We usually do this on the last Saturday. We plan a time for ourselves, sometimes at home, many times at the Schoenstatt Sanctuary that is about half an hour away.
This is our favorite spot, as we can have all the privacy we need. The place is beautiful with its surrounding gardens, we can enjoy the view of the snow tipped volcano and have a place for prayer that spreads tranquility.
We follow a pattern.
We begin with a prayer of thanks for the gifts we have received, be they positive or apparently negative. (I say apparently as I have found that even the hardest moments end - perhaps years later, many times sooner - with positive results).
We then review, individually, the previous month.We measure our actions and responses against our objectives; we look at new things that happened or didn't, and we ask ourselves three questions, and write all this down:
- What can I learn from this? (What is God telling me).
- How did I respond? (How did I answer).
- How should I have responded? (How would I have liked to answer Our Lord).
- As a family, as parents and as husband and wife.
- On personal human relationships - friends and relatives.
- Professionally. On our spiritual growth. Both prayer and in regards to action.
We then share those things we believe should be shared.
After this we do something very similar for the coming month - based on what we see coming, and more importantly, regarding our attitude and goals.
Part of this, is that we set aside a time just for ourselves, once every week.
I like films, and eating out (fishing isn't allowed on a night out).
Amore likes museums, plays and concerts. So we combine these, alternating weeks.
Tonight is Amore's turn and we are going to the ballet.
We also plan a specific outings, either one day or the whole weekend, dedicated to the family.
This past February was the trip to the jungle - rafting, kayaking and caving.
We finish knowing we have charged our batteries; we have invested in our relationship and we look to the forthcoming month with optimism and knowing that living each day to the full will be possible as well as delightful.