Tag Archives: affection

The Sorrow of Ashley Madison and How to Fix It

19 Aug

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I know many of you have heard the news that Ashley Madison’s entire client list was hacked and published. That sheer number of people involved is staggering at 37 million! I find myself at a total loss to describe the level of failure the the replacement of Sacramental Matrimony with civil marriage has been. Clearly people are not happy, and clearly people (especially children) are being harmed by this abusive and destructive behaviour. The saddest part – there is an easier path to marital happiness.

While I can do nothing about what is happening on a national level – You can. Start with yourself, and pay it forward. I would like to relate to you a true story about what HAS HAPPENED that I was personally involved in many years ago. It even has a happy ending.

Almost 20 years ago I was working remotely on a job and was travelling quite frequently. One of the men under my direction was clearly having trouble with being away from his family and began to flirt with a waitresses. He was firmly rebuffed – being an engineer without the good looks, charm, or social graces necessary to entice a waitress to divulge her phone number after dozens of failed attempts. Yes I admit – I laughed about a few – and you would be rolling on the floor if you had witnessed some of the ludicrous and inept attempts. One evening he came to me, trying to set up an account on a website for cheaters but frightened to death because he didn’t want for his wife to see the credit card charge. There was a look of desperation in his eyes. His marriage was hurting with their first child recently delivered, a wife with no sleep and alone at home time, and the sexual rejection he thought he was receiving at home because he was too selfish to think past the end of his wee-wee and realize both of them were in the same exhausted boat.

When I found out the child was being bottle fed thanks to his mewling, I had an idea – and it didn’t involve helping him hide a credit card charge. With some help from his coworkers we got together and hatched a plan. I called the father in law from his phone left behind at dinner. I explained the plan, and got his support (seems the wife was feeling very down as well – and he loved the plan). Next we pitched in to buy the wife a round trip weekend ticket ($39 on southwest – like I said years ago) to be picked up at the airport, and then arranged for a dozen roses to be delivered with a note including the flight information Friday morning. I scheduled myself that weekend in his place to give him Friday night through Sunday night off. One of the guys also made a reservation at a romantic and moderately priced restaurant for him with a gift card to cover dinner, another pitched in a set of movie ticket gift certificates from the theater around the corner….

Friday morning and he didn’t know anything yet, on our way in to work I handed the hotel concierge the envelope with the dinner and movie things and explained why it had to be “hush hush”. Come dinner Friday night I ordered a large Guinness, and about 90% finished said, “Oh my lord, look at the time! I have a VIP to pick up at the airport!” I grabbed him and said, “I need a favor, you have to drive me to the airport to pick up the VIP. I can’t let a bigwig even think I would drink and drive!” He said, “Sure, my weekend is shot stuck here with you lot again… so whatever.” I stayed composed, openly fretting about whether I smelled of the luscious creamy stout I had downed, while we waited for our VIP at the gate (You could actually wait at the gate back then!)

When she came out of the gate, he almost knocked me off the seat running. Grandpa and Grandma had the baby for the weekend, and he had no idea she was coming. Surprise, joy, even kissing and hugging involving lifting people off their feet (not me).

I dozed in the back seat on the hours drive back to the hotel hoping and praying he would have a good weekend, and his wife too. When he got to his room the key didn’t work, he had to go back to the front desk – only to find out the concierge had moved them to a luxury suite for the weekend at no charge (including all his things), and thrown in a fruit basket and champagne. In all fairness we had almost lived in that hotel for most of the year – but this was above and beyond even for them. We didn’t see them until after lunchtime when they headed out for coffee, a walk, and a movie before dinner. Sunday night when it was time to take her to the airport, I drove them as they whispered in the back seat and held hands. He kissed her goodbye and put her on a plane. We went back to the car.

It was the trip home, amidst his gushing thanks – that I reminded him that only a few days ago he was willing to risk his marriage and his relationship with a woman who clearly loved him and thought he hung the moon – for a waitress he didn’t know, and then a stranger on a website. It hit him like a ton of bricks… his face fell and he started sobbing. I stopped in a parking lot and explained to him that he just learned the most valuable lesson a man can know at his age without actually screwing things up, and for that he should be profoundly happy that he had dodged that particular bullet. I also pointed out that the cost and effort to make such arrangements was trivial for someone at his salary level and he needed to focus on just putting a fraction of the effort into wooing his wife as he did trying to find some woman to provide sex. I told him truly that if he would do that he would have all the sex he could handle, and a wife that would never look at another man the way she looked at him.

2 Years later – The grandparents were still helping out with the kids (yes they had another) and the wife was living her dream of seeing the world, as the husband uses his frequent flyer miles on companion tickets and free flights for her to visit him in countries across the globe. Instead of being estranged, they are still like two teenagers in love.

Many years later – We run into each other on a large job where he is working under me again. After the others filtered off after dinner, he waited behind to thank me. He told me, “I could never repay what you did for me and my wife, so I am doing it for others.” I think I had some beer foam in my eye and I had to wipe it away, but I thanked him and wished him a very long, prosperous, and happy life and marriage.

If you somehow missed the moral of this true story – and no, it has nothing to do with having a stout with dinner. It is that if you would put half the effort you put into attracting other women’s attention, and directed it instead into your wife and marriage then everything changes. It’s a matter of priorities. When you invest in your wife and your family you always come out way ahead, and you simply can’t lose because there are never any regrets when you act honorably.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Natural “Self-Selection”

8 Feb

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This is all about abortion, contraception, and LGBT combined with the destruction of families. Where to begin…

Lets start with the basis of the biological imperative coded into our genome which is to reproduce. Whether or not you believe in God even – when you contracept and abort you reduce or dramatically limit the amount of your genome passed on to future generations. For what greater monument to your time on Earth can you leave than children well raised.

Many perform sex selection to weed out daughters – this is a fallacy. A son may carry your name, but a daughter carries your genetic legacy and passes it on more effectively. We can trace all people on earth to a common genetic mother “Mitochondrial Eve“, but have no information on the father.

By self-selecting yourself for elimination from the gene pool – one might consider this a form of suicide. Since it is occurring at the macro level we can not help but see a Malthusian mechanism at work.  We thought we had outsmarted God, and here it is – God suprising us. This applies if you contracept, abort, or engage in same sex or gender bending relationships. Your line ends right here. It goes no further. You have been “Self-Selected for Extinction”

From a perspective of natural biology, you become a failure since you do not reproduce. The results of that failure are being felt strongly in Japan, Russia, China, Denmark, and even in the United States. The links provided are quite informative and from mainstream respected news sources – not some tin hat online magazine. They are quite enlightening. *The Danish public service advertisement video is risque and direct, but not vulgar.

You see, our economy will never recover without workers to work – and consumers to buy things. Our aging population is a recipe for euthanasia and disaster, especially when combined with a birth rate well below replacement level. There simply arent enough young people coming up to maintain the services already in place – much less to expand them as more people in the generation ahead of me retire.

Social Security is a ponzi scheme collapsing because we turned the pyramid upside down (not just because congress robbed it). That too will be an issue – without stable monogamous marriages averaging 3 children or better for several generations and men earning a living wage that will support that family and allow them the time to maintain the marriage and raise the children then we are doomed. Doomed by our greed and arrogance to crash and burn as a society and be replaced anew by a society made up of the children of parents who did not contracept and abort themselves into extinction.

The legacy of the future belongs to those who reproduce. If you want to save America, what America needs to save itself are well raised children from stable nuclear families. The non-viable mutations will die off shortly as nature intended and are of little consequence.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Initiating Intimacy is Important

4 Aug

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Here’s something you likely haven’t given much thought to. However, it is of just as much importance as the intimacy itself is to your marriage and the bond between spouses.

Everyone – Husbands and Wives alike, needs to feel loved, wanted, attractive, accepted. If the same party is always the one initiating Intimacy (anything and everything from verbal gestures and holding hands to the Marital Embrace qualifies here) then the initiating party begins to feel as though his or her feelings are not mutual. This can be devastating to our marriages in many ways.

When intimacy breaks down because one partners is not feeling that the intimacy is returned in kind then emotions like anger, resentment, disaffection, and distancing start to surface. Self Esteem is damaged severely, and the bond between the spouses is weakened and sometimes irreparably damaged.

The solutions are so simple, and yet so psychologically complicated. In short people must both realize that in marriage we are EQUAL partners. Both Spouses have EQUAL rights and responsibilities when it comes to maintaining the marital bonds and it is not possible for just one partner to do it alone. We must be honest and sincere in our actions when initiating intimacy – disingenuousness usually works longer on Husbands than it does on Wives — but the end result is the same. It destroys trust and the marriage. Both parties must overcome their fears and doubts and trust their Spouse with their heart, naked and exposed.

