Archive | June, 2013

Why you should be concerned about Marriage

29 Jun

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“Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.” — Fulton J. Sheen, 1953

If you do not believe Archbishop Sheen, then think about lemmings for a moment – and hold that thought…

Now right up front, I have my beliefs and they cannot be swayed by science or reason. I have faith and surety – and science and reason have all too often been wrong because they were based on incorrect assumptions or conclusions. Science does not hold all the answers to the mysteries of existence. Neither can it answer any of the really important questions like “Why am I here?”, “What is my purpose?”, or “Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?”. Just because you cannot understand or measure something it does not follow that thing does not exist. There is so much we simply do not understand, and I have come to understand that we cannot understand everything as limited human beings, as wonderful a creation as we are. I also know that others have their beliefs which they have faith in that do not agree with mine. This defines the human struggle for a truth we will only know at the termination of this existence, and only God can judge our worthiness. To quote St. Bernadette, “It is not my job to convince, only to inform”. For me this lifestyle of being obedient to the tenants of the Church and the accompanying beliefs must be freely chosen. Coercion does not produce a true change of heart or mind; it only strengthens the resolve of those whom it oppresses. Debating is pointless as neither side has an open mind and will rationalize or refuse to rationalize in order to preserve their position. We must lead and convert by a loving example.

Coercion takes many forms. Banning religious symbols in the workplace lest they offend someone is no less than a gag order. Funny how we can do that to our own people while giving religious extremists arms and support to slaughter Christians wholesale for opposing a government that would make the possession of a Bible or just being a Christian a capital offense. Here though we do no less. The fight for rights has been hard fought by many subgroups (including various Christian ones), and that fight was protected by the very constitution those now deemed politically correct seek to shred via legislation, in the hopes that the inevitable swing of the pendulum will not erase their gains. Hoping that by making it a hate crime, forbidden speech, or heavily punished speech that they will be able to subvert not only God’s plan, but the pendulum that allows some form of balance. Any historian can see the repeating pattern from the roaring 20’s to the tent revivals of the early 50’s – but this time we have allowed the game to change by criminalizing thoughts and words, not actions. Their idea seems to be to push the pendulum so far in one direction that it sticks.

Marriage is the purview of those churches who manage covenants between God and Man, civil unions are the purview of the state. I have no issue with civil unions regulated by the state, but the current ruling as I read it, is a small step onto a slippery slope which aims to turn churches into “hate groups” when they fail to marry some due to the sex of their chosen partner or partners. Never-mind that the Catholic Church already refuses marriage to divorcees, couples not intending offspring, and non-Catholics unless marrying a Catholic and agreeing to raise the children in the Catholic faith. Redefining marriage has opened a Pandora’s box of consequences. If it can be redefined to include two women then why can it not be redefined to include two women and a man? Or two men and a woman? Why not three? Four? Five? More?

You see there is a difference between a marriage and a civil union, one is a sacrament of God and one is a legal construct of man. One is indissoluble by man and one is not. One is a sacred vow before and to God with specific promises between the man and woman exchanged just as he ordained, and one is not. The sacrament of marriage is unique in that husband and wife enter into a covenant with each other with God as their witness and in doing so are making a sacred promise to honor that covenant not just to each other but to God. For Catholics, matrimony or marriage is one of the seven sacraments on which our faith is grounded. Any erosion of those sacraments constitutes an erosion of the faith, and thereby a direct attack on the Church.

A wife is by definition female and a husband male. The titles are accompanied by responsibilities – where once there was a religious contract defining those roles and responsibilities and now there is also a civil contract and that contract is controlled by the state not the churches. The purpose of the state is to recognize those contracts, not to interfere or control them. The idea that a person married in the Catholic Church would be unable to obtain a divorce, and though they could put their spouse aside would be forbidden remarriage and ostracized from the sacraments if they acted immorally – it is a consequence of entering the sacrament of marriage as defined by the Catholic Church. While the sacrament may seem harsh, it is not because it is easy that it holds great rewards. It is because they are not easily broken; It is because they are immutable that people take those vows, and choose wisely when they make them.

Marriage does not exist for your happiness, but rather happiness is something you make within a marriage. At the root of marriage is a sacramental vow you both made (one many think they can change, to make it more politically correct). The vow you took was based on feeling in love, but it obligated you beyond those feelings. It was not dependent on those feelings, nor is it dissolved because one or both of you have allowed those feelings to wither away. In the end, it’s more about character than anything. Can you keep a promise made to both God and another human? What sacrament of the Church does not ask great things of people, stressing love, self-sacrifice, duty, chastity, and honor? A calling to married life is not, contrary to popular belief, one of the easiest but rather one of the harder paths God calls us to. Even in the best of marriages there are physical and emotional hardships to overcome. They are harder because they are designed for two people to overcome with God’s assistance, and not one man standing alone against the universe. It is a responsibility, a joyful one if approached as God intended, but selfishness and a dogged sense of entitlement, carefully fostered by popular culture, have turned it from a refuge and sanctum into a prison and torture chamber for many. The worst of this is that the wounds are self inflicted, and our growing sense of popularism and political correctness twists the knife and dooms many to a perpetual search for something which cannot be found where they are located.

