Archive | December, 2012

Friends and Lovers

30 Dec

Who is your best friend. Think about this question for a second and visualize them, this is the person you tell all you innermost secrets to, the one you trust with your most embarrassing moments and dilemmas. They are the shoulder you cry on and the one who holds you up when you just can’t carry on anymore. Now is the person you are thinking of the one you are married to?

If your wife is not your best friend then you are missing out on a key aspect of marriage. God made woman because it was not good that man should be alone. Why did God not just make another man to be Adam’s companion?

Obviously, man was created with emotional needs that woman alone was specifically created to fill – and woman in being created for man, has needs only he can fill. It pains me to see so many people of both sexes who, though married, feel alone. This crisis in our society has led many to seek the companionship they innately require outside their marriage, constituting a dangerous situation for the marriage. Once one party turns to another for emotional or physical companionship, the consummation of that infidelity is imminent. Resulting in either the complete destruction of or irreparable damage to the marriage (it will never be the same again).

True intimacy requires that the couple be best friends, not mere acquaintances who are bound in temporary lust. It also requires that both physical and emotional needs are being met as circumstances permit. In a marriage, best friends share a physical bond as well as an emotional one. Like any relationship it requires continual maintenance, absolute trust, and absolute loyalty to maintain it.

If you wife is not your best friend, or if you are not hers, then you have your work cut out for you. This does not mean that she cannot or should not have friends of the same and even opposite sex. It does mean that you need to make sure that she is not put in a position of relying on those friends because you are unwilling or unavailable to her when she needs YOU. It also means that you both need to respect very firm boundaries regarding those relationships.

This is a place you must lead by example. As the husband the responsibility lies with you to be available, accessible, willing, and interested. The best way to make a best friend is to be one. If you cannot talk to her then how can you expect her to talk to you? If you cannot communicate, you cannot have real intimacy, and without real intimacy you cannot have a real marriage.

Some points to ponder:

1. Communicate. Your role here is to lead. Do not wait around for her to come to you. Go to her, and be a friend.

2. Respect Boundaries. Your wife is vowed to you and you to her. You disrespect her and your marital vows when you go outside your marriage for emotional support she should be providing and/or deny her the opportunity to provide that support. You also set a bad precedent if you do and by your example open the door for her to do the same.

3. Keep you Priorities Straight. Your wife should be the most important thing in your life. That said, make sure she knows it, and give her the tools and information she needs to support you. Make sure that you always do the same for her. Other friends, jobs, and hobbies will come and go over time, but your marriage should be the one constant you can count on.

4. No Secrets. They dissolve trust and erode intimacy. If you find yourself trying to conceal anything from your wife other than her Christmas present then you need to stop, drop everything, and talk to her. The sooner you fix it the less damage is done and the less damage you can do. Fixing it will also foster trust and let her know she can come to you in a similar situation before things get out of hand.

5. Share Everything. Shared thoughts, hopes, dreams, crisis, trials, triumphs, joys, and sorrows are the mortar that holds your foundation together. What good are your joys if you have nobody to share them with? Without support how much harder is it to deal with your sorrows?

Man is truly incomplete without woman. It is why she was created, and because she was created from part of man, she too is incomplete without him. Only by joining together in marriage do we reach our full potential in so many respects. A wife is so much more than a lover. She is a best friend. To forget that– even for a moment– is to deny yourselves a depth of joy and contentment which is otherwise readily attainable.

Please send requests, suggestions, questions, or comments to cc70458@gmail.com

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Affectionate Displays

29 Dec

It has come to my attention that displays of affection are not just lacking in today’s marriages, they are disappearing altogether. This alarming trend has an amazing detrimental effect on marriages which rely heavily on the natural bonding processes to provide the “glue” which holds them together.

The real basis of the glue is selflessly giving of one to another. It’s something innate to your God given nature that must be reawakened. You’ll quickly find that there is real reward in the feelings that giving the gift of affection, and in the effect it has on her – and your marriage.

Sexual intimacy also provides a very powerful adhesive, but it’s more of a single component in an unbreakable epoxy than it is a stand alone glue. Being only one component of a larger whole, without the other components the bond will be incomplete and unstable.

Building that intimacy up will likely be harder than it seems. Your parter is likely to be uncomfortable with such displays if she is not feeling receptive to a sexual encounter, as their absence outside that context has made an impression you must change. You too will need to adjust to the different emotions and feelings which come with these actions and re-learn a standalone appreciation for those things that make your heart race, your lips tingle, and your hair stand on end – without letting your lust overcome you.

There is no doubt that one form of intimacy flows into another, and that they are all interconnected. These stand alone actions have their own rewards in how they make you and your spouse feel: individually, towards each other, and about your relationship. You may find that they provide the feedback, emotional sense of well being, and personal reassurance necessary to capture and retain that “in love” feeling and “spark” that so many complain is missing from their marriage. Who knows, once the spark is back – amazing things tend to happen.

Gauge your progress by the level of appreciation initially and later by reciprocation. Exercise restraint, and do not allow your show of affection to be mistaken for an attempt at foreplay – it has its own rewards, which you will never experience if you do.

