Tag Archives: partner

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!….

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

My Wife’s Surprise Facebook Post

26 Apr

Before you get all excited – the surprise was not in the content of the post. The surprise was in the eloquence and simplicity of the presentation. While our society may not agree, they would have to experience it first to have any basis for comparison.

Here’s her post –

Marriage isn’t just another relationship. It isn’t just about making you happy or making sure you always get yours. It isn’t about finding the perfect person who has nary a fault to annoy you. There is no room for selfishness in marriage. It is a sacrament, a life long covenant of love and service to one another, and a vocation, just as is the priesthood. It is not meant to be broken when you are no longer getting what you want. It is all about giving selflessly, 100%, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It’s about lifting each other up, facing all life’s challenges as one, caring for one another, and loving despite our faults. Marriage is not about you. It is about committing yourself to another, and the ultimate goal is to love your spouse right into heaven.

In our materialistic society, where it seems everyone is concerned with the question, “what’s in it for me?” this kind of relationship seems impossible. But with Christ’s grace, it is not only possible, but a little glimpse of heaven on earth. It will require, though, that you make a total commitment to your spouse. Give everything! Yes, this makes us frighteningly vulnerable, and you must trust your spouse to do the same. Therefore, choose wisely, not based on hormones and fleeting emotions alone, and pray for one another that you may keep Christ before you and both remain steadfast in your commitment to Christ and each other.

I am bothered by how often I hear things like, “I’m not doing that for him. If he wants it, he can do it himself.” Marriage is about what we can do for *each other* not because we can’t live without the other, but because we choose to live with and for each other! Or worse still, I hear, “If I do that for her, what’s in it for me?” A stronger marriage and more love in your life! Yes, you have to be willing to sacrifice for each other! We don’t get to plan on having only the better and never the worse, only the richer and never the poorer, or only health and never sickness! If you aren’t willing to go all in for your spouse, whether there’s something in it for you or not, you aren’t ready for marriage. If you’re already married and finding keeping it together a struggle, time to change your perspective! First thing to banish? Keeping score! It’s not a sports event.

Pax Christi,

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.

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

This High Price of Artificial Birth Control

18 Dec

Nuvaring_with_quarter

Let me ask you a question, and let’s be honest with the answer. Is it worth risking the life of your wife or even paramour (if not married) to artificially prevent contraception?

Think on that. We’ll get back to it.

The Catholic Church has made it’s ban on artificial contraception as infallible doctrine. It is not subject to change or revision. Many people are angered by this, but what they really should be angered by is the number of women dying of breast cancer because of the hormone based contraceptives, the number of women having strokes because of the hormone based contraceptives, the number of heart attacks women suffer from hormone based contraceptives, among other things. These are not just happening to older women.

I know, now you want to tell me how much safer newer contraceptives are – like say Nuvaring?

I was hoping you’d go there. Before you muddle on any further in your thoughts – you need to read this article in Vanity Fair magazine (Don’t worry there are lots more out there from other media outlets).

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2014/01/nuvaring-lethal-contraceptive-trial

Now that you’re finished reading, I want you to honestly answer the initial question about whether or not the ability to make free with your wife, like she was made of rubber and inflatable, without fearing conception is worth putting her at such risk? You see somebody needs to explain to me the kind of love and/or marriage that allows for one person’s wants or needs to overpower the health and welfare of the person they supposedly love. I’ve already written about my own struggle with the Church teaching on NFP – it’s a popular read and if you’re not already familiar it’s here. Do your own research on the side effects of the pill, nuvaring, hormone infused IUD’s, and recoil in horror as I did. Forget the Pink Ribbons and “Save the TATA’s” slogans – if you want to protect your wife from such horrors, get rid of those hormone laced pills, shots, and devices. There are fantastic benefits to doing so it you do – for you as well as her.

Sex, Intimacy, and NFP

I would like to think, that with a little common sense and some gentle introspection most rational people can stop rationalizing what they personally want long enough to see the truth. Artificial Birth Control HARMS and  KILLS WOMEN. It also lowers libido and can cause weight gain and depression, among other non-lethal side effects, which is often treated with more dangerous hormones and just leaves your sex life in a downward spiral. Is this something you would subject a woman you love with all your heart to, just so that you can have sex with her on command and avoid conception?

If you just answered “Yes” then you don’t understand what love really is.

