked at 600 couples from across the nation from various ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds. According to Carroll, the study showed that “financial problems are
Know your ‘spending personality’
as much a result of how we think about money as how we spend it.” One of the first things couples need to notice about each is their “spending personalities.” Money may be the presenting problem that gets a couple to counseling, but the solution is not just to make more money. Rather, couples need to improve communication skills so they can talk about their different ways of spending money and the different values that may underlie their financial decisions. Carroll’s study found that when at least one spouse is highly materialistic, couples are 40 percent more likely to have financial problems that put a strain on their marriage, regardless of income level. The reason is that the couple expects that their lifestyle will bring them happiness, rather than finding happiness in each other. What’s your spending personality? One of the first things couples need to notice about each is their “spending personalities.” Is one thrifty and the other a spendthrift? If these traits are deep-rooted and significantly different, they can cause major tension and conflict. If both spouses are spendthrifts the likelihood is that they will face issues of debt management — even if they have a high income — because desires tend to increase just a little beyond our incomes. As John D. Rockefeller said when asked how much
Wedding Guide 2013
in a blue mood, buying something helps me feel better. Recreation: I like to windowshop. I can spend hours shopping alone or with friends. If your shopping styles conflict, it may be easier just to acknowledge the difference and not shop together.
money it takes to be really satisfied, “Just a little bit more!” Of course, if one spouse is high on the spendthrift scale and the other tends toward being a miser, the probability of tension and conflict over money is obvious. If the extremes are not too severe, good communication skills can bring compromise and a healthy balance. It’s wise to have the thrifty, detailed person keep the books and write the checks. Having two frugal zealots, however, is not necessarily the ideal either. If both spouses are extremely thrifty, they may tend to hold themselves to a very Spartan lifestyle, seldom spending any money on recreation. They may find themselves in a rut of all work and no play. What’s your shopping style? Beyond a couple’s basic spending personality, couples sometimes experience tension over their shopping styles. For example, which of the following shopping styles fits you?
Who’s got the power? The complicated thing about money in a marriage is that it’s often tied up with power. We may believe that the person who makes the most money is more valued or should have the greater say in financial decisions. We need to remember that spouses perform many tasks for which they are not paid. They contribute to the marriage and common life in different ways. At times one spouse may be ill or unemployed and not able to contribute financially or in other ways. Spouses need to feel valued and respected in their own home, regardless of how much money they bring in. Is it ever better to have less money? In a strong, life-giving marriage, financial responsibility is not just about making money and spending it or saving it. It also includes giving it away — to religious institutions, charities or our neighbors in need. Sometimes living more simply so that others can simply live is the most direct path to satisfaction and happiness. From the website www.foryourmarriage.org.
Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 27
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Tim’s aunt sold her large home and moved to a retirement village. She decided to share some of the proceeds with Tim and Megan and sent them $6,000 to be used any way they pleased. After their initial excitement, the couple began to discuss how to use the unexpected boost to their financial picture. Megan immediately suggested putting the whole amount into their savings account. The couple had dipped into their savings recently due to the expense of fixing the foundation of their older home. Megan saw the money gift as a way of shoring up their “safety net” of funds for future emergencies. She viewed money as security. Having grown up in a home where money was always tight, she carried the fear of not having enough into her adult life. She wanted her present family to be better prepared. This approach wasn’t what Tim had in mind. He saw money as a resource to be spent on things or activities that provided fun and satisfaction in life, for oneself and others. He was responsible with money to pay bills and take care of the family, but had been known to overindulge in using money for enjoyment. There were no money concerns in Tim’s growing-up years. Whatever he needed or wanted was at his fingertips. And after all, this was his aunt; shouldn’t he have more say in the matter? This was not the first discussion about finances where Tim and Megan differed in how they viewed money and its uses. What are possible healthy choices for Tim and Megan as they work through this issue together?