Make no mistake – in every marriage we will all be carried at points by our spouse, God, or both. Other times, we will do the carrying. And while love is important to any marriage, there will be times in most marriages, when in a period of hardship, that duty, honor, courage, chastity, and commitment will be your limited sustenance and purpose. Keeping your vows will demand that you love and do without the expectation that it will be returned to you for some indeterminate period of time. This can be a bitter pill to swallow, but it is necessary to show such strength of character in order to remind your spouse of her vow and to rekindle her respect, and only then will she remember why she loves you. It does not take many such reminders for her to know that she can count on you to keep your commitment, and that knowledge builds both confidence and trust – both critical to true love and the success of any marriage. You made this choice when you freely entered into the sacrament of marriage and accepted a life of service to others, not a life of being served by others.

We must change the idea of marriage and children being an ending, or a fallen state, and raise it to the beginning and higher state that it is. We must restore the dignity of fatherhood – restoring it a responsibility for not just the child but the mother of that child or children. A man’s responsibility cannot be abrogated by a check, nor can a woman’s responsibility allow her to separate the child from its father. Choices have consequences, and when any of us consents to the marital embrace we also accept those consequences. One of those consequences is a responsibility to the child – therefore both parents have an obligation to provide a home together and raise the child – any personal goals either party might have need to be pursued secondarily to providing for the needs of the child or children. True love takes years of time, and youthful love can be transformed into one of the strongest bonds when properly nurtured over time.

For all of the “Neville Chamberlin” mentalities who think appeasement is the answer, I would ask you to pay attention to the reaction after the ruling by SCOTUS – when CNN ran a report about “Still a long way to go on LBGT issues.” They were right. The Supreme Court ruling just struck down DOMA, it did not abrogate the states ability to regulate and define marriage, it only required the Federal Government to recognize gay marriage in states where it is legal. Proposition 8 was sent back to the state supreme court in California, and their governor and attorney general dropped their appeal, forcing its immediate death. For now the fight will continue through a process of indoctrination and political correctness using public schools and mass media until such time as the few faithful remaining are shunned as backwards outcasts and become an oppressed minority. In essence will will become strangers in a strange land, without ever leaving home. The alternative is to redefine politically correct, and while we cannot and should not try to “roll back the clock”, we should remember that there is a difference between tolerating individuals right to choose for themselves, and tolerating their choices being taught as moral truth or morally acceptable. We have a sacred duty to uphold the first and reject the second in the example of Jesus himself. Allowing the legislation against moral truth instead of actions only, is a two-edged sword upon which we have now impaled ourselves. It allowed for the espousing of Christian ideals held for over 2000 years to be reclassified as hate speech. Let us never make that mistake again, nor allow it to be made – no matter how noble or good the cause may seem.

To remove the sword and heal the wound requires true conversion, we must win hearts and minds – not bend society to our will. Nor can we allow society to bend us to theirs. It is time to stop being sheep afraid of their shadow – and declaring the loudest voice, not the morally correct one, the winner. It is long past time for us to speak up, all of us – in the grocery, on TV, in the workplace, both about and in support of traditional marriage before it is a hollow memory of times past. Speak positively of your marriage, share your joy so that others can see, and take pride and honor in your covenant. Keeping such a covenant is a greater victory than any other worldly achievement, your recognition of their confusion will let them know where the path is and that you have no interest in wandering aimlessly in sin with them. Walk with you head high, and nothing more need be said to a rationalist or progressive than that you are very happy and that you will pray for God to touch their hearts as well. You will not win hearts and minds with derisive rhetoric, nor can you win by force – you must win by setting an example for others to follow, making sure they see you joy and happiness, your support for each other, and your faithful devotion to the covenant. In doing this you will win hearts and minds. Ours is to inform and live by example, not to judge and convict – judgement is reserved for God. Ours is to speak the moral truth with tolerance for individual actions, and not for forced ideals and political correctness. We must make them realize that peer pressure works both ways – but gently and with great love.

Keep in mind that every person is what they are. God both created them and loves them. They each play a part in Gods plan. We are each sustained in existence only by the Love of God and should God cease to love any of us we would not die, but literally be erased from creation instantly. Understanding that fact makes loving and accepting the person, but not the immoral behavior, possible. It is a weakness of faith, cowardice, and fear, that requires the use of force to address an ideal. We must never display such a weakness, much less concede it.

And about those Lemmings, a few always stay behind to rebuild – convinced that the majority are wrong and the cycle begins again. Cling to your spouse in these troubled times, teach your children their faith well (read the catechism), do your best to be a light unto each other and not just the outside world. Most importantly trust in God, and be not afraid. The pendulum swings back and the faithful persevere.

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

**Please feel free to write or comment on this post, I’d really like to hear from those that are able to have this experience and how it is changing their marriage, their wives, and their lives.

