The Foundation of the Family and All of Society
If you want to be a great parent, you need to be an amazing spouse. This is where the grace for family life comes from – the sacrament of matrimony! But so often we forget this and couples spend most of their time and energy on their children because their needs are so urgent. But you can never forget that before you were mommy or daddy, you were a bride and a groom.
Every couple will have times in which love is a decision. In those moments we know it is not your love that sustains your marriage, but it is your marriage that sustains your love. We want to share with you relationship tools, stories from other couples, and give you opportunities to focus on your marriage to make it stronger. Having a vibrant marriage is not always easy, but it is worth it because your marriage matters!
Your Marriage is Always Important
What do we think is important for your marriage?
- Unity between couples is the essential element that makes all the difference. Without it, nothing works. With it, couples can conquer all the difficulties in the world.
- To grow together, you need to be intimate. Learn how to be unveiled with each other – emotionally, physically, and even spiritually.
- Communication is key. Making time to sit and talk with your spouse about important issues and learning how to listen are essential skills in marriage.
- Relationships are built with the material of time. Couples must create space in their lives for daily connections, weekly or monthly date night, and a yearly getaway without the children.
- When you entered into a covenant relationship with your spouse on your wedding day, God entered into your relationship in a permanent, intimate way. Turn to Him!
At the Messy Family Project, we give you the opportunity, tools, and inspiration to grow in love with each other. Take advantage of our downloads, date nights, courses, and our getaways to make your marriage all it can be not just for you, but for your children and even for all of society.
Podcasts on Marriage
MFP 262: Men, Women, and Marriage
“You are called to have great hearts here, counter-cultural and brave. You can build something better, freer, more generous, and nobler, beginning in your own home.” – Bishop Thomas Olmstead, Complete My Joy 59
Man and woman coming together to build a home is a natural experience that has happened over and over again since the creation of the world, but we need to keep learning about what marriage is for and how to nourish this essential communion. In this interview with Mike and Sharon Phelan we discuss how marriage can be transformational in the lives of men and women and a path to the true flourishing of the individual. The problems are coming from a culture that is lying to us and pointing us in all different directions. We discuss the concept of “submission” and “headship” as well as NFP – the good, the bad and the ugly. Join in this conversation and find wisdom from this Catholic couple.
Marriage is like ballroom dancing – without a leader, there is no dance.
Men need a mission! And that mission should be to enable their wives to be a mother who is strong, beautiful and free.
NFP unpacks the mystery of a woman’s body to her husband (and sometimes to herself!)
Following the Church’s teaching on marital sexuality changes us! Even if we don’t fully understand or agree, acting in a virtuous way promotes virtue.
How is does our marriage “dance” look right now? How can we do this better?
Are we in “awe” of our ability to bring children into the world? How does this effect our marital relations?
How can we learn more about the Church’s teaching on marriage and family?
Complete My Joy – apostolic exhortation written by Bishop Thomas Olmstead
MFP 260: Dare To Surrender – from Addiction to Freedom
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” – CS Lewis
Life can be hard. Sometimes, in response to difficulties, instead of turning to the Lord in our pain, we self-medicate which can lead to addictions of one kind or another which only leads to more pain in the long run. In this podcast, we hear the story of Ched and Nanette Salasek, Catholic parents of six children who have a story that every couple needs to hear. Even if you haven’t struggled with addiction, you can learn from the lessons that they share about the healing grace of the sacrament of marriage, the role of the Blessed Mother in their family, and surrendering everything to the Lord. Listen in to this inspiring and hopeful conversation.
The only path to freedom is through individual surrender. No one can do it for us.
The role of a spouse in helping an addict is one of support and prayer and constant surrender.
God doesn’t want just our external actions – He wants our hearts!
Are there areas of our life that we have not surrendered to God?
Do we have addictions in our life that are ruling us? Are there areas that are out of control?
How has God used our failings to draw us closer to Himself?
