Say ‘I do’ to 3 New Year’s resolutions for couples

Matt and Mindy Dalton

Now that we all have lost five pounds since implementing better eating and a new workout routine, and started a new budget for the year (and this one we are going to stick to), we want to talk about some resolutions that could have a longer effect: on our soul.

Since the ultimate goal of marriage is to help your spouse (and children) get to heaven, we each must take steps toward this goal. We hear talk of “falling in love” and being “swept off our feet” when we each first met our spouse, but then the reality of life sets in and that’s where the phrase “labor of love” comes into play. We must make an effort each day to love our spouse; to honor, respect and die to ourselves for the sake of our beloved; the one we said “I do” to.

So here are a few suggestions of New Year’s resolutions for marriages.

#1: Make the commitment to greet your spouse with a hug and kiss every time the other arrives home (or at an event).
The power of a simple hug or kiss can go a long way—every day. Once, while waiting for our daughter’s high school volleyball match to start, we observed the men and women arrive at separate times; maybe the husband or wife came directly from work. The man would walk in, go sit with all the other dads, while the wife continued her conversation with a group of moms located a bit down the bleachers. If we were first-timers to this game, it would have been very difficult to tell which man and which woman were married; which two went together.

A simple moment of walking up to your spouse, with a hug and a greeting is a wonderful way to be united, a wonderful witness to others of your love!

#2: Let go of the one thing about your spouse that irritates you the most.
Maybe it’s the wet towel left on the bathroom floor, or flipping through channels without ever stopping to see what’s actually on TV, or some other annoying habit. Let go of the need to have the toilet paper roll with the paper put over versus under. Don’t worry if the drawers and cabinets are full of make-up, perfumes and the latest moisturizers. Take to heart that we all have a different way of doing things. Keep in mind that each of us has something that gets under the skin of our spouse.

What an opportunity to love, serve and make a gift of ourselves. Work on the virtues of kindness and humility. Pick up the towel and say a prayer for your spouse, make an effort to put the toilet paper roll on the way your spouse likes it (and do it without any expectation whatsoever). Consciously make the effort to not let these things bother you any longer—so help you God.

#3: Pray together as a couple.
This may be the most important and most fruitful of your New Year’s resolutions. Couples that pray together stay together. Invite God into your marriage and into your family. Start each day with a morning offering and end each evening praying as a couple. Most of us would say, “We pray as a family, we say grace before meals.” That’s good but there’s more. Spiritually connecting as spouses brings about a closeness, a peace and a love that is set apart, in a word—HOLY.

COMING UP: ‘Do you love me?’: This question central to newly ordained’s priesthood, Archbishop says

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During his homily at the May 19 priest ordination, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila told the five new priests that Jesus is asking them again: “Do you love me?” The archbishop referred to the Gospel in which the risen Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him, as a reparation for the three times he denied it before being crucified.

The ordination took place at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver. The five new priests are Fathers Angel Perez-Brown, Roberto Rodríguez, and Tomislav Tomic, who all received their formation at Redemptoris Missionary Mater in Denver, and Fathers Darrick Leier and Shannon Thurman, who studied at St. John XXIII seminary in Boston. This seminary provides training to those seminarians who discover their vocation at an advanced age. Curiously, none of the new priests come from the Saint John Vianney seminary, and the average age of the five men ordained is 41 years.

Heart formation

Archbishop Aquila highlighted the importance of intellectual formation and indicated that it should go hand in hand with “the formation of the heart and the spiritual formation” and urged them to follow in the example of Saint John Vianney who, though lacking in great intellectual gifts, was a “humble man” and whose only wish was “the salvation of souls.”

From left to right: Father Darrick Leier, Father Tomislav Tomic, Father Angel Perez-Lopez, Father Shannon Thurman, Father Roberto Rodriguez. (Photo by Andrew Wright)

“The heart of every priest must be the love of Jesus Christ,” he said to them.

Archbishop Aquila also exhorted them, paraphrasing Pope Francis, to “go into the peripheries of the world […] of the lives of so many who have abandoned Jesus Christ, who do not know the good news. Even among families and friends there are those in the peripheries who still don’t know Jesus Christ”.

Later, he reminded them that their ministry does not consist in announcing themselves: “we are called to serve Jesus and to serve the Church to lay down our lives as Jesus has laid down his life, and to go wherever we are called to serve Christ.” He also pointed out that the image of Jesus, the good shepherd, “must be your model and is the model for the priesthood.”

The new priests lie prostrate before the altar during their ordination ceremony on May 19. (Photo by Andrew Wright)

And as a model of love and perseverance, the archbishop invited them to look at those couples who have been married for 50 or 60 years and compared their love to “the same type of love that would enable you to feed the lambs, tend the sheep, and serve as Christ served,” he said. He told them that every time they’ll celebrate Mass “is the same sacrifice that Christ offers on the cross”, and there is where “the joy of the Gospel” is found.

Hundreds of faithful congregated in the Cathedral to witness these ordinations. The cultural diversity present was a sign of the universality of the Church. There was a large delegation from Santo Domingo and several from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as hundreds of local people who accompanied these five new priests. Archbishop asked from them, once again quoting Pope Francis, that they be shepherds “to smell like the sheep,” so they can “accompany them, shearing with them, going out with them and always using Jesus as your model.”

Featured image by Anya Semenoff