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Monogamy or Monotony – It’s up to you…

22 Jun

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I read a very disturbing article on CNN today, and another on the Huffington Post, about monogamy being unnatural, it compares mankind to other animals and tries to justify immoral behavior by arguing that we are simple creatures among creation and are only driven by instinct and untouched by God with a special gift – free will. However, no other animal bears live young so helpless and dependent for so long a time as humans, in this we are unique; this dependence requires long term commitment and cooperation for the offspring to survive and thrive. This alone could explain why we need monogamy. We can choose a path other than instinct, and that one small thing is responsible for all that is good and noble in this world. We were given this gift primarily so that we could choose to love God, choose to abide in his plan, and choose to follow the path to true happiness which he has laid out for us.

Satan laces the path with all manner of distractions, all of which seem designed to trap us by leveraging our instinct to make us into nothing more than talking pigs with a poor sense of fashion. Greed, lust, avarice, envy, and more are around us always. We are tempted by Satan to succumb, in essence to sell our souls for the baubles and trinkets of instinctual gratification which provide only a hollow sustenance, from which a vicious addiction forms and our souls are blackened before judgement. Don’t allow yourself into thinking that the ability to have entanglement free sex is raising women up or freeing them, it does not. It lowers them to the level of sexual playthings for men, frees the father of responsibility for assisting with the offspring, and allows the father to impregnate as many women as possible – creating offspring he cannot hope to support or assist with. The women are left holding the bag, raising the child or children alone, and our society crumbles. Degrading ever more with each woman whose husband treats her this way, or who chooses this sad and tumultuous path on the advice of misguided and yet vocal individuals. Yet, there are those who mistakenly call this “enlightenment”‘, “progress”, and “women’s liberation”.

A woman should never fool herself into thinking she is truly empowered because she gives away sexual gratification liberally. Those men she services do not love or respect her and they would never take her home to the family or consider marriage. They forget quickly after climax and seek new conquests. When it comes to commitment, men want a partner they can trust, who they can see as a mother to their children and not sloppy seconds or thirds from a plaything passed around the community like a party favor. The worst part is that as men’s attitudes toward women have been changed for the worse by vocal women espousing their beliefs as pseudo-scientific fact by comparing apples and oranges and as they do men’s respect for women is generally diminished. How many hold the door for any lady, give up a bus seat, or offer to assist with obvious needs? Are not sexual assault and violence against women becoming more prevalent as the sense of entitlement to sexual gratification on demand and without strings sets in? Additionally, the mass media would have you believe true love involves hidden disco balls, bikinis, “dream weaver” playing in the background, and that it is always instantaneous – creating unrealistic expectations on both sides.

If you are a woman reading this and you consider yourself “sexually liberated”, know this – you are perishable and sometime around age 40 your expiration date comes up. Set aside after being traded in for a younger prettier model, you are likely to live out your remaining time alone, or with a male rejected by one or more previous women for good reason. You will have gained nothing of value: no children, no home, no husband, no true love, and none of the bonds of surety that those things entail in this life. You will also have inadvertently dragged other members of your sex down in the process.

Enough about that, lets talk about monogamy. So why is it that monogamy would be a problem? Truth be told, all women have the same basic equipment. Though they may vary somewhat in shape and size, the most important aspect of your sexual relationship with your wife is you mutual desire to bond more closely together and please each other while being open to life. While technical skill at lovemaking is important, it is best learned with and tailored to your spouse. Every woman is unique, and as a husband you need to focus on listening and paying attention to your wife. Not just what she says, but what she does not say – and not what “Mr. Winkie” is screaming in your ear. Try just once making love with your wife, and focusing every ounce of your attention and enthusiasm on her. Listen to her voice, breathe her in, feel her lips, touch her gently – explore her all of her, not just her erogenous zones. Slow down, savor the moment and do your best to give yourself over completely to serving her needs and desires both spoken and unspoken. You must be the servant and not the master, this is not about you – so lose yourself sharing the joy you are bringing to her and never assume that you thrusting, sweating, and grunting while squishing her beneath you is a gift from you to her, unless it is done at the right time in the right way. Otherwise that part is all about your physical gratification, so don’t fool yourself. Make sure she feels free to express her desires and fantasies without ridicule or dismissal. As a man, you know just how damaging it can be to express an interest and be told outright “when hell freezes”, or worse laughed at. I also know that the marital embrace for a woman is a deeply emotional experience you should be striving to share, and if you make her feel loved, wanted, desired, and fulfilled then her desire to return that gift knows no bounds. In the end she may discover her own unique ways to touch your body, heart, and soul beyond your wildest imaginings. Once you can do this for each other in the context of a deep emotionally bonding experience, plain old sex as you once knew it will be never again hold the same luster.

You see, the act of sex itself is never boring, but apathy, indifference and rejection are. Put yourself in her place and ask yourself how you might feel if your positions were reversed. If she feels that she’s always making a sacrifice for you, and receiving little to nothing in return then just imagine what it would do to your enthusiasm to be in her shoes. Quiet resignation, apathy, or even avoidance will eventually settle in – you’ll feel unloved and unwanted, blame her for being frigid, or worse suspect her faithfulness. How are you going to feel about it when she submits but her mind is elsewhere, or she shows no interest or active participation – if you are truly paying attention you might realize that she is enduring your advance and not enthusiastically welcoming it. Truth be known this condition is as contagious as any other shared emotion including joy. Soon you too will loose interest in her and then Satan can work in your marriage and provide the coup de gras for the condition. Loosing the bonds that bind you both, and victoriously destroying a sacrament in the process.

