Youth section بخش جوانان
Preparing for Marriage
10 Tools for the Journey
Marriage is a big issue in our culture today. There are widespread and varying reports of divorce statistics. The Barna Group, which studies religious groups, says that about three fourths of married Catholics stay married, and that about a fourth has been divorced.
Indeed, how couples learn to dialogue and relate is what marriage is all about—from its romantic beginnings to its difficult ending, when a spouse passes away.
We all know that, as a wedding couple prepares to approach the altar, they bring with them all the hopes, dreams, common sense, intelligence, courage, confidence and goodwill that brought them together in the first place. But, in almost all cases, they also bring some baggage that will be a factor, throughout their lives. In this Update we’ll take a look at some of the big issues that any couple considering marriage should be thinking about.
Good marriage preparation challenges couples to begin looking at and exploring together the feelings, values and ideas they cherish. These will shape the way they make lifetime decisions. A lifetime of love will continue to uncover the good and raw stuff of a man and woman’s characters. Yet, we know a lot in advance about what makes marriages work.
Couples can better prepare themselves for the changes in marriage by looking hard and honestly at a number of key issues. In what follows, I’d like to offer 10 areas about which the happiest couples communicate often. The first one, of course, is the most obvious.
1. Work on good communication.
Ask any married couple. They’ll tell you how making a real effort to talk about and work through everyday concerns is crucial to their stability and sanity. It also builds the trust, courage and skills that ground the spirit of love. It’s challenging some days to convince ourselves that we have these skills.
Being able to talk over everything with your spouse (or future spouse) makes for a vital relationship. It doesn’t matter whether the subject matter is a concern about how a family member really upsets you or even if it is about that annoying mannerism of your fiancée. By talking it out regularly, and patiently, you develop skills and trust to tackle more major issues that may arise.
Often our nonverbal cues (our “body language” and voice tone) tell each other the real story about our mood. Sometimes a spouse may have trouble letting you finish a sentence. Learn how to read each other’s nonverbal. On the other hand, when you need to talk, make sure that you tell your spouse. He or she can’t just guess when you need to talk.
If there is too much conflict, or if you go wildly out of control when you talk to your future spouse, perhaps it might be time to seek help with a member of the clergy or a therapist to discuss your concerns.
2. Learn how to fight fair.
Do you as a couple resolves issues well? Most married couples have a few standard ongoing fights—perhaps five or so themes. They might include children, sex (or the lack of it), finances, in-laws and hurt feelings. Every couple’s list might be slightly different, yet there are some similarities as well. Perhaps you have already figured out what five fights you will have over the lifetime of a marriage. Jot them down—on the margin right here. Now, try to figure out what you can do differently in your responses to help things go more constructively.
Have you already found out that your future spouse is a night owl and you are an early morning lark? Or vice versa? This difference can even affect your ability to have a spirited discussion well.
Figuring out the best time of the day to talk is very helpful. If a heated conflict should happen during the day, it is also important that you have agreed in principle (and in practice) not to go to bed before resolving the concern.
3. Be prepared to accept change.
It’s a mantra in our society: Life sweeps past you, changing all the time. If you want the job, you might have to learn new technology. Marriage is similar. Talking with a 50-year-married couple will convince you of this. The average age for marrying in our society is around 26, so there is a lot of time for surprise and change for married couples.
Openness to trying out new things is important. It can range from going out to a new restaurant to switching parenting roles. Watching people grow in a relationship can be exciting. You’ve already changed some because of this new relationship.
Sometimes changes are beyond our control. We don’t ask for them. Perhaps it is a job loss with a required relocation to a new town or maybe children with disabilities demanding your undivided attention. We might also be overwhelmed by our work, a new career, or the changes in roles in our relationships. Whatever these changes are, coping with them well is important. Seeking feedback from family and friends on how you’re handling change can help.
4. Learn to accept your in-laws.
Over your lifetime chances are slim that your future spouse’s family will move in with you. But their presence is just as real in their influence. They are the people who have shaped and formed the one with whom you will spend your life. Do you like your future in-laws? Can you imagine loving them? How do they compare with your own family? Whether they are quiet or loud, touchy-feely/hugs-and-kisses or more subdued, your future spouse has been strongly shaped by his or her family.