  • Take the time to initiate Intimacy (not necessarily the Marital Embrace) with your spouse. Since some spouses can be blind as moles or stubborn as mules you may have to stretch yourself to reach them, especially if you are the wife.
  • If you are the husband then you likely need to relearn subtlety – how to court your wife and make her feel loved and wanted as a person. Your wife is not ignorant of the endgame, but she should never feel your affection is based on, nor depends upon that endgame. It is through selfless acts of affection that you will build her trust that what you seek is her love and happiness and not a romp in the hay.
  • Wives – In addition to being stubborn, most husbands tend to be hypersensitive of rejection. Especially by you – and especially when they feel it is repeated. He can behave rightly toward you, but if you do not reciprocate his tenders of affection or turn them away he will feel rejected. Just as you would if he did the same to you.  Smiles, handholding, and appreciation of even the most inept attempts to be affectionate or romantic are very helpful in building his self esteem up and keeping his focus on you where it should be. You should also remember that it will take times for Husbands to learn the more subtle cues. They will miss them until they really know you. This means that being more forward and direct is often required, and from time to time doing so is very helpful in making them feel desirable, loved, and wanted as well.
  • Both of you must realize that the goal here is not to reward affection with the Marital Embrace. Do these things to instead create an environment where you BOTH desire to give that gift to each other, and environment where both of you take initiative and responsibility to keep the affection between you and strengthen your bond.

In short, you are creating an environment in your marriage where the Marital Embrace becomes a tender of both affection and desire for unity between both of you and more. It becomes for you both, the deepest way of expressing that affection; And when  driving biological imperatives are removed from the act by the increased increased frequency – it becomes something more beautiful and bonding that I can describe in mere words. This will build the epoxy that binds you to each other as one, and keeps your focus always on the other. Don’t let anything come between you, especially anger, pride, or selfishness. We all know where those feelings come from, as well as where they lead us.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

Let your Wife Drive…

15 Jun

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Let’s be realistic here. Too many men think Leading = doing everything for people. This can be especially disastrous in marriage, especially for wives – but also for families should you become ill or incapacitated. It has more localized effects and benefits as well, but the overall benefits to your relationship with you wife are the really important ones.

Have you ever been out fishing on a boat? I have spent an inordinate amount of my life on the water, and I noticed something different about our boat from the others for the first time yesterday. It was the only fishing boat with a woman driving. Why is that important you ask? Well I’ll ask you a few questions. If something happens to you can she pick you up safely and get the boat back to shore even if you’re unconscious? Could she do it in the same adverse conditions you could? In short, how can you truly function as a team if you can’t carry the other when necessary?

Stop for a minute and think how this lesson applies to your life together – everything from finances to basic property maintenance. To work as a team you need to help each other get the work done, not have one person helpless and dependent on the other for everything. A wife is not a thing to be kept, she is a fully capable human being ordained by God to stand beside you and be your helpmate. Don’t cripple her capabilities because of your insecurity and thwart God’s plan. You might even discover your wife is better than you at critical skills – this is a gift and makes you a better team. Never forget that you are on the same team, just as God himself ordained – and act accordingly.

Leadership in the family is not about doing for them and keeping them dependent. Leadership in the family is in loving them and making them fully self-sufficient, and not fully dependent on you. Make sure that you are never in a position where your wife thinks she couldn’t do something without you. Think about this, do you want her bound to you by need or by choice. Me personally – I want my wife to be with me because she wants to be with me more than anything else, not because she feels insecure and incapable of caring for herself. In fact, I have seen a number of relationships experience great difficulties when wives began to explore self-reliance much to the chagrin and disparagement, rather than than the active participation and encouragement, of their husbands.

If you lead your wife and family well, you will never question why your wife is with you, nor what binds you together. Fail to lead them and you will always wonder.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

 

Annulment does NOT equal “Catholic Divorce”

7 May

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There is a lot of talk about making annulments making more easily available, easing the annulment process and how it will fix all the churches problems. I would venture to say that people that make such proclamations ignore 50 years of history, and fail to understand just what an annulment is (Hint – it is NOT “Catholic Divorce”). In fact, divorce is a civil proceeding in which civil authorities terminate a marriage in direct contradiction of Christ’s admonition that “What GOD has joined, let NO MAN put asunder”. The very idea that a state has any authority as regards a Catholic Sacrament is both offensive and ludicrous. The state is simply terminating a civil contract – but the Sacramental Marriage remains. God not only does not recognize a civil divorce approved by men, but specifically forbade it. A Civil divorce does not dissolve an existing Catholic Sacramental Marriage – nothing can. An annulment is a finding by the Church that there was never a sacramental marriage in the first place (so in essence the marriage never happened and therefore rendering the ideal of dissolution a moot issue).

In order to make my point more saliently, I would ask you to to read this article by Msgr. Pope at the Archdiocese of Washington website here: http://blog.adw.org/2014/05/the-church-cannot-change-her-doctrine-on-marriage-and-divorce-concerns-for-the-upcoming-synod/

Pay special attention to this paragraph from his article:

Many troubling statistics could be presented to show that there has been a true explosion in the number of annulments granted. In the early 1960s, there were about 300 annulments granted per year in the United States. Today that number is over 60,000!

Stew on it it a bit. This is the number granted not the number applied for or appealed, and people are screaming and clamoring for many more to be granted for an ever expanding number of new reasons. They do not want to obey their vows or the Church – they want a shortcut back into communion with the Church that somehow makes their ongoing sin clean – or frees them from a binding commitment to God and their rightful spouse so that they can re-enter the Sacrament of Matrimony with another. The fact is that the church is granting more and more annulments every year – so many that even Pope Benedict Ordered a review of the process and criteria used in the US for granting them since our nation/society seems to be in the lead on this. Note that rather than slowing the disintegration of the Catholic families down, it has been like throwing gasoline on a fire to douse it. So much so that an exponential explosion of civil divorces and associated annulment requests continues to expand.

The rapid expansion in the numbers of annulment application has presented challenges for the Church aside from the increasing numbers of divorces by Catholics. This is before we address the very uncomfortable issue of the costs associated with obtaining an annulment. I know personally a number of people who spent huge sums on canon lawyers, application fees and appeals. I also know personally, that by the current levels of decentralizing the process,  people have been denied in their own archdiocese – even through the appeals process. Only to apply in another diocese where annulments are known to be more liberally approved, and quickly receive their annulment. Many of these people have come away with the impression that an annulment is something to be purchased at great fiscal cost from the correct diocese – even if the grounds for the annulment were solid. This impression must be combated with all vigor – as it brings scandal on the Church. The idea of further decentralization to increase volume and limit review is fraught with greater issues – not the least of which is inconsistent applications of standards and scandal in the Church. With proper Pre-Cana counseling, the ability of a couple to get an annulment should be extremely limited (all but non-existent without fraud being committed) – all because Pre-Cana properly documented that all steps were taken to ensure the validity of the sacrament up front.

An annulment is not a divorce – an annulment means that the marriage was invalid on it’s face. Invalid because it did not meet the requirements specified in the CCC 1625-1632. Annulment means that sacramental marriage never happened because of some impediment to sacramental marriage in place at the time of the original marriage. The idea of claiming youth as an impediment I personally view as a cop-out. Young people do stupid things, but an annulment is not a vehicle to undo a choice you regret. An annulment is supposed to be based on whether you understood the Catholic Teaching on Sacramental Marriage and had no impediments when you entered into it – nothing more.

Marriage is very hard work, you are essentially committing to serve your spouse (husband or wife) in union and fidelity no matter what happens in the future. People will change over time, this is not a reason for an annulment. People will be unfaithful, once again not a reason for an annulment. People will complain they do not “love” their spouse anymore. Love is a choice we make every day . The feeling we so often mistake for love is the hormonal rush that is a result of the hormones released when we successfully make that choice – but it is just a feeling, not love itself. Marriage is not about being in love – it is about service to God through the service to one’s spouse. Sacramental Marriage is about consecrating one’s words, actions, body, and heart to God and their spouse every single morning and then working together with a single purpose to achieve your shared goals.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have an answer people will like regarding this teaching of Jesus Christ himself on Marriage, but I will also be one the first to admit that it is through Sacramental Marriage that I maintain God in my daily life. I would remind people that even the Apostles were shocked and made Jesus repeat for clarity his statement on the indissolubility of Marriage. Jesus did not promise us the path would be wide, or pleasant – just that it would be worth it, nothing more. As for those claiming compassion as an excuse to contradict Christ himself – I would ask them if giving an alcoholic another bottle is true compassion. I would ask them if Christ himself made such a teaching crystal clear from his own lips; Then whom do they really serve that would propose to change it in His name, under the banner of “compassion”?

The indissolubility of sacramental marriage is a continual reminder of the indissolubility of God’s love for us, and serves as my compass and my shield. Take these from Matrimony and what you have left is no longer something precious and priceless which is beyond any earthly power to purchase, and instead it becomes something common, base, worldly, and pedestrian that can be bought and sold – and given and taken by mere men. Sacramental Marriage is a great gift from God – we should treat it accordingly with the respect and reverence it is due. In my humble opinion – Until the Church solidifies this teaching by requiring strict observance of the grounds for invalidity, the faithful will continue to waiver. Only when the magisterium takes a hard stance, will the faithful will start to take the teaching very seriously once again.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

A Rash of Unwanted Divorces – Prayers Needed

21 Apr

Recently I have personally witness a seeming rash of divorces by long married couples with wives leaving husbands of 20-34 years. The wives have left without saying a single word prior – and in several cases gutting the couples financial resources just before retirement. The husbands are left confused and conflicted. One thing that has stood out to me is that the husbands all did not see any signs that the divorce was coming – until the day it happened.