For those that choose the path of infidelity as a solution, the excitement and eagerness you seek are invariably temporary, something you may not realize until you have lost everything at Satan’s behest – you marriage, children, job, home, savings, etc… We have all seen too many people go down that road. You know exactly where it leads them and there is no easy return, and rarely is return even possible. It’s not just the betrayal of trust, and the decimated bonding that prevents healing. The feelings of anger and rejection can be insurmountable and lead the aggrieved party down a self-destructive path that will endanger their soul.

Lets be clear, things are always dependent on both partners. It’s up to you to set an example and take the lead as the husband. If you start by changing how you approach lovemaking so that rather than focusing on your needs as instincts would dictate, and instead focusing on her needs which go far beyond sex, then you will quickly find boredom impossible. Dispose of the birth control and use NFP, you have no idea how exciting sex can be until you remove the barriers between you. Unlike infidelity, this excitement never wains and it’s one you can share together. Lovemaking is a simmering pot you bring to a boil on occasion, so keep it simmering. Use your words and actions to remind her how you feel away from the bedroom and away from immediate sexual intention. Learn to enjoy a kiss, a gentle caress of a non-erogenous zone, or the glow she gets from being reminded how pretty you find her. She might surprise you once she feels comfortable doing so, by following your lead and keeping you simmering as well.

Learning to give is much easier than learning to receive, I suspect it is probably the hardest thing to accomplish for men. Allow her to learn your intimate needs and secrets and what you respond to without trying to make demands or give detailed instructions. You have to remember that just as your role is to serve her, so hers is also to serve you – so let her, and let her have the joy of discovery and exploration. This is a journey you take together and it will forge a bond deeper than you can fathom without having experienced it.

The one thing I know, after over 20 years I’m still learning new things and she is still surprising me. Monotony nor boredom are present, or even concerns. More importantly, the bond between us has simply continued to grow without boundaries. This journey fosters deep trust and takes time. It is one thing to trust a person with your life or safety, and quite another to trust them with your heart. Your greatest enemies are selfishness, greed, and narcissism. Keep these animal instincts in check and you can demonstrate free will. I might define it as the ability to make a moral choice contrary to instinct, in accordance with God’s plan. Fail to do so and you will become the very reason you hear so many women say that “men are pigs”.

Monogamy is the cornerstone of the family and the family is the cornerstone of society. Looking outside your marriage like an animal in rut damages not only yourself buy your entire family. When you married, you vowed yourself before God to one woman and she to you. If breaking a promise to God doesn’t concern you, then nothing else will phase you either. The Romans went down this same road right before their fall. They realized the mistake and passed laws to encourage and even require marriage, children, family, and chastity but it was too little – too late, and Rome fell into decline and the dark ages were the result. In short – if you want to live in a world like that, if you want that for your children and their children, then make the choice to follow your instinct like a selfish dumb animal. If you want to experience the greatest gift of our creator then make the choice to love your wife, and in doing so to choose to love God as well.

Sincerely,

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

**Please feel free to write or comment on this post, I’d really like to hear from those that are able to have this experience and how it is changing their marriage, their wives, and their lives.

Activities Together – Ham Radio

18 Jun

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You know, I get a lot of questions from couples who seem to have nothing in common anymore. They claim that they have drifted apart and have no common hobbies or areas of interest to bind them together. While I am both a fan and proponent of ensuring that each spouse has the ability to pursue their own interests as appropriate within a sacramental marriage, I am not a fan of chasing your own interests to the exclusion of doing anything together. In fact, not too long ago following one of my wife’s childhood interests to fruition became a rather joyful journey for both of us.

Ever since she was a young woman, she had an interest in Ham radio. Her father however did not encourage her interest. Having failed to pass the licensing exam himself, even though he was an electrical engineer, he was probably sure it was far beyond the capabilities of a teenage girl. I supposed that in addition to the various knowledge required to pass the exam, the amount of money involved in getting set up for DXing (long distance communications, e.g. Worldwide) can be prodigious, even if you “homebrew” or build it yourself. VHF can be gotten into for under $50 and allows communication for over a hundred mile radius if there is a repeater handy, but getting set up for DX can cost easily over a grand using combinations of used and home brewed equipment.

I’ve done my best over the years to make sure that my wife would see our marriage as a vehicle to achieving her dreams rather than an impediment to exploring the world and experiences around her. So when she mentioned to me that she had always wanted a ham license so she could talk to the world and get QSL (contact confirmation) cards from all over the world. I thought it was a fine idea. I got us both VHF HT’s (handi-talkies) for communication on the local clubs repeater, joined the local club, and studied with her for the exam. As a former radioman in the US Navy I had a huge advantage in that most of it was more of a review for me, and because radio and electronics repair had been a job I had long ago ceased to find her level of wonder in.

