Tag Archives: unhappiness

The Sorrow of Ashley Madison and How to Fix It

19 Aug

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

Miscarriage – and What She is going through…

7 Aug

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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

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

Important Thoughts about Things…

24 Mar

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Yes things, material things. This means money, cars, boats, houses, furniture, art, electronics, etc…

Right up front, I myself am guilty of this. More so that I wanted to admit to myself, and it is very hard thing to eliminate from ones life. The nature of our society makes some materialism both inevitable and necessary. The important thing is to keep it in perspective and to keep your priorities straight. There is no evil inherent in becoming fiscally wealthy through industriousness nor in being fiscally poor inspite of industriousness. All of us must provide for our families to the best of abilities and according to our needs. What we must do to keep our perspective and priorities straight is not to allow wealth to be defined by material things. Love is wealth, Faith is wealth, and children are our greatest wealth. For in the end – how do your accomplishments profit you if you have no family of your own to share them with. What profit is there in acquiring those material things if your wife and children become part of the price you must pay – it would seem a hollow victory to me. I did learn one thing for myself – my happiness is not to be found in material things, but rather in true love both given and received.

In truth, my greatest wealth is in the love of my God, my wife, and my children. My greatest accomplishment is the title of Husband she bestowed on me, and the children she blessed us both with. Everything else pales to mere shadows in comparison. It can be a humbling thing when your whole life comes into perspective and you realize what really is important to you, I pray that you will not be at death’s door when you receive this revelation.

Do you judge the success or quality of your marriage by the material possessions it accumulates or the position it gains you? Then why would you judge your own success by that measure?

Have you stopped to consider how little in this life is truly important. Your body will die – none of us is immune, everything dies. It is a natural (if uncomfortable to talk about) part of our lives. After you are dead – what will you leave behind? Memories and an epitaph on a tombstone.

What do you want your tombstone to say? “Successful <Insert your Occupation or Profession Here>” or “loving husband and father”.

What memories will you leave behind? Will they be memories of  a man that the widow and her children hardly saw because he was always working or travelling in order to be “Successful”. Will you children have more memories of nannies and alternative caregivers than you? What will they remember about you?

Being hardworking and industrious is always a good thing – but as is necessary to provide for your family. At some point it becomes greed and vanity. You begin to amass wealth in large quantities, purchase things you don’t need or even want just to make an impression on others. Often people sacrifice the one treasure permitted you on earth that can survive your death – Children. A precious Gift from God that assures even the non-believer a modicum of immortality in knowing that part of them remains alive in each of their children. We are convinced to sacrifice that joy and certitude for hollow material things that will crumble to dust or disuse in mere years. Our wives are often convinced by society that their natural purpose for which they alone are biologically equipped (birthing and nursing our children) is a waste of their time and talents. Ask yourself if your wife would prefer “Devoted Wife and Mother” instead of “#1 Accountant 1982-1995” on her tombstone.

While I have you thinking about this – ask yourself which is more important to you, a sacramental marriage and children or a successful career. If you chose the career then you have my most earnest prayers. A sacramental marriage requires that you put your wife before yourself in all things – this is a beautiful and noble thing even when done by just one of you, and wonderful beyond all description when it is returned in kind. Children are a gift to each of you from the other, representing the physical embodiment of that sacramental love – they are an investment in the future of all humanity. To a child – an afternoon at the park with their father is worth more than all the tea in China.

If you think you are wealthy, ask yourself who will truly mourn your passing? Were you ever truly loved even once in your life and did your bind that love in the Sacrament of Matrimony or let it go in order to finish and education or pursue other things? Did you ever have twinges of regret wondering what could have been? Imagine how unimportant so many of the things we commonly hold dear will be to you at the moment of death. Remember that when you leave this life, you can only take memories and regrets. What harm is there in trying to make a few happy memories -and potentially resolve some regrets ahead of time, after all one can never know the day or the hour when death will come.

Ask yourself one final question – Why am I here? If you can’t say that God put you on this Earth to dominate other men, to acquire fleeting material wealth then you might also want to consider some thoughtful prayers requesting guidance from God on the direction of your life.

I will be praying for everyone who is discerning their purpose and direction in life this Lenten season. If you have your priorities in order and are happy and at peace then please join me in prayer for others.

Colin

A thought for the day on marriage….

