Together for Life Online Articles

Catholic Annulment

Catholic Annulment: Frequently Asked Questions

By | Catholic Weddings, Meaning of Marriage | 2 Comments

Fully grasping the Church’s teaching about marriage is complicated business. Understanding Catholic annulments can be even more so. Add to this rich, but complex teaching, the pain of divorce and often continuing timidity about entering a second marriage and many Catholics simply opt out of Church weddings the second time around. Here we offer sixteen frequently asked questions about Catholic annulments and brief responses by pastor and canon law expert Fr. Kevin E. McKenna  to help take away some of the mystery. 1. What is an annulment? An annulment, formally called “a declaration of nullity,” is an official declaration by the Roman Catholic Church that a marriage did not meet the requirements for validity. Validity means that the desired outcome (in this case, marriage) has actually taken place as recognized by the Church. Although to all outward appearances, a wedding was properly celebrated (the vows were recited before the priest…

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Summer Staycation Ideas for Couples

Nine Exciting Summer Staycation Ideas for Couples

By | Romance | No Comments

You’re newly married or still getting ready for that wedding. Money is tight. A real summer vacation seems to be out of the question. So, what do you do? Take a staycation instead! Sit down with your spouse or fiance and talk about some of these summer staycation ideas for couples. What is a staycation? Well, instead of going on a vacation somewhere else, you create your own vacation in the comfort of your own home or hometown. Everything is in driving distance, and at the end of the day you get to sleep in your own bed. Staycations can help you save money and live a more frugal lifestyle. So, schedule your staycation this summer! Take the days off work, but save on gas money. Take a look around and appreciate what you have. Schedule a staycation date with your significant other. Before reading the staycation ideas below, consider…

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Total Gift of Self

Sexual Intimacy: Becoming A Total Gift of Self

By | Meaning of Marriage, Sexual Intimacy and NFP | No Comments

Engaged couples give themselves to one another in countless ways. Sharing a schedule, prioritizing meals and other leisure time together, merging finances and developing a budget, planning the wedding, and preparing a new home are all ways in which an engaged couples give themselves to one another. When they could each be spending time with friends, they instead commit their time to their shared future. This is becoming a total gift of self is a great practice for the married life. Self-giving Love: A Total Gift of Self Sex is another one of those actions by which a husband and wife give themselves to one another completely. Sex differs from all other acts of love because God has created it to be a sharing of one’s entire self—body, mind, and spirit. As such, intercourse expresses not simply the love spouses have for one another, but also the sacramental union into which…

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Josh and Stacey Noem, Married Couple

The Gifts and Challenges of Practicing NFP

By | Sexual Intimacy and NFP | One Comment

We are pleased, once again, to welcome Josh and Stacey Noem as guests at Together for Life Online. Building on their brief introduction to Natural Family Planning, the Noems dive a little deeper, sharing the realities and the gifts that come with practicing NFP. When we were preparing to get married, we told our parents we would be practicing Natural Family Planning (NFP). Doubting the effectiveness of the method, Stacey’s mother made a good-natured, but serious bet with us that we would be pregnant within the first year—and the money that was on the line was not insignificant. Collecting on the bet was the icing on a very happy first year of marriage. We used the money for a mini-vacation on the beach in Florida and celebrated our anniversary in style. We began practicing NFP about six months before our marriage when we took classes and began to chart Stacey’s…

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Introduction to Natural Family Planning

What Everybody Ought to Know About Natural Family Planning

By | Family Life, Sexual Intimacy and NFP | No Comments

We are happy to welcome Josh and Stacey Noem as guests at Together for Life Online. Here they share a brief introduction to Natural Family Planning (NFP) based on their experience working with couples preparing for marriage. Working with couples in marriage preparation, we always get to the conversation about how the couple intends to plan their family. More often than not, the man goes silent and looks at the woman to see how she will respond. Kind of odd. It’s not as though women are capable of fertility alone. Quite the contrary, the gift of fertility in marriage, by its very nature, is shared. We can have no fertility without our spouses. It is not my fertility or your fertility. There is only our fertility. So, why should a man leave all of the planning about fertility to the woman? It is hard to blame the men. So much…

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Dr. Anthony Garascia

Free Webinar: Before They Do: Helping Couples Prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage

By | Marriage Preparation | No Comments

All marriage preparation coordinators and volunteers are invited to join Ave Maria Press for a webinar with tips on designing effective programs to prepare couples for the Sacrament of Matrimony. On Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 3:00pm EDT, Dr. Anthony Garascia will be the featured presenter in the ongoing Ave Maria Press Professional Development Webinar Series. In this Webinar, titled “Before They Do: Helping Couples Prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage,” Dr. Anthony Garascia will focus on how host couples or group sessions can help engaged couples prepare best for their marriage. Critical issues of communication and conflict resolution will be addressed, as well as suggestions on how to integrate the FOCCUS and Prepare-Enrich inventories into the marriage preparation. Sign up for the webinar today!   Dr. Garascia is the author of the marriage preparation book, Before “I Do”, published by Ave Maria Press. Before “I Do” helps engaged couples examine the…

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Tips for Effective Listening

Amaze Your Spouse with These 10 Tips for Effective Listening

By | Communication, Marriage Enrichment | No Comments

Not long ago we shared five obstacles to becoming an effective listener because good listening is an essential skill for a happy and long-lasting marriage. Authors Paul Donaghue and Mary Siegel give us ten rules of thumb for becoming a good listener in their book, Are You Really Listening?: Keys to Successful Communication. Read through the following ten tips for effective listening and choose just one to implement today and develop as a good communication habit. 10 Tips for Effective Listening Make a commitment to listen to this person at this moment. Do not act as though you are listening if your heart is not in it or if the time is not right for you to listen. If you want to listen but are not free to pay attention at the moment, say so, but add that you would like to listen later. For example: “I can’t give you my attention now,…

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Year of Faith Married Couples

10 Ways Married Couples Can Celebrate the Year of Faith

By | Marriage Enrichment, Spirituality | 2 Comments

As many of you know, we are now celebrating a Year of Faith in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There have been a lot of suggestions for what to do to celebrate the Year of Faith as a parish, but what can married couples do? Here are ten ways you can celebrate the Year of Faith with your spouse in 2012-2013: 1. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains a synthesis of the Catholic faith. The Catechism is broken up into four parts: the profession of faith, the sacraments, morality, and prayer. People tend to be a little intimidated when first picking it up, but the Catechism contains excellent descriptions of our faith. All too often we let the media and hearsay influence what…

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Financial Questions for Married Couples

Financial Questions and Answers for Engaged Couples

By | Finances, Marriage Preparation | 2 Comments

We were so thankful for Dan Lloyd’s article on the “Ten Financial Tips for Newlyweds” that we asked a few follow-up financial questions for engaged couples. Thanks to Dan and Catholic Financial Life for contributing!  1. What should engaged couples and newly married couples focus on first? Debt? Investing? Buying a house? A newly married couple’s focus will vary based on their financial goals and situation. Generally, achievement of one objective will lead to another. For example, if you do not have an established credit rating, you should focus on getting your debt under control. Once your debt is manageable, you will be able to focus on saving, which leads to the opportunity to purchase a home, invest for the future, or achieve other financial goals. 2. What is the best way to resolve conflicts and disagreements about financial matters? Your marriage partnership is also a financial partnership and it’s…

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