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

April 2022 reflection – Marriage Encounter

The Easter People

You may or may not have heard the phrase the Easter People. Who are the Easter People?

We are the Easter People and hallelujah is our song.” Pope John Paul II.

If Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up. If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a person, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with colour and perfume and in due course bearing fruit.

Here are five ways to live out the hope of the resurrection, even when our cross seems too much to bear.

Cling to the people who love you. When times get tough, we tend to withdraw into ourselves. We think we should stand alone when we really need someone to lean on. When we have come through the darkness then we realize that others were there urging us on.

Remember who you are. There are precious things about us that are beautiful and unique because we are created in the image of God. This should be a source of joy and redemption for anyone walking a difficult road.

Do not wait for the other shoe to drop. When things are good, celebrate them. When life is blissfully boring, celebrate it. When trouble finds you again, at least you are not treating it as though it had never left.

Bring joy to the world. Convert our happiness into joy for others. Share hope outwardly and lift up those around us who need it.

Breathe in the Holy Spirit. After Jesus’ resurrection, he returns to his disciples, and their mission (and ours) takes on another dimension: evangelization.

That is what being an Easter People is all about. Living in the example of Jesus, every day for everyone.

Marriage Encounter

March 2022 reflection – Teams of Our Lady

Detox and Refresh your relationship this Lent

Lent gives us an opportunity to open ourselves, to be renewed for the most powerful of feasts; the resurrection on Easter Day

Detoxes sound great – a sort of internal shower! Refreshing and renewing, and then ready to face anything. Looking up the NHS view of detox diets, we found a summary including “marketing myth, sounding like a fabulous great concept, wild and exaggerated claims …. better to stick to sound nutrition”

What of our relationship with each other, with our community and with the Lord? What fabulous concept could we use to improve our relationship with each other?

Like all improvements in any aspect of life, improvements need a focus, a determination and a plan. As couples, if we want this, we can sit down with each other, ask what we would like to improve, or to ‘detox’ in our lives. We would then sit-down, dialogue and decide together how we will find excellent nutrition for our relationship and our souls this Lent.

When we married 42 years ago, we were introduced, by another couple in Teams to the “spiritual triangle” – with Man and Woman on two points and God on the third; and with this model that when we move closer to each other along the sides we also get closer to God – and similarly as we get closer to God we get closer to each other.

St John says “God is Love” – and so as we really get closer to Love – and His truth – about him, about ourselves and about each other, we grow God’s Love between us in a special way. How fabulous it would be to be able to shout about this claim … that we have grown closer, ready for the Church’s most important feast at Easter.

So what’s the sound nutrition of Lent….. the three regular practices of Lent that we aim to maintain in a more sincere way during our 40 days are Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. (and don’t take any notice of people who say Sunday’s don’t count for our Lenten efforts) So to with our special relationship with our partner, could we try three Lenten practices

  1. Communicate with each other more …double up the weekly date-nights (or date- hours)
  2. Be the fastest to apologise to your partner for misunderstanding and being blunt
  3. Give help….speak to another (couple) about your Lenten relationship endeavour

Annette and Paul O’Beirne, Teams of Our Lady

Feb 2022 bi-monthly reflection – Retrouvaille 

Love Is A Decision

Many books and films portray romantic love – a couple meet, they feel attracted to, and have affection for, each other – they fall in love and live happily ever after. However, in the real world, the initial attraction is not the end of the story – we must decide to love every day because love is a decision. When we first heard this, it was quite a revelation – love is a decision which means that it is not an abstract noun but a verb, something active that we need to choose.

The decision to love is needed in the small and the big things in life – it is there to be made for the good of your marriage and sometimes huge sacrifices need to be made. Asking for forgiveness, accepting and acting forgiven, affirming each other, doing an extra household chore, putting down the paper to turn and listen to my spouse … these are all decisions to love.

When we are on the receiving end of this decision, we feel loved, touched, valued, respected … it is the glow that is often felt when someone does something special for you.

This is Christian love. It is this love which will sustain our marriages and allow them to mature and deepen. It is not always easy. We need to take responsibility and ensure that our feelings do not control our behaviour and remember that love is something we do for the other’s good, not for ourselves. Love asks “What can I do for you?” rather than “What’s in it for me?” Love is an act of the will, a discipline we practice. Love is not limited to simply something we feel. Mature love is given unconditionally and this is the only kind of love that can help us change and grow and be sustained in the longer term.

Without love, human life is seriously incomplete. Love is the only present that, when we give it away, leaves us with even more to give.

Caroline & Michael, Co-ordinators Retrouvaille England

September 2021 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

May 2021 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

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