Keep those date nights
FAMILY JEWELS - Michelle Dayrit-Soliven (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2019 - 12:00am

Fr. Gerard Deveza is immensely blessed with 38 fruitful years as a priest. Through his priesthood, he has been to many places where he is able to use his gift of healing. He has helped married couples in need of emotional healing and has provided mediation among families. He has enjoyed the friendship of couples young and old and has relished watching their marriages bloom and grow in love.

What makes marriages strong and lasting? Fr. Gerard counts the ways.

1. A good sense of humor is something great to have. Fr. Gerard says couples must not take every moment of their daily lives too seriously, lest they become grumpy or masungit. Laughter is so healthy and adds joy to a marriage.

“I recently attended a 50th surprise birthday party given by a supportive husband to his prayerful wife. I really liked the meaningful party theme with invitations he thoughtfully made himself. It was themed ‘Happy Holy Hour.’ He got a DJ to play disco music and invited her friends to what he coined a ‘dancing vigil.’ Their son thought of giving away to each guest a cute little twin pack containing two miniature bottles, one with vodka and one with holy water because he witnessed the passion of his mom through the years in hosting monthly prayer meetings. This delightful happy hour with her batch mates began with light cocktails, dinner and the night ends with holy hour spent praying with the word of God,” Fr. Gerard says, highlighting that “fun” should be part of every relationship. 

2. Date nights are also important to keep a marriage strong.

“I know a dynamic couple, both successful architects, who make time for each other despite their many projects. They get all dressed up for their regular date nights, a special time to celebrate just the two of them.

“A couple I am very fond of enjoys going to the grocery together anytime, anywhere here, in provinces or abroad. It is a fun bonding and constant activity for these two lovebirds.”

3. Be there for each other. In sickness or in health, Fr. Gerard says, the couple should stick it out together.

“A husband came to me when his wife was diagnosed with advanced cancer. First thing I did was to celebrate three Masses with them together with friends and family. Filled with the Holy Spirit, their cancer journey began. The husband was so loving and attentive. He took such good care of his wife, prayed hard before making all the right decisions, made all her doctor appointments, purchased all her medications and arranged all her medical insurance. She did not have a single thing to worry about since he took care of everything. The wife, throughout her prolonged treatment of chemo, surgery and radiation never complained about anything. She was always grateful. Her journey was so joyful she recovered remarkably and their marriage is strong, happy and healthy. They continue to rejoice and celebrate life together even more.”

4. Be adventurous and have fun together.

“It’s always good to explore, discover things and try new places.”

5. Have an advocacy. 

“Commit to serving our Lord together. I have married couples and families who serve in our Healing Servants Foundation whose pet project is a school for underprivileged children in the beautiful province of Sorsogon. Not only are they enjoying, I have seen firsthand how God has blessed them in numerous ways and strengthened their marriages.

“I am also privileged to know an exceptional couple, both compassionate doctors who are so faithful to our Lord. They believe in miracles and acknowledge the hand of God in everything they do. Despite their respective challenges, they have dedicated their lives to helping the sick, the needy, and their advocacy has elevated their marriage and family to one of the strongest I have ever witnessed.”

6. Cook for your husband and vice versa.

“Everyone enjoys a good meal lovingly prepared. I know of a very pretty and active businesswoman who runs a canning company, and comes home after a busy day to cook for her husband and children.  Yes! She does it joyfully, every day!”

7. Treat your spouse with gentleness at all times.

8. Pray together.

“Ask our Blessed Mother for all the graces you need to have a strong and happy marriage, and she will provide. According to our Blessed Mother, grace is abundant for all, but sadly some don’t ask for it.  Simply believe, ask and you shall receive. Allow her graces to work magic in your marriage.”

9. Communicate your feelings with lots of love and patience.

10. Be attentive to each other and learn to listen with your heart.

11. It is always nice to remember and to do the things you used to enjoy in your early courtship days.

“A happy wife recalled the days when an ardent suitor used to court her by filling her little fridge with her favorite things like orange juice, fresh milk, bread, butter, strawberry jam, eggs and a pint of ice cream. Well, she married him 32 years ago and today, this very sweet husband still enjoys doing the same.”

12. Be conscious of being “under the gaze of God.”

“A devoted couple passed on their cherished lesson to me: ‘Prayer is a moment to be loved. It is a time to receive love. We need to be under the tender gaze of God, his love and healing on a daily basis. Allow our Lord to love you through prayer time.’ If you do not have time to pray, you do not have time to receive love. So plug in to the source of love and you will have much more love to give. Spend time with the one who loves you both the most.”

 (Would love to hear from you at miladayjewels@yahoo.com.)

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