The dreaded family budget
Budgeting sounds so boring and constraining. Remarkably, though, a sound family budget lets you realize your dreams. Remember, before this crucial working
document is drafted, you must unfold your family’s lifetime financial plans and dreams – sharing with each other your philosophies on: spending, saving, stewardship, retirement, debt and credit.
A budget can make your family’s plans come true, day by day! The simple formula is: total income – taxes (yuck) – all expenses = discretionary income
There are two crucial yet simple rules to the budget:
Keep expenses under control and constantly review.
Do not spend more than you have in income!
The fun part is what to do with that lovely, hard-earned, discretionary income. Just remember from whence these blessings come, and choose wisely!
– John Morris
Turn chores into time together
Organize and share duties. Does your life seem to be taken up with an overabundance of household chores, yard maintenance, shuttling children from one activity to another, etc.? One of the best ways to spend more time with your spouse is to organize and share duties. To be successful though, both spouses need to forget about gender-typing the work. It is important to remember the sooner the duties are done, the sooner you get to spend time together sharing ideas, thoughts, hopes and feelings.
– Tom and JoAnn Fogle
Time Tip: Compile a “to-do-tomorrow” list. Begin by writing down everything you need to accomplish tomorrow. Focus on priorities and goals, as you decide what is essential and what must be done first. Then, follow your list, and don’t put off difficult tasks.
(tip from Time Management for Catholics by Dave Durand)
Danger signs part 2: avoidance & negative interpretations
Last month, we talked about escalation and invalidation as two patterns of negative communication in marriage. Two others are withdrawal/avoidance and negative interpretations.
Withdrawal can be manifested when one person says, “I don’t want to talk about this,” or leaves the room when an uncomfortable subject arises. It can be subtler when a person “zones out” or gets quiet in a conversation.
Avoidance is when one does his best to make sure the topic never comes up. Both withdrawal and avoidance show an unwillingness to participate in important discussions. Usually, the other partner is seen as the pursuer or the “nag.”
• In your relationship, discuss who takes on these roles.
• Why does this happen, and how does it make you feel?
• Agree to be honest and work on changing this behavior. Negative interpretations refers to one spouse interpreting behaviors or motives of the other more negatively than is deserved. The one who is being overly critical will often begin by saying, “You never ... ” or “You always ... ”
• Ask yourself, “Am I being overly judgmental?”
• Are you a perfectionist?
• Like Jesus, look for the good in your spouse.
– Tony Sperendi
Romance in action: an older couple shares some advice
After raising five children, retired couple Richard and Joyce recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They live their marriage in an almost constant state of gratitude and claim their faith has played a major part in the success of their marriage. Their advice to other married couples is to not get too worked up over the small things. “Don’t make a federal case out of everything,” says Joyce. They also agree the one thing that has always helped their romance a great deal is keeping a sense of humor. Most people who know them will tell you there is a subtle, youthful quality and playfulness that remains a part of this older couple. It’s no coincidence that in many relationships where both spouses have a good sense of humor, they also have a great marriage. There is a lot to be said for not taking ourselves too seriously all the time. In fact, on a physiological level, studies have shown that laughter not only reduces stress, but its effect on one’s brain is similar to that of physical intimacy.
– Rick and Diane Peiffer
prayer of thanksgiving for the safe return of a family member
Him: Thanks be to God, who blesses us each day;
Her: Thanks be to God, for our loved one’s safe return from school, work and play;
Him: Be present, O God, as we recount our time away.
Her: Hug us in our hugging each other;
Him: Listen to us in our listening to each other;
Her: Be our peace as we make peace with each other.
Together: Praise to the Holy Trinity, eternal family!
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, be our model of holiness.
Lord, be among our family today and always.
– Pat Nischan