Sometimes your future spouse will have very similar personality traits that you have observed in his or her family members. Can you live with these qualities or traits or do they upset you? When we are deeply in love we can occasionally overlook how strong the past influences of our family can come to be in our relationship. Patience and understanding, as well as honesty, are important.
5. Discuss your goals about children.
Hopefully, by now you have had some conversation about the number of children you want and when you want to start your family. Do you want a large or small family? How do you want to parent these children? If you haven’t had this conversation, start talking. What qualities from your future spouse might you want to see in your own children? Children are an exciting part of a marriage, but they are demanding and draining.
You need to decide early, ideally before marriage, how your children will be raised in your religious faith, especially if your partner is of another faith tradition
Perhaps one or both of you bring children to the marriage. How are they adjusting to their future stepparent, and how is your future spouse adjusting to them? Hopefully there is a comfort level with them and a genuine acceptance on your future spouse’s part. It’s also consoling to see the grandparents, on both sides, accepting these children.
6. Explore together the goals of your journey.
The fun is in the journey. Your marriage and family life will often take many turns and curves. At times it will feel as if you’ve been on the biggest roller coaster in the country. This journey of lifetime marriage has no guarantees! The vows we take also include “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.” Talking about your hopes and dreams as a couple is a vital part of any new relationship. Have you sketched them out on a small napkin, sent them via an e-mail card, or have you sat down and talked, talked, talked? It’s surprising what you can learn from talking things over honestly.
A major management guru, Peter Drucker, once posed the question: What do you want to be remembered for? Sharing your answer to this question might help you get a view of the road ahead of you as a married couple. Those lofty goals form a framework where the more practical goals must also be worked out.
Finances are a major sticking point for most couples: Our financial desires are often unstated and a driving force in our individual behavior. Talking frankly and regularly about financial goals is a crucial part of a healthy marriage.
What types of jobs or careers do you all envision for yourselves? Some have dreams of making a lot of money and retiring early; others see themselves working for the sake of work. There are also various approaches to sharing the responsibilities of child-rearing and housekeeping and home maintenance—and these will be deeply important in your marriage. Most people have some assumptions about the “right” answer. Among the many possibilities, it will help to talk about these goals—both lofty and practical—early and often.
7. Don’t let questionable values shape your marriage
Today, maybe more than ever, marriage takes an act of faith. Think about the society that you live within. Doomsayers are suggesting that marriage, as an institution, won’t be around in 20 years. People of faith, of course, don’t buy that! Yet, too many of us have not experienced healthy role models of marriage, whether in our families or beyond.
In your family you may or may not have seen a happy marriage. All of us have said at times that we’re going to do it differently from our own parents or siblings’ marriages. What’s going to make the difference?
Our Church provides us with a vision of marriage that is countercultural. Our Tradition challenges us to live out a life in a marriage that is permanent, faithful and faith-filled, as well as being open to children and life-giving love. Have you considered using Natural Family Planning rather than other forms of family planning? This approach, sanctioned by the Church, provides a way to cooperate with a woman’s natural fertility cycles in order to time pregnancies. (You can find more information from the Couple-to-Couple League, www.ccli.org).
Openness to new life is essential for a Catholic marriage. That should be something which both of you agree upon readily.
8. Make your marriage intimate.
Being intimate—now that can be lots of fun, you say. It’s fun to laugh and play together and enjoy each other’s company. It’s great to be romantic. An increasing number of couples even opt to dive right into a marriage-like relationship—living together before they’re married. If you’re cohabiting, are you willing to stop being sexually intimate before marriage as a sign of your true love for each other?
If you’re living together now, what will be different after you get married? Will you share your finances together? After you say “I do,” what makes you a married couple, not just a couple living together as roommates? Now that’s countercultural!
But there’s much more to intimacy than sleeping together. Sharing feelings, conflicts, crisis, faith, beauty of nature, working together, sex and romance, talking about ideas that matter to us, the many ways we have fun together—these all are a part of being married. Each of them provides a path toward intimacy.
Select and discuss with your beloved three forms of intimacy that you see present in your relationship now. Then select three that aren’t as important now. Talk about how you can develop these areas in your relationship. Make a plan to act on some of your ideas that you gain from this conversation. Caution: some couples use sex to resolve conflicts, to bypass the work of developing friendship. Sexual intimacy can be a wonderful form of communication, but it also can leave problems unresolved.