through the lens of status, success, or a way of maintaining independence or security. None of these orientations is wrong in itself, unless taken to extremes, or if one spouse refuses to consider the other’s view. Tim and Megan can benefit from the following principles and skills as they make decisions about money matters in their marriage:
• Come to the discussion with respect for your spouse’s perspective and input. Develop an attitude of an “intent to learn.” This requires a commitment to careful listening and prevents protective posturing. • Work toward a balance of views and uses of money to achieve a sense of success, security, enjoyment and well-being. For example, Tim and Megan might elect to put $4,000 in savings and use the rest for travel. • Avoid one-sided decisions. Make a budget plan and stick to it. • Remember that in marriage what is mine is yours — even gifts from a relative. • Avoid debt overload by saving and living within your means. If irresponsible spending has been an issue, set up a budget that reduces expenditures in order to get debt under control. • Remember that donations to one’s faith congregation are not meant to be leftovers, but an integral part of your budget. • Become an informed money manager couple. Reading a book or article on money issues (i.e. “The Marriage Journey: Preparations and Provisions for Life Together” by Linda Grenz and Delbert Glover) or taking The prescription: a financial planning course together helps Surveys identify money as one of the top couples make more responsible and agreeable issues over which couples have conflicts. financial decisions. Therefore, developing a couple-style of Money matters in a marriage. When spouses managing money is crucial to the health of a take time to understand and honor each marriage. If a couple can’t work through their other’s perspectives on money and make money issues together, the relationship will face wise and generous financial decisions, money problems of distrust, resentment and insecurity. becomes a bonder and not a divider in their Since money is necessary for our well-being, relationship. it is a strong emotional issue in all of us. Tim viewed the use of money through the lens Clark is co-director of adult and family ministry at St. of enjoyment while Megan saw money as a Mark the Evangelist Parish in Plano, Texas. She also is a licensed professional counselor. means of security. Others may regard money
Wedding Guide 2013
Be a great Valentine: Give the gift of words By Laurie Puhn Are you looking for a meaningful Valentine’s Day without spending a dime? Share the “gift of words”: 1. Compliment your mate inside and out There are two types of compliments: those that address a person’s outer appearance and those that address a person’s inner character. Surprisingly, research shows that 84 percent of people prefer to receive a character compliment, as in, “You are an incredibly kind person,” over a comment like, “Your hair looks great.” Start sharing character comments with your honey today. 2. Show you care We all experience unique events during our busy days, so when our spouse shows interest in our day’s happenings it creates an immediate loving bond with him/her. Find something in your spouse’s schedule on Valentine’s Day (and other days, too) such as a special meeting, an important errand or a doctor’s appointment, and call/ text/e-mail mid-day to specifically ask how it went.
5. Be memorable Do and say memorable things this Valentine’s Day and year-round. Instead of dining out, create a candlelit indoor picnic. Sing karaoke together. Arrange for a massage — together. Post love notes in surprising places. Buy a lasting plant instead of flowers. Phone your spouse to give a heartfelt comment during the day like, “I love you because ...” You will spark love and romance this Valentine’s Day (and the year through) by showering your sweetheart with the priceless gift of words. Puhn is a Harvard-educated lawyer, couples mediator and best-selling author of “Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship Without Blowing Up or Giving In.”
3. Talk forward If you want to have a special Valentine’s Day, it’s important to persuade your spouse that he or she is special to you every day, not just on Valentine’s Day. Do this by “talking forward.” Take charge and make a thoughtful plan for the future. On Valentine’s Day, say, “I’d like to make a special plan for us next month. Let’s go to __________. (Fill-in with something your spouse enjoys, such as a museum, the theater, shopping, a road trip, etc.)? What do you think?” 4. Make an offer If you want to receive instant love and appreciation from your honey, volunteer to do something for your mate before he or she asks you to do it. For example, offer to pick something up at the store, offer to repair something, prepare dinner or offer to put your kids to bed (if you don’t usually). A surefire way to boost your love life is to make an offer. It says to your mate, I care about you and when you’re happy, I’m happy.
