Home' The Southern Cross : June 2016 Contents Page 16 June 2016
Southern Cross | feature
As every married couple will tell you,
saying ‘I do’ is the easy part. Keeping a
marriage ‘on track’ takes time and effort
from both parties and sometimes external
pressures take their toll.
Once a month on a Saturday night
Deborah and Paul, together with Kirsty
and Jordan and three other couples, look
forward to catching up, sharing a meal and
having a chat.
They’ve been getting together for the
past six years and while they wouldn’t
consider each other best friends, they have
formed a strong bond as part of Teams – a
Catholic Church lay movement designed
to support married couples and families of
While there will be nice food, wine and
beer on the table, this gathering will be a
little different as there will be an “order of
business”, where everyone will be given
the opportunity to share their “highs and
lows” over the past four weeks.
“Each couple goes around the table and
shares, so it’s not like at a dinner party
where people talk over each other and chip
in. We do share quite personal stuff on our
families and probably things we wouldn’t
tell everyone else, because it’s safe and
you know what you say in the room is
going to stay there and is not going to be
discussed in the community,” explains
Kirsty, who is well versed in the process as
her parents are also members of Teams.
“We talk about what have been the great
things of the month and the not so good
things – you actually get to say it and no-
one asks you questions about ‘how does
that make you feel’ or ‘have you tried this’.
There is something really healthy about
saying it, unloading it, expressing it and
sharing it without judgement... there is just
listening ears,” adds Deborah.
When the two couples were approached by
someone at their church to join Teams, they
admit there was some trepidation on their
behalf as they didn’t know what to expect,
but say they are grateful they took a “leap
of faith” as it has enriched their lives.
They are also quick to point out that, to
their relief, Teams is not some “strange
cult” or “super religious” group, but a
“spiritual experience where we have a
connection with faith and a Christian faith”.
Participation is not confined to Catholics
and some Teams run successfully with
members who are non-believers, but want
to support their partners on their journey.
Jordan, who is not a Catholic, says he
enjoys the monthly gatherings and the life
skills it has given him.
“Our friendship is different, as it is a
friendship that has been formed through
Teams and it is deep and spiritual, but not
like other friendships I have. Suddenly you
know someone going through troubles
and hardships and you have to support,
care, be really active listeners, show
empathy... ordinarily I wouldn’t have even
stopped to listen and just moved on. It’s
not necessarily about giving any advice,
but just trying to be a good friend, good
listener, so it has accelerated some skills in
that part of my life.”
“The listening is the key,” adds Deborah.
“It’s unconditional listening with
compassion and care. It doesn’t mean you
don’t follow up, but it’s not about that, it’s
more about the listening.”
Established in France in the late 1930s,
Teams has more than 200,000 members in
more than 70 countries. It involves groups
of couples and a spiritual counsellor,
usually a priest, meeting in each other’s
homes each month for a meal, liturgy and
discussion on anything from relationships,
to Church and world issues.
In South Australia there are 133 lay people
participating in Teams, with seven spiritual
counsellors. Each group is different – some
gather for lunches, others don’t have a
spiritual counsellor – but they all follow
general practices and processes, with a
common goal of supporting each other’s
lives, marriages and spirituality.
“It’s a great way of putting a bit of time
aside for you,” says Paul.
Another benefit of being part of Teams has
been the friendships that have developed
between their children.
“Our kids love getting together with the
others when there is a Teams function. The
young ones have pretty much grown up
together,” says Kirsty.
For more information on Teams, contact
regional couple David and Marnie Watts
at email@example.com or phone
HIGHS AND LOWS: Members of Team 55 and their children at a family get-together.
Pope Francis’ recent exhortation on marriage and family life, The Joy
of Love, has put the modern marriage under the spotlight. Introduced
to Australia in 1960, the Teams Movement is helping couples to
develop their married spirituality in today’s busy world, as Lindy
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