9. Learn to deal with land mines.
Better safe than sorry! Talking about the past can sometime be difficult. Perhaps prior boyfriends or girlfriends have created problems for you, or there may be unresolved concerns or issues with family members. Stepping around the land mines doesn’t mean ignoring the obvious roadblocks in your path—they need to be dealt with at some point.
There might even be some unspoken concerns about past relationships or a previous pregnancy loss. Perhaps friends or family take a higher priority than your relationship. Perhaps a spouse is bringing unresolved debts (college or other loans) into the marriage. It’s crucial to get these out on the table and discuss viable solutions that meet both partners’ needs.
The possibility of unacknowledged addictions in yourself or your intended is another land mine, unfortunately a common one. If your spouse or intended spouse overindulges in alcohol or uses illegal drugs, start educating yourself on appropriate limits. If either of you has ever been arrested for driving under intoxication, or if someone you are friends with is concerned about excessive drinking, it’s wise to make an honest assessment of alcohol use. It’s easy to be in denial and not even realize it. What we do know is that if there is a problem today, it won’t go away with marriage.
Then there are the lesser-known addictions just as destructive. Too much time on the Internet, too much money spent at the off-track-betting center, an obsession with pornography: All are signs of a problem. More accepted by society is an obsession with work. If any of these things is negatively affecting your time together, you should name the problem and start talking it over. One of you might even need the help of a counselor to help sort things out.
Avoidance and denial of real questions and real issues kills intimacy, trust and goodwill.
10. Make God central to your journey.
The first time you told your future spouse that you loved him or she was wonderful, and also risky. Today, can you tell your future spouse that you love him or her unconditionally—without reservation? God’s love for us is also unconditional—the example to us of how our love should be.
Indeed, openness to God working in our lives makes all the difference. Acknowledging and sharing that God is in the middle of your lives; guiding you in the big and small changes, makes a marriage. Feeling God’s presence in your daily lives can be very reassuring. On the other hand, sometimes it is hard to accept that God’s ways are not always our ways. In either case, God’s grace is a key ingredient in your finding happiness together.
Couples need to find ways to share faith and beliefs with each other, whether or not they follow all the same rituals.
At the beginning it’s awesome—willingly and publicly standing up and telling everyone in the congregation on your wedding day that today is only the beginning of a lifetime of loving and that your love is unconditional. Now that’s faith, hope and love in action.
But that’s only the beginning of your journey along God’s way. Expression of your faith will bind you together as disciples journeying together along the way. These expressions can be as simple as praying together before meals or taking time to stand in wonder before God’s creation on a walk or on vacation. They can be a routine involvement in the worship and activities of your local parish. Those moments along the way are even more profound in life’s “miracle moments” of birth, of sickness and recovery or even of death.
These are the “good times and bad, the sickness and health” that you pledge to each other. In all of those moments, God is with you along the way, awaiting your invitation and openness. Your openness and commitment to each other are indeed signs of God-with-us, the fullness of your marriage sacrament
A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people were in and out of the cold,
The little boy was so cold that he wasn't trying to sell many papers.
He walked up to a policeman and said,
- "Mister, you wouldn't happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would you ?
- You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and its awful cold in there for tonight. Sure would be nice to have a warm place to stay."
- The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, “You go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door. When they come out the door you just say John 3:16 and they will let you in."
- So he did. He walked up the steps and knocked on the door, and a lady answered. He looked up and said, "John 3:16."
- The lady said, "Come on in, Son."
She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off. The boy sat there for a while and thought to himself:
John 3:16...I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm.
Later she came back and asked him
-"Are you hungry? "
He said, "Well, just a little. I haven't eaten in a couple of days, and I guess I could stand a little bit of food,"
The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn't eat any more. Then he thought to himself:
John 3:16 ....Boy, I sure don't understand it but it sure makes a hungry boy full.
She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub filled with warm water, and he sat there and soaked for a while. As he soaked, he thought to himself:
John 3:16 ... I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean. You know, I've not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.
