So, following on from yesterday, some more on how to train in relationships and some great resources:
Treat your siblings/family/flatmates well. I’ve heard it said before that how you treat the people you live with, particularly your siblings, is how you will treat your spouse once you have “settled” into the relationship. It makes sense to practice good relationships with your family so that the habits that you have are good ones, making things easier.
In terms of preparation for marriage, we found a Foccus course really good – you fill out a multi-choice questionnaire (both of you) on topics ranging from finances, past history to sex, and then go through it talking about the points that the two of you disagreed on with a neutral couple. Often some of these are miscommunications (my husband put down that he thought I had a drug problem!) but many are great talking points for things that never came up before, and ways you can deal with things that come up in your marriage in the future.
Theology of the Body is spectacular reading that will change your view not only on relationships but the brilliance of the creation of humanity in general. My husband Joseph and I have run Theology of the Body for Teens for about 4 years now at various places around the city. It really is life changing.
Some great TOB websites are:
“How to find your soulmate without losing your soul” by Jason Evert is a great book for women of all ages. So is “Life giving love” by Kimberly Hahn. Actually there are a few great books by Kimberly Hahn that are great on being a wife and mother.
I guess the best preparation for being a parent is to help out a parent. It’s hard to appreciate the 24/7 nature of parenting realistically without witnessing it. I find that the stereotyped ideas of parenting before having children are often too negative (not taking into account that with the sacrifices come many joys that outweigh the negatives), or not being prepared at all so that it comes as a bit of a shock the sacrifices involved.
Something we are not taught in modern popular culture is self sacrifice. Our culture constantly advertises that everything is about “me, me, me”. But both marriage and family relationships involve giving of ourselves. Strong marriages require us to put the other first. If each of us in the spousal relationship put the other first then we look after each others needs. Something that is especially important in times of illness, pregnancy, childbirth and hard times. The way parenting works, particularly with small babies, is realisticly all giving and not much taking for a while. Babies and children require us to fully meet their needs. Something our media in particular doesn’t prepare us for in any way.
So internal preparation for self sacrifice is important too.
Just a few small but effective ways of beginning to get prepared and potentially helping and saving future relationships.