+
pope francis, pope francis letter, catholocism

Pope Francis greeting his followers.

Living through 20 months of a worldwide pandemic has definitely taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. It’s also had a significant effect on marriages and families.

A recent group of studies cited by PBS found that the pandemic has created a range of parental stressors, such as school closures, job losses and interruptions in care for children with chronic diseases.

Parents are also dealing with higher levels of stress, clinical anxiety and depression.

A study out of Canada found that 44.3% of parents with children reported worse mental health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to 35.6% of respondents without children.

On Sunday, Pope Francis released a letter aimed at families called, “Christmas present to married couples," with some advice for those trying to keep their families healthy in troubled times.


“For some couples, the enforced living conditions during the quarantine were particularly difficult. Pre-existing problems were aggravated, creating conflicts that in some cases became almost unbearable,” the pope wrote. “Many even experienced the breakup of a relationship that had to deal with a crisis that they found hard or impossible to manage. I would like them, too, to sense my closeness and my affection.”

The pope provided some hope in the letter by reminding his followers of three simple words that can work miracles in marriages.

“May every family be a place of acceptance and understanding,” he wrote. “Think about the advice I gave you on the importance of those three little words: ‘please, thanks, sorry.’”

The pope’s advice may seem just like common sense, but it works. According to Positive Psychology, research has found that forgiveness among married couples improves their commitment, conflict resolution skills and overall relationship quality.

It's important to remember that forgiveness works both ways. It's great for those who have been forgiven but it also improves the mental well-being of those who are able to accept an apology. According to Psychology Today, "An apology actually affects the bodily functions of the person receiving it—blood pressure decreases, heart rate slows and breathing becomes steadier."

He also repeated an oft-cited piece of marriage advice, don’t go to bed angry. “After every argument, ‘don’t let the day end without making peace,’” the pope urged.

The pope says that the failure to make peace before bedtime can cause resentments to ferment. “How many times, unfortunately, conflicts originate within the domestic walls due to prolonged periods of silence and from unchecked selfishness!” he wrote. “Sometimes it even ends up in physical and moral violence. This lacerates harmony and kills the family.”

He also urged people to put down their phones and talk to one another. “It’s sad to see a family at lunch, each one with his or her own cell phone not speaking to one another, everyone talking to the mobile phone,” he wrote.

The pope’s advice may not have been world-shattering but at a time when many people are at their wit’s end, it’s important to be reminded that one of the most important gifts that we can give to one another is grace.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.