The lady came in and got him. She took him to a room, tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights. As he lay in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night,
he thought to himself: John 3:16 ...I don’t understand it but
it sure makes a tired boy rested.
The next morning the lady came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food. After he ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible.
She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face.
- "Do you understand John 3:16?" she asked gently. He replied,
- "No, Ma'am, I don't. The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it,"
She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain to him about Jesus. Right there, in front of that big old fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there and thought: John 3:16 -- don’t understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.
- You know, I have to confess I don't understand it either how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don't understand the agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched Jesus suffer and die. I don't understand the intense love for ME that kept Jesus on the cross till the end.
- I don't understand it, but it sure does make life worth living. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
If you aren't ashamed to do this, please follow the directions. Jesus said, "If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father." Pass this on only if you mean it.
I do Love God He is my source of existence. He keeps me functioning each and every day. Phil 4:13 If you love God and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things he has done for you, send this on.
Take 60 seconds & give this a shot! Let's just see if Satan stops this one.
All you do is:
1) simply say a small prayer for the person who sent you this, "Father, God bless this person in whatever it is that you know he may be in needing this day!”
2) Then send it on to ten other people.
Within hours ten people have prayed for you, and you caused a multitude of people to pray to God for other people. Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life for doing the thing that you know He loves. The love of Jesus Christ & the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
God bless & enjoy the day.
Let’s Our Gracious Jesus Bless our Beloved Youth
We know for certain that a good, God-loving childhood, based on Christian ideology, is crucially important, but it is strange that we rarely hear about such philosophy as providing an answer to the many questions as why the youth aren’t attend to church? Regretfully this unpleasant heedlessness among youth has come about and is indeed growing.
What kind of spiritual environment have we created? We must ask ourselves this hard question, and we must look at the failings, or sins, which may have led us to these sad circumstances!
The Catholic Church is one body, but what role are we, its members, playing in the life of the world that surrounds us? Are we responding with neglect to the issue the youth of our beloved community?
It is also critically important to ask the question, how often are we going to Church? The young should join their parents, and the parents join their children, in going to Church frequently, and often as the Church calls us all too humbly pray. Every young person should go to Church and allow Christ Our Lord to be a part of their lives. The lives of the saints and the martyrs of the Church also, are spiritual guides for all to follow.
We must humbly remind you too, that the first church is in the home - what the holy Apostle Paul calls "kat-eikon-ekklesia" - that is the first, the adjacent church to us. We must ask, do we provide spiritual sustenance not only to our own families who are Catholic Christians, but also provide an example to all young people? Christ is the answer and, we self-confidently say, the only answer to these questions. Now we have the true meaning of life in Christ Our Lord and true God! The world around us answers the question "what is the meaning of life", with "nothing". As members of the Church we answer the question with - "Christ!"
We have the required youth programs at our local parish, and on a diocesan level. But are these programs enough? We must have further discussions with each other, in a true loving Christian manner, as to how we can help, seeking the explanation of Christ our God, Who cares for all His children.
We, as Catholic faithful, should be able to give plan to young people, who need to fully realize that every individual being on this earth is indeed precious to Our Lord God, and they must attend church, practice the religion, participate in the youth group to learn more about Christianity through the bible study and group discussions
Encouraging Youth who articulate interest in a priest
Encourage the young children who articulate an interest in religious life. How do you reach out to young children who consider becoming a priest a goal? If there’s a young child out there who would consider it, then how does a parent help aspire that child?
How can parents and adults today encourage children to be open to religious life if they are repeatedly given images from society that show religious in stereotypical and false ways? And if reliious aren’t visible like it used to be, how can religious making a real impression — visible or otherwise?
The Church and religious are needed to be proactive about educating Catholics about the beauty and diversity of religious life. Too often we get stuck in Catholic language and go on and on about “vocations to the priesthood and religious life” but never really put that in ordinary language that people can recognize themselves in. Never once was struck by a vocation talk at parish — inspired by the good work of religious, clerics, and missionaries, Yes; but able to relate it to own life, No. Then again, the stage and classroom are not the only places to talk about sacred life. The best of course is to interact in a real way with religious and folks living other vocations.