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. My wife has pointed out that there is definitely a failure to communicate in many instances and cited some examples for me. I was not shocked by anything she said. I was however shocked that small wounds were allowed to fester to a boiling point before anything was said. Often, these women have suffered in silence for years. It was not generally the size of the wounds which were killing the marriage, but rather the untreated festering infection.

What is the solution? As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. One thing I observed is that some of these women feared their husbands in some way – some even physically. These bother me the most – your wife should never fear being physically harmed by you as her husband.  Others were just averse to conflict. You need to learn to listen carefully, and reply thoughtfully. You can chew your food before you swallow – do the same with your thoughts – chew on them a bit before you blurt them out. Words are the single most dangerous thing we have in a marriage. Be careful with yours always, think before you speak – and speak kindly always. We can blame the wives all we want for what they did or did not do, but it won’t save your marriage from divorce or make your wife happy. The fix requires more than being attentive, it means serious effort on your part. Remember that you cannot change other people – you must accept and love her as she is. Instead change yourself as that is something you do have control over and can change.

Trust is paramount. She has to be sure she can share honest feelings with you without facing retaliation emotionally, verbally, or physically. You have to listen, consider, and find ways to address her concerns in a matter that resolves them to both of your satisfaction. I highly recommend the tactical approach of listening carefully while repressing negative facial expressions or comments, then thinking carefully about how to respond, only after that – do you open your mouth and do so. Peoples tongues are the source of more self inflicted marital wounds than many realize. DO NOT tell her it is her fault, denigrate her, or blame her in your response. Focus your response solely on what you can do to alleviate her concerns and then do it. This is NOT a negotiation, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT say things like I’ll do X if you do Y.

Keep in mind that often women just need to vent their feelings in a safe environment. They do not expect you to necessarily fix it – what they want is for you to listen. Letting her get her feeling out by listening attentively. Act when it is appropriate, and listen and hold her when action is not required.

Your wife might trust you with her life and well being, yet not trust you with her heart. This is where the problems fester and grow. You need to regain her faith in you to counter this, and open deep lines of communication. While you might want to say that telling her to make changes would make more sense – it does not. The only person you can change is you, so work with what you have. Make sure you are attentive to her feelings, emotions, and the little things she says. You won’t get this right most of the time being male, but she will appreciate sincere interest in her and her feelings. For what you have done, and what you have failed to do… Often we hear Catholics say this mantra, but fail to heed it. Have you given your wife cause to think that there are things important to her that she cannot accomplish within marriage – things in keeping with sacramental marriage, of course? Maybe it’s travel, education, learning to play an instrument, learning to ride a motorcycle, learning to hunt/shoot/fish, or becoming a HAM radio operator. Don’t fail her by ruling things out. Don’t put unnecessary impediments or barriers on your marriage. Married life is like a dance, it works best if both parties move together as one. If your wife takes the time to tell you about her dreams and goals – listen and then start working to make them happen. Learn to take a hint, and act on it.  Where such is feasible it is an opportunity for you to grow together – find joy in it. Service to your wife does not have to be a sacrifice – it can be a source of unending joy and discovery for both of you. Don’t fail to make sure your wife knows that there is nothing she can accomplish outside marriage that cannot be accomplished within marriage more easily. Don’t fail to support and work towards her goals as well – after all you expect her to work towards and support yours.

Intimacy is always of paramount importance – I cannot stress this enough. It is through intimacy that the bond between man and woman is strengthened and maintained. Sexual relations are a byproduct of intimacy, not the other way around.  So many marriages suffer from unresolved sexual issues because people refuse to communicate. Do not assume you are “doing it right” – even after years of marriage. Do not ask for a critique of your performance. Instead, do ask your wife what would please her – and then follow her guidance exactly and without hesitation. Too often women are shortchanged here because they are making a sacrifice to protect their husbands ego and self-image. Frustration builds over time, never deny her the marital embrace and accompanying intimacy – ignoring her or refusing her is a rejection. Rejection destroys intimacy at the root.. Give her the opportunity to protect your self-esteem, your marriage, and have her needs met by opening lines of communication. You may find yourself surprised at the changes in your experience when you stop worrying about yourself and focus every fiber of your being on pleasing her. You may also be astounded by the levels of intimacy that can be achieved when she does not feel sex is a sacrifice or worse that she is being used as a repository for your sexual angst. It is that intimacy that will keep your bond both sealed and renewed.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Husbands Love Your Wives…

7 Apr

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This seems to be a serious issue in marital relationships.  Lets be honest for  a moment. I have gotten dozens of emails over the last few months about this particular issue and a shocking number of personal inquiries, especially over the last few months on the subject of husbands denying wives intimacy. Not exactly what you might expect to hear – but the complaints against husbands are running 5 to 1 or so over complaints about wives withholding intimacy.

Lets put the locker room talk and jocular speech on hold. Let’s not pretend this isn’t happening, or that it is not embarrassing for the men involved. Both are true, and both are deeply hurting marriages. I will explain. Embarrassment over an inability to perform due to any variety of valid reasons, is the leading cause of the rejection of intimacy. The sad side effect is that it also is something men don’t want to discuss even with their wives or doctors. As was so aptly put in the movie Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here, is a failure to communicate”. Seriously,  secrets are bad for marriages. Anything which affects you is your wife’s business, especially when it affects her too.

She cannot nurture, comfort, or help you if she does not understand what is wrong or what is going on – nor can she help. In all fairness, there may be nothing more she can do than hold your hand – but let her at least do that. Do not dismiss her and ignore her ever. Such a course of action simply leaves her mind reeling with possibilities (none of them good) for why you are suddenly detaching yourself from marital intimacy. Marital Intimacy is not just sex! It is holding hands, displays of affection, cuddling, touching – not necessarily involving coitus. To deny your wife all these things because you are for some reason incapable on the action you consider the “Big One” is deadly sin in a selfish wrapper. Marital intimacy is not about you, or your groin. It’s about sharing and being close to each other, touching, caressing, and in general emotionally, physically, and spiritually bonding.

In short – you need to take care of your wife both physically and emotionally, intimacy is critical to marriage. Carefully explain the issue(s). Work through what you can. Work around what you cannot work through, and tackle the problem as partners like God intended. Your wife cannot support you if you do not tell her where to raise you up! Stop and think for just a moment how you would feel if she suddenly refused you for weeks on or months on end, gave you the silent treatment, and offered no real explanation? Now be honest with yourself, and tell me that you would intentionally inflict such hurt into your marriage as actions like that cause. If you do not already do it – I strongly urge you to consider prayer together. A strong marital bond requires physical, spiritual, and emotional intimacy. Husbands, even if it is just holding her hand and saying responses as your wife leads a rosary, or for the more adventurous – a recitation of the wedding night prayers from Tobit. Keep spirituality in your marital intimacy. Personally, I keep a crucifix up in the bedroom as a reminder never to act or not to act towards my wife in a manner that I would be ashamed for Christ to witness. Remember, God is always watching.

Wives – the reverse applies to you as well. Men tend to react very quickly and negatively to a sudden disconnect in emotional and physical intimacy. Communicate if accommodations for some issue are necessary – allow them to be part of the solution and not yet another problem.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Monogamy is unnatural

9 Jan

This reblog is one from Matt Walsh who has presented the most eloquent defense of sacramental morality any “Neanderthal” has ever graced a professor with vaulted “Cerebral Superiority” with (at least that I have witnessed).

“If you won 600 million dollars in the lottery, would you go out the next day and break into cars to steal the change from the cup holders? That’s what sleeping around is like when you’ve already found a woman who will pledge her life and her entire being to you for the remainder of her existence.”

The real question you have to ask yourself is why you are going into debt and your children are mortgaging their next 30+ years to student loans not just to support this nutter and those like him – but to have their minds, hearts, and souls POISONED by this shameless drivel. Intellectual inferiority at it’s best…. Read the whole thing here, it will make you laugh and cry at the same time. Things like this are rare gems. Pass this one on. Monogamy is unnatural.

Faithfully Yours,

-Colin

Kathryn Gets a Horrific Diagnosis – and Needs a Miracle!

31 Dec

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Everyone –

Kathryn has had some major setbacks in treatment – Please pray with us.

-Colin

UPDATED 01.01.14 @ 2:06pm.

Kathryn started the chemo treatment late yesterday afternoon. It was suppose to take 9 hours for first treatment. 40 minutes into the treatment Kathryn had an adverse reaction. Her fever spiked, her hands and fingers turned purple and her heart rate went up to 230 beats per minute. She yelled out in pain which awakened Kathy. The doctors immediately stopped the treatment. They got her settled down and were about to restart the chemo, when some of the results came in from an earlier spinal tap, indicating that she had a fungus growing on her brain. The Doctors had to stop all chemo treatments and immediately and start her on a round of antibiotics, which took 1.5 hours. After the antibiotics were administered, they re-started the chemo treatment at a lower rate late last night. The problem with the lower rate is that it will take 22 hours to administer rather than the initial 9 hours. She will have to go through 5 days of this type of treatment in the hospital.

As for the fungus issue, the doctors think it was in very early stages and it has been rectified.

