Alliance of Catholic Marriage Organisations

ACMO Blog

Information and Monthly Blog on Relationships

Alliance of Catholic Marriage Organisations in GB

Teams is proud to work with the other organisations in GB that support Marriage in the Catholic Church.  The other partners are:

Marriage Care,   Marriage Encounter,   Two in to One Flesh,   Retrouvaille.

The Alliance has a great leaflet (hard copies are available from Regional Couples) click here for it it looks at:

Romance – becoming a couple
Reality – the differences start to appear
Power struggles – practising independence
Finding oneself – independence
Reconcilliation – working through
Mutual respect and love – interdependence
Growing Closer to God: At every step and new stage

          Alliance of Catholic Marriage Organisation:  Website

Marriage Encounter: Website     Leaflet 

Marriage Care: Website     

Retrouvaille:  Website   Brochure

Two in one Flesh:  Website

September bi-monthly reflection – Teams of Our Lady

Harvest and Renewal

September brings a time of harvesting what we have grown and a time of restarting. In fields we see bales of straw hoping that the yield was good – and in shops we see promotions for ‘back to school’. This year the ‘begin again’ perspective is even more acute than usual; we hope. Life has not been “normal” for two harvests – weather patterns across our country and the world have had devastating impact for many. Schools have tried to adapt to the pandemic disruption with some families coping better than others.

So, as we start again, a question or two for all couples

What has been my own personal internal response to the disruption?

What do I pray that the next year will be like for us as a couple / family?

These are questions that we can tackle first on our own with a notebook –Then the important thing is to exchange our ideas with our partner and to talk about them. Sit down, light a candle, pray for openness to the Spirit, perhaps reflect on a line of scripture before welcoming each other’s thoughts and feelings.

We found a book* recently relating to being open with our thoughts and feelings; Brené Brown writes about vulnerability. We believe that being open and trusting with our partner is all about vulnerability, so it was great to find this – and also that Brené Brown’s TED talk on the topic (https://tinyurl.com/Brown-vulnerability) is in the top ten watched. We say “take that risk to open ourselves, respond in love, …. pray first…”

Like the harvest, some of us will have managed a short holiday or some time off – has this refreshed us and lifted our souls to see the wonders of Creation? September starts with the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation. Pope Francis encourages us to continue until October 4th remembering the “Time of Creation” inviting us to join in prayer and action for the preservation of our Common Home.

For the Laudato Si prayer see section 246 of Laudato Si www.tinyurl.com/laudatosi-2

*Daring Greatly: Brené Brown Penguin Life

Annette and Paul O’Beirne, Teams of Our Lady

July bi-monthly reflection

May bi-monthly reflection – Teams of Our Lady

Marriage Week – Naked Marriage

Focus on the Essentials of Our Relationship

The Marriage Week theme might sound a bit risqué to include in the church newsletter! On further reading we see that it is pointing us towards the essentials of our relationship.  This sounds better … and it might even be risky not to try this closer examination.

We do know from Genesis 2:25 that before humankind tried to be independent of the Father’s ordinances that they were confident in their skins; “now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame”.  As couples, enabling each other to be whom they were meant to be, we look towards the greatest meaning of our lives; living without unnecessary clutter and really being ourselves!

In our lives together as a married couple, we have to balance being drawn in different directions – with demands of our work, with demands from home, with pressure to socialise or pressure to block out diary time for fun with the whole family.  Can anyone tell you what the essentials are for YOUR relationship? We don’t think so – but we do know some important principles.

One of the things about ‘naked’ is not being covered up – seeing it as it really is – so seeing “me” as I really am and seeing “us” as we really are.

So, how can we uncover ourselves to reveal ‘who we really are’?  That might be difficult enough but then besides uncovering ourselves to ourselves – we have to communicate that “real me” to our “real other”.  Now this is getting complicated because there’s the “real me”, there’s the “me I appear to be” and the “me I’d like to be”.  And that applies to my partner too – and among each of those communicating with the other there must be just too many opportunities for misunderstanding!

Shall we make it simple? – Let’s sit down together (yes, let’s put an immovable date in the diary).  Together let’s open our hearts to invite The Spirit who is ultimate truth and reality into our lives.

Let’s eat together, let’s talk, listening in turn to each other. Let’s have fun together, pray together.

We really like the Marriage Encounter method that is to begin talking with paper and pen – try these questions one at a time; write, swap, read, really read, smile, kiss, talk more – and talk for as long as you like before you tackle the next question.