Young children should always be encouraged to consider all kinds of possibilities for life. If they want to “play priest”, help them to do it and understand how priests serve God and God’s people. We are not talking formal vocation talks to little ones, but to encourage their imagination to embrace all different sorts of ways of living their faith, of being of service to others. Parents do this in all sorts of ways by how they live their own life and model such behavior. If children have direct interest in religious brothers, deacons, priests, etc. then we’d suggest setting up a time when kids can interact with them, talk to them, anything to help the child know a real person who has given their lives to that vocation.
Decades of research indicate that a higher level of religious participation is related with a reduced possibility of addiction alcohol or drugs. The affiliation between religious practice and the avoidance or moderate use of alcohol is well documented, whether or not denominational doctrine specifically prohibits the use of alcohol.
Youth shows lower rates of alcohol abuse the more frequently they engage in religious activities. For youth, higher levels of religious practice by their mothers are relatd to considerably lower rates of alcohol abuse, even after controlling for religious denomination .
Drug addiction is just as with alcohol, religious practice has for some time predicted significant reduction of substance abuse. In a complete review of the academic literature on religion and substance abuse, many academic researchers reported that, in the enormous majority of studies, participation in religious activities was related with less drug abuse. Even in cases in which individuals used drugs, the more religious were less likely to develop long-term problems. All of the factors related to a reduce in drug use—good family relations, doing well in school, having friends who do not use drugs, and having anti-drug attitudes—had an even more powerful avoidance effect when teenagers were also religious. The more dangerous the drug, the more religious practice prevents its use.
Just as religious practice and belief prevent drug abuse, religion also has a positive effect in the treatment of drug addiction. A seven-year follow-up study of Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug addiction program, found that the program’s graduates had significantly changed their behavior, in compare to those who had dropped out. Another educational study also found that Teen Challenge participants were more likely to remain serious and to maintain employment than were peers in control groups.
Source: The Heritage Foundation
How to encourage your teen in their Christian faith
The most important step to helping your teen get on fire for Christ is to represent
Christ in your own life. Live by example.
Pray with your teen and encourage them to pray on their own.
When you are praying with your teen, pray about your own shortcomings as well as theirs. Let them know that you struggle with things too.
Share the things that you are in need of so that your teen can pray for you. This helps them to see who God truly is wen their prayers are answered.
Let them be themselves!
Sometimes as Christian parents we are stuck in tradition. We are stuck in traditional mode when it comes to the appearance and dress code of a Christian.
God tells us to come as we are. The Bible says that God does not look on outward appearance like man does, but God looks upon the heart. Look to see where your child's heart is.
Once the heart is right the proper clothes will follow. The change needs to come from within before it can change the outward.
Teenagers need to feel accepted not only by piers and friends but also by God. By encouraging your teen in their walk with the Lord instead of criticizing them, then you are drawing them closer to God.
Church is an important part of the Christian walk but it is not the primary responsibility of the believer. The primary responsibility of the believer is to build the kingdom of God. Your child will be more effective at kingdom building if you allow them to be themselves.
Make church a required part of your family routine. But, encourage your teen to attend youth group and Bible study. They will go more willingly if it's an option instead of a requirement.
Youth draw in youth and youth evangelize youth. By encouraging your teen to willingly walk with God they will enjoy being a Christian and their light will draw others teens to Christ.
Instead of telling their friends that they cannot hang out because they have to go to youth group they will be encouraging their friends to come out to youth group with them.
Let your teen praise God their way.
Christian music has changed over the years. But so have Christians.
Music ministers to the soul. Certain songs have a way of touching our very soul and lead us into a deeper worship with the Lord. Some Christians worship the Lord through hymns, some through gospel etc...
Whatever type of Christian music that your teen enjoys listening to I encourage you to let them listen to it. You may not agree with it because it does not minister to you or because it is not the traditional hymns that you are accustomed to but your teen knows exactly how they best connect to God.
We live in a fast paced world that is ever changing. We also live in a world that caters to the youth. The music industry, clothing industry, movie industry and every other industry in the world revolves around today's youth. This is because their enemy (Satan) wants to seduce them any way that he can. If you do not let your young person be who they want to be in Christ the devil will be right there tempting them to be who they want to be in the world.
They will find their place in this world. Where they are accepted? Where they can be themselves? The Bible says "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6) It all starts with you!
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