The doctors have decided to do a liver biopsy today to identify what is happening with the liver.

The family is VERY STRESSED!! It seems that there is an obstacle at every turn and it is getting to them. PLEASE PRAY FOR STRENGTH AND COURAGE FOR THE FAMILY!!

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Everyone,

Katheryn has a diagnosis. I have included the infor from the family below. The news is heartbreaking – but in Christ there is always hope. Please keep her in your prayers. Have masses offered, send cards or notes of support, include her in your rosaries and novenas, and/or stop to remember her and that she is fighting for her life each day. Even the smallest actions done with great love will have a positive effect. Please do not forget her family – I know in their position I my suffering would be just as great watching the child suffer (I have been the one suffering in the hospital). I promise that every prayer matters – even small short ones. For many of us Christmas is not over – please continue Christmas by remembering her each day and offering a prayer on behalf of Kathryn and her Family with great love and compassion. Pray for her doctors as well.

Mark Shea offered the most eloquent prayer I think I have seen yet, and I am reposting it here for everyone:

Father, hear our prayer for her complete healing in body, soul, and spirit.  Give her caregivers grace, peace, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, skill, creativity, and the proper technology to assist in your healing work.  Give her and all who love her grace, peace, strength, consolation, faith, hope and love.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Mother Mary and St. Luke, pray for them all.

To everyone who has been praying, sent cards, notes, and even just kept her in their thoughts – thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Please Share or Repost this anywhere you see fit, church bulletin boards, prayer groups on social media, facebook friends, etc…

Yours in Christ –

Colin

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REMINDER FOR EVERYONE THAT WANTED TO SEND CARDS:

All mail for Kathryn should be mailed to the following address:

KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch Road
PMB # 335
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

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UPDATE POSTED 12.31.13 @ 2:03 PM.

HELLO EVERYONE

The final diagnosis is that Kathryn has a very rare blood disorder. It is NOT Cancer, but it is treated in a similar matter.
She has Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)

Here is some info on HLH and a link for you to read more about the disorder:

“Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare but potentially fatal condition in which certain white blood cells (histiocytes and lymphocytes) build up in organs including the skin, spleen, and liver, and destroy other blood cells. This causes fever and damages the liver and spleen, resulting in enlargement of these organs. HLH may be inherited or it may be caused by certain conditions or diseases including infections and immunodeficiency (inability of the body to fight infections). It most commonly affects young infants and children.[1][2] Treatment includes antibiotics or antiviral medications to treat or prevent infections, and chemotherapy and immunotherapy prior to allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation”

LINK: http://www.histio.org/document.doc?id=243

The good news is that Kathryn’s doctor Dr.Rishikesh Chavan, MD was a resident in Houston and worked under two doctors that wrote the treatment protocol for HLH patients.He is the one that finally identified the disorder when all the other doctors were stumped.

Kyle and Kathy are seeing GOD’s hand in all of this, because if they had not gone to Tulane Hospital, they would never have had Dr. Chavan as Kathryn’s doctor.

Starting today, Kathryn will be treated with chemo over the course of the next eight weeks. The doctors will monitor her progress and how she handles this first treatment. then the decision will be made on how the following treatments will be handled. Whether they will require additional hospital stays or not during the eight weeks of treatment.

One of the biggest concerns, that the doctors have is that her liver enzmes are at 2,000 and they should be at 35.

SO PLEASE PRAY THAT THE LIVER STARTS TO REPAIR ITSELF TO AVOID PERMANENT DAMAGE OR THE NEED FOR A TRANSPLANT.

Also, we have been asked by many people if they can send donations in for the family. I am currently setting up a special benefit account at a local bank for Kathryn. I will update everyone once I have this done.

PLEASE GOD, ALLOW YOUR HEALING MERCY TO FLOW THROUGHOUT KATHRYN’S BODY!!!

Kyle and Kathy Gardner have asked us to continue posting updates for them on this event page to answer the questions that many of us have. This allows them not to have to field so many phone calls.

So I will be posting updates as they call us with any new information. If you would like, please contact us directly via FACEBOOK messaging and we will answer any questions of their behalf for now.

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UPDATE*** POSTED ON 12.31.13 @ 8:56am,

The Gardner family is meeting with the Doctors this morning to go over the treatment plan.

PLEASE PRAY FOR THEIR DISCERNMENT THIS MORNING!!

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Anniversaries and What They Mean

30 Dec

Anniversary Watch

Anniversaries. What do they really mean? Another year has passed and a sacrament has survived?

Let’s be honest we take great pride in hitting milestones like 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, 25 years. We do this because so many marriages do not make these numbers. Too often we place far too much stock in the celebration and recognition of these events – to the point that if one partner forgets the date or does not provide some token of affection a fight ensues and recriminations begin.

I love presents, a nice dinner out, and mind blowing sex as much as the next guy – and likely more. However, these things are not what an anniversary is about for me. Given they joyous effects of neurosurgery on long term memories – our early years are somewhat patchy. Please indulge me while I explain what I have thought of for the last 15 anniversaries.

Yesterday was our 22nd anniversary, and it’s funny that it is a gift I received on my 7th anniversary from my beloved wife that I still wear every day is a continual reminder of her selfless love. It’s a watch, that never needs batteries (Kinetic), like our love it is powered just by being ourselves. To understand I have to explain about me and watches – I kill them. Wind up or digital is no matter – on my wrist they all quit ticking and tocking or beeping in hours – days if I’m lucky. The wind up ones often ended up with hands bent inside the cases. Call it an occupational hazard of sorts. She wanted me so badly to have a watch that she searched high and low. She knew I had pinned a very small ad for this particular watch by the side of my desk among other papers for some years. Sapphire crystal, plain and simple – no “bling” at all, kinetic (No battery – powered by a slow leak capacitor), made of pure titanium (non-ferrous so no magnetic field issues), and more expensive than a used car. The Service Merchandise chain or Jewelers was still going in those days and she went in to look at after Christmas sales – they had one left and it was on clearance, cheap – under $1000 (This was 15 years ago!). It was still very expensive, but she was sure it was for me – her heart told her so. She carefully explained my history with watches, the salesman brought out that very watch and included a promise in writing that they would take it back unconditionally if I managed to kill it. She wanted to have it engraved but the back was sapphire crystal as well so the inner workings could be viewed if one desired and the crystal could not even be scratched by their engraver. She bought the watch and brought it to our dinner out that night.

While we waited for our food I could see fear or trepidation in her eyes. She was nervous and scared, I got nervous – it was the 7th year after all – and things had been rocky at times that year, but I thought we had really grown and bonded more deeply through the adversity. Now I wondered. She turned to me and said “I got you something special, I spent way too much money – please don’t be angry” and passed the box over. I about fell out of my chair when I opened it and the outrageously expensive watch I had admired, but never thought I would own, was in the box. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was speechless. She was worried and hurriedly explained that she had gotten it on super sale, she could take it back, that it couldn’t be engraved to her disappointment, and that it came with a money back guarantee my body could not kill it. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes. They were truly windows to the soul for her that night. She had done something beyond selfless to make me feel loved and wanted, to let me know that she was not just listening to me – but noting and absorbing every detail of my being and though I had never said a word to anyone – she knew about the watch. She wanted more than anything to make me happy, to know that I was loved, and that she cared very deeply about those things I wanted in the depths of my heart that I had put aside to take care of her and our daughter. Tears welled up, I was touched in a place I had never been touched before – this feeling was new and joyous, and heartrending at the same time. I had no equivalent gift to offer. I looked into my heart, painfully aware that I was lacking and did not deserve this kind of love. I resolved that moment to keep trying to be the husband she deserved – not that I ever was, or have been successful in that endeavor.

I still keep trying. To this very day I still keep trying to match her in just that one moment. I know her moods, her body language, her smell, her eyes to the point I can often know whats she is thinking by a flash or glimmer in her eyes – and just as often as if by telepathy. I have tried my best to return that gift, but nothing will ever be enough. While the watch is a symbol as important to me as my wedding band because of the turning point in our marriage it represents – the gift was knowing unequivocally just how loved I was. Knowing that nobody deserves that kind of love, and that it is a gift to be accepted graciously and returned of the best of your ability. I am still trying to return a gift given 15 years ago – one that opened my eyes and my heart, everyday. She deserves it. In fact, she still deserves better.

That is what anniversaries mean to me. Like New Years they are an opportunity to reflect objectively on our marriages and identify those things we could do better – then resolve to make it so. That doesn’t mean that the other accoutrements are not nice or important – but that we should always use them to look ahead and not behind.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

The Silent Treatment

26 Nov

silence-2

I know, you don’t even want to talk about this one. Seems like every marriage endures it share of these at times and they’re not always bad things. That said, what you fail to say can be just as destructive to your marriage as what you do say. Stoic silence is a emotional tool men and women both use in marriage all too often for the wrong reasons, but there are good reasons to use it.

I’ll explain. To start, I think we can all agree that when we say things in anger we tend to say exactly what me mean at that moment in the most destructive possible way. What’s worse is that a simple “I’m Sorry”, even a heartfelt one does not undo the damage. Angry words are like spikes nailed into a wooden plank. “I’m Sorry” can remove the spike, but the hole in the wood remains. Think about this for a moment, the logical conclusion is that when you’re angry it is better to say nothing at all until you have had a bit to process your anger and can address the issue in a more controlled manner and choose your words carefully.

