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New home date night series for couples aims to strengthen marriages during lockdown

MARRIAGE
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A new program promoted by the USCCB helps couples build tools for communication, prayer, and joy in their married life.

Among the many casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps the most unexpected has been marriages around the world: China has seen a 25% surge in divorce rates since lockdown ended. Faced with the exceptional stressors of this time, and with no respite from being around each other constantly, many relationships have buckled under the strain.

This divorce crisis, like the pandemic itself, is projected to sweep around the world—but the Catholic Church is working to protect and strengthen marriages. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is promoting Be Light: A Marriage Renewal Date Night Series, a robust and thoughtfully planned program to help couples renew their relationships in this time of crisis.

The five-part series, designed for couples who want to use the challenge of social distancing to grow closer to each other and build relationships with other couples, launches this Sunday, April 26, and is easy to do at home. Each night includes a 12-minute video followed by three questions for discussion, and optional supplemental reading suggestions. In less than 30 minutes per night, couples can be proactive in building their bond, and have fun doing it.

Each part in the series covers one of the following topics:

  • Belonging
  • Believing
  • Becoming
  • Beatitude
  • Be Light

Is your marriage feeling more difficult right now?

Couples who are arguing more than usual and having a hard time need to know that this is common and nothing to be ashamed of. With so many unusual challenges at this time, many of us are short on patience, and it’s a rare couple who doesn’t struggle at least a little bit.

“You’re not alone in your struggles,” says organizer Sarah Schimpf. “There are other couples out there struggling like you are. It’s okay to recognize that and say it out loud. The devil wants you to think you’re the only one going through this and you’re all alone. But there’s a whole community out there going through this, and we’re just waiting to help.”

The organizers have included a great community feature: Regional coordinators connect couples to others in their area doing the program, offering the option to video call with each other and hopefully meet up after lockdown ends. Couples are also encouraged to invite friends to join them for the series.

Here’s some further details about the program:

  • The series launches on Sunday April 26th and continues for 5 nights (April 26-30). Each date night will be available after 7pm CST.
  • You are encouraged to “attend” this virtual date night with couples you are friends with and discuss the follow up questions with them each night.
  • Topics that will be explored include: belonging, expectations, the need for community, works of mercy, and living as missionary disciples.
  • Each date night includes a video from a dynamic couple, reflection questions, and recommended resources.

You can register for the series here. You can also take part in the series any time after it originally runs, so feel free to hop on the bandwagon later, too.

My husband and I are looking forward to doing this program next week, and we hope you and your spouse can join us. Let’s support each other in fighting for our marriages, so that our domestic churches can be a light to the Church and the world.

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