References to be included in summary:
Dare to Surrender Book – https://amzn.to/3QqlAOA
MFP 258: Seven Ways to Get More Out of Your Marriage
“The point is that neuroses don’t have to ruin a marriage. If you can accommodate each other’s “crazy” side and handle it with caring, affection, and respect, your marriage can thrive.” ― John M. Gottman
Many people are good at functioning in their marriage, getting along, caring for kids, paying the bills… but are they really thriving? How can we get more out of the most important relationship we have – the one we have with our spouse? In this podcast, we look at the book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, and explain how to use these ideas to make your marriage grow. Though the expression of these ideas are new to us, the truth contained in them is not. We have found that we have done many of these things in our marriage over the years! Listen in for some great relationship advice for anyone who wants to move from a marriage that is surviving to thriving.
Review 7 principles
How can we Honor each other
Start a Gratitude challenge
When is our Daily connection and weekly date night
Do the Family Board Meeting
MFP 247.5: Why You Need a Getaway with Chris and Natalie Stefanick.
We love hanging out with Chris and Natalie but in this interview, we found out something else we have in common. Both of us had honeymoons that were epic fails! Is the last time you got away, your honeymoon? Hear from all four of us as we talk about the first time that we got away as a married couple without our children and why we think it’s so important. Parents have a lot resting on their shoulders. Work, the busyness of family life and the strains of our world need to be relieved by taking time to get away from ordinary life to be reminded of who we are and our first priorities. Getting away has a price but the return is unbelievable! Listen in as we chat with Chris and Natalie Stefanick about the first time that they got away, some crazy failures on our honeymoon and how you can make the most of the time when you go away.
More information at catholiccouplesgetaway.com
MFP 247: Lessons from the School of Love: an Interview with Peter & Debbie Herbeck
“Christian marriage is the school of love, where despite the limits of our own love, we can discover Christ’s presence and power to teach us to love one another with the Love that never fails”
– Peter and Debbie Herbeck
When we offer date nights, we try to pick topics that are fun for couples but also useful and thought-provoking. That’s why we are so excited to share with you this interview we did on our June Date Night with Peter and Debbie Herbeck. They have been in ministry together most of their adult lives and are the authors of a book that expresses much of what we believe and teach on marriage: Lessons from the School of Love: Cultivating a Christ-centered Marriage.
Listen in to this conversation and hear from this wise and authentic couple. When Peter and Debbie married, they had the challenge of coming from two different faith backgrounds, two different family dynamics, plus the challenge of two very different personalities! You will hear how they tackled forgiveness, learned to be vulnerable, how they handled the differing roles of father and mother, and most of all, how they helped their children encounter Christ. You will love listening in to this conversation!
Lessons from the School of Love: Cultivating a Christ-centered Marriage: https://stpaulcenter.com/product/lessons-from-the-school-of-love-cultivating-a-christ-centered-marriage/
Join us for future Date Nights by getting on our mailing list here: messyfamilyproject.org
MFP 242: The Importance of Date Nights
“Do a date night! It’s cheaper than marriage counseling.”
This is an oldie but goodie podcast for you. We released this one way back in 2015 when we were just starting out but the content in it is something that even we need to be reminded of! When we have gotten into “slumps” in our marriage when we don’t feel like we are connecting, working together, or in sync with each other, that is when we need to take a look at our date nights. Are we spending intentional time together? Are we having fun together? Are we making room in our lives for our spouse? Listen in to this podcast where you will get some inspiration to not just get out of the house, but to also make your time together effective and impactful for your relationship.
- The Play and Pray Challenge – www.messyfamilyproject.org/challenge
- Date Night Herbecks – 6/15 – www.messyfamilyproject.org/programs/date-nights/
- Getaway – Early bird 6/30 – catholiccouplesgetaway.com
- Watch episode here: https://youtu.be/r6NACXjUaVs
Date Night with Mike and Alicia
When was your last date night? It’s vital to marriage to keep on dating your spouse, and our date nights make that easy, fun and inspiring. Put the kids to bed, set up the computer in your living room, light the candles, pour some wine, and log on for a virtual date night!