Wedding Guide 2013
Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 29
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Wedding Guide 2013
Why married parents are important for children In the not-too-distant past this issue would never have been brought up. Of course children should be born into a loving marriage relationship. Or, if children were born out of wedlock, they would be adopted and raised by generous, caring couples. Society assumed that children needed this stability in order to thrive. U.S. society has changed, however, and so have attitudes toward marriage and children. Society no longer assumes that married parents are the norm. At the same time, social science research has confirmed the wisdom and value of traditional practice. Children do better when raised by their married mother and father. Some facts • In 2004, 68 percent of children still lived with two married parents, 23 percent lived with only their mothers, 5 percent lived with only their fathers, and 4 percent lived with neither of their parents (“Family Structure and Children’s Living Arrangements,” Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. • Only 45 percent of all teenage children live with their married biological parents (“The Positive Effects of Marriage: A Book of Charts,” Patrick Fagan). • Children in single-parent families comprise 27 percent of all American children, yet they account for 62 percent of all poor children (Ibid). • The three most significant reasons children are raised without their married mother and father are unwed pregnancy, cohabitation and divorce (“The State of Our Unions: The Social Health of Marriage in America 2006,” David Popenoe and Barbara Whitehead, National Marriage Project, print version, page 33).
Are children better off with one parent who loves them than two parents who are bickering and fighting? Some answers from the social sciences Children raised in intact married families: Are more likely to attend college. Are physically and emotionally healthier. Are less likely to be physically or sexually abused. Are less likely to use drugs or alcohol and commit delinquent behaviors. Have a decreased risk of divorcing when they get married. Are less likely to become pregnant/impregnate someone as a teenager. Children receive gender-specific support from having a mother and a father. Research shows that particular roles of mothers (e.g., to nurture) and fathers (e.g., to discipline), as well as complex biologically rooted interactions, are important for the development of boys and girls (“Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles,” 2006). A child living with a single mother is 14 times more likely to suffer serious physical abuse than is a child living with married biological parents. A child whose mother cohabits with a man other than the child’s father is 33 times more likely to suffer serious physical child abuse (“The Positive Effects of Marriage: A Book of Charts,” Patrick Fagan). In married families, about one-third of adolescents are sexually active. For teenagers in stepfamilies, cohabiting households, divorced families and those with single unwed parents, the percentage rises above one-half (“The Positive Effects of Marriage: A Book of Charts,” Patrick Fagan). Children of divorce experience lasting tension as a result of the increasing differences in their parents’ values and ideas. At a young age they must make mature decisions regarding their beliefs and values. Children of so-called “good divorces” fare worse emotionally than children who grew up in an unhappy but “low-conflict” marriage (“Ten Findings from a National Study on the Moral and Spiritual Lives of Children of Divorce,” Elizabeth Marquardt).
Does this mean that it’s better to stay in a bad marriage than to get a divorce? It depends. Statistics are generalizations. Many loving parents are able to compensate for the traumatic effect of divorce on a child. On the other hand, the research cited above should warn parents to slow down and proceed with caution before deciding that divorce is the best solution for the child. Parents’ marital unhappiness and discord negatively affect their children’s well-being, but so does the experience of going through a divorce. Children in very high conflict homes may benefit by being removed from the conflict. In lower-conflict marriages – and perhaps as many as twothirds of divorces are of this type – the situation of the children can be made much worse following a divorce. These children benefit if parents can stay together and work out their problems rather than get a divorce (Paul R. Amato and Alan Booth, “A Generation at Risk,” Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997). All marriages have their ups and downs. Recent research using a large national sample found that 86 percent of people who were unhappily married in the late 1980s, and stayed with the marriage, were happier when interviewed five years later. Indeed, 60 percent of the formerly unhappily married couples rated their marriages as either “very happy” or “quite happy” (unpublished research by Linda Waite, cited in Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, “The Case for Marriage,” New York: Doubleday, 2000, page 148).
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Some questions Given that more than 32 percent of children are not living with both their parents, what impact does this have on the children? Are children suffering or are they resilient? Can they rebound from divorce and emerge even stronger? Or are they atrisk for long-term negative effects?
Wedding Guide 2013
From the website foryourmarriage.org.
Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine 31
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