27 Feb Food for Thought
Teams of Our Lady: a recipe for married love
By the Reverend Roger Carr-Jones, Marriage & Family Life Coordinator, Diocese of Westminster
If like me, you enjoy cooking, you will know that, when the recipe asks you to spend time marinading the food, should you then decide to cut corners the overall flavour is affected. Whilst the meal remains edible, the complexity of flavour may be lost. Patience is an essential part of the recipe of cultivating a healthy life-long marriage, as is a good balance of the ingredients with sufficient time given for the flavours to blend together. In marriage we are provided with all the ingredients needed, though at times we may need further insights and guidance to ensure that the balance and quantities are right.
Whilst food is an essential aspect of life, sharing a meal as a couple creates a place for good communication, openness, prayer and sharing. Marriage is a recipe that requires two cooks, who bring their own set of ingredients and together learn to adjust the flavours and quantities to create a new and wonderful dish. When we share a meal together, we share so much more.
This image of the shared meal is one aspect of Teams of Our Lady (Teams), a movement for married spirituality in the Catholic Church. Its members are married couples, who seek to live their marriages sacramentally. Each team, of five or six couples, provides a menu for couples to grow closer to themselves and God through prayer, find sustenance for their vocation of marriage and a place in which to share their lives as a community. Bishop Nicholas has kindly shared a few words in the video of his experience of Teams. He speaks eloquently and very movingly of the influence Teams had on his parent’s marriage, their family life and his own spiritual journey. Bishop Nicholas highlights two central gifts that Teams provided for his parents: good communication & prayer.
These two ingredients are vital in sustaining a life-long and healthy marriage. Ensuring that we have a necessary supply can come from being part of the Teams movement, which I encourage you to explore. Reflect for a moment on what the last year has been like for you as a family, or as a couple? Has it been a mix of unexpected challenges, difficulties, unexpected surprises and growth in mutual love, or a see-saw of emotions even in the same day? Like a good recipe, noticing the balance of flavours and ingredients enables adjustments to be made. It is also good to ensure that our stock cupboard is well-resourced.
The recipe of a good marriage requires becoming more aware of what that recipe requires and provides. If we are seeking sustenance for our marriage then Teams might the option that we have been seeking. The newly elected Super Regional Couple, Paul and Annette O’Bierne, recently shared with me how being part of Teams for 40 years has provided them with the recipe for their married life. This is because its ingredient list, the ‘endeavours’, provides sufficient nutrients to feed the roots of their relationship, as well as providing new flavours each and every year.`