Tag Archives: bonding

Pornography and Marriage

24 Feb

sex-987183_1280

Let us start with the very basics – sex is not just about a biological drive especially for husbands! Husbands see sex as an affirmation of their worth as human beings, a confirmation of the love of their wives, and the sexual act as proof that they are still loved and desireable. Any honest husband will not deny this. Guess what, the vast majority of the wives see it the same way. While we are vastly different in the nature and mechanics of our physical needs from our spouses – our emotional and spiritual needs are the same.

I want you to stop and think, remove the idea of one person being a victim and one person being an aggressor in this whole debate. Married couples are one flesh – so the couple is essentially one person hurting itself. Blame neither solves the problem, nor does it improve the odds for a successful resolution. Second, we need to understand that you cannot change another person’s behaviour by force or coercion of any kind and have any real or lasting positive effect. Third, we need to accept the truth that love is a choice we have promised to make every day as part of our sacramental matrimonial vows.

Most men and women who feel driven to this are longing as much for the emotional and spiritual side of the marital act as they are the physical release it brings. Unable to obtain what they really need – they often start with substitution by self-pleasuring. Husbands are especially prone to this because their emotions become volatile – not because they feel pent up sexual need, but in reality because the sting of the rejection by their spouse they feel. Do not think women are immune – in the long course of writing this blog and in my personal experience and observation I have seen more wives needs ignored, than I have husbands needs ignored. If your wife needs your undivided attention, your love, and your acceptance – you turn off the Super Bowl and give it to her. Let her know that she is important and desirable. Not in your words, but in your actions. If you are choosing a game, Facebook, or a television show over intimacy with your wife then what are you saying to her about your love or her importance?

Wives, the same applies to you. Imagine how you would feel if it took two hours of begging or badgering to get him to agree, now hold that thought. Whatever that would do to your self esteem it does the same to him because a man in a sacramental marriage is not expecting every woman in the world to love him – and yes, find him desirable. He is hanging a great deal of his self-image and self-esteem on your response to him. If you want a husband who is bold and confident then you need to build him up and not tear him down with rejection or criticisms. Too many times I hear things like “He just needs to deal with it”. I think it is time for women who think that way put on their big-girl panties and deal with their issues preventing them from committing to love their husbands every day without laying all the blame and responsibility on him. This commitment both parties must make every morning to love each other is imperative because Love is a Choice. It’s long past time for both men and women to discover the joy of lighting up another person’s face, or making their day with a kind word, romantic gesture, or enthusiastic intimate affirmation. This would be in contrast to doing what is necessary only to fill our own desires as the need builds, which focuses only on what we want and is not service to another – but rather is use of another.

Rejection is the next phase. This is where the husband or wife has now tried repeatedly, even if unclearly, to initiate intimacy and failed or been rebuffed. Each time the rebuff happens without a clearly stated and valid reason, a piece of your spouse’s self esteem is torn away. Even worse are situations where one spouse submits half-heartedly or less, which often leaves the other spouse feeling used and dirty. Husbands are as susceptible as wives to this feeling, and it cannot be fixed with any words afterwards. Further, it does lasting serious damage to the marital relationship. It leaves husbands feeling filthy like they just had sex unfaithfully with an unenthusiastic gum chewing prostitute, or worse have just raped their wives. Women end up feeling either raped or used and dirty. When sex is not a gift to your spouse given out of love, such results are inevitable. The self esteem of both parties is diminished, and the intimacy dies little more with each passing day. Until one day nothing remains of it.

When the rejection becomes more than they think they can handle – they will withdraw. At this point the spouse that has withdrawn will either lash out in anger, and/or turn to masterbation and pornography in a misguided belief that it is less harmful than adultery. It is adultery, Jesus was clear about that. When they withdraw they will cease to initiate intimacy because they cling to the idea that if they do not allow themselves to be rejected again that there is still some vestige of the intimacy they can later salvage. It is of of course a self-defense mechanism and not an attempt to hurt their spouse. It is a thorny problem to solve when dealing with husbands, as too many wives will watch the spiral and refuse to initiate intimacy boldly enough to convince the husband they truly want to unite with him and that they do not act out of a sense of pity or duty (as some husbands also do to their wives gravely damaging their self-esteem). No self-respecting husband wants just sex, nor does he want just sex under those circumstances. For that matter, no spouse would want the other to consider intimacy an unpleasant chore or duty. To reach such a point is to admit there is no love left between you and in sacramental marriage that is a terrible and devastating thing to be faced with.

Once both sides have rejected each other long enough, and torn down their spouses self esteem in the process, they leave each other vulnerable to outside temptations. While the spouse pulling the trigger is responsible for their actions, there was a great sin against them done by the spouse who helped to load and hold the gun that shot both of them in the head. Both of them are inevitably deeply or gravely wounded. The children are deeply wounded and will bear scars from that wound their whole lives. What is even sadder is that the marriage rarely recovers, even if the couple is later reconciled. If they are not, a divorce simply leaves both parties unhappy and in relative poverty dragging any children along on the downward emotional and financial spiral. I find that the end results are generally horrific for both parties and any children involved. Of course – if one spouse rejects and disparages the other being overweight, some facet of their appearance, or other superficial physical attribute; Then the need for that spouse to find validation, acceptance, and desirability comes much more quickly because their self esteem has been ripped apart much more quickly and directly. Regardless of their gender, infidelity follows almost invariably as the disparaged and rejected spouse seek to confirm their desirability with a member of the opposite sex, or to find the intimacy lacking at home with a person outside their marriage.

The solution is easier said than done. Always make a choice each morning when you first wake to love your spouse, body and soul, without reservation. Always speak well of your spouse, to them and to others. Build your spouse up, as they will rise to meet your expectations if praised honestly and spoken to kindly. Always be affectionate with your spouse. Always remember you cannot fix your spouse – but you can inspire them to greatness. Always accommodate your spouse when they initiate intimacy or explain why you cannot and set up a rain check so they do not think it is a rejection of their person – then keep the rain check with joy and enthusiasm to remove all doubt.

Give it some thought. It costs nothing to make time for intimacy, but you must make the time and the effort so that your spouse feels wanted and desired. Make a point of giving you spouse a gift when and where you can. Remember that not only will it create a much deeper bond between you, but it will also ease so many other facts of marital life and communication. You may even find a joy in each other long forgotten when sex stops being driven by biology, and begins to be driven by love – and no man willingly trades a woman who loves him for his hand and a wrinkled magazine or dim computer monitor, nor does any woman trade a husband who loves her for a harlequin romance novel and a massaging shower head.