If you just answered “No” then I would ask you – What are you going to do about it?

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Marriage Isn’t For You

3 Nov

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

Marriage Isn’t For You.

Great Job Seth!

Colin

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

Time Enough for Love…

28 Aug

Cutting the Wedding Cake as one

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

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

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

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

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

Just my thoughts…

Colin

“I can’t believe I married him/her!”

21 Aug

couple-fighting-on-couch

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

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

Or this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Catholic Sexuality and the Marital Embrace

12 Aug

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colin

Expectations of A Catholic Husband

4 Aug

God holding your Marriage

I’ve been asked more than a few times what the building blocks of a successful marriage are. Recently a few readers have sent questions to me looking for advice in new marriages and prior to marriage on what their future wives will be expecting of them. Aside from some very candid discussions with your current or future spouse, there are some givens that she will expect and from which all the others are merely outgrowths.

I’ve put some real thought into this. That means both brain cells were parallel processing until they started releasing their magic blue smoke. You see, I’ve been married for over 20 years and in terms of expectations – well they seem to change if you focus on the minutiae. However, if you look at the bigger picture, the little things all fall into line, if you remember the big ones. There are a core group of things every woman expects from her husband whether she even realizes it or not.

One major disclaimer – I have no more insight into a womans mind than any other man. Women are like the trinity in that they are a mystery which cannot be understood by man and must simply be accepted. The disclaimer does however, provide me a good segway into expectation number one.

Acceptance – This one seems so obvious, but I hear neverending stories of women whose husbands/fiancee’s threaten a divorce over 5 lbs. or will only marry if she can fit into a certain size dress. Stop and pray before you act, speak, or think like this and here is why. Neither of you know what the future is going to bring, or where it will take you together. Just like with God, you must simply accept each other joyfully. In the long view – your wife is likely going to be like the weather in Louisiana. Don’t like it? Wait a bit, it will change. Your wife will change sizes, her personality will change, her interests will change, her health will change – the one thing that must never change is that you accept and love her for who she is each morning. It’s critically important to both of you that you do. If she was disfigured in a fire or accident would you love her any less? What if she was barren? Would you continue to love and keep her? Time ravages all physical things and she needs to know that regardless of what changes happen to each of you both physically and emotionally, as long as it remains compatible with sacramental marriage, that you will make  anew that decision every morning to accept and love her as she is. Always don your rose colored glasses and see the best in her and about her.

Commitment – Your wife rightfully will expect that that you are fully committed to a lifetime of joyful servitude of her and any children you are blessed with. Your commitment is to the covenant you made with God when you accepted the Sacrament of Marriage from your wife. It is expected that this commitment is unbreakable, treat her accordingly – never make mention of or threaten divorce and choose your words carefully. A man must lead a family and not subjugate them by force or fear. You must nurture your wifes commitment to you, but ensuring that she is always secure in your commitment to her and to your marriage. Never take this commitment lightly, treat your wife, always, as if her commitment must be earned  – through the commitment itself does not need to be earned, her respect and trust do. Know in advance that there will be moments in your marriage when God and commitment will carry you through, and that without commitment to your covenant before God your marriage is doomed to failure – harming both you and your spouse irreparably.

Togetherness – All the hurdles and caveats life throws at you are going to be relying on you facing the challenges together. Whatever comes it is expected that you will work as a team to solve each and every crisis. Regardless of whether that crisis is emotional, physical, financial, professional, sexual, faith based, or something else. She is counting on you to help her, and it will be important to her to also help you. Remember that whatever hurdles you face, you will face them best as a well coordinated team who can react quickly to change, anticipate the other’s moves, and most importantly acknowledge each others strengths and weakness and understand which roles each is best suited to for any given problem. This may mean adjusting roles temporarily or permanently to best face your current situation in life. Work as a team not just to achieve those things necessary to your marriage, but also necessary to each others hearts and souls. The joy of shared experience is just as powerful as the bonding forged between two who share and overcome adversity together. Rather than let adversity tear you apart, let it bind you more tightly together. Rather than allowing marriage to overshadow each of your personal dreams and goals, make it a vehicle for you both to share in achieving them.

