Marriage matters: Three verbs to strengthen your marriage

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Steve and Bridget Patton hold master’s degrees in theology and counseling and serve as family life ministers for the Diocese of Sacramento.

Calamities can bring out the best and the worst in a marriage. Our routines can serve us well by keeping our lives predictable and peaceful, but they can also shield us from seeing and more fully embracing the whole of each other, warts and all. So try to view this disruption to our routines as an opportunity to grow in love.

For starters, keep in mind it’s only human to get on one another’s nerves whenever we’re forced to stay cooped up inside together. Now, as always, “be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Eph 4:2) But don’t stop there.

Trust that God is in the plan even when life’s wrecking balls come smashing in. “Do not be alarmed when disaster comes … As gold is tested in the fire, so are we in the furnace of humiliation.” (Ecc 2: 2-5)

Here are three verbs to help transform this calamity of forced intimacy into a purifying furnace:

Accept. I have unique needs and limitations, and so does my spouse. This means I should not expect my spouse to fully understand, let alone meet, all my needs. So, my spouse may need more time alone than I do, and I must respect and support that. Likewise, my spouse may need more socializing than I do, and I must respect and support that.

Adjust. Even if we have differing needs and limitations, we are still called to suffer well for one another. So if I think I need 14 hours a day of “me time,” could I maybe shoot for 13? If I’m on the other end of this spectrum, could I likewise adjust, maybe by connecting with friends at online meeting spaces?

Pray. If you are sacramentally married, you have God at the heart of your marriage, waiting there to help you grow in sacrificial love for one another. If that sounds hollow and unreal, give this a try. During all these hours of forced togetherness, set aside just a few minutes each day to sit together before God. Light a candle, and say, “God, help us to better appreciate, support and be patient with each other.” Sit there quietly for five minutes afterward, and then blow out the candle.

COMING UP: Lebanese priest: ‘We need your prayers’ after Beirut explosions

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A Lebanese Catholic priest has asked believers around the world to pray for the people of his country, after two explosions in Beirut injured hundreds of people and are reported to have left at least 10 people dead.

“We ask your nation to carry Lebanon in its hearts at this difficult stage and we place great trust in you and in your prayers, and that the Lord will protect Lebanon from evil through your prayers,” Fr. Miled el-Skayyem of the Chapel of St. John Paul II in Keserwan, Lebanon, said in a statement to EWTN News Aug. 4.

“We are currently going through a difficult phase in Lebanon, as you can see on TV and on the news,” the priest added.

Raymond Nader, a Maronite Catholic living in Lebanon, echoed the priest’s call.

“I just ask for prayers now from everyone around the world. We badly need prayers,” Nader told CNA Tuesday.

Explosions in the port area of Lebanon’s capital overturned cars, shattered windows, set fires, and damaged buildings across Beirut, a city of more than 350,000, with a metro area of more than 2 million people.

“It was a huge disaster over here and the whole city was almost ruined because of this explosion and they’re saying it’s kind of a combination of elements that made this explosion,” Antoine Tannous, a Lebanese journalist, told CNA Tuesday.

Officials have not yet determined the cause of the explosions, but investigators believe they may have started with a fire in a warehouse that stored explosive materials. Lebanon’s security service warned against speculations of terrorism before investigators could assess the situation.

According to Lebanon’s state-run media, hundreds of injured people have flooded hospital emergency rooms in the city.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has declared that Wednesday will be a national day of mourning. The country is almost evenly divided between Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, and Chrsitians, most of whom are Maronite Catholics. Lebanon also has a small Jewish population, as well as Druze and other religious communities.

Featured image: A picture shows the scene of an explosion near the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. – Two huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut, wounding dozens of people, shaking buildings and sending huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble, some bloodied, after the massive explosions, the cause of which was not immediately known. (Photo by STR / AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)