Pax Christi…

Carrying A Spouse – Hard Truth about Marriage

18 Jan

 

YoungCoupleEmbracing-20070508

It will happen to you. That is just a fact. At some point in your marriage you will either carry your spouse, or be carried by your spouse. In reality – you will probably both spend a good deal of time carrying each other.

All to often today we see this as a major imposition. When we marry we do not think too deeply about the “in sickness or health, for better or for worse” part of our vows. Then when a spouse needs to be carried any significant period, we think it’s ok to tell ourselves “this isn’t what we signed up for”, or the even more nefarious “I deserve better than this”. I’m telling you now – this is exactly what you signed up for, and your spouse deserves better if you think you can come up with an excuse not to carry them.

Most of the time, it is not just physically – but emotionally that we must carry each other. It is in those times that the need for God in your marriage becomes the most obvious, followed only by a willingness to sacrifice everything for your wife or husband for as long as it takes.

For my wife it was several years of carrying… recurring tumors in my head, and then neurosurgery, radiation, chemo drugs, medical complications, and strokes that accompanied them made her life a living hell. She nursed me back to health when the doctors sent me home to die, she changed my bedsheets, bathed me, helped me every time I needed to use the bathroom, and worked with me for long hours each day – long after the physical therapy coverage had run out. All of this while I had mood swings, depression, and massive memory loss.

I was frustrated, angry, and often downright belligerent. I had trouble speaking – much less speaking clearly, and when I did I had trouble finding the right words. Even when I did find them – they came out wrong, word salad and endless stuttering were some of the joys of brain surgery. I was in and out of the hospital time and again – and always she was by my side and holding my hand.

She was infinitely patient, and though I am sure she sobbed herself to sleep many nights, and prayed all night on others. All I saw was an angel sent by God, ministering to me every day with infinite love and patience. She had a developed a glow about her, as if lit from behind with soft light.

I’m telling you this because of the effect it had on me. It made me wonder even in the deepest recesses of my soul what I could have possibly done to deserve her love and dedication. The kinder she was, the more loving and tender, the harder it was to hate myself for my inability to do common things. The more difficult it was to even think of letting go, and the more I really loved her. I’m ashamed to say that I did not love her in the way I had loved her before she carried me, as that was so much more superficial and pedestrian than this and I had no basis for comparison beforehand.

I fell in love all with her over again and resolved myself to love her as she loved me – which was the closest reflection to the love of Christ I had ever been personal witness to. I’m still not there. I strive everyday just to be worthy of her – but I keep trying. It changed everything for the better, in the midst of tragedy God worked a miracle on my body and mind, while working the most amazing miracle on my heart – and He did it through her, and her love.

The next time you encounter a time when you must carry your spouse through a bad patch (no matter the reason), especially an extended one… It is not a truly a burden, but an opportunity for your spouse to see Christ in you, and add a whole new dimension to the agape, storge, and eros love in your marital relationship. It will also deeply bond you together in new ways you cannot yet even imagine.

Pax Christi

Colin

Abandonment

5 Dec

mourning-360500_960_720

Abandonment… No single issue in Sacramental Marriage troubles me more greatly than this issue. Spouses of both sexes are equally represented when they have told me of their circumstances.  The suffering caused by this grave sin never ceases to tear my own heart asunder, just hearing about it is deeply moving.

Often, people do not seem to understand what love is. I think this is an issue compounded by the fact that we have only one word for love in English. Therefore, we cannot easily separate whether we are talking about Eros (Erotic/Romantic love), Agape (Unconditional Love), or Storge (Familial Love) when we discuss “Love”.

More importantly they fail to understand the obligations of Sacramental Marriage properly and their views of marriage are based on current civil interpretations of marriage wholly incompatible with Catholic Sacramental Marriage. This is likely based on the fact that in western society people frequently enter the sacrament of marriage under the influence solely of Eros and the misguided notion that the sole purpose of marriage is to make them happy. Such emotional attitudes are the primary cause of many failed marriages.

As I am going to shock many people – let me detail the purpose of marriage according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”84

But wait, I see “the good of the spouses”! Does that not mean I am supposed to get everything I want and be happy in marriage? The answer is absolutely not. Marriage is for the spiritual good of the spouses, not to cater to their whims, extramarital lusts, or material gain. This means, in short, that one of your key jobs in marriage is to get your spouse to heaven!

What of happiness? Does it also have a place in Sacramental Marriage? Of course, but it is not the kind of happiness that lets you changes spouses frequently, nor is it the kind of happiness that comes from putting your interests first at the expense of your spouse and children. It is a deeper and more abiding happiness found in reciprocated service to the spouse. My grandmother expressed it best as she often reiterated that “We make ourselves happy.  Your husband or wife simply shares the joy you create.”

Then of course we come to the crux of the matter. The fact is that marriages, even Sacramental ones suffer from the grave mortal sin of abandonment. The Catechism has some harsh words for those who abandon spouses:

2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.178

Read it again… Sobering is it not. Sacramental Marriage is bound by the MORAL LAW, not the civil law. The moral law is God’s law, and the civil law is just made up by men.

Now I want you to stop and think about why this would be a grave mortal sin that imperils your soul. We could start with the emotional and financial hardships it imposes on the abandoned spouse. It might be good to think of the effect of abandonment on the children. Liberal news outlets and talking heads will tell you how it does not affect or damage children – but I have seen this evil firsthand. It does tremendous damage to the children. But I will let the facts speak for themselves because in all honesty, someone reading this is going to be in denial of the truth.

No matter which spouse abandons the other – the net effect on the family is disastrous all around, especially with the odious no-fault divorce laws across the country which make a spouse as disposable as a tissue paper. To understand just how disastrous this is you need to understand the facts and the statistics on the effect that a choice to end the marriage will have. Effects not just on your spouse, but on your children. After reading this study linked to through the quote below, you will be unable to claim that a spouse dissolving a marriage does not harm the children, or the other spouse.

Child poverty is an ongoing national concern, but few are aware of its principal cause: the absence of married fathers in the home. According to the U.S. Census, the poverty rate for single parents with children in the United States in 2009 was 37.1 percent. The rate for married couples with children was 6.8 percent. Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 82 percent.[1]

Now consider that the damage you are doing to your spouse and children is simply an additional sin against God, your spouse, and the children. Then take a selfish moment and consider you immortal soul. To repent this sin you must seek to sin no more. That means that the only path to repentance and reconciliation with God is to return to your spouse and reconcile, and if reconciliation is impossible to live your life chastely and pray for your spouse daily after making every possible attempt at reconciliation.

