Marriage and family is under attack and many marriages are in crisis and too many have sunk as the Titanic with the crew members, the children suffering the bitter consequences.

Let us offer some simple suggestions to help  the engaged, the newly married, as well as those married for years to fight to save the basic cell of society—marriage and family.

Our words can either edify others or they can tear down others. Therefore, we should make a concerted effort to condiment our words with the seasoning of grace and the Holy Spirit so that they build up the spirit of our spouse.

Love and fidelity were promised on the wedding day and must be cultivated until death do they part.

The following are some short but exceedingly important phrases that should be said often to condiment and season the marriage commitment!  Why not try to incorporate them in your daily walk with your partner right now!

1.    “I LOVE YOU.”   The temptation is even in the best of couples to say interiorly: “Well she already knows that, why be boring and redundant!” True, she may know it but every time it is expressed the love in her heart grows. It is like a plant unwatered, it wilts and dies; watered, the plant grows and flourishes.

2.    “THANK YOU!”   St. Ignatius of Loyola asserts that the essence of sin is ingratitude.  The ten lepers were cured and only one of the ten returned to give Jesus thanks.  “Thank you” should be constant, heartfelt, and concrete. In other words, “Honey, thank you for a wonderful meal!”   Or, “Honey thank you for your long hours at work and providing for the family!”   Shakespeare condemns ingratitude with these biting words: “More painful than a serpent’s tooth is that of an ungrateful child.” Season your daily vocabulary with “Thank you!”  The word “Eucharist” means thanksgiving.

3.    “I AM SORRY!”   When we fail we should have the humility to say “I am sorry!”  This demands sincerity and humility, two key virtues indispensable in the spiritual life.

4.    “FORGIVE ME!”  The sequel of “I am sorry” of course is “Forgive me!” Reconciliation after a fall-out, failure, quarrel, misunderstanding can serve to strengthen the marriage bond all the more.   The best marriages are not those who never have disagreements or conflicts, but rather they are the ones that are resilient. After a fight, they are able to reconcile quickly. We can either be like Play-dough or a Super—ball. The “Play-dough”syndrome  means pride. Failure results in anger, resentment, bitterness and lack of forgiveness. The “Super-ball” complex reflects resiliency in the spiritual life. The fall results in rebounding and bouncing even higher.   The word of God reminds us: “Never allow the sun to go down on your anger.”

5.    WHAT CAN I DO TO PLEASE MY SPOUSE TODAY?   Every day husband or wife should plan to carry out some concrete action that will result in making his/her spouse happy. Not what is in it for me, but how can I please my spouse today!

6.    COMPLIMENT: ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES.   In baseball three strikes you are out.  In marriage and family spouses should get into the habit of complimenting each other not once, nor twice, but rather three times a day. This is not a spiritual strike out, but a grand slam!

7.    LISTEN, PRAY, THINK, THEN SPEAK!   Easier said than done!  Communication fails all too often because a lack of proper order in communication. Saint James says that we should be slow to speak and quick to listen.  What would happen if starting now, I strive to improve my communication skills by following these four words in this proper order: first listen attentively, pray to the Holy Spirit, think and ponder like Mary, then speak for the purpose of edifying and sanctifying my spouse. Of course this is a tall order and not easy to accomplish over-night. However, let us aim high!

8.    “GOD WILL PROVIDE”. In the midst of tensions, uncertainties, struggles, trials and tribulations, one of the key phrases that should ascend from our hearts and be expressed by our speech should be “God will provide.”  These three words express a great trust and confidence in Divine Providence.  In the very heart of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeats time and time again the command: “Do not worry!” He tells us to look at the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. He tells us not to worry about food or clothing but to trust.  These words of the Savior sums it all up: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else will be given to you besides.” Many couples suffer due to the simple but key issue of TRUST of God in their lives. Below the Divine Mercy image Jesus wanted these words to be painted: “Jesus I trust in you!”

9.    “I WILL PRAY FOR YOU”.   This might sound like a pious platitude or a mere cliché, but it is not!  The greatest gift somebody can give to another is to pray for them.  A short and fervent prayer goes beyond the value of all the money in the world. Could it be that many marriages and families crumble and disintegrate for the simple reason that husbands and wives forget the most simple and obvious: they forget to pray for each other!

10.MARY. “LET US PRAY THE ROSARY!”  When married couples have a union in the Immaculate Heart of Mary through the daily recitation of the Rosary peace will reign in this family. The Rosary priest, Father Patrick Peyton, never wearied of saying: “The family that prays together stays together.” Mary never distances us from God, but she always draws us close to Jesus her Divine Son.  The last recorded words of Mary in the Bible are: “Do whatever He tells you.”(Jn. 2: 5).St. Louis de Montfort, the great lover and promoter of Marian consecration, said that Mary is the quickest and easiest path to Jesus.

In conclusion, if married couples can embrace these words, sentiments and attitude of heart, they are establishing a solid foundation on which to build their family and a secure foundation for the future of their children.