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Reconnect Date Night Re-cap


Two months ago, right before the nation suddenly shut down for the coronavirus pandemic, The Faithful Family Project hosted our first date night for couples at the Post Commons Cafe in Alton, IL. It was such a memorable, joy-filled night, and we hope that it equipped couples to grow closer to one other and their children during this unexpected and unprecedented time.


Photo copyright: Heidi Zeigler


Thirty-five couples from Alton, Godfrey, Brighton, St. Louis, and as far as Springfield and Chicago came to enrich their marriages that night. Unlike other conference-y feeling marriage events, we created a romantic atmosphere for couples with candlelit tables for two so that the spouses could experience the evening together as a true "date night."



We were delighted to have our guest speakers, Mike and Alicia Hernon 0f the Messy Family Project, here from Ohio to give two talks. The first was called "Messy Parenting 101" and the second was "Keeping Love Alive." Mike and Alicia were a fantastic duo, combining their thoughtful advice--gained from over twenty years of marriage raising 11 children--with their deeply Christian formation and laugh-out-loud sense of humor. Their humility and affection for one another brought a familial sense to their message, as if the rest of us were their younger brothers and sisters sharing a meal with them.



Photo copyright: Heidi Zeigler


We thought we would share a few of Mike and Alicia's most memorable points about marriage and parenting from the evening:


- Our marriages must be the centers of our families. - As parents, we must become students of our children--really try to know and understand them and answer to their unique needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Ask for God's help to discern how best to parent each of them. - Each family has its own culture, which grows dynamically from the unique combination of the spouses' interests, abilities, beliefs, and personalities and those of our children. Enrich and enliven our family life by intentionally cultivating this culture and giving it expression in tangible ways and traditions. Strong families have a culture that is more appealing and life-giving to its members than what the world has to offer. - Every marriage goes through cycles of romance, disillusionment, and true joy. Sometimes we feel in love with each other, sometimes we feel like we are just running a household together or are even frustrated with one another. When we choose to love each other and strive to be a good spouse even though the romantic feelings aren't there, that selfless choice brings about a sense of deep happiness and love. Do not be discouraged when your marriage seems flat--inject it with intentional acts of love and healthy communication. Love is a choice to do what is good for another, not a feeling.

There were so many other gems of wisdom that they shared that night! We hope that they will make these talks available to listen, but also please check out their awesome podcasts on their website.


Here is what one attendee, Marci Wendle of Godfrey, said of the event:

"Reconnect Date Night came during Lent, a perfect time to do spring cleaning in the soul and in our relationships.  My husband and I enjoyed this night as it gave us the opportunity to look at our relationship and the ways that we are being challenged to grow outside ourselves to form a stronger marital bond.  Mike and Alicia Hernon were great presenters of keeping one's marital relationship alive as well as one's family relationships growing.   A flourishing marital relationship is one whose goal/purpose is:  unity, spousal priority, importance of marital relations, God's involvement, and recognition of good times and bad.  Reconnect Date Night also allowed my husband and I to experience solidarity with like-minded couples desiring a strong marriage and family life.  This night was indeed a gift!"

Thank you to our generous donors and event sponsors who made this evening possible, including the Diocese of Springfield, St. Mary's Church in Alton, St. Ambrose Church in Godfrey, St. Peter and St. Paul's Church in Alton, Patrick and Stephanie King, Dr. Joseph and Lara Talsky, Dr. Robert and Carol Hurley, and many others who wish to remain anonymous.


God bless all of our marriages and families. Stay tuned for more events like this when things open up!


Photos copyright: Heidi Zeigler

Photos copyright: Heidi Zeigler

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