I know, it comes across as harsh. I would remind those in sacramental marriages that they entered them freely and accepted the responsibilities that the Sacrament of Matrimony entails. I would also remind those same people, that upon hearing Jesus declare that divorce was impossible his own disciples exclaimed “then it is better not to marry!”

Jesus’ Teaching about Divorce
9“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 10The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” 11But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.…

The solution is easy. Make the commitment each morning to Love your spouse in the sense of Agape and Storge Love. Eros will come and go throughout a marriage. Marriage requires a choice to have a greater love than mere erotic or romantic love. If your relationship is damaged such that your trust is broken and your spouse is distant – I highly recommend reading and following The Love Dare a 40 day program to help rebuild your marriage. If you want to see what the love dare is about you can watch the movie Fireproof (unfortunately DVD only on netflix right now). In addition you should speak to your priest about what programs or ministries are available through your parish or diocese to assist you.

For the love of God, the welfare of your Husband or Wife, and for your Children, please make that commitment right now and again each morning to love your Spouse as Christ loves you. If you are separated or divorced this still applies to you as no Sacramental marriage can be dissolved by civil laws. Take a moment to save your family and your immortal soul and return to your rightful spouse and reunite your family.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Truth vs. Emotion

10 Nov

ocean-waves-hitting-rocks

We live in a society that has become obsessed with emotion and feelings. This has resulted in lasting damage, not only to the Institution of Marriage, but to the faithful as well. Before you can combat an enemy, you must first recognize it. This means you must recognize when you are being driven by emotions and feelings instead of by Moral Truth. This can be harder than it sounds when you are immersed in a wicked society that insists moral truth is determined by feelings, instead of a set marks determined by God, the Church, and the Natural Law.

Marriage is about Moral Truth. The vow you make when accepting the sacrament of matrimony stands alone. Let us be honest – whatever feeling you that you thought was “love” that caused you to get married is gone by the end of the honeymoon phase or rapidly fading. If you do not refill the emptying cup of emotion, with the endless cup of truth then you will be unhappy and estranged in no time. Your “feelings” are transient and thus irrelevant. Whether the other person keeps their vows is also irrelevant so long as the marriage is valid and sacramental. This means that the proper intent existed at the time of the marriage itself. I know, you think I’m being harsh. I’ve been married about 25 years and I’m speaking from experience when I tell you that if you think marriage is about romantic love, your happiness, sex, marital bliss, convenience, the mother or father you never had, or the parent that failed you.

Now I will move to the most uncomfortable truth of all – marriage is not about your happiness, it is not about your sense of satisfaction, and it has nothing to do with making your burden lighter in this world. Matrimony is a sacrament – and like all sacraments, it is based on solid truth regarding faith and morals. It’s not based on, nor is it dependent on your emotions or feelings. It is dependent only on your commitment and obedience. Let that sink in while you head shakes side to side so fast that your eyeballs spin.

You do know that if your head is going side to side right now and your eyes are wide with disbelief, that you have work to do. You need to start defining your emotions and feelings, and stop letting your emotions and feelings define you. You need to make the choice to love your wife each morning, make the choice to avoid conflict, make the choice to speak well of her, make the choice to smile, and make the choice to obey your holy vows at the bestowal of the sacrament of Matrimony. Moral truth will then dictate your actions and emotions, you will do what is required of you, accepting that you are bound whether or not your spouse keeps her vows. You will now waggle you head and say – “No way – that’s not fair!”. Neither was Jesus dying on the cross to save your bacon. Your human sense of justice is rather infantile – in marriage we are called to something higher. You might think of it as “Duty”, but it is a mandate from God that you freely accepted.

Now I’ll tell you the good news. Most of the time – and I do mean “most”, and not all of the time – because we live in a wicked world. Doing this will change everything in your marriage for the better in ways you cannot possibly imagine. No, it will not happen overnight. It will not happen in just 1 week, or 30 days. It will be a process. A process in which you will change your life, and the lives of you and your spouse in the process. Things will improve over time, To be truthful, after about 25 years things are still improving. I don’t even know where it stops. When you base you marriage on truth – things start changing for the better. When you base your marriage on emotion then everything becomes a drama laden and stressful mess. I also know that when you live a marriage based on truth, then your own emotions and feelings are much more balanced, pleasant, and satisfying. In doing so you will have a distinct positive effect on those around you, especially on your spouse. You will feel a growing sense of contentment and happiness in your service. Romantic love will still come and go in an ebb and flow over the years – sometimes like a gentle breeze, and sometimes like a hurricane. However, if you base your marriage on Truth then your “love” in the “agape” and “storge” senses of the Greek words for love will never waver. It is then only “eros” that bandies about, rising and falling. When everything else is in balance with truth, then even “Eros” spends far more time up than down.

Imagine what might happen if you lived other aspects of your faith in Truth, instead of feelings or emotions?

Pax Christi,

The Sorrow of Ashley Madison and How to Fix It

19 Aug

102714266-large_unnamed.530x298

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

Miscarriage – and What She is going through…

7 Aug

miscarriage-sculpture

I know this one is going to be uncomfortable for a whole lot of people. As a husband, I hope you never go through this tragedy – but if you do, you need to know this. I know, because I’ve been through this myself. You’ll wonder what she is thinking. You ask yourself what you can do? You’ll be mourning for yourself the whole time.

Hopefully this brutally honest insight from a good friend of my wife and I who just had a miscarriage, will be a window into a woman’s soul for you at a time when you need it most. Your wife may be days, weeks, or even months after the miscarriage before she can even begin try to explain her feelings, as she has to understand them herself first.

When you’re done – please say a prayer for their very recently lost child, Francis Anthony (Last name Omitted to respect the Family’s Privacy)…

Uncertainty, Hope, and Waiting

This is a somewhat graphic, quite long, and emotionally charged post.

It was drafted as I traveled this journey over the course of several days. I am baring my soul in this post, and this is part of how I work to heal. My pain is not unlike almost every other woman’s in the world. There are millions suffering in silence. I refuse to be one of them. I will use my big mouth to help others. The world needs to know how this affects those around them, and that certain comments are best left completely unsaid. Be respectful in your comments, and if you have a point of disagreement, choose your words carefully.

              ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

All I am able to do at this point is pray, hope, and wait. And repeat.

As I type this while lying down, I am completely uncertain. I think my brain knows more than my heart wants to admit. And I hate that this is where I am.

I am on doctor’s orders for rest, and a follow up with my regular doctor in a few days. I am home from the emergency room because of spotting. I thought it was just because I overdid it on Sunday after church, shopping with 2 kids in tow while wearing wedge heeled shoes. Seeing it when I went to use the bathroom made me gasp loudly, and Devildog came to check on me. It was brown and it subsided after several hours of rest and plenty of water. Spotting is considered a normal occurrence in this situation, and as long as it’s not red, and cramping is not involved, it could just be a slight swish in the cycle. And then today, it resumed, increased, and at some moments blood-tinged. Plus there has been some cramping that feels like dull pressure. I was advised to go to the E.R. because all diagnostic tools were there, and if this was an ectopic pregnancy, I would need to be there anyway. It’s not ectopic. But I didn’t see a heartbeat in the ultrasound. I don’t have a trained eye, but having had 5 children before, I know what to look for and where. To the best of my ability, I was unable to see what I’d hoped to see. Every ultrasound tech is quick to point out fetal heart rate. There was no such point of conversation today.

CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING!….

Let your Wife Drive…

15 Jun

photo 1

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

 

 

A Valid Marriage

18 May

couple-fighting-on-couchI know a man who is divorced with a child and just cannot let go of his ex-wife. The facts are simple: she left him, the marriage has been adjudicated invalid, there was a child produced by the marriage, former wife is now remarried with another new baby, he is now alone and paying child support for his child.

I’ve been pretty dry about all this emotionally. However, It is nothing if not: messy, sloppy, heartbreaking, fist-clenching, and gut wrenching. That said there is a distinct lesson to be learned from this persons experience. Take steps to ensure you enter only a valid marriage. This means you attend the Pre-Cana sessions and tell the truth. Expose yourself up front fully so that your heart will not be rent later. Choose wisely – you only get one shot at this, don’t allow your hormones to make a choice you’ll regret later.

Most of our friends who are long married started as we did: friends, best friends, more than friends, then married. In this progression all secrets and warts get shared up front, we learn to forgive, and we know them intimately in a way that allows us to truly asses our ability to get along, function as a team, and collaborate on things long before sex and other considerations can skew our viewpoint. We see our spouses as people, and not objects. The trick to long term marriage is to stay best friends always – the friendship provides a firm foundation for true love when the mutual feeling love is there, and provides a safety net in marriage for those times when we let that love die down or even go out for a time. When there aren’t any secrets or hidden pasts to fear in a relationship there is a real freedom. It comes from being loved for yourself, not the persona you donned to woo your wife but couldn’t maintain forever.

It’s a suggestion I hope more men will heed for the sake of their children and the sake of their hearts, as well as love and concern for their spouses future happiness. Nobody should ever feel cheated by their spouses lack of disclosure 2 years into a marriage.

Please take a moment and pray for this man, and all persons who find themselves in this position or affected by one like it.

Pax Christi,

Colin

The Pope Tweets on Marriage!

9 May

For my readers –
This will sound very familiar. Please share as widely as possible so that everyone might be blessed by this wonderful truth!

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

ephesians

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

A thought for the day on marriage….

23 Mar

1896757_820409891317883_693263671_n

At first glance it seems like good advice, and it is good advice. But it’s based on an incorrect premise. Marriage is not “only paper”. For Catholics, even our wedding rings are blessed sacramental objects. Make no mistake it is a sacrament like Holy Orders – for those whom God calls to married life.

A piece of paper is meaningless, but the sacrament of marriage is a consecration before God to a vowed life of defined service no less binding that the vows of a priest, or even the Pope himself. It is not expected to be easy – and the task will be difficult and may be a grinding or joyous as we make it. It is for the sake of not just our own souls, but the souls of our spouse as well as both of our earthly happiness that we make the often extraordinary effort required to make it work.

It is up to you to perform your duties with great love and joy independent of other factors. If both you and your spouse do this marriage can be a wonderful sanctuary for both of you. If you do not, then marriage can become a prison of your own making. The choice and the power to transform your approach to your marriage are yours. Can you keep a promise made both to, and before God?

-Colin

 

 

Update for those Praying for Kathryn

9 Mar

kathryn

Kathryn

For those who have been following the saga of this one brave young girl and her family, I am hoping that reading this and maybe some of the prior posts for the backstory on my blog will help affirm in your hearts the power of prayer not just in our lives but in the lives of others. Kathryn is one of millions of young children who are suffering daily all over the world with life threatening illness. I have long realized that I cannot make a change for all of them directly, but by doing little things with great love for the one(s) God places before me I believe that I can make a difference. I am also hoping I can inspire others to do what they can to make a small difference in the hope that they too will inspire others. The end of which under ideal circumstances is an outpouring of compassion worldwide.

I’d like to thank all of you who have prayed, sent cards, notes, letters, and postcards of hope to this young girl. I am posting this update because she still needs your prayers and there is so much more ahead of her than there is behind her. Please keep her in your prayers, and remember that love and compassion are not finite resources – you can give all of each from a neverending supply, replenished by God himself.

Now the Update from the Gardner Family –

Last week for Kathryn went well. There were no real changes to report except that her 4 sisters did in fact go through the initial round of genetic testing. The Gardner family wish to send Praises to the heavens on the wings of the Father’s glorious holy angels that from her 4 sisters, they have found one match. Kathyrn’s little sister Karlie(5), is an EXACT MATCH. Praise God!! The test has 15 different markers, Karlie matched all 15 EXACTLY!

When the doctor told them the news Kathy simply began to cry. She heard very little of what was said after that. Kathy asked for a copy of the test to see for herself and she was handed a single piece of paper on which clearly matched the two girls. Kathy knew that the doctor was explaining to a couple of student doctors that when doing these genetic tests you hope to get as many markers to come close to the patients numbers. He was telling them how rare it is to get and exact match on the first try. Then Kathy interrupted and said, “What a beautiful Pro-Life testament!” to which the doctor responded, “Exactly!”

The family would like to thank all of you for your constant prayers and they ask that you lift Karlie up. They are asking that you specifically ask the Father to prepare her little heart for this procedure should we get to that stage. At this time, the doctors are just telling us that it is highly likely that we will have to get the transplant, so they are going to prepare Kathryn for it. They have not told us when this will happen or told us any details, just that it will probably happen at some point.