This does not mean that you should wait forever – many issues just get worse as time passes and the silent treatment itself can wound deeply. Long term the silent treatment induces a feeling of doubt about you and your commitment to the relationship. Your wife cannot read your mind, but she can read you moods and body language. She will know there is something wrong, and without her understanding what it is you are placing a tremendous emotional burden on her. Her job is to help you either resolve or deal with whatever is bothering you and by keeping it from her you are preventing her from doing so. It helps to stop and remember this key thing – through the Catholic sacrament of marriage you become one flesh and what wounds one of you wounds both, and what helps one of you helps both of you.

The most dangerous use is when you are angry at your spouse. Husbands can be a moody lot – particularly when they’re not getting the attention, affection, sex, respect, or acknowledgment they think they deserve. I speak from personal experience here. Being silent about it does not give your wife a chance to fix it, and silence is only appropriate until you’ve figured out how to tell her what is bothering you without blaming her or making her the focus. 99% of the time these are caused by not communicating your wants and needs rather than an attempt by your wife to harm you emotionally – much less damage your relationship. I’ve discovered that if both spouses would do a better job of both listening, and observing the cues, most of these issues can be avoided. Where that is not enough, or your when spouse is missing an important cue you need to fill them in and explain why you’re feeling that way. Instead, we often let insecurity and doubt cloud our judgement and we start thinking selfishly and defensively. Your spouse is not an adversary, any more than you arm or leg is, do not treat them like one.

I’ll use sex as a nice inflammatory example. Husbands can get sullen quickly over a lack thereof, without giving a thought to the fact that their wife could be suffering from an embarrassing female problem like a yeast infection, be exhausted physically and mentally from a particularly hard couple of days, be sick and hiding it while trying to muddle through, stricken with depression, or feeling neglected and/or unattractive herself. You keep silent, but as the days pass you get more and more sullen and distant until by the time the original (usually) temporary condition is gone – you’re both in a “silent treatment” death spiral and miles apart emotionally. It’s not really the lack of sex you’re angry about, it’s a sense of rejection you’re taking personally. The funny thing is that it’s often not about you at all. If you don’t know what is broken you can’t do anything to fix it – even if the fix is just to be there and hold her and for moral support.

It all comes down to honest communication. Don’t keep things from your spouse, that way you can address issues when they’re molehills and before they become mountains. Encourage her not to keep things from you by being a good listener and never being judgmental – if she fears your reaction then she will hide things (just as you will if you fear hers). This is a pernicious evil you have to address head-on and the trust required on both sides will take time to build, but it’s worth it.

I’d like to leave you with a parting thought – Remember that you have vowed yourself to serving her. When you get mad about things like attention, affection, sex, respect, or acknowledgment then you are not serving her. You are serving yourself, and breaking your vows at the same time. This applies to both spouses equally. If you serve her above yourself and she does the same for you then by making yourself last you will unintentionally be first, she will experience the same from you and the marriage will begin to bloom. Funny how Christ’s words from the beatitudes ring true – especially in marriage.

Colin

Indifference in Sacramental Marriage

24 Nov

silenceIndifference is a type of rot that sets into a sacramental marriage through apathy to act, ignorance of the nature of the marital bond, and a lack of empathy with your spouse. The signs are often clear to outsiders to the marriage, but the ones suffering are usually the last to realize they are infected. By the time the gravity of the damage sinks in, it is often far beyond any kind of simple repair and a little effort preemptively can pay huge dividends over the long haul for both spouses.

Well then, how could you possibly know if indifference has set into your marriage? You might examine your own conscience. When was the last time you were affectionate with your spouse in a playful or flirtatious way? Has your spouse attempted to be playful and flirtatious and had you simply brush them off (the reason is irrelevant)? Do you crave their touch, seek the emotional bond through physical contact? Have you watched carefully to see if they feel the same way? Have you brushed your spouse off or pushed them away? Rebuffed them, possibly even enough times that they lost interest and stopped trying? Is your marriage filled with uncomfortable silences?

You see, in truth it is the smallest tenders of affection which lead us to the larger ones. They sustain us and bond us in special ways. Yes the marital embrace is a dramatic bonding experience, but it quickly loses a great deal when our hearts are no longer in it. Both men and women look for those signs between couplings that there is something deeper and more there than just exhilaration, pleasure, and lust. When those signs and tenders of affection disappear – the bond weakens. As human beings we crave physical contact innately. Even people who eschew close contact in general like myself find themselves enamored with a spouse who sounds, smells, and feels right – and their touch is highly desired, even craved for the effect it has on them emotionally. Without that contact other forms of communication break down quickly – especially verbal communication.

Emotional interest and empathy in marriage are interdependent on these manifestations of our affection. Don’t ever lose that level of contact. Keep kissing, holding hands, hugging, patting each other on the back, and even playful foreplay always. For when that physical connection is broken, the emotional connection looses the glue that holds it together – and it too begins to unravel. The same is true of the emotional connections. Love is a choice, see the best in your spouse always and make that choice to love them because if you do not – nothing else you do will matter long term and you will see the bond between you disintegrate into apathy, ignorance, and a lack of empathy between you.

Think about it…

Colin

Marriage Isn’t For You

3 Nov

This is an excellent post about Marriage which highlights the most important thing everyone should understand going into it – It’s NOT ABOUT YOU.

Marriage Isn’t For You.

Great Job Seth!

Colin

Time Enough for Love…

28 Aug

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.

It’s really easy to forget the simple things. It’s gotten too easy to fall into a rhythm of thinking that you can take care of it later. Love very much suffers from this mindset. How many times have we put off a touch or a kiss because we assume we can do it later. How many loving words are never exchanged, or sweet nothings whispered into one’s ear. Did you ever wonder how many hands went unheld or how many kind words went unsaid because we shied away at the moment of decision. We decided in our minds we could do it later, we got nervous about public displays of affection, about what people might say if they saw us acting that way. Sometimes we let our anger or hurt get the best of us and we even withdraw on purpose – withholding our affection to our detriment and the detriment of our spouse.

All these things are important. They hold the power to bond us and heal us. It is these small things that provide our most cherished memories and our deepest regrets. As anyone who has been close to death can tell you, approaching death brings a painful clarity. All too often, while previously you couldn’t recall hardly any missed opportunities – now you feel the weight of a tremendous number of them as they flood your mind. The worst part is that you know you are running short on time and there may not be a later. You learn that now is the only moment you have – and you resolve to make the most of it. You’ll fail of course, especially as time softens your memories of those moments you thought might be your last.

Just a few thoughts from someone whos been there. Kiss your wife very day – a gentle loving kiss, not a teen-aged tongue down your throat epitome of ineptitude and inexperience. Never ignore her when she tries to talk to you, and listen intently when she does – as it is often what is not said or how it is said that is the most important communication. Tell her you love her every day. Reach for her hand when you’re close to her, hold it gently if she takes yours when offered. Whenever you think that she looks pretty or sexy would be a good time to just blurt out what you’re honestly thinking. She doesn’t need disingenuous compliments as they will just damage her self esteem, but real and honest ones are an opportunity never to be missed. A kind word honestly spoken from you can make her hour, day, or week! Next time you make love, remember to tell her you love her afterwards and discover the joys of clinging to each other afterwards for more than 30 seconds.

My wife and I hold hands when we sleep, whether I am behind her or in front of her. Without this small comfort, I can’t sleep until sheer exhaustion causes my collapse because I keep realizing she’s not there. I’ve found that our heartbeats and breathing sync up involuntarily after just a few minutes sitting or lying down together. I even love to watch her sleep safe in my arms. With her eyes closed and a gentle smile on her lips she looks more lovely than I expect no matter how many times I have watched her. Before I slip off, I try to make it a point to make sure she has not just heard my words or felt me holding her tenderly – but knows with certainty just how deeply loved and cared for she is. Then I can be content that if tommorow never comes, there will be no regrets.

Just my thoughts…

Colin

Impediments to Embracing Catholicism

27 Aug

Buddy_christ

So many seem so lost and confused about the faith today. I’ll call a spade a spade, say the unpopular,  and attribute it to poor catechesis and an overly permissive clergy and catechists who have allowed a few bad apples more concerned with “butts in the seats” than the truth to run with the ball. Take this for example before you get your shorts all in a bunch about my thoughts.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23473169

The job of the Catholic Church is to lead you to Heaven, not to coddle you and make you feel good. Sometimes that means telling you uncomfortable truths and rebuking you for heretical beliefs, gently sometimes – but firmly always. God is my father, not my “Buddy”, and to think of him otherwise demeans both Him and our relationship.

Here are some of the most common issues people struggle with. If you answer “Yes” to any questions below immediately consult the Catechism and keep reading and rereading all the references until you understand – understanding is at the root of believing. Keep questioning and investigating your Catholic faith. I have, and the more I learn the more I find that the faith comforting rather than conflicting. It also becomes easier to trust, and surrender to yourself to God and his will as expressed through the magisterium.