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Enthusiasm is infectious and uplifting in any marriage, and a great for sharing joy, wonder, and happiness together. Whether it is in the bedroom, in daily interaction, or in hobbies it is a wonderful tool for bonding and teaching each other to find the joy in activities – even those which had gone stale. In my case radio. As she studied the for her test I began building out our home radio shack. I located and purchased a Yaesu FT-840 HF transceiver (a solid radio I could easily repair), I built a current balun (to keep dangerous RF out of our home), and obtained and hung a G5RV wire antenna, then bought an LDG Antenna Tuner and a very quiet Samlex 35 amp power supply. She could listen to the world, listen to the people talk, the shortwave bands. She was captivated, and I was pleased. We were regularly attending the club meetings and shortly after passing our technician and general exams in the same sitting together (our 11 year old passed her technician at the same time) we became full members of the club and began exploring the airwaves together. The total outlay was pretty hefty, but her smiles and laughter were worth it – and because of her I was finding a renewed love and enthusiasm for the hobby that had once been a job (and still is from time to time part of my work). We even have been able to share my love of all things naval and nautical and when she found a Museum Ships Weekend radio contest and we joyfully reached out to as many of the ships as we could, many we had toured together and a few I had been aboard in the military. We’re even looking forward to participating in a DX expedition to the South Pacific in the future, to sail on a windjammer and install radios and solar gear onto otherwise isolated atolls and islands while making as many new contacts as possible around the world!

Now that we’ve been doing this awhile I’ve learned some more interesting things that make working the radio as a team a lot more fun than one might imagine.

1. A woman’s voice breaks through pile-ups better than all the legal wattage in the world!
2. Most QSL clubs like the Century Club (www.3905ccn.com) make combos extra points towards awards and contests – meaning that more people than ever want to talk to you both when you sign in together.
3. If you want to master teamwork, try working a busy net where you are the focus of attention, 2 are better than one. If you can learn to intuit what is needed of each other in this activity then you can carry that breakthrough into other parts of your marriage.
4. It gives you something to look forward to for time together at home and can be done 24 hours a day, so no excuses for not making time.
5. There is more joy in sharing the excitement of your spouses success than there is in succeeding yourself – and there is nothing more exciting that watching your wife blossom before your eyes from her accomplishments and sharing in that joy.

All in all, I gained a new insight on ham radio and an appreciation for things I might never have realized held so much joy for me as well. Whereas I would love to say that I knew this all along, I cannot. I also gained the chance to find a new sense of wonder in both my hobby and my marriage, because its the discoveries we make along the way and not the destination alone which define us. Life is not a race, dare to eat a peach, stop to smell a rose, and take a path less traveled hand in hand – because those are the experiences that both define and bind us.

Have you ever shared a hobby with your spouse? Did it bring you closer together? Did you enjoy it more than you expected? Did it encourage you to try something you didn’t think you’d like? and if so did you discover that you liked it?

Sincerely,

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

**Please feel free to write or comment on this post, I’d really like to hear from those that are able to have this experience and how it is changing their marriage, their wives, and their lives.

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A Sonnet for Father’s Day…

15 Jun

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I’d have attempted a sonnet of my own, but I figured that most of the people reading would not be doing so while comfortably strapped into a “Vogon Poetry Appreciation Chair”. As unpopular as I know it to be these days, I still love Shakespeare. He may not be “cool” with people today, and though many can claim to have seen a bad movie adaption or re-imagining of one of his plays (with the notable exception of Mel Gibson’s Hamlet), few can claim to have actually read his work. There is much about life, love, and the roles we all play throughout our lives in his writings. Much of it is also both touching and true, so this one I decided to share…

“Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest,
Now is the time that face should form another,
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose uneared womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb,
Of his self-love to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother’s glass and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime,
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time.
But if thou live remembered not to be,
Die single and thine image dies with thee.”

– William Shakespeare

On this Fathers Day remember that your children are your monument to posterity. It is through them that you pass down your values, your thoughts, the memories you made, and of course that pesky genetic code. In a very real way they are your corporeal immortality. For even though you die, part of you continues to live on and contributes to society in a very real way — unless you are one of those whom the poem is about. If that is the case, I would pray that it touches your heart that you are missing out one one of the most meaningful aspects of existence next to God and Love. Remember there is still time to change that situation before next Father’s Day.

For in the end, what are we but the love of two people, tied together with a cord of conjoined DNA, and clothed in the sum of both of their hopes and dreams…

Happy Father’s Day to All,

cc70458@gmail.com

* Feel free to comment and let me know what you think about this or any post, or if you just want me to point you to some free copies of Shakespeare’s collected works so you can start a literary journey from your pad or phone.

Love and Marriage in Adversity

13 Jun

Too many times I run into wives who live in fear of their husbands. This damages the institution of marriage by destroying bonds between spouses and setting a horrible example for children of either sex. If people only realized that whatever they do to their wife, they do to God as well. I have to admit that i am quick to anger when I perceive a spouse as mistreated. The following experience left me with an interesting perspective. I’ll be less quick to judge from initial appearances in the future, even though this is likely the exception not the rule.