Prayer Warriors, we have been given great news today for Kathryn and her family. Parents Kyle & Kathy said that on one hand they are ecstatic that they found a match but on the other hand the donor is the youngest and the family is feeling the effects of that reality. In a family meeting today, each of the girls mentioned why she wanted to be the match for their sister. It was very touching.

Kathryn is feeling pretty blue these last few days. She is in a real battle and her little body is taking a beating. Join us as we continue to storm heaven with uplifting prayers for her and her family. Remember the family has asked that we pray for 5 yr old Karlie, that God will prepare her heart. Those of us who have the distinct pleasure of knowing this little firecracker, know that she always has the perfect answer for just about anything you ask of her. She is bouncy, full of life and can carry on an intriguing conversation with anyone and anything.

***KATHRYN’S EMAIL ADDRESS***
GForce2000.14@gmail.com

***** LETTERS/CARDS ********
All mail for Kathryn should be mailed to the following address:
KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch PMB # 335
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

God Bless,

-Colin

Open Letter to Senators Vitter and Landrieu

7 Feb

Eucharistic Adoration

Senators David Vitter & Mary Landrieu,

I would like to draw your attention to this issue. It would seem that the values of the UN and our Constitution are in juxtaposition. The very foundation of our country is under attack by the new UN world government, which attacks our second amendments rights – compounded by an executive branch that signed the treaty knowing congress could never ratify it.

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/02/05/vatican-blasts-un-panel-demanding-it-change-its-position-against-abortion/

Feeling empowered by this, and using the Catholic Sexual Abuse scandal as a very flimsy and thin guise, they have set out to attempt to direct a religion to modify it’s beliefs to conform to their will. This is in blatant violation of our 1st Amendment rights. It is unthinkable for America or any other government to order a Church which had stood firmly on these foundations for over 2000 years that in order to comply with the new social order being forcibly mandated, they must Change Doctrine and Dogma (something the Church cannot do, even if they wanted to). All done in order to eliminate or reverse the church teachings on Abortion, Divorce and Remarriage, Fornication, Birth Control, Families, Homsexual Sex, and Homosexual Unions. I feel sickened that our government can participate in such a body with no respect for individual rights or freedoms to disagree and pursue a tried and true moral path. This same Institution which has told all the governmental entities before the UN, and it will tell all the ones after the UN, but right now it is telling the UN  – emphatically “NO!”

Make no mistake – it is tyranny when a governmental body starts dictating what doctrine a Church can hold.

I urge you in the strongest terms to take whatever measures are still open to you in our eroded democracy. To subvert the misguided executive power of the pen, the appointment, the executive order, the unratified treaty signing, and the phone – and to put an immediate stop to this by sponsoring a binding US Senate resolution supporting the right of the Catholic Church to maintain their religious and moral values, regardless of popular culture or pop-psychology. In addition, the resolution should condemn the UN body for attempting to impede the free practice of Catholicism – the worlds largest Christian Denomination.

Thank You and I will be praying for you,
Colin
https://catholichusband.wordpress.com

PS: Please share and tag your senators in this post! A Viral response will make it hard to ignore.

Morally Speaking

29 Jan

pius-x

There comes a time in each of our lives when we must choose between being faithful to God, and being rejected or abandoned by those we once called friends. We must understand that we are not the ones making this decision – the people who would reject us for not jettisoning our faith to appease their conscience are walking away from us, we are not walking away from them. You see, it’s very hard for those enmeshed in darkness to tolerate the light of truth. Their dark lies are warm and comfortable, like a narcotic high – and just as seductively addictive. The bright light of truth is like a ray of sunshine in the eyes of a man recovering from a hangover. They will wince, and squirm, and even turn away. They will either to return to the bottle or sober up. When you shield that light by denying the example of Christ in confronting wrong then you deny Him. Think about it – every time you say the politically correct thing, rather than the faithful thing, you do nothing more than enable evil. People in darkness want it to feel normal, they want to feel approved of because they know in their hearts what they are doing is wrong. When you tell them what they are doing is not wrong, or that it is not your place to judge their actions (Not their person – Just the actions) then you are acting as an agent against God and helping them into perdition.

If your child was reaching for a hot stove would you not warn them away out of love, would you not comfort them if they failed to heed your warnings and got burned touching the side of a hot stovetop? One thing you would never do is tell them that it was OK to endanger themselves in that way. You would not be judging the child, only their actions. Just as this very basic principle applies to your family, in order to live your faith you need to practice it with those outside your family who you care about. Our priests, and especially our Bishops have this sacred responsibility in a most solemn manner for all humanity – as they must serve as an example of heroic virtue to others – Pope Francis has continually done this despite the media spin doctors attempts to paint him otherwise.

Mark 6:11
And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.

The internet can be befuddling for many Christians, too many voices all throbbing together in a confusing cacophony. However, just like in life – any real friend will accept you or reject you as you are. If you have to pretend to be something you are not, or to put your faith in check to avoid offending them; Well it is time for you to realize that they are NOT your friend. They are your captor, and you have just betrayed God for nothing more than the approval of a person stuck in the same tar pit you are. The person whose approval you need to worry about is God. He is the only person who can get you out of your predicament. However, you must reach out to him and accept his hand – just as they must do. To know what to do, they need to see your example of escape. They do not need to watch you drown in sin with them so that they can think that it is normal or OK to be swallowed up by the inky black tar and lost forever.

Jesus did not instruct that we should be overly persistent in trying to bring them to the truth as evidence by the quote above which is repeated in Matthew 10:14 and Acts 13:51. That said, Jesus also gave us from his personal example that we were not to let wrongs go unchallenged. He did not tell the adulteress that it was her body to do with as she pleased, he did not tell the money changers he respected their choices, and he most certainly did not tell his followers to keep on in their immoral ways and do what thou wilt. He offered mercy to the repentant, remember what he told the adulteress – “Go forth and sin no more”. Yet we have done so in our society, in the misguided sense that we can coexist with those who violate God’s law without upsetting them by calling out sin. Our children have fallen away from the churches because they hear our words, but they do not see any real conviction in our actions. In fact they see the opposite – and instead of 30 pieces of silver, we sell out our faith for the approval of others. We invite unrepentant perpetrators of evil actions into our lives and act surprised when it is we who are corrupted by allowing ourselves to tell the lie that “it does not really matter” so many times we make others and ourselves believe it. We are always called to love the sinner, but also to rebuke the sin. This is one of the Church’s hardest teachings. Hold firm to Church Doctrine. Pray for guidance. Love and know that it may never be returned. Accept that you will be scorned and rejected for doing so, but also know that you are following in His footsteps – and that means that you are surely on the right path.