  1. Tell me three highlights of the last week?
  2. What has made you smile or laugh recently?

Stripped back to the essentials…

  1. What is at the centre of “the real us” as a couple in love? (hopes, dreams, work, principles)

This might help us focus on the essentials of our unique loving relationship. Praise God!

Enjoy your focus on your Naked Marriage this week.

See www.marriage-week.org.uk for date night ideas, conversation starters, to see the ‘uncovered series’ and more.

And please do pass this on to other couples, family members, other families and groups who might like to look at the essentials of their relationships.

Annette and Paul O’Beirne, Teams of Our Lady

March bi-monthly reflection – Marriage Care

Relationships in Ordinary Time

Lent provides a special opportunity to reflect on the practice of our faith, drawing upon our journey through Ordinary Time as we look in hope to the season of Eastertide.  Ordinary Time in the life of the Church is far from unimportant, or uninteresting as its name might suggest.  The Latin word “ordinālis” refers to numbers in a series and stems from the word for “order”.  It turns out Ordinary Time represents the ordered life of the Church, neither in feasting nor in penance, but watchfulness and expectation.  We are watchful for encounters with Jesus and expectant of the transformation He brings: not ‘ordinary’ at all!

Family life is not dissimilar.  The day to day ‘ordinary’ stuff of marriage, relationships and parenting take up most of our time and attention and yet can seem unimportant compared to what appear to be more significant or poignant moments.  The thrill of a wedding day, the joy of a new-born child, the sadness of a funeral.  Everything else just seems ‘ordinary’ in comparison – mundane, domestic and sometimes downright disappointing!

Marriage and family life can be equally misunderstood.  It’s easy to miss the sacred in the messy, mundane life of family relationships, yet that is where we often find glimpses of divine love, where we encounter Christ.  That should come as no surprise given Jesus spent most of his life sharing our existence, experiencing the joys and struggles of being human, in a family, in ‘ordinary’ time.  The ‘domestic Church’!

Our support for relationships is often found alongside couples struggling through that ‘ordinary’ time.  Many may be struggling with the changing realities that a loving relationship commits to, yet courageously reaching out for help.  Time and time again we witness the sacred: as ruptures are repaired, the most fractured of relationships hanging by a single thread are rewoven within the safety net of skilled support, understanding and acceptance.

There is now clear evidence that the quality of our relationships impacts on the physical and mental health of adults and their children, as well as on the stability of the communities in which they live.  Attending to the “ordinary” stuff of our most intimate relationships matters.

It’s where love is to be found.  As Tolstoy reminds us “Where Love Is, There God Is Also”.

Mark Molden, Chief Executive, Marriage Care
www.marriagecare.org.uk

February bi-monthly reflection – Retrouvaille

How will your life influence other people 100 years from now?

We have been thinking about this question during this lockdown.  We started by thinking ‘we won’t make any difference’ ‘we won’t be here but our descendants will’, to the photos and ancestry information we leave behind.

We wondered have we left a mark in our work or volunteering efforts.  Could we possibly influence so far ahead?  Are people from 100 years ago influencing us now?  Who might they be?

A couple of themes emerged:

The World at large, all the amazing progress in health, education, travel and people, like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mandela, St Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Family: what has come through family generations to our lives today?  Faith, family values, connection, adventure, managing challenge, tragedy, illness, immigration, family rituals and recipes, continued learning, caring for and service to others.

Also some serious challenges, e.g. addictions, angry behaviour to mention a few.

What is clear is that we are influenced by generations past and we will  influence generations to come.  That places responsibility as well as delightful possibilities into our lives now.  We can ask ourselves; what do we want to leave as our legacy to the future generations?  Our intentional gift could be  to work on some changes in our behaviour or attitudes, perhaps get some input into areas of tension or addiction?

Ongoing learning, our ability to decide to change, to look for help we need, can gives hope and good example to those we live with, and add to our positive legacy of influence.

Pope Francis says, ‘’It is much healthier to be realistic about our limits, defects and imperfections, and to respond to the call to grow together, to bring love to maturity and to strengthen the union, come what may.”

How we as a couple live now will have a profound and long lasting impact on our family that will flow on to future generations.

We think our life as a couple today and the choices we make will influence other people 100 years from now.

Clive & Kathy Jones, Co-ordinators Retrouvaille England and Wales

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