Below are five suggestions to improve your relationships during the next 40 days based on the book I co-authored, The Friendship Project.
Pray for Your Friends and Loved Ones
Thank God for these relationships, and allow the Lord to use you to pray for them. The straightforward idea is to mark down a name of a friend or family member on each day of your calendar to remind you to offer up special prayers of petition and thanksgiving for the people the Lord has placed in your life. It can be a simple prayer in the morning, offering your Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or even saying a Rosary for a friend. Later in the day, tell that friend or loved one that you are praying for them today.
“In this world, two things are essential: life and friendship. Both should be highly prized, and we must not undervalue them. Life and friendship are nature’s gifts. [Sermon Denis 16,1]- St. Augustine
Do A Work Of Mercy for Family and Friends –
The most significant acts of kindness are not done with your words but rather with deeds of love! Focus on what acts of service and compassion you can perform during Lent. Pack your spouse’s lunch for them without being asked, or drop off a meal to a friend who is going through a difficult time. When we give of ourselves and do not look for something in return, we can better love the people in our life. Don’t be intimidated by doing service for others; no act is too small to be done in love for others. Recently, a friend told me that she will wake up at the same time as your spouse to have breakfast together while the children are still asleep so they can spend more time together. What a beautiful idea!
Live the Virtues –
In our most recent book, The Friendship Project, Michele and I focus each chapter on virtue as a critical concept for developing fabulous relationships. The attributes we discuss are Faith, Hope, Love, Prudence, Generosity, Loyalty, Gratitude, and Prayerfulness. Take time this Lent to evaluate your daily behaviors and attempt to grow in virtue. By being more virtuous, your relationships will be improved. Consider saying “thank you” to your spouse for all they have done for you, being generous to your children, and loving your mother-in-law. On the other hand, the opposite of virtue is vice -the bad habits we want to focus on removing during this Lenten season. Think of some less-than-virtuous things you do (like nag your spouse or gossip about your friends) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grow in the virtue of this Lent.
St. Augustine shares that everything authentically good in friendships, everything that is true, comes from God, but true Christian friendship, or spiritual friendship, offers us the ability to share in the inner life of the Trinity!
Celebrate Friendship Friday-
Spend quality time with the people you care about this Lent, especially on Friday. Pick up the phone and call your friends, write letters of support, and reach out to allow your friendship to be a beacon of hope in someone else’s life. #FriendshipFriday
St. Francis de Sales wrote: “Friends are for our growth in health, happiness, and holiness on this earth to prepare us better to share the gift of eternal life in heaven.”
Fast For Friends –
Remember to offer your Lenten Fast up for those who need your prayers! Your prayers are strengthened with fasting; instead of just giving up chocolate for its own sake, offer this small sacrifice for the good of another. You can fast for your marriage or another relationship to bring positive change. With prayer and fasting, all things are possible!
May your faith grow during this holy season! Visit www.InspiretheFaith.com to get a free video series for the Friendship Project.