Novena and Lenten Reflection: Week Four
Fourth Week: Repairing Repetitive Arguments
our preparation for marriage involved three kinds of preparation. Your
was the experience you had growing up of your own parent’s marriage. You may also have been affected by your grandparents marriage or that of other families and friends. You absorbed lessons about what you liked and didn’t like about family and marriage. Your
, to some extent, affected your
is your courtship and how you and your spouse cooperated, expressed affection and learned to discuss or argue about matters that are fundamental and intimate to your relationship. At some point your
was the way that you both discerned your desire to give yourself completely in love to the other in marriage.
That led to the third part of your marriage preparation,
; what the Church’s marriage preparation program offered you. Do you remember anything about what the priest said or the marriage preparation couples offered?
Hopefully, at some point, they told you that marriage was more than just common life, but was a permanent
partnership of life and love.
requires equality, but not sameness.
includes everything from your first meeting to your separation by death.
is both the way your partner makes you feel, and, more importantly, your choice to love your partner as the other in your relationship, wishing nothing but their good. Perhaps you chose this reading for your special day, the day of your wedding:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick- tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Cor. 13:4-8.
Your experience of family, courtship and your hopes for marriage all play a role in your
partnership of life and love.
Consider the big picture, both how your life has brought you to this blessed moment, but more importantly, how St. Paul talked about the power of God’s love in your marriage.
The third conversation according to Dr. Johnson steps into repairing repetitive arguments with your partner while utilizing the previous tools from the last two conversations: “demon dialogues” and “raw spots”. There needs to come a point in a couple's relationship to stop the negative spiral before it escalates into a full blown argument that leads to disconnection and distrust. For instance, if you and your partner begin to talk about a sensitive issue and you notice that their tone of voice and body language changes, there needs to be an abrupt interruption in the discussion. Stop and say out loud, “What is happening here?”, “We are going down the same road we always go down”, “Are we going to fight like we always do, or can we go a different direction?”.
Stopping the Game”
Break the usual argument cycle as you feel tensions rising.
Claiming Your Own Moves”
- Reflect on the pattern of the growing argument: “I complain and then get very defensive...”
Claiming Your Own Feelings”
- Focus on your own feelings rather than looking at your partner's faults in the argument: “When you start giving me the cold shoulder I feel like you're running away from me and that scares me.”
Owning How You Shape Your Partner's Feelings”
- This can be very challenging to do when emotions are running very high. We need to take our eyes off of ourselves and see how our reactions may rub our partner's “raw spots” or trigger deep hurts and fears.
Asking About Your Partner's Deeper Emotions”
- When we can slow down and see how our reactions affect our partner, we can acknowledge their needs and vulnerabilities; “I get so wrapped up in the moment that I think you are just out to prove you’re always better than me, but now I see you are hurt and angry.”
Sharing Your Own Deeper, Softer Emotions”
- After acknowledging your partner's deeper emotions, you set the ground to take a risk and be open with your partner by exposing your fears and vulnerabilities.
- By taking the previous steps you and your partner can begin mending a revived authentic and sincere connection and trust within your relationship. You are no longer adversaries but helpmates growing and moving forward together.
The Sign of the Cross:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Human love- pure, sincere and joyful – cannot subsist in marriage without the virtue of chastity, which leads a couple to respect the mystery of sex and ordain it to faithfulness and personal dedication. I have never talked about impurity, and I have always avoided falling into a distasteful and meaningless
. But I have spoken many times, as I have to do, about chastity, purity and the joyful affirmation of love.
When there is chastity in the love of married persons, their marital life is authentic; husband and wife are true to themselves, they understand each other and develop the union between them. When the divine gift of sex is perverted, their intimacy is destroyed, and they can no longer look openly at each other.
This is the context in which we must see the Christian doctrine on sex. Our faith does not ignore anything on this earth that is beautiful, noble and authentically human. It simply teaches us that the rule of our life should not be the selfish pursuit of pleasure, because only sacrifice and self-denial lead to true love.”
- St. Josemaria Escriva
For the Married (together if possible):
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for the gift of human sexuality and the power you have given us to cooperate in bringing new life into this world. Help us to see our intimacy as a privilege. Help us to see each other as Your gift to us. Grant that we may have the courage to struggle against our selfish impulses so that our love may be truly a gift of self, a chaste and pure love, that only seeks the good of the other. Amen.
For the Engaged and the those seriously considering this commitment of married love (together if possible):
Lord Jesus Christ, help us to prepare for a chaste married life by living chastity right now. As we work toward self-mastery, let us never lose sight of the beautiful gift of pure married love. Let us always remember that the quality of our married love depends upon our willingness to sacrifice ourselves for each other. Beginning now, give us strength to deny ourselves so that we can affirm the great dignity of the love to which You call us. Amen
All close by praying:
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we give our hearts to you.
(Now offer one Hail Mary together, inviting Our Blessed Lady to pray for you)
The Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at 2:00AM