St. Michael the Archangel, Pray for us all.

Sáncte Míchael Archángele,
defénde nos in proélio,
cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
Ímperet ílli Déus,
súpplices deprecámur: tuque, prínceps milítiæ cæléstis,
Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos,
qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in múndo,
divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde.
Ámen. 

-Colin

Living Faith

21 Jan

Sainte_therese_de_lisieux

Living your faith is something which fewer and fewer of us are doing today. We continually make compromises in our lives and place other things before God. I know, I know – not you right? I used to think so too – I’m still working on fixing it to this day. But seriously, when we fail to live our faith publicly it’s like lighting a candle then covering it a black box so nobody can see it. Faith is not something you practice just on sundays for 45 mins, maybe longer if the priest in long-winded in his homily. Faith is meant to be LIVED and not PRACTICED. Catholicism most especially, is meant to be integrated into our everyday life, in our homes, in our jobs, at the market, in every single thing we do each day.

This does not mean that we carry a bible, wear a honkin’ crucifix, sling a rosary through our belt and wander the streets admonishing sinners. Rather, this means we do the exact opposite. St. Francis said to “Preach the Gospel always, use words when necessary”. This important because we live our faith through our actions, not our words. Modesty is always good. That bible toting routine is not modest – the little rabbit foo foo method of spreading the gospel (by banging people eon the head with it) is not the answer. More importantly, this change is about you and not them. This is about change on the inside more than the outside. It’s a challenge with some fantastic rewards, even if you never get there but just keep trying.

We start with the small things. St. Therese said to do little things with great love. Little things are easier. You can pick just a few and start there, and then expand. You can do them while: preparing a meal, disciplining a child, dealing with a coworker, showing compassion for a stranger, performing your job, cleaning the house, even choosing groceries, or interacting with your spouse. You see those little things form the foundation for the big things. If you can’t take a little step successfully, then how can you expect to make a huge leap? Nobody expects you to be perfect, just to try to do everything with great love – nothing more. It is that conscious effort to do things with great love that is so powerful, and perspective changing. You’ll probably start feeling happier and more content in general after a relatively short time. This is the part where you discover the joy of serving God by serving others.

Next work on the moral conflicts in your life. Anytime you find yourself reasoning out why breaking a small moral rule is alright – STOP RIGHT THERE. Recognize that you are rationalizing it. Then reconcile the fact that you cannot be faithful in big things until you have learned to be faithful in small ones. This can mean many things for many people. Some examples to get you stated are lying, cheating, stealing, imagined adultery, even skipping church on Sunday so you can make a ball game. What are you saying to your children if you do that? That ball games are more important than God? Teach them instead to get up extra early for mass, or attend the vigil the night before. Show them that God comes first, your example will drive their own understanding of the faith – make it a good one. You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make in your faith as well.

You’ll find as you focus on the small things the bigger things seem to fall into place on their own. You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make when you make a conscious effort to do things for your wife with great love, not to just do them. Pretty soon you’ll find yourself doing everything for her with great love, when she sees your example and follows you in this practice it will fundamentally change your relationship for the better. It will improve your performance at work, your interactions with others, your compassion, your faith, and most importantly your happiness.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Abortion within Marriage (Reblog from Biltrix)

16 Jan


Abortion is a holocaust of untold proportions, the damage it does to families and marriages every year is beyond measure. In this post I think Biltrix managed to transcend the biological and legalistic issues and get straight to the heart of the matter. There is a 5 minute video here, and it had me teared up, but not why you might think (No Gore, dead fetuses, religious ranting, or other assaults of that type – just one womans short story. Simple, to the heart of the matter, and well made). It was the callous indifference of the husband and anguish of the wife that really touched my heart. To the mother it was a child, to the father an inconvenience. What have we come to that a human should even think like that? Please give it a read and watch the video. It opens with some mind numbing but well documented and shocking statistics on Abortion you probably never knew. Like These:

A survey of post-abortive women found that:

  • 28% attempted suicide
  • 31% experienced suicidal feelings
  • 60% commented that the decision to abort made their lives worse
  • 94% regretted the decision to abort

Tell me how you can love a woman, and do this to her? Not about her rights, not about laws or legalities – just basic human decency and compassion. Tell me that you think it’s OK to do this to a woman or even encourage her to do it to herself. Now imagine trying to do it to your wife! Whatever you do to her, you also do to yourself – you are one flesh! After watching the video, I promise you will have a new perspective on abortion.

Please pass this on, especially if you know of someone considering an abortion.

Read all about it here: http://biltrix.com/2014/01/16/why-do-94-of-women-who-had-abortions-say-they-regretted-the-decision-to-abort/

Biltrix posted this one – if you like this then please check out the whole Blog, authored by REAL Catholic Priests and Theologians.

Keep them in your prayers and bookmark their blog – they are truly doing the Lords work on a variety of fronts.

-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

Young Love – Young Marriage

7 Jan

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.

Young Marriage – This topic comes up a whole bunch. No matter which side you are on, I’m sure you have strong feelings about it. It could be based on what you were taught, or the damning statistics floated before your eyes, or the scary lectures given you by parents/peers/counselors, or on the plus side grandparents who were married at of before 20, parents who married young and made it, and the examples set by other couples you know who have made it work and are deliriously happy.

One thing to keep in mind is that if the person you plan on marrying is NOT the one, then no amount of waiting will make it so. If they ARE the one, then you risk losing them forever and always wondering the rest of your days what would have happened if you had just held that one when you had them. Let’s be honest – there is more to a potential spouse being the ONE than good looks, great pre-marital sex, being pretty, being pregnant, or even wanting to get married. What makes her the one is when you cannot imagine life without her, you are best friends, have no secrets, and the rose colored glasses have been sewn into your head. By that last bit about the glasses, it does not mean that she is without faults or that you cannot see them or are blind to them – but that you are able to effortlessly ignore them as inconsequential – nothing that gives you serious pause and nothing that you would expect to change later in life. In short – you love her exactly as she is, and are accepting of the fact that both of you will do a tremendous amount of growing and changing, over the next few years especially. You must understand that this is a lifetime commitment that cannot be abandoned or broken, that you are choosing your partner for life.