The other day I was picking up dinner at a Chinese take-out place when a woman walked in accompanied by her husband and two small children. He was both rude and overbearing from the start, barking orders at his bedraggled wife like a drill Sargent. There was fear in her eyes as she stammered out the order and paid the bill. Her hands shook as she signed the slip, and the attendant disappeared into the kitchen. The husband told her gruffly to wait for the food and left. The little girls sat next to her and tried to comfort her. She hung her head and started to cry. I had at least 10 more minutes to wait myself and my heart was torn. I asked her if there was anything I could do to help and she said, “would you pray for my husband? I’m Catholic, but I don’t know how much more I can take…”. The words flowed like a river, I guess helping was just listening that day.

Turned out they were new in town, and things had gone downhill after her husband had lost a good job to downsizing right after returning from a long deployment to the Middle East, and was now doing any job he could. It had taken a huge toll on him, as it does everyone, and as things spiraled downward so did his attitude towards her. She was in that horrible place where she saw a side of him that he had kept hidden for the prior 5 years and she felt a sense of loss and grief. She professed that she still loved him, but she sure didn’t like him anymore. Apparently he had not resorted to physical violence, but she was sure that that was just an employment rejection or two away. With a determined look in her eyes, she looked at me and said – “he just needs a job that can support us, just a job Lord, then he’ll be a man again.”

Deeply empathetic, she realized the core problem for him was his employment search failures and fear of loss. He was squeezing his family so tightly that he was strangling the life out of his marriage. It was after hours for the church, and they had a place to stay for the week and some money but their order wouldn’t feed them and the children a decent meal. He had gone outside to return a call from a potential employer. I pulled out my phone and gave her the number of a local deacon that could help, the location of the adoration chapel, and the pastors personal cell phone number and my name to use when and if she called either. I let her know about catholic charities and their job placement. She dried her eyes, brightened up, and looked more like a person. My order was up and her husband returned as I went to the counter. The little girls were demanding “Chinese Chicken” and French fries which they had not ordered due to strict budgeting, and they had not relented until the father came in and the mother quickly quieted them so I slipped a 10$ bill to the attendant to make a “mistake” and then insist they keep the extra Chicken and fries. Then I left… Feeling troubled.

I’ve stewed over it quite a bit, the more I thought on it the more I realized there was something about the encounter – a lesson for all of us. For her, the pain was in seeing the man she loved descend into a personal hell and tormented by feelings of inadequacy. I suspect he was trying to protect her by overreacting and trying to project strength and control. I suspect his pride was all he thought he had left, and while his wife desperately tried to be there, he pushed her away in his shame over his inability to reliably provide. Instead of pulling together, he was pulling them apart. I also noted that she asked me to pray for him, not herself – and I did. Hoping that it was in God’s plan to help him find a job. I also hoped that they called Father after they ate, but one never knows.

I do know one thing – being a Catholic husband is an awesome responsibility, and it encompasses far more than an obligation to provide for your family. They look to you for leadership, and love. If you show fear or desperation then they no longer feel safe. If you show anger then they feel threatened and will eventually resent you. If you show hope and love in adversity you can make an impression that lasts a lifetime, and more importantly you must allow yourself to be loved and comforted. The world is not just on your shoulders but on both your shoulders – there is no shame or failure in sharing the burden with your other half, it is far more honorable to do so than to collapse under the weight of a burden you cannot bear and forcing the whole burden onto your wife and children along with your own issues of inadequacy.

Control is something a husband should exercise over himself. His family should feel love and respect for him, never fear of him. Lashing out solves little when directed at your wife, what you do to her you also do both to yourself and to God. What they need to see is an inner light breaking though the cracks in you, and if you cannot muster that – then at the least the strength of your love for them. Though I didn’t agree with the fact that he was emotionally mistreating his wife, I did admire that he understood and took seriously his responsibility to her and those children. It seems to be a rarity in this world sometimes. I also admired just how persistent he was being in his search for employment, but I admired the wife more. She suffered as I imagine a saint might, gentle and doing her best while bearing both his suffering and her own. She remembered that she LOVED him, and made the choice to continue doing so even though she disliked him at this moment. She recognized he was in pain, understood why, and did her best to forgive his transgressions and sooth him as he would let her. She knew that he was questioning both his manhood and his worthiness to be her husband through this tribulation, and she prayed and asked for prayers – not for herself but him. If only he would have let her in, she could have shared that strength with him.

With the husband, I understand very clearly. I have been where that man was – but my wife and I worked together and prospered in spite of adversity. She bolstered my spirits and kept me positive the whole time – because I let her in. I have to tell you, that telling my wife I had been laid off ranks as one of the hardest things I ever did. I drove around the block twice working up the courage and composure to relay the news. In the end I was ashamed of myself that I ever feared her reaction. She was my rock and a font of good and level headed counsel, some of which I didn’t want to hear. She was right too. She told me that God never closes a door without opening a window, and we were not terribly religious then. God didn’t seem to mind, and he watched over us anyway – just as he watches over all his children. In weathering this storm of life we grew closer together and learned a great deal about each other.

God made married couples as partners in life and I realized that our relationship with God is the same way, if we cannot let our wives share our burdens and ease our pain, then how can we hope to have God do so either? I’m wondering how varied the experiences of others have been on this subject, please comment if you have one you would like to share.

Sincerely,

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

**Please feel free to write or comment on this post, I’d really like to hear from those that are able to have this experience and how it is changing their marriage, their wives, and their lives.