  • Faith – Are you struggling with submission to God? Do you still believe some things, but not all of what the church teaches as required beliefs? Do you avoid the confessional at all costs? Have you participated in any way in an invalid sacrament (such as a wedding involving a divorcee who does not have an annulment)?
  • Sex & Marriage – Do you think that the sexual morality taught by the church is out of touch with reality? Do you think the Church is morally “out of date”? Do you support Gay Marriage? Do you think that Divorce is OK? If you are married do you use artificial contraception?
  • Sin – Do you have trouble accepting that which the church defines as sin? Do you have issues believing that sin creates a barrier between yourself and God? Do you think that the Church needs to revise what it defines as sinful to keep up with modern standards? Do you doubt the efficaciousness of confession?
  • Real Presence – Do you not believe in the literal real presence of Christ in the eucharist or believe it a symbolic only? Have you ever received the Eucharist with unconfessed mortal sin?
  • Infallibility – Do you think that the Pope is infallible in all things? Do you truly understand how limited and tenuous the thread of instability is?

To be honest NFP was the biggie for me. I was adamant about not letting the church dictate my sex life. It made me angry, it frustrated me, and in the end it changed me. Learning the church was right and understanding why in a very personal way very much put the whole issue of obedience into perspective. It is only when we have humbled ourselves that we can truly learn and grow in faith. You can read about that experience here:  https://catholichusband.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/sex-intimacy-and-nfp/

Remember that faith is a work in progress, not a destination. We will all fall and falter. The important thing is to pick yourself up and keep pressing towards a goal you will only attain when this life has ended. Never let doubts or hesitation keep you down – root out heresy and disinformation in your faith and stay the straight and narrow path.

Godspeed on your journey,

Colin

“I can’t believe I married him/her!”

21 Aug

couple-fighting-on-couch

Recently I have had more than a few husbands and wives ask a similar question. It basically boils down to this:

“He/She was great before we got married but now that the honeymoon is over I feel like I don’t even know this man or woman sharing my life, my home, my bed. This isn’t the person I thought I was marrying, what recourse do I have?”

Or this:

“He/She isn’t the person, I married and I don’t even know them anymore – much less love them. I’m unhappy, this is not what I signed up for and I want out!”

I have some feelings many would consider unduly harsh about breaking a sacramental vow. Unless the persons discovered flaws are serious enough to warrant an annulment, I tend to believe they should let duty, honor, loyalty, and sacrifice carry them until they establish the intimacy from which love is born. People change every day, they will never be static and we have to make a decision to love them as they are every morning. I can attest that the love of a good woman will change a man in ways he cannot imagine, and the inverse is true as well. However, people seem to be making a veiled request for absolution or an excuse to break a holy vow because is inconvenient. I wish people took their vows more seriously.

That said, this article is not intended to address issues involving violence, spousal abuse, and any circumstances which constitute grounds for the annulment of the marriage.

Now to actually deal with the situation. I know this is not what you want to hear, I can almost see you putting your fingers in your ears and singing at the top of your lungs, but here it is. When you married in the Catholic church you made a gift of yourself and your service to your spouse for life before God, and they did the same for you. It’s not a you do for me, and I’ll do for you agreement. Your obligation to your spouse nor to God is abrogated because they are not keeping their vow. Every marriage has ups and downs. I recall time when my wife told me “I still love you, but I don’t like you very much right now”.

Love is a choice. What most think of as love are the heady feelings that are a just a symptom of true love and not love itself. If you don’t know you spouse anymore, make it a point to get to know them. Take the time to talk, touch, and bond anew. Make a choice to adapt and grow together. This is what you promised on your wedding day. People will grow and change; and just as your spouse has changed, so have you. Accept them as they are. Make a choice to love and serve them each morning, put their needs before your own, and do whatever is in your power to brighten their day or bring them a moment of happiness. If your spouse isn’t coming around then pray for them. Recriminations and fighting simply tear you apart, and words blurted out in anger are the leading cause of broken and wounded hearts and marriages. Act toward your spouse with the love and compassion of Christ in all things, and leave room for God to work in both your lives – if you do so, He will.

Marriage is only a rose garden if you make it so. It is a consecrated life of service to your spouse. That service can be joyful or miserable, the choice is made by your attitude, your thoughts, your actions – all things you have control over. Your service to your spouse is consecrated to God, as is theirs. Never forget that in serving your spouse you are serving God in a Holy calling, a calling harder than it is given credit for.

Choose your thoughts, words, and actions carefully to cultivate friendship, intimacy, and love (in that order) with your spouse. Always remember that your spouse is a consecrated servant and not a slave, and never forget that you are as well – neither of you are slaves to the other. Every day make a decision to serve joyfully, enjoy their companionship, abide in friendship, find comfort in intimacy, and joy in love. Just as you expect God to love you in spite of your faults, so he expects you to love your spouse in spite of theirs.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Meditations for the Assumption of Mary

15 Aug

Fulton Sheen

I’m a huge fan of Fulton Sheen. For the feast of the assumption I have taken a few selected quotes of his to recommend for meditation. The Assumption seems like an excellent time to pray for our wives, the mothers of our children, entrusted by God to be the vessels and caretakers of his ongoing work of creation. It’s also a good time to meditate and pray for ourselves that we might be worthy of them.

Here are the four quotes to meditate on:

“In every friendship hearts grow and entwine themselves together, so that the two hearts seem to make only one heart with only a common thought. That is why separation is so painful; it is not so much two hearts separating, but one being torn asunder.”

― Fulton J. Sheen

“When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

― Fulton J. Sheen, Life Is Worth Living

“It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty life is unfinished.”

― Fulton J. Sheen, Seven Words of Jesus and Mary: Lessons from Cana and Calvary

“Most of us love a non-self, or something extrinsic and apart from our inner life; but a mother’s love during the time she is a flesh-and-blood ciborium is not for a non-self but for one that is her very self, a perfect example of charity and love which hardly perceives a separation. Motherhood then becomes a kind of priesthood. She brings God to man by preparing the flesh in which the soul will be implanted; she brings man to God in offering the child back again to the Creator.”

― Fulton J. Sheen, Life Is Worth Living

 

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Catholic Sexuality and the Marital Embrace

12 Aug

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

There is nothing in the world more contentious among Catholics themselves than what is permissible in their bedrooms by their religion. While the Catechism is fairly clear on this issue (and the Catechism represents that which must be followed and believed), many follow a variety of philosophies. These range from what I call the “Augustinian” view that sex is only for procreation and nothing more, only in one set position, and God forbid the woman actually enjoy it because an orgasm for her is a sin – all the way to the “Progressive/Rationalist” view, that what happens between consenting adults in their own bedroom is none of the Church’s or God’s business and basically anything goes.

The truth is a fair distance from each philosophy and it is clearly laid out in the Catechism (read it here for yourself  http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm). No matter who you ask you will get different answers on what is acceptable and what is not (trust me, I’ve asked priests and never gotten the same answer twice). The answers are in the Catechism for those who will take a moment to read it, and greatly expounded upon in the series of sermons that make up the Theology of The Body.

The “Augustinian” view is derived primarily from the writings of St. Augustine who though a Doctor of the Church and very wise did not write with infallibility, nor do his writings and recommendations constitute Dogma, nor Canon Law. Due to Augustine’s rather debauched early life and his need to reject his own sensuality, as he wrote in “Confessions” which is still widely read today, his harsh recommendations were his prescription for combating the lust and sin so prevalent in his earlier life which of which he was extremely averse. In paragraphs 2360-2363 of the Catechism it is made clear that sex is for bonding a couple, bring joy a pleasure as a gift from each to the other, and that it must always remain chaste and open to life. There are no prohibitions on positions, or frequency – but there are prohibitions on using your partner solely for your physical gratification. In remaining open to life and chaste, marital sex must be performed with no barriers to contraception and only with the person to whom we are sacramentally bonded in marriage.

The “Progressive/Rationalist” view throws the Catechism out the window. People tell themselves that anything they want to do with their partner is OK regardless of whether it fits in the context of sacramental marriage. Masterbation, trying to avoid pregnancy by pulling out early, bringing other partners into your bed, and using your spouse for relief instead of in a mutual giving where both of you give the other a gift of themselves and the other graciously receives it – are right out.

Sex in a Catholic Marriage is a chaste expression of love, the giving of a gift of oneself to another and receiving that gift in return. We men especially, often fail here to recognize that 30 seconds of foreplay and 10 seconds of thrusting, followed by 8 hours of snoring does not constitute a gift to our wives. Such crude behaviour masquerading as marital intimacy only breeds resentment, distrust, and unhappiness in the recipient of your “gift” who you just treated like a common whore, or inflatable female facsimile. The marital embrace should always be open to life and a spiritually bonding experience for the loving couple. This does not mean that a quickie in the morning as a gift from your wife is wrong, so long as it is a gift freely given and not demanded. Such gifts are much more likely to occur if there is a whole-hearted attempt to return that gift at an appropriate time and place when you can focus yourself on returning that gift rather than your own gratification.