When we think of love, how do you know with all those hormones and so little life experience. I remember the words of my grandmother who raised me, who was also 14 or 16 when she married her soulmate – depending of which of her birth certificates you trusted more. When she asked me what I would do if they (my grandparents) disapproved of us getting married, I told her I would miss them terribly and I would hope for them to come around. She said to me that there were thousands more fish in the sea, was I so certain about his one that I was willing to give up fishing forever – and be always happy with my catch? Was I really that sure? When I looked her in the eye and said YES. She paused for a moment, then with a tear running down her left cheek hugged me and said I had their blessing. I was 19. I would turn 20 before we married, my wife a year younger within a few days! For those that are wondering no she was not pregnant, though it always came up as the first question from people who assumed it would be the reason we married young.

In truth we both KNEW that we had found the ONE and we wanted to be together forever. While it may not be right for everyone, it was right for us – and it has been right for a number of very long married couples I know, in fact the vast majority of them married well before 24. Those horrifying statistics on marriage failure, are reflective of people failing to keep their vows and work to stay in love. Was it rocky at times – VERY. Did both of us have to make unplanned sacrifices – YES. Did either of our lives turn out the way we had originally planned – NO. Hindsight being 20/20 – would we do it all over again if given a chance – WITHOUT HESITATION.

I cannot in good conscience discourage anyone from marrying young if they both have found the right person in each other, fully comprehend sacramental marriage, and at least think they are prepared and willing to face the challenges involved. The amazing bonds which can be formed in those formative years can be a bedrock for your marriage, the shared experiences in learning and growing can bring you closer together than you ever imagined, and as you grow and change you can fall in love with each other over and over again on an endless succession of mornings.

However, if one who wants to marry is selfish, narcissistic, and self-centered then no matter what else is there I suspect you will fail no matter what your age. If there is not a deep and abiding friendship and cooperation between you then you will likely fail – no matter how old you are. If you are not willing to adapt and embrace the changes life throws at you – then you will fail at any age. Most importantly, if either of you is unwilling to submit your will and your life to the service of the other before yourselves in all things then you will likely fail. Being older is going to take away many opportunities to grow together and make adaptation harder as you will both be different people with already set complex expectations – rather than having simple expectations including that you will have to adapt. Most importantly – you must both know in your hearts that you are their ONE and they are yours, marriage is not a place to settle for the “next best thing”.

If you have any doubts, a simple examination of conscious may be of assistance. If you were faced with a grave threat to your future spouse, but any intervention was not assured of success, would you hesitate (even a moment) to place yourself in the path of grave bodily injury or even death to protect her? If you answered yes, then you may have the ONE – since you feel sure that you value her life and well being above your own. If you answered no, you may want to stop and think about why you did not say yes – and whether it is that she is not the one – or whether you are just not ready yet to make such a commitment. Marriage is about readiness and willingness to commit ones life to the service of another and then keep that commitment, not about how old one is.

Please Give it Some thought –
-Colin

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

Sex Every Day for a Year!

11 Sep

download

WARNING: This post contains subject matter suited only to married couples. I’m interested in my readers thoughts on this one (especially those of the Catholic clergy, or those that have tried and succeeded or failed trying this). For me this is a thought experiment only, where I’m working through all the pros and cons and researching aspects of it in the Cathechism (as the author is a Baptist apparently). Confidential submissions/reports will be kept so and can be sent to cc70458@gmail.com

I had heard of this a while back, http://www.amazon.com/365-Nights-Intimacy-Charla-Muller/dp/0425222578, when the book was being promoted. It’s hit the news again recently on CNN too.  Seems a couple made a splash announcing their success at completing the program and decided to interview on national television. Warning book spoiler – A wife makes “sex every day for an entire year” a gift to her husband for his 40th birthday, then writes a bestseller from the diary she kept on her effort. She also keeps an ongoing Blog here on WordPress (http://charlamuller.wordpress.com/) that details what follows that rather large experiment.

Some of my initial thoughts on this are:

  • A year is a very long time. I would think making it a whole month might be a reasonable while very challenging goal
  • The author of the book gave this to her husband as a GIFT, as all sexual relations in a marriage should be given in that spirit. I suspect that to make it through any period of time each would be in a position of truly making a gift to the other of themselves, possibly for the first time in their marriage as physical gratification gives way to emotional gratification as the primary driver
  • The author made a big deal of effective birth control. As a Catholic, pregnancy is pretty darned likely under these circumstances. Birth Control is RIGHT OUT – So this is a great challenge if you are hoping to have children, but not so practical for those who are not open to life.
  • Performing on command can be equally difficult for both spouses, men too after the first week or two (just being honest here). This will probably mean that both spouses will have to find ways to build the desire in each other up each day through looks, touches, calls, notes, etc…
  • I cannot argue with the underlying premise, that an accelerated level of sexual coupling will have rather dramatic effects on the sacrament of marriage if the marriage is stable, but if it is unstable it could also be the catalyst for the demise of the sacramental bond
  • It can take lust out of the equation over time – letting people explore love and intimacy without raging hormones dictating words or actions
  • It can be a huge learning experience for both parties about themselves and each other as pretenses are dropped and honesty is injected into the lovemaking process about our likes, dislikes, and feelings about sex
  • It does force a habit of making time to be intimate with each other, and keeps people thinking about how to fulfill the commitment each day
  • It poses a risk of resentment when either party learns enough about the other that they no longer see submission and participation as the same thing. If either party realizes that the other is regularly just submitting it can be either very educational or very damaging to the marriage depending on the real reason
  • It can have positive effects of encouraging spontaneity and enable people to learn to enjoy their spouses pleasure and excitement as much or more than your own, learning to sacrifice yourself joyfully is key to marriage in general for both spouses. Its not that you have to necessarily want the sex itself, so much as you necessarily have to want to be emotionally close and bring joy to another (husband or wife). If you just want to get it over with before your gum looses flavor it’s going to have a detrimental effect

While I can see the potential good, I fear the potential emotional and spiritual damage many could be exposed to as the barriers so carefully erected to preserve their true feelings about the marital embrace and their spouse will be eroded away not like a sand castle washed away by an incoming tide, but instead destroyed by a tidal wave. While washing away those barriers is not necessarily bad, if we are not willing to accept what we learn in a loving and constructive manner and do something to fix it then disaster looms. This can be much harder when it happens very quickly. Our emotions often run very high and close to the surface when it comes to sex, and when humans get emotional they often say exactly what they mean in the worst possible and least constructive manner. Here thar be Dragons…

The honest truth is that I want my wife to be with me intimately not because she is obligated to by a promise or a vow, but because she wants to and can think of nowhere in the world she would rather be physically or emotionally. After almost 22 years of marriage this conviction has only gotten stronger over time. Anything forced from within or without, I fear would do more harm than good – no matter who does the forcing.

