New York Fellowship

Published by FOX NEWS ONLINE, April 25, 2011

 

7 Tips for Every Newly Married Couple

From Prince William and Kate Middleton to the Average Jane and Joe

By B.J. and Sheila Weber

 

Given the failure of marriages which were previously deemed unbreakable (think royal), we offer the following tips, which are hardly inclusive of everything one needs to know, but can help couples get out of the starting gate on better footing.

 

Expect Challenges

Unexpected conflict can surprise you when it surfaces after the wedding, or even years later. Challenges will come, so best to realize they are normal. While it is unhealthy to live in a pattern of hostility, don’t think that unexpected difficulty or conflict means you should start looking for the exit ramp. Find someone to help you navigate the issues and learn new ways to communicate and resolve problems. Great marriages are committed to navigating the conflicts. Marriage is the greatest tool for personal growth and maturity. 

 

Listen. Talk. Find a Mentor.

Communication is obviously the key to any great relationship and we can’t do full justice to the issue except to summarize: 1) We don’t really “hear” what another person is saying because we either react defensively or think only of what we want to say in response. Most people just want to know they have been heard and their feelings were understood.  2) Don’t bury your feelings, but learn how to wisely make your deepest needs known. 3) Avoid saying “You always….You never.” Use “I feel” terms instead. (This is basic Communication 101 that many have heard, but still don’t practice.) 4) Ask directly for forgiveness, and respond with forgiveness. Holding hands when you talk helps break a cycle of anger.  Research shows that couples who pray privately and regularly together have vastly more successful marriages. 5) Find a trusted friend or older, wiser couple who will be supportive of your marriage (not just affirm your negativity), and will help you, ideally both of you together, work through issues of communication.

 

Maintain Intimacy

Keep the sexual component of your marriage intact. Don’t take your partner’s fidelity for granted.  Even if there are times of understandable sexual slow down, (raising children can cause exhaustion, aging brings changes in capacity), stay determined not to let these seasons bring intimacy to a halt. Unavoidable seasons of abstinence should not be used to create guilt or foster bitterness, but rather lead to a mutual determination that even in stressful times you will not let weeks pass without sex, because then you allow your relationship to veer into the friends zone, and that can be a challenge to work your way out of (but you can and must). No matter what, stay faithful.

 

Don’t use the D word

Divorce should not be a part of your relationship vocabulary. It creates subconscious damage that is hard to repair. Marriage functions best when it is viewed as a covenant and not consumer relationship—meaning it is a lifelong vow, not something disposable if your needs are not met. When divorce is taken off the table, it does not give you free rein to do whatever you please—since the end result of irresponsible selfishness can be too painful to survive—but it can give couples the impetus to make the relationship as good as it can be. Protect the affection you started with—don’t blow it by doing something you don’t realize you will deeply regret later. Removing the option of divorce can bring security to the relationship and a deeper motivation to make the relationship as happy and rewarding as it can be.

“Date” Each Other

It may seem you have plenty of together time when you plop in front of the TV every night, but a strong marriage, like parenting, is also about quality time.  Go out for dinner, take in a movie, go for a walk. Find something you might like in common—cross country skiing, book clubs, ballroom dance classes, or church study groups.  Eat, Talk, Play—have regular family or two-some sit-down dinners with soothing music and candles.  Talk about your day, current events, or personal challenges.  Make plans to do something fun—whether it’s ping pong, visiting a museum, biking, going to theater, playing games, or making a picnic. 

 

Women Most Need Love; Men Most Need Respect

For us, this was a revolutionary concept that changed our tone and overall approach toward each other. We must give credit to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his best-selling book and conference, Love and Respect. Of course, men and women need both love and respect, but our hierarchy of deepest need is different. Without love, she reacts without respect; without respect he reacts without love, and the crazy cycle starts spinning out of control. There is a way to jump off the “crazy cycle,” says Eggerichs, and we recommend you learn how.

 

Begin with the end in mind

You can’t imagine in younger years, but one day you will be old and potentially lonely. Your kids will have their own lives. If you carefully tend to your marriage, there will be the succor of companionship with someone who has been a witness to most of your entire life.  Research shows that married people have greater financial resources, longer lives, better health, more personal happiness, and having both parents in the same home provides by far the best environment for raising children.  Keep the long term goals in mind.  Research shows it is actually worth staying together for the children. (www.NationalMarriageWeekUSA.org) We’ve heard countless stories of folks who worked through the seemingly impossible middle years, and came out on the other side of comfort and companionship in old age. Plus, the best way for the average Joe to build financial security? Stay married.

 

We have no interest in making anyone feel guilty if they already have regrets or failure. No one starts at marriage, believing it will fail. Our advice is meant for helping people, whatever their current state, realize their deepest hopes for lifelong lasting love. With commitment and care, we believe newlywed princes and princesses—famous or not—can eventually reach “happily ever after.”

 

Married for 30 years, B.J. and Sheila Weber live in midtown Manhattan, where they raised their now grown son and married daughter. Sheila is the executive director of a new effort to strengthen marriage, National Marriage Week USA (Feb. 7-14 each year), and Reverend William John (B.J.) Weber for many years served as chaplain to New York area professional sports teams and currently offers crisis marriage intervention as part of his work as president of the New York Fellowship.

(232 East 32nd Street, NYC, NY 10016. 212.979.9690  www.newyorkfellowship.org)

 

 

 

Dubuque Telegraph Herald

Religion at the Rugby World Cup

Player, coach and chaplain, Dubuquer combines his faith and love of sports.

Though there were many applicants for chaplain positions at the World Cup, Dubuque native B.J. (William) Weber, an ordained clergyman in Manhattan, wasn't among them.

Weber, 64, was recently selected to be a chaplain for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. The games began Sept. 9 and will end Oct. 23.  

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"It helps that I'm a rugby guy. I've been a coach and a player, so when I'm speaking to athletes, I know what it is to compete at that level. I know their passion," Weber said.

Rugby

Weber founded the Dubuque Rugby Club, now The Gentlemen of Dubuque, in 1971. The team was a rag-tag collection.

"He was using a lot of the college guys from (University of Dubuque) and Loras (College)," said team member Don Rusk, 60. "His brother Mike Weber was a senior at Hempstead then, and he got about six guys who were senior football players. The team did quite well right out of the box."

In its inaugural match, the Dubuque club tied Iowa State University, a team Weber had helped found in 1968.

The club will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 1, with a homecoming game against the Algona Rugby Club. The team's last homecoming game was in 1991, said The Gentlemen of Dubuque president David Schlueter, 53.

Though Weber was present at that match, he will be in New Zealand this year.

At the World Cup, he will be chaplain for Pool C: the United States, Ireland, Russia, Australia and Italy. The teams he chaplains will be playing against each other, but Weber said that wouldn't be a problem.

"He's not a genie-god," Weber said. "God has more important things to do than winning the game."

In addition to his work with the teams, Weber will speak at prisons, schools and churches.

A friend told him, "In New Zealand, rugby is a super-religion. You just entered a huge celebrity pool. You can talk to anyone you want about God."

New York Fellowship

This isn't Weber's first time acting as chaplain for a major sporting event.

Weber runs the New York Fellowship (www.newyorkfellowship.org), an interdenominational ministry providing private pastoral care to businesses, pro sports teams, U.N. ambassadors and other leaders. The ministry also provides counseling for marital and substance abuse issues and develops projects to serve the poor.

Between 1985 and 1995, Weber was the visiting team chaplain for the New York Giants and Jets. When the New England Patriots came to town in the 1985-86 playoffs, Weber was their chaplain.

"They played the Jets, beat the Jets and adopted me as a lucky charm," Weber said. He traveled with the team to Super Bowl XX against the Chicago Bears.

"I was the Bears fan chaplaining for the Patriots," he said. The Bears won the game.

Weber was also the chaplain for the Mets from 1985 to 1990 until he was, "traded to the Yankees for a Jewish rabbi and a Catholic priest to be named later," he said with a chuckle. He stayed with the Yankees from 1991 to 2003.

Weber said he works with people of all faiths.

"I just had dinner with a group of Muslim U.N. leaders. We meet under the teachings of Jesus -- not Christianity. Jesus befriended people. He would care for them, love them. Whatever their faith background, I can befriend them in the name of Jesus."

Weber came to faith in Christ at age 26 during a visit to the New Melleray Trappist monastery in Dubuque, where he lived for six years as a non-vowed monk. He received a Master's of Divinity from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and moved to New York City to work as a street minister in Times Square, a ministry that eventually became the New York Fellowship.

Sept. 11, 2001

Weber was in downtown Manhattan and saw the second plane hit the tower and watched it collapse.

"We just knew our whole world was going to be changing," Weber said. "All you heard were sirens. No one spoke for days and days. Then it rained. ... It was hopeful -- a sign that you could start over."

Weber was disappointed with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to exclude any religious observance during the city's official remembrance.

"There's not even an invocation which could include various religions," something Weber said has been done in the past. "It's political correctness gone amuck."

"People did turn to God in their hour of grief and sorrow."

The day after the 9-11 attacks, Rudy Giuliani, then mayor, called for clergy members to comfort survivors. Weber was the first clergyman to reach the bereavement center.

"For three days, I didn't sleep at all. I just stayed there and met with people."

Nine firefighters from a nearby firehouse (Truck 16/Ladder 7 on East 29th Street) were killed. Weber offered grief therapy to their widows and fellow firefighters.

After three months, one woman confessed that she kept her husband's photo in an old shirt that still smelled like him.

One of the men who died wasn't supposed to be on duty that day. He was filling in for his friend Joe Finley.

"(Finley) has lived with that, and he will live with it the rest of his life," Weber said.

Another firefighter, Mickey Kross, climbed from the rubble of a collapsed tower, though those on the floors above and below him were killed.

"These are the hidden stories of the sorrow, shame and guilt of the survivors," Weber said.

Each year on Sept. 11, the city's firehouses have private services for survivors and family members. There are moments of silence at the times that the planes hit and the towers collapsed. The names of the dead are read, prayers are said and bagpipes play.

"I've been with them every year for the last nine years," Weber said.

This year on Sept. 11, Weber will be watching as the U.S. plays its first match against Ireland.

"I'm going to do some kind of service. You can't not observe that," he said.

He said the memorial being erected on the World Trade Center site is giving New Yorkers a sense of closure.

"The Freedom Tower is half-way built. It's encouraging for people."

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