Exercised in the proper context and within the principles of the Catechism, the marital embrace can bring Husband and Wife both to new levels of both pleasure and intimacy – bonding them inseparably in the process. Outside the confines of the Catechism, sex becomes the greatest  weapon in damaging relationships that there is. Infidelity, using your wife as a receptacle for your lust, and making demands instead of accepting gifts do more to damage marriages than anything else I know of. Such actions destroy the trust and intimacy that is the basis for both Love and the sacramental marriage and hurt both parties physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you have concerns about a particular issue, then open the link to the Catechism above and see if it qualifies there as well as being loving gift to your spouse which is open to life. Ask yourself if you are having to apply pressure to your spouse. Even fearing your anger, disappointment, or disapproval will constitute an inability on her part to give herself freely to you. Take the time to learn each other both physically and emotionally and let your wife surprise you with her gifts. I assure you, a woman in love can be more creative than you can imagine in your wildest fantasy when she wants to please you. You should be setting an example for her to follow.

I know this post will likely produce a plethora of comments and additional questions, I welcome all of them – but ask that you keep them civil and polite.

Colin

Pregnancy, Change, Marriage

10 Aug

12-01-2007 03_53_47PMWhether expected or a surprise, pregnancy is a time of great change – for you as a husband into a father, for your wife into a mother, and for your marriage which becomes a new family. In truth this is a time of great change and transition for you as  well as for your wife. Each woman is different and each pregnancy is different. This makes setting any specific expectations impossible. I can however assure you of one thing – this too shall pass, it may pass like a kidney stone, but pass it will.

Here is some advice from someone who has been through this 4 times:

Your initial reaction is important. More important than you know! Don’t make the mistake of letting your fears and apprehensions overshadow the joy when you respond to the news of an impending birth. First impressions matter, and she needs your support at that moment more than you will understand. Allow your happiness and pride to be what shows, hold any apprehensions and fears until you can work them out. Truth is that most of those fears and apprehensions will work themselves out. I know how the rush of mixed emotions can be overpowering – but this is a place where a little care with your speech and actions can make or break the tone for the next few months, and even the whole marriage.

The only thing for sure is change, and your wife will be undergoing physiological changes beyond her control. She may happy and stable one minute and in tears and despairing the next, especially if this is her first child. She will also be undergoing physical changes as well, more than just the expanding belly – her hips will be widening to accommodate the coming birth, and her breasts may be tender in preparing to feed the coming child. During some periods her hormones may make making love more pleasurable for her than ever before, and at other times painful, or even distasteful. Enjoy the glow which accompanies pregnancy, it will make her seem more beautiful than ever. Be emotionally and physically supportive, so that she is reassured. As at all times in marriage, but especially now ,she will need your love. She alone carries a gift of God to both of you, but it is a heavy burden to bring that life to bear and you must help to carry her through it.

Most importantly, you need to focus on adapting to the new reality and embracing it joyfully. Your life is changing and God will give you the strength to adapt to your additional responsibilities. Your marriage is also changing to accommodate the new addition to your family who will consume necessarily your wife’s time and attention as well as your own. Sharing in the care of the child will not only help you bond as a father, but also help bond you to your wife even more deeply than you imagined. Set aside/arrange time for yourself and your wife to be together alone, and set aside breathing room for your wife to pursue her own interests at least a few hours a week. Even letting her have a respite to go shopping alone while you hold down the fort for a few hours can have a tremendous effect on her mental state and morale.

Your marriage will continue to change as children are both born, and move away to start their own families. Never view your family as an impediment to your dreams but rather as support in achieving them, and let them be your inspiration. Most importantly, they are the ones with whom you can share your joy and your achievements with. You will even find that those dreams change over time, changing from your dreams for yourself to dreams for your family – this is that seminal moment when one discovers what it means to me to be both husband and father.

Please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section –

Colin

The Veil – A Husbands Experience

6 Aug

Beautiful Mantilla image from http://rosamysticamantilla.com/

Beautiful Mantilla image from http://rosamysticamantilla.com/

When I was a boy, I remember that women in the church always wore the most beautiful chapel veils at mass. Never to hide themselves, as the veils were generally fine lace, but rather to stand out as women of faith.

1 Corinthians 11:10
Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

Paul was very specific about this because it was important. The apparitions of the Virgin Mary are always veiled as well. There is a very good history on the veil here: http://christianfamilyoutreach.com/pamphlets/theveil.pdf. It’s a good read and will clear up many incorrect assumptions and impressions people have about the use of the veil in the church.

The issue of the veil (or Mantilla) is making all kinds of waves in the church right now. Long favored by “traddies” and the old alone, many of the younger Catholic women have been adopting the veil in a growing movement. This movement has not been pressed by priests or husbands. It has not been pushed onto women by peer pressure, but rather peer pressure has been applied to women to abandon it. As their numbers have grown in many parishes, the snide comments and the murderous glances get more frequent – yet they persevere. My wife is one of those women who felt this call, I’m going to do my best to tell her story as seen through my eyes in the hope that others will better understand the veil and the power of the Lord’s call to those who wear it.

One day my wife came back from her adoration hour very troubled, she felt the Lord was calling her to cover her head during adoration. This carried into later evenings until one night she grabbed a floppy tigger hat because it was the only one she could find and an went back into His presence. It was at that moment that she knew. She knew that she should always have her head covered in the Lord’s presence as a sign of her submission and obedience to God. To her it became a strong outward sign of God’s authority over her.

Over the intervening weeks she used a variety of makeshift methods for covering her head. Hats, scarves, bandannas, and other options were tried but she was mesmerized by an old lady who came to pray in the middle of the night wearing a mantilla. The beauty of it and the grace it seemed to endow this woman with made a tremendous impression on her and she resolved to get her own mantilla. At this time we were attending a Novus Ordo parish primarily and veils were almost never seen at mass. Worse, nobody locally carried one for her to purchase. We searched the internet and quickly found several locations from which they could be reasonably purchased. She choose one that suited her and ordered it.

At first, she would wear it only during adoration and switch to a hat or scarf at mass. Even then, she could sense the stares and uneasiness especially among the women wearing tanks tops, short shorts, and miniskirts at mass.  She looked so very pretty in her sunday dress with her scarf or hat that she did stand out. From my perspective she practically shone, and it was as if whenever a beam of light entered it fell on her. Yet she was still troubled. The Lord was still calling her to obedience it seemed, and very the next week she took a very deep breath as we left the car and put her Mantilla over her head and walked into the church.

I don’t know which of us was more uncomfortable with the initial stares, but I do know this – she was much more at ease in the Lords house than I had ever seen her. She had a peace and serenity I  had never seen before when she prayed, and I was stuck with a sense of awe and beauty just watching her. Then reality struck and on my way to the lavatory as I was pulled aside and admonished to “get that rag off my wife’s head before she embarrassed herself”, on the way back another person informed me that I was a “neanderthal for making her wear the veil” and that she was “setting women back 100 years” by wearing it. I was shocked – the veil wasn’t my idea, I would never have forced any such thing on her, nor even thought to ask it of her. I couldn’t understand the hostility until the following mass when one or two more women showed up with their heads covered, then a few more, soon a small cadre of veils dotted the congregation. It didn’t take me long to find out that it was the courage of the first few who listened to the call which paved the way for the others to act as well. This call had not been exclusively to my wife but to many women throughout the parish. A few thanked me for “allowing” my wife to wear the veil, as it set the example they needed to see. Apparently, many husbands had forgotten that God’s calling to their wives was far more important than their desire not to make waves. I was never against her following both her heart and The Lord’s instruction on this issue.

My wife still veils, as do my daughters – and we usually attend the Latin Mass where the veil is the norm, rather than the exception to the rule. To be honest she was not the only one of us feeling the Lords clarion call to orthodoxy in our Catholicism. Both of us have felt the call – not to practice our religion, but rather to live our religion – and there is a difference. For me the chapel veil represents more than her commitment to God, it represents the commitment of our entire family to the obedience of God. Whenever I see another woman entering the chapel with her husband and children in tow with all the girls wearing their veils, it gives me hope. Hope for the church and the world, that if only a few have to respond to the call that it will give others the courage to follow. Her example of leadership has taught me that I can make a difference in the smallest ways, even if I influence only a few other people in being a faithful Catholic husband. It is by doing the little things in obedience with great love that we build a sense of community and an understanding of who we are as Catholics. We also serve as a candle in the darkness for those trying to discern their path – and like candles, the more of us that stand together the brighter our light becomes.

When I think of the candle analogy I remember the last time a hurricane took the power out. When you’re used to being in brightly lit areas a single candle does not seem to give off much light. However, when you are accustomed to the darkness the light from one candle is enough to bring calm, hope, and light to every corner of the room – the darkness is dispelled with just a single flame.

Sincerely,

Colin

Is Marriage Bondage or Freedom?

4 Jul

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What a question! Yet asked by so very many every day. Am I a slave or free? An answer we should all know, but yet we ask?

In truth we are always free because only a free person can enter into marriage, but how do you feel? Well that answer depends on the relationship you have with your spouse, and that is largely in your hands. I’ll explain…

As for men, we may find ourselves asking if we are being taken for granted just as often as our partners, which might come as a surprise to them. We generally toil at our labors to support and provide for our wives, our children, and even our children’s children – seemingly harnessed like a domesticated animal until death. Putting aside our personal feelings whenever they might interfere with our ability to provide. Often performing labor we detest because we need to provide, and seeking refuge and respite in the home and the affection of our wives when our labors are complete for the day.

