Peace on earth begins at the kitchen table (part two)

Peace in the marriage: If the path to peace in oneself is spending some time in silence each day, the key to peace in a marriage is just the opposite—communication is vital. Spouses who talk well with each other will be effective co-leaders of their family and are more equipped to help the rest of the family communicate peacefully as well. The Handbook for Today’s Catholic Family (Liguori) recommends that married couples spend two hours a week in true dialogue. “My husband and I don’t spend anything close to two hours a week in real dialogue,” says Amy, mother of three school-age children. “But I do notice that when we take even 15 minutes to talk about anything beyond the immediate schedule—our future plans, or our faith, or something else that’s serious—I feel taken care of. And when I feel taken care of, I am better able to take care of our children. The whole family benefits when we talk more.”

 Peace in the family: “Pockets of peace” are most likely to occur when everyone in the family is present to the same event. Arguments are most likely to break out during times of transition—as some members of a family move from one activity to another. Building more small events into family life is one way of making room for peace. “We recently had a fire together on a Friday night,” says Anne, mother of three. “Everyone just enjoyed roasting marshmallows and talking outside. It was so simple—and everyone was so happy—as I was sitting there I wondered why we didn’t do more of this.”

 By Annemarie Scobey, from the archives of At Home with Our Faith newsletter.