The goal here is not sexual, but emotional gratification as a gift to your spouse. Her acceptance and response can provide you the same feelings and much more. Remember that it is a wondrous thing to kiss a woman, but it becomes an amazing thing when she kisses back. A regular stream of such small exchanges of affection can leave one feeling “in love” indefinitely.

1. Practice Selflessness. Remember, you are telling her how you feel about her; not what you want from her. Let her choose if, how, and when to reciprocate. Take the time to appreciate her reactions, from a blush to deep exhale – it will stir in you feelings possibly long forgotten, and in her it will accomplish the same. As a husband you should guide by example.

2. Take it easy. Start small and build over time. Reach for her hand, but don’t force it. As things progress reach for it more often, soon she will be reaching for you too.

3. Use a light touch. A light dry kiss on the side of her neck or cheek will more than suffice. More than a mere peck, but don’t linger too long. Tell her that you love her or thank her for whatever activity your kiss interrupted.

4. Smile. Make sure your face reflects the light here presence brings to your life. The smile on your face and a loving sparkle in your eyes will make a deep and lasting impression. Think about how it makes you feel when she does the same. Make sure to tell her how her presence brightened your day. Body language is a very important form of communication, and will serve to confirm the sincerity of your words.

5. Snuggle. It’s cold out now, so this one is easy. Get close and just hold her. Ask her about her day, the weather, what she has been working on, or just tell her you love her and lie or sit quietly – focus on her breathing and her scent then smile. It will come easily. Tell her about your day, or start a conversation about a mutual interest and stay engaged. If you find yourself aroused, then do what you can to inconspicuously hide it, if that is not feasible then just stay still and try not to make it more apparent than it already is. Smile and retreat at any apparent discomfort on her part, don’t act angry or disappointed towards her. Be patient, Rome was not built in a day.

I hope that these thoughts can help you start the process of kindling the flame of love for your wife into a small, well fueled blaze. I also hope that soon all our children will start seeing obvious affection displayed between their parents and other couples, setting an example that can pay itself forward for generations.

Please send questions, comments, suggestions, and requests to cc70458@gmail.com

The Catholic Husband 101

28 Dec

Being a husband is to participate in one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. It is a holy calling from God to be undertaken with the same seriousness regarding your vows as would be expected of any religious. When you married, you committed yourself to a lifetime of servitude to your spouse – service which can be an unending font of joy, love, and support; and they made the same commitment to you. If you cannot love and serve another human selflessly, how can you possibly expect to be able to love and serve God joyfully for all eternity.

A wife is a gift from God to be loved, cherished, nurtured, and encouraged to grow. She has the same obligation to you, but you have to throw your scorecard out the window before you can make any real progress towards having the relationship feel blessedly conjoined.

Here are a few guidelines, that when followed, will provide the necessary environment for the formation of the relationship both of you deserve. They apply equally to husband or wife, but focus on your actions and have patience as change and trust take time.

1. Place the wants and needs of your spouse ahead of your own – always and in all things. This requires and builds trust, and when reciprocated by your spouse is the basis of a holy marriage.

2. Keep no secrets from your spouse. This means no deleting your text messages, having secret email accounts, refusing to let them see or use your computer, not telling them what happened at work, not admitting or sharing how you really feel, etc… Trust requires openness and honesty in all things.

3. Share everything. Nothing you have is more important than she is. Never let her have an occasion to feel otherwise. No hidden bank accounts, no fiscal separation, no his and hers – only “ours”. This applies to your bodies as well as your feelings and possessions. Your spouse can never feel like the most important element of your existence if you place any possession before them, or deny them when an accommodation is possible (even when reciprocation or mutual satisfaction is not).

4. Communicate. Tell them that you love them any chance you get. Our existence is brief and uncertain, but they should never feel that about your love for them. Communication is a two way process, listen and take an honest interest – you must understand your spouse to serve them, and to understand them you must not only listen, but create an environment wherein they are comfortable expressing themselves honestly to you. This means exercising appropriate restraint and reserving judgement always. No matter how something sounds initially, hear the other person out and always assume the best, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

5. Work to build you spouse’s self-esteem. Think before you speak. Words wound more deeply than knives and all too often we can say things of great cruelty when things are emotionally charged and “I’m sorry” just does not undo the damage. Sharp words are like nails in a plank, you can remove the nails but the holes remain and the damage is not repaired by their removal. Some people mistakenly believe that they can control their spouse by making her feel unattractive or unworthy. This is wrong on so many levels and can only lead to imbalanced and damaged relationships. A loving partnership requires that two people are together because they want to be, that any submission to each is willing, voluntary, and not coerced. To have the stable and secure relationship you want it is important that your spouse always feels like they have a choice to be with you – and that it is a choice they would make again without hesitation. This means essentially that “control” is right out, a spouse acting out of a desire to please is always preferable to one acting out of fear. An emotionally secure and confident partner who feels well loved is far more resistant to distractions and temptations which could harm the marriage than one who is not. They should never feel that you or they “settled” when they said “I do”.

Please feel free to write with questions, comments, or requests to cc70458@gmail.com

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