What Does Marriage Feel Like after 20+ Years

11 Jun

Cutting the Wedding Cake as one

Like all of Marriage, How symbolic is the act of cutting the cake together. Showing that everything we do going forward will done by two working as one in purpose.

So this question was asked to me some time ago. You know, I didn’t know what to say at the time. Catching me speechless was more of a rarity than the person who posed the query realized. I realized that trying to explain it was beyond me on the spur of the moment so I honestly replied “Good, very good”, flashed a smile and quickly changed the subject.

Now, after some introspection, I think I can put it into words. At the very least, I can create pale analogies and simplistic and obtuse parables. We’ve been married for what some would consider a very long time, in fact we’ve been married for all of our adult lives and over half of our current ages. When you get so close, and so comfortable, you tend to loose your perspective. The human mind has an infinite ability to interpret input the way it wants – and it has a general tendency to do so. In marriage, this is a good thing which works to your advantage. It allows your wife to overlook that paunch you’ve developed and the grey hair and wrinkles. I know when I look at her I see the same girl I married, mind you if I look too closely I can see the changes – but it’s like an overlay and I literally see her as if she was frozen in time. The twinkle in her eyes nor her smile has ever changed. My heart still races when she returns after even a short absence, and her touch and kiss still put butterflies in my stomach. Love can be funny that way…

Truth be told, it was not always that way. We had our ups and downs, some of which would have benefitted from inertial dampening. The flame between us started off like and angry charcoal grill with lots of Coleman fuel used as fire-starter – blazing, scorching, unpredictable, and hard to harness. It took some time before things calmed down and we learned how to properly bank and feed the fire to keep it blazingly hot but under control – with no more no more flare-ups or cool downs that took a good bit of work to rekindle. We both married for love, and took that commitment very seriously at the time, but not because of religion – and we had no idea just how much our commitment and resolve would be tested along the way. On the other hand, there have been too many small miracles along the way for me to believe the the Lord had not sent angels to watch over and protect us. We had started as good friends who became inseparable best friends. She was so far out of my league, I repressed my feelings and just focused on being a good friend. Then, one day – a day I will never forget, we realized that we were in love. I also dare say that our lives turned out far differently than we had planned out originally – but instead of being a source of conflict we tended to draw closer. She is my still my best friend – not just my wife, and we find that we still love doing things together. That said, we still have interests apart as well.

However, after over 20 years I wouldn’t change a thing – even the ups and downs. It was from the adversities that I learned some of my most valuable lessons, and because they were traumatic I was encouraged to stay the path and not make those mistakes again (not that I was entirely successful here either). Through it all there was always love – and love really is enough if it’s not the superficial kind. The “I didn’t sign up for this” kind of love isn’t what we had – we made a commitment and managed to keep it and stick together through the ride through the rapids and into the main stream. We saw both better and worse, and continue to see them as life buffets us like a raging storm. We also see each other as the one stable thing in this earthly life outside of God. She is the rock I cling to through the storms, while to her I am the rock that she clings to as well and by clinging together we see each other safely through the maelstrom.

How does it feel? Good, Very Good. Like your favorite pair of jeans that only seems to get better with time, more comfortable and better fitting with each passing year. Am I bored? Never. You might think that the martial embrace would get monotonous over time, and I could see that if it was just sex – but sex takes 45 mins, making love can take hours. When things become deeper there is a whole new infinite realm, the more you learn about each other the better the sex will be too. Once your eliminate the artificial barriers to truly joining together in the very messy way our creator intended, you will find that it changes you greatly to be open to the creation of life. It will keep adding both a spark and spirituality to making love, and it will keep you from falling into the trap of using her as a depository for your sexual angst. I often wish that we could have known then what we know now about it each other – but if we did we would have lost all the joy of exploration and discovery along the way. We still talk, about the day, the kids, the pets, the ham radios, about everything – but the conversations are deeper and as much is said through our eyes and body language as passes through our lips. Neither of us sleeps well without the other present., and while separation creates a feeling of being rent in two – being reunited creates a feeling of elation that lasts for hours. There is a since of well being and security that pervades things – conflicts decrease dramatically just because you understand each other and each other’s moods and feelings. I have dedicated over 20 years of my life to serving her, and I would do it all over again without hesitation. She gave me her love, her heart, her companionship, her service, and 4 beautiful children. She has been the one person who was never afraid to tell me the uncomfortable truths I needed to hear, and to whom I have been able to tell my deepest secrets without fearing ridicule.

If you do not have this then you can only imagine, it’s very hard to walk this path – especially at first – but it gets wider and more pleasant as time passes. The load is always lighter when shared, the trip more pleasant with a loyal companion, and when you stumble and fall or loose your way it can be a lifesaver to have a partner who you can trust – not just with your life, but with your heart. I see in my marriage a deeply spiritually moving experience, a sanctuary and refuge – not a prison. It is a condition where you are both a servant and the served. It is in that service that I finally found peace. Most importantly it is a symbiosis, and the most amazing things can happen when we open our hearts – for it was by my wife’s love for me that I learned to love, and be loved, by her and by God as well.