Our wives could see it differently. They are left to deal with the home and children alone. They suffer every bit the indignity and revulsion one can imagine in our absence, cleaning up the remains from the overflowed toilet. Caring for sick children who soil linens repeatedly through no fault of their own. Cleaning a home in a never ending pattern, knowing that their labor will be eternal because the activities of life do not permit otherwise. Today’s society, and in some cases materialism and greed, has left many wives further overburdened by the need to work outside the home instead of making a choice to do so. Creating a situation where there is simply not enough of her to go around over the long haul.

There is a difference though, when a man returns home he expects that his labors are over and that he may rest. A wife’s labors continue until her family is safely asleep. Then they begin again, at first light if not sooner.

Now, you both enter into this arrangement knowing what was expected of you but not quite realizing how hard it would be or how different it would be from dating. It can be a huge letdown to toil in that manner as a man or a woman simply because it is expected from you. Just as when dating we both seek the affection, approval, affirmations, and attention of our spouses. In fact, those needs only increase after marriage because they are part of the expectations as well. You had your view of what married life would be and she had hers. Of course, if children were produced then both of your whole worlds and expectations got turned upside down overnight. Just as you wish to be appreciated for you labors and accomplishments, remember to appreciate hers. Truth be known, hers is by far the more important and difficult job.

Marriage is a symbiosis in all aspects – even sex, which seems to be the source of so much consternation in marriage. The trick here is to not be selfish, either of you. Your wife is a human being and not a machine, she needs a break from the continual effort and chaos from time to time, and that does not mean a quickie in the hall closet with the kids beating on the door. Though she does need diversions and to feel desirable, loved, and wanted. I think acts of spontaneous passion are good more for her self esteem than anything. No matter how inflated your ego, 5 mins in a closet will either whet her appetite or disappoint her and leave her feeling used. She will decide which based on what you have taught her to expect, hopefully she has high expectations. One must realize that this constitutes what I call a 68′, that’s where she takes care of you, and you owe her one. Make sure that you make arrangements for a babysitter and a nice dinner out with a movie or other activity to ensure that in your next interlude the focus is completely on her for several hours. Instead of a cycle of conflict which escalates – start a cycle of bonding which escalates. If you approach her with a sense of entitlement she will quickly feel used and resentful. This can happen to men too, as anyone who’s had difficulty with conception and had their sex life dictated by thermometers and charts can attest. Performing on command is fine and even exciting on rare occasions but very quickly can transform sex from your greatest tool for both joy and bonding into a crowbar of resentment and drudgery which will pry you apart. If nothing else just imagine what a 68′ from her will be like and start an arms race to see who can outdo the other in returning affection within the marriage covenant. Such a sexual relationship will invariably lead to a deeper bond, variety and exploration, and dramatically changed moods and attitudes towards each other – including making infidelity unthinkable enough that the thought doesn’t even enter either mind.

Affection is the same, and should be given and received outside of sex for the relationship to thrive. Woe to the man whose spouse shies from a kiss because she is not receptive to a sexual encounter at that moment. It is very important for you to ensure that she doesn’t ever feel that your love and affection are dependent on her sexual performance. It demeans you both, and leads down a destructive path. She must know that you feel affection for her even when you have no interest in sex. Public displays of affection are good because they let your spouse know that you are proud to proclaim you affection and love publicly (but not lewdly). Though it may fluster you sometimes, there is nothing like being really kissed and told you are loved by a whisper in a public place by your wife. Kiss her back, there is also no shame in the natural physical response, it lets her know she is still attractive and boosts her self esteem too. In this way you can feed each other and kindle feelings that eventually build to a crescendo like keeping a sauce on simmer.

Friendship is the most important aspect of your marriage. If your spouse is not your best friend then your priorities are wrong. You may have a same sex friend or other friends – but your spouse needs to be your confidant. Trust her with your secrets, your hopes, your fears, your dreams. This will help her better understand you and lead to her feeling like she can trust you. Never judge each other when you open up. Next put into action plans for her thoughts and dreams to become reality, whether its learning to fly a plane, operate a ham radio, go back to school, etc… If it’s important to her, it should be important to you. Whether you are able to succeed or not in helping her achieve these dreams, she will never again see you as holding her back from them. She will instead see you as a partner helping her achieve them, and hopefully she will do the same for you.

This is the beginning of symbiosis – where we give freely to our spouse that which they require not only physically to survive, but to really live. The irony is that this will require greater and greater sacrifices from each of you to accommodate the other. There is a transition period which can sink you if you allow hopelessness or despair to prematurely derail your efforts. It is on you to persevere, the time required will depend on how much damage you have already done and the length of time it takes her to trust in you and in the seeming change in you. She may be suspicious or worse – be honest and show her this blog. Explain yourself honestly, deception will erase your gains and more, if she knows what you are trying to do she might even join in up front – speeding the process. Be patient, trust takes time as does true love.

A symbiosis is not slavery, a symbiosis is a relationship where you give and receive from each other those things essential to our survival and happiness in this life. If you have a marriage where you have felt this you’ll understand how you can feel like you could never leave, and nor would you ever want to. It is not bondage but deep and abiding love which joins you and you are not a slave – but a willing servant who gives of freely yourself to ensure the happiness and well being of another who does the same for you.

You are always free. Free to break your covenant with God and your Spouse. Free to break your family apart out of selfishness and greed, and you a free to choose to keep those Covenants, free to sacrifice of yourself for your wife and family, free to make your marriage into a place of refuge and joy apart from the world – insofar as that is possible. Marriage makes you a willing servant, not a slave – and is a Holy calling to be carried out in according to Christ’s example, even unto death.

There is a book out I very much like called “The Love Dare”. It is FREE on kindle today and can be downloaded here Get The Love Dare FREE on the 4th for Kindle. If your marriage is hurting, this can be just the medicine it needs. What have you got to loose. This book is for either partner in the marriage.

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 is Love

18 Apr

What is Love?
Is it something tangible or just a feeling? Is it chemical, biological, or just plain irrational? Is it a choice?
Those are all good questions, and the answer is “yes”.

When you first met your wife you likely felt a hormonal rush, possibly even an early crush as your body responded to her presence. That was infatuation. Later you got to know her and developed a connection to each other. That was attraction. Both are easily confused for love, and it can be a terrible thing to sort out where they end and love begins.

Most relationships manage to hold onto that feeling until either the honeymoon period ends, children are born. Then things start to fade, we slip back into worrying more about our own happiness than that of our spouse – and in doing so we begin to act selfishly. This only drives a wedge between you and creates unfilled needs in both of you. The flame eventually flickers and dies when this continues unabated. The selfishness increases, and eventually you begin to wonder what you saw in your spouse to begin with.

I propose that Love began the moment you made a choice to put her needs and wants before your own. Love is a choice we make every day of our marriage. Not to say that it is a hard choice, I have found over the years that it is important to rededicate yourself to the sacrament of marriage and to your partner. Doing so kindles the fire and prevents it from burning out. Make the choice to see the good in your partner, to build her up instead of tearing her down, make the choice to put her before yourself. Start your morning by thanking The Lord for bringing you together. Take the time to think of her often in a kindly or flattering manner as it will set the tone for your interactions throughout the day. Don’t let yourself be drawn into negative thinking by peer pressure, rather than running your wife down to fit in with the guys – admit your happiness with your spouse. More often than not you will be met with jealousy rather than derision. If you fail her in this, it is little different than urinating on the flames of your love. Worse than any direct harm you do her, you harm yourself by bearing false witness against her.

Make this choice every moment of every day. You will not always be head over heels in love, but that feeling will return. Your thought and actions toward your wife will drive that return. By choosing to love your wife, you are learning to love God as well. Loving God is a choice, one we must make anew every day. A choice that is reflected in our thoughts and actions. Marriage is no different, if we cannot love one wife – how can we hope to love God.

Remember that in the sacrament of marriage you become one flesh and your body is not your own. Your priorities are now forever changed to God, your spouse, and everything else – in that order. True love is found in the bliss and security of becoming one in thought, mind, and action. It is found in the gentle tenders of affection we exchange every day. Most importantly that inner fulfillment that mankind seeks is found in the warmth of the flame of love burning within their partner. Clear away impediments and barriers to communication, cling to your partner in times of crisis and hold fast for them when they must cling to you. For true love to blossom you must loose part of yourself in surrender to each other, any other foundation will be hollow and weak. True love takes time and shared experiences during which you must grow together and not apart. Your foundation cannot be based on baser things lest it crack and topple the relationship.

In short, love is not about something you receive. Love is something you give. To love without it being returned is common enough, to love and be loved in return is something special. It is in the love from your wife, and hopefully children, that you will first truly experience that aspect of the love of God that we as human beings are capable of comprehending. It is in the return of that love that you will find the fulfillment you seek, and such love must be given unconditionally before it can be received.

Women of course must do their part as well and the same standards apply to them as well. However, as the husband in the home, you are tasked by God with providing leadership for your family – an especially critical task because your children will be looking to you both as models for their own marriages and choices of spouses. Take your responsibilities seriously, that your children might also find happiness in their lives and not be misled into sin and misery.

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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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

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