Love – Another one that seems obvious, however it is quite critical that you understand what this one means. Love does not mean liking someone, nor is love a feeling – rather that feeling is a symptom of love but not love itself. Love is a choice we make, and we must renew that choice each day. Love endures hardship and pain, it weathers squalls and storms. You cannot love one whom you do not accept as they are.  Your wife must be your best friend, your lover, and your partner through life. You must love God above all things, and love your wife above yourself – not as yourself, but below God and above you. She cannot return to you that which is not given to be returned. While romantic love and erotic love will come and go like squalls, and even hurricanes, throughout your marriage – your true love for each other must be like the ocean, fathomless and unending.

Trust – No love and no marriage can survive without this. Trust has more aspects than verbal honesty. Your wife must know you are being emotionally honest with her at all times. She is not a mind reader or clairvoyant and for her to learn to read you accurately over time she must really understand what you really think and feel. While she too must do the same, you need to make sure she feels free to do so. This means listening without judging her when she opens her heart to you, and for her to understand you – she must do the same for you. This is the basis of intimacy, for without feeling able to truly open up to each other and embrace not just what is outside – but what is inside we can never be truly intimate. Her sense of safety and security depend on her knowing that no harm will come to her. She is entrusting this care to you, you must never betray this sacred duty or her ability to trust in you will be lost. This does not always mean you will succeed, nor that you must do it alone – but together as God intended. By both of you acting selflessly for the good of the other party you will only increase that trust, and either party acting selfishly will serve to decrease or eliminate it. This applies to threats to your marriage that are violent, physical, emotional, financial, and otherwise. In short, she must trust unconditionally that you would never harm her nor knowingly allow her to come to harm.

There are a bunch of other things, I grant you – but after much introspection I believe that these are at the core. If you can manage these the others are extensions of them and will naturally follow.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

What Does Marriage Feel Like after 20+ Years

11 Jun

Cutting the Wedding Cake as one

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

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

The Gift of Yourself

25 Mar

Someone once explained to me that love is like a tree that can live and grow forever, provided it is properly cared for. The only death available to it is through unnatural means such as neglect, thirst, starvation, or pollution. A hardy tree, it can readily survive the trials and tribulations of this life so long as it is well cared for and healthy. However, in the event it should die – it must be replanted and sprout anew from the seeds of the tree before it and will take a great deal of time to be restored to even a shadow of it’s former glory.

Marital love is much like that tree, and both partners tend to it. The tree of love requires the care of both to flourish and live. In the event that either partner neglects their responsibilities the tree will languish and die. While one partner alone may be able to carry most of the burden for some time, the tree will suffer the absence of the partner nonetheless and the partner will tire. Until in exhaustion, the basics needs for flourishing are reduced to merely surviving, and then even those needs can no longer be maintained and soon the death of the relationship occurs.

This care is a partnership, especially in that God in his wondrous creativity made Man and Woman different to better tend each to each other – and therefore their love. One must be mindful to recognize those signs of neglect such as emotional distance, aversion to physical contact, sleeping apart, anger, apathy, obliviousness, and silence. When you recognize any of those signs then your love may be lacking an ingredient necessary for it to flourish or it may be being attacked by environmental factors from outside your marriage. It then becomes your job to ascertain which, and take steps to bring things into balance whether you are the husband or the wife.

There are key nutrients that only one or the other of you can provide and it is only by working together that love can be sustained. This effort can be made harder or easier by factors outside your relationship such as work, friends, the television, the internet, the smartphone, in-laws, hobbies, and unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. Inside the marriage you have children, physical distance, emotional distance, loneliness, stress, and most of all – a need for time to just be together alone. All of these things can poison your love just as surely as chopping it down if you let them. Remember what is important, your vow to your spouse supersedes any obligations save those to God himself. For those who are horrified at this thought, remember that to unless your relationship is healthy – your ability to care for any children born of your marriage is seriously impaired. If you allow your children to come between you and your spouse and the marriage is damaged – they suffer the harm with both of you. The same applies to your job, your friends, your phone, your computer, your hobbies, or any other impediment to you being able to fulfill your obligations to your spouse be they physical, spiritual, or emotional.

Speaking of spiritual, I’ve often heard people suggest a couple should pray together. About this I have two things to say. The first is that they are absolutely right, and I deeply regret not taking this one aspect of our development together more seriously earlier, or more often. The second being that it does not need to be done in any specific form or manner – meaning that if she says a rosary before bed while I pray in silent meditation while we touch in some manner, I have discovered it can be a very profound spiritual experience. It can be as simple as saying your bedtime prayer invoking the intercession of your guardian angel to watch over you while you sleep, or reciting the Our Father while holding hands or each other. The adventurous may take a queue and recite Tobias’s prayer from Tobit (8:5-8:8). I’ll even quote from the King James to confound all my protestant friends who can’t find it in their bibles, as it was removed later.