Food for thought,

Colin

I’m Sorry is Never Enough

3 Sep

Especially in marriage, people often think an apology is enough. Our society has grown more fascinated with forcing apologies from people than a North Vietnamese Prison warden. Most of the time these are mechanically given, or forced from people by direct threat or coercion. They are not sincere and generally carry little weight. Even when the apology is sincere, it alone carries little weight. In fact, thanks to the institution of forced apologies in society – insincerity has become the hallmark of the ubiquitous “I’m sorry” – we say it from wrote because we fear retaliation or severe repercussions if we do not.

As with James 2:20 in the bible, which speaks of faith not being present without works – what of repentance. True repentance, like true faith, is evident in works. When the heart is changed the actions follow. True repentance, it comes in two distinct stages. The first stage is when we are truly sorry for our actions primarily because we fear just punishments or reactions, and the second is when we are truly repentant for our actions because we have separated ourselves from our God and those offended through them.

The next time you apologize to your spouse, think about whether you are really sorry and why. I do not mean give it a glancing thought, but rather dwell on it for a bit and chew it over. Especially be mindful of anger if you feel coerced into the apology, as it can cause you to separate further from your spouse – and from God. Now the part you really don’t want to hear, but need to. The problem is yours. There is a difference between ownership and culpability, make that distinction accurately. Though the issue may not be your fault, as the husband you must make it your responsibility and lead by example and resolve it.

Realize that you can only change yourself, not your spouse. Both of you are obligated to do everything possible to serve the needs of the other. For many of us, that means effecting major changes in our thoughts, words, and actions – especially when we have done something to make our spouses feel an apology is necessary. It is the changes we make to correct the separation both from our spouses and God that are the true fruits of repentance and only they can provide the comfort of true reconciliation.

Oftentimes I use such situations to remind myself that I am a bound servant of God and my wife, and I work very hard to not let my mind attempt to rationalize that she is my servant too. You cannot expect to control someone and bond closely with them in true love. True love is joyful service and willing submission – not arrogance, exertion of power, control, and/or feelings worn on sleeves. Realize that the next time an apology comes up and understand that “I’m sorry” is the beginning of the process, not the end. Evaluate why offense was taken and how you can avoid such conflict in the future. Make sure that your words are backed up by thought, word, and deed. If you feel the need to rationalize, then remember that your wife cannot be expected to follow where you do not lead.

Your thoughts?
Colin

For My Beloved Wife

31 Aug

My Wife With Mickey Mouse

My Wife With Mickey Mouse

For my beloved wife:

I would like to take a moment to “out” myself as being hopelessly in love with my wife of over 21 years. Call me crazy, but I look at her and still see the lovely girl I married all those years ago. Of course, it’s one thing to say it to her in in our home, on the phone, when passing her in kitchen, when waking up, or going to bed – but I wanted to say it more loudly, without shouting it from the rooftop.

My wife is a woman of very deep emotion, and often few words to indicate what swirls in those depths. I cannot usually read the details, but the emotions are loud and clear most of the time. This year her birthday was a milestone at that point in life when birthdays just serve as a reminder how much older you’re getting. As usual, disasters tend occur on her birthday – either environmentally catastrophic ones like Hurricanes Isaac and Katrina, or personal ones like children destroying old photographs, the cat shredding the VHS video of her wedding, or the children shattering one of her favorite things. This year circumstances conspired with me to do something for her and the children simultaneously (our youngest daughter would turn 7 our first day at Disney!) and avoid the birthday disaster zone for her. I wanted to give her memories, happy ones. Both of us are big fans of Disney in general and I dare say we would both call it our “Happy Place”. Her parents never took her as a child. So when we first went to the one in Anaheim while I was stationed in San Diego, she too was hooked. I thought about this beforehand and moved heaven and earth in the background to make it happen for the whole family – so we would all have those memories together.

You see, of all the things I could give to her or the children – happy memories are one thing they can never break, never lose, and they can never be stolen. The best part is that when viewed in hindsight even the small burbles in the trip are filtered out by the brain and the happiest moments are the ones in sharp focus. We have both reached a point where neither of us want things anymore. I still bought her a bouquet of flowers on her actual birthday and took her to dinner – but did not bother with trying to purchase useless trinkets to clutter our lives or desk drawers. One day both of us will be gone, and unless we are very lucky (like a few recent couples in the news) we will endure some period of time on earth with nothing but our memories of each other to sustain us outside of God. After we are gone from this world, we will only exist in the memories of our children and the memories of people whose lives we managed to touch in some special way. Make those memories happy ones.

Literally a couple of weeks prior I had taken her and the whole brood, unexpected by everyone in both the style we stayed and the timing, to DisneyWorld in Florida. Our 7 year old got to eat with Winnie the pooh for lunch, and attended Cinderella’s wedding banquet and got to meet the entire wedding party for dinner! My wife loves the characters, as much as the children – and all the roller coasters you can find. I saw to it that they got to eat lunch and dinner almost every day in a character dining experience and put them in an upscale resort, instead of the value resort or the Days Inn an hour away. Having done Disney many times over the years – this was by far the best trip of them all. We had time in the middle of our park hopping to enjoy the nice resort, and with the deluxe dining plan the ability to sample restaurants and cuisine at the parks finer venues which thrilled my culinarily inclined wife to no end. The children cheered over not having to eat chicken nuggets or Pizza every time we supped, as the quick service value dining plan reduced us to previously. Most importantly, the week was filled with smiles and happy memories of time together for all from end to end. (Highly recommend the Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Park Hopper passes, and the Deluxe Dining Plan!)

Whether you are a Catholic or not, there is a lesson here. Life is not about money or things, it’s about experiences and memories. Whether they be catching a fish, floating a river, exploring a cave, hiking in the woods, throwing a ball, playing a game, floating down a river, going to the beach, or going to Disney World. Memories are more valuable than things – all the expensive gifts in the world will never make up for your presence, for saying I love you, and for all those moments we fail to take the opportunity to make a happy memory. What do you think?

Yours in Christ,

Colin

%d bloggers like this: