As Catholics, we celebrate marriage as one of the seven sacraments — the covenant between husband, wife, and God. Strong Catholic marriages lead to strong families and children who are faithful. In turn, the Church is made up of faithful families who pass on the faith to their children. In the day-to-day busyness, however, marriage is often the first thing to be neglected. Deacon J Thomas and his wife, Kelsie, are bringing back a workshop for married couples that they attended in the diocese over 12 years ago.
“Our culture and society offers us a lot of opportunity to do continuing education, but there aren’t many choices for married couples to enrich their marriage by learning new skills or virtues,” Deacon Thomas says.
Let’s Talk will run on four Tuesdays in January, beginning on Jan. 9. The workshop will cover a variety of communication skills and methods for married couples. Led by Deacon Thomas and Kelsie, who will share their own experiences with these skills in their 25-year marriage with five children the workshop will also provide couples a chance to practice the skills together. An example of the methods covered is the speaker-listener technique. Couples will practice listening while their spouse talks, then paraphrase what is said back to them.
“This technique teaches that you need to stop, listen well, not interrupt, and not think about what you will say next,” Kelsie says.
The program is focused on giving couples time to work on the skills together. Participants will be spending time with their spouse, but won’t be asked to share anything in a group that they aren’t comfortable with.
“People can get nervous about things like this, wondering if they’re going to have to share their struggles or issues,” Kelsie says. “But it’s really focused on the couple and individualized. If nothing else, you’re getting 12 hours of really focused attention and quality time with your spouse. You don’t get that very often.”
Let’s Talk can benefit every married couple, whether they are newlyweds or have decades of marriage together under their belt.
“We had probably been married for eight to 10 years when we did it,” Kelsie says. “We honestly thought we didn’t have communication issues, but we learned so much.”
Improving communication has a snowball effect on the whole family. Demonstrating those skills passes them on to your children.
“If a husband and wife have ordered their lives well towards each other first and communicate well, it is the seed of peace and tranquility in the family,” Deacon Thomas says. “It flows into every aspect of life.”
Putting work into your marriage is good for you, your spouse, and your family, but it is about more than having peace in your daily life.
“Marriage for each one of us is our path to heaven,” Deacon Thomas says. “The path to heaven is not easy — it takes effort but it’s worth it. We live in a throwaway culture that treats marriage the same way, but God gave you this person to get you to heaven.”
Registration for Let’s Talk is open. The cost is $75 which includes childcare and materials.
Parishioners may register for Let’s Talk through Flocknote or the parish office at 918-582 6247.