8:5 Then began Tobias to say, Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers, and blessed is thy holy and glorious name for ever; let the heavens bless thee, and all thy creatures.

8:6 Thou madest Adam, and gavest him Eve his wife for an helper and stay: of them came mankind: thou hast said, It is not good that man should be alone; let us make unto him an aid like unto himself.

8:7 And now, O Lord, I take not this my sister for lust but uprightly: therefore mercifully ordain that we may become aged together.

8:8 And she said with him, Amen.

Tobit very much influenced my impressions of marriage when I was young and I most remembered the passage in Tobit (6:17) which convinced me that people are sometimes appointed for each other by God and that I had but to have the courage to listen and act when the spirit told me I had found the one appointed to me.

“…fear not, for she is appointed unto thee from the beginning; and thou shalt preserve her, and she shall go with thee. Moreover I suppose that she shall bear thee children. Now when Tobias had heard these things, he loved her, and his heart was effectually joined to her.”

There is a third thing, one I’m not proud of or eager to say. I myself have made this mistake of ignoring this aspect of my own relationship far longer then I should have. Praying together is nothing more then coming together in communion with God. Don’t let your pride or self-consciousness prevent you from benefitting from this activity at least on occasion – if you can’t set those things aside and be yourself when you’re with your spouse and worry about the potential embarrassment of being spiritually naked, then you have enough to work on to keep you busy for some time. I have made that mistake, and I can assure you that when you die the last thing you want to do is regret all of those things you did not do, especially those that you knew you should have done. For it is not the things we did that torture us the most once we leave this life, but those we failed to do.

You may find the prayer from Tobias’ wedding night said quietly to be just the thing to remind you that marriage is a sacred sacrament ordained by God, by which we are also quell the lust enough to allow the spiritual and emotional bonds the room and opportunity they need to bloom and bear fruit. There is a deeply spiritual and emotional connection forged through marital intimacy where lust is extinguished and from its ashes an effective joining of two persons in body and spirit occurs – and it is in this joining that we feel truly fulfilled. All too often people flit like insects from partner to partner – like a roach from crumb to crumb, never satisfied, never full, always searching, ever hungry. Be mindful of Tobias’ prayer, cling to your spouse and take each other not only of desire satisfy a base instinct – but specifically join yourselves to renew and feed that bond, that it should grow and live forever, never suffering death. Not for either to abuse or unnecessarily deny the other, but to come together in a holy sacrament and renew the spiritual and emotional ties that bind your hearts together. It is through that binding love that you will also gain a glimmer of the awe and majesty of God’s love as well.

That said, lets be real too. Until our base appetites are satisfied we really don’t have a realistic hope of experiencing something which will be spiritually moving for more than about 30 seconds – and what we experience then will be a transient illusion, fading almost as quickly as it came. However, once the lust has passed there remains a longing to stay close and protect. An instinct that presents itself with those we love and not with those we use, takes over. It is in that closeness afterwards that we can truly bond physically and emotionally in a meaningful and lasting way.

To truly feel this, one cannot be filled with lust, or hate or rage; nor can one be selfish. It must be freely given from oneself without coercion or reservation, and received in the same manner by both parties. It is in those rare moments when we come together in true intimacy and a desire to be together with our love for each other that our love can blossom and root itself more deeply into our hearts. For us men, we suffer the most from biological needs and urges which can cloud or prevent this experience. However, we are in general not incapable of functioning after the initial physical need is satiated. Take one such moment and use it to give your wife the gift of true intimacy – where you join with her out of love and a deep longing for your physically separated hearts to be combined into a single whole as God has designed. Not because you are driven by hormones or biological imperatives, but because it is in the giving of ourselves altruistically when we give the most meaningfully of ourselves and receive the most unexpected and amazing gifts in return.

One can only hope that by experiencing this indescribable feeling for yourself and sharing you experience with others that it will spread throughout the country and then the world, changing totally the way we look at our wives, love, and marriage forever – and for the better.

Sincerely,

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

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

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