Sincerely,

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

**Please feel free to write or comment on this post, I’d really like to hear from those that are able to have this experience and how it is changing their marriage, their wives, and their lives.

Father’s Day – A lesson Learned Far Too Late

10 Jun

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Sometimes you learn something about yourself and the meaning of life, just about the time when it’s usefulness to you is such that if you had been smart enough to figure it out from the start so many things could have been better.

Yesterday I learned something about Father’s Day. You see, I’m about as dense as a rock sometimes and thanks to a hectic work schedule days and weeks often flow together as I move from deadline to deadline. I’m sure a few of you will understand this in todays world. This means that I often lose track of holidays and such, but this past weekend due to some dramatic retooling of children’s activities my wife was equally harried. She lost track and thought Sunday was Father’s Day – and my brain, being like a colander when it comes to dates, didn’t recognize the difference. 

In our defense, the stores seem to start earlier and earlier with their ads and sales. It didn’t take me but a moment to realize that the children didn’t know the exact date either and that Debra could not take them shopping in time – nor dig out the arts and crafts they had so carefully and diligently crafted and painted for me before school had let out for the summer. I wondered if they realized that I had kept every present or keepsake over the years, and with four children I have quite a collection.  The ones not framed and hung in the hall are on the fridge or tucked away in an artists envelope bulging with a plethora of various media sitting on top of my credenza.

I poured over some of the many things that had accrued over the years – turkey’s made of handprints, first pictures, cubist family portraits, and sculptures that would make Ida Kohlmeyer swoon.

These mementos are wonderful, they really are. However, I cannot take them with me when I depart this life. Since I know this firsthand, I realized that I was missing the point of Father’s Day – and if not the point then we could say the real opportunity. It’s not a day so much for handcrafted gifts and dinner out somewhere you usually would not go. Instead, it is a day for making happy memories with your children. With that in mind I went to bed Saturday night, planning to do just that in the morning.

The kids were up early and very excited – but we had a rain interruption we needed to work around. A quick look at the weather forecast said if we hit City Park just between 130pm and 430pm we could nail the sunny patch that afternoon and do so to reduced crowds. Debra packed some snacks and drinks in the cooler and we took off at the appointed time. The children were unusually good because of course they thought it was Father’s Day. Making for a pleasant drive into the city.

We arrived at the park and proceeded to have fun together as a family. I made extra sure to spend one-on-one time doing activities and rides with each of the children. Lots of smiles and laughter for the day, and then about 430 right on queue the rain started and we all ran for the car, piled in, and headed off for a decadent snack at a french bakery (and to find a bathroom to change for Holy Mass).

By the time we got to Mass I was exhausted and sore, I had really overdone it. The children were exhausted too. The mass was beautiful though, and during the consecration I felt a warm glow descend on me with the feeling that next time I stand in judgement – this day would be one of my finest hours and my fondest memories. The best part of that feeling was knowing that while I would loose the keepsakes – the laughter and happy memories created that day were not just mine to keep – but they were also a gift to my children and my wife who seemed to positively glow with pride just watching things unfold.

I learned, and re-learned, a few things that day. First and foremost an appreciation for my mortality and the fact that we cannot count on tomorrows to do things with children, they grow up so quickly that even if we don’t die, their childhood is terminal and though the children will survive – they are only children for a short period of time. The things you possess that you can carry into the next life are love, memories, and regrets. Love your spouse and children as best you are able regardless of how far you fall from from the marks you set for yourself. Make happy memories with those you love whenever you can, they are a gift that pays itself forward and when you bring joy to others lives it not only brightens your life too, but all of God’s creation. As for regrets, choose your actions carefully as you will make enough of these as a consequence of being human and they too are things you will have to live with forever in a very literal sense. As a father, I have often found myself so tied up in providing food, shelter, and other necessities that I failed to take enough time out to provide the joy and attention I really wanted to. I’ve had enough obstacles to doing so in my life outside of my control that I could try to use that as an excuse and probably get away with it, but all that really means is that with fewer opportunities – a missed one counts for even more.

I hope that one day my children will find this post, and know that no matter what else they were loved more dearly than life itself – my sole concern was always for my family. I every effort to make to ensure that they could have a mother at home through their childhood, enough to eat, a safe neighborhood to live in, and a comfortable home. I hope that they remember the joyful times we shared together, the lessons learned the hard way and passed on to them, and most importantly that I was just an imperfect man. A man who realized later than he should have that he was the one missing out when their mother took them to the zoo or the park without him – whatever the reason was. Life hands out enough circumstances when you simply cannot be present to share a simple joy, make an effort to do so that will ensure that you never regret your actions – just the circumstances. Doing so will be its own reward in this life and the next, provide a precious gift to your family, and make you a better Catholic husband.

PS: I hope my daughters’ future husbands and my son read my entire blog – in the hopes that they can use what they find to improve their marriages and in doing so pay it forward to their children as well. There is no need for these lessons to be re-learned the hard way endlessly through the generations that follow.

Sincerely,

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

**Please feel free to write or comment on this post, I’d really like to hear from those that are able to have this experience and how it is changing their marriage, their wives, and their lives.

 

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