23 Mar

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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

 

 

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

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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

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

The Indissolubility of Marriage

3 Dec

conjoined ringsGiven the recent state of the Media and some very suspicious statements from an unidentified Vatican Representative also in the news have led to the wildest of speculation bringing joyful adulation from the progressives and furtive searches for the nearest SSPX parish by faithful “Traddies”. Saying something will be discussed in a Synod is not in any proof that heresy will occur. It is both right and good for the Catholic Church to look for ways to reconcile them or ease the suffering of these divorced and remarried Catholics who have trapped themselves in grave mortal sin while respecting Doctrine and the Sacraments. Nothing has been said thus far which indicates any other purpose to the Synods’s deliberations. In fact the Vatican has already clearly reaffirmed that permitting Divorce is not on the table.

The Indissolubility of Marriage is an Infallible Catholic TeachingBTAR  – Navy Radioman lingo for “Break Text, End Transmission, No Response Required” commonly used by crotchety Chiefs and Petty Officers to quiet the protests of mewling Seamen. It is not up for debate, nor can the Pope change this teaching or attempt to without becoming the first Pope in History to teach Heresy.

Here is the basis for that infallibility –

“Matrimony was not instituted or re-established by men but by God; not men, but God, the Author of nature and Christ our Lord, the restorer of nature, provided marriage with its laws, confirmed it and elevated it; and consequently those laws can in no way be subject to human wills or to any contrary pact made even by the contracting parties themselves.  This is the teaching of Sacred Scripture (Gen. I, 27-28); it is the solemnly defined doctrine of the Council of Trent, which uses the words of Holy Scripture to proclaim and establish that the perpetual indissolubility of the marriage bond, its unity and its stability, derive from God Himself (Council of Trent, Sess. XXIV).”  (Pius XI: Encycl. Casti Connubii, 31 Dec. 1930, M. 267.)

Or we could fall back on the words of Jesus Himself, don’t worry it does not take a rocket scientist to understand this, it’s quite simple and clear –

Luke 16:17-18

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fall.

18 Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.

Next, we can discuss about how it is also Infallible Church Doctrine that one must be free of mortal sin in order to receive communion. This poses a serious problem for divorcees who have remarried as they are Adulterers in God’s eyes regardless of society’s permissive attitudes. This means that they are always in a state of GRAVE MORTAL SIN and therefore ineligible for communion. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is abused if the recipient does not truly intend to cease the sin and sin no further – so unless the adulterer discards his false spouse and reconciles with his rightful one or discards his false spouse and lives chastely, there is no valid way to just give them absolution before each mass. Abuse of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is again in itself a GRAVE MORTAL SIN – which would once again prevent participation in the Sacrament of Communion.

There is some hope, as the Catholic Church will grant an Annulment if the marriage can be proven invalid. This is easier said than done, as many will attest. It is a long and painful process designed to heal hearts and restore the spirit. You might think of it like physical therapy for the soul, it hurts – but it is not done to hurt you but to help you. The problem with this approach is that people who have grounds for an annulment usually already have them, those who have no legitimate grounds simply waste their money and the Church’s time needlessly.

Why is this a big deal, you ask? Because, many people end up divorced through no fault of their own, and even over their explicit objection. While the spouse who left goes on to marry their paramour, to keep in communion with the Church and it’s Sacraments they must remain Chaste. They deserve our compassion, our love, our caring, and our community to rally around them. The errant spouse also deserves compassion and love, but never acceptance of their adulterous relationship.

While some might argue that this is an issue of Justice for the aggrieved spouse who must remain single but can still receive the sacraments. A greater injustice is perpetrated by forcing them to sit in Church next to their adulterous spouse and their false spouse/adulterer while they too receive the sacraments in a state of grave mortal sin. It would serve as a tacit endorsement by the Church of Divorce in contradiction of Infallible Doctrine (Heresy). Such a thing demeans The Church, The Sacrament of Marriage, and the Sacrament of Communion, and the Papacy. What does it say to the children in the congregation? What does it say to the other married couples – especially those going through a trying time in their marriage but determined to make it work because their faith requires it of them? In fact, the Church of England was formed over the Church’s refusal to grant a divorce to King Henry VIII – many were martyred for their faith in this infallible teaching at that time. Such an action would be spittle in the eyes of those martyrs. The persecution of Catholics in the UK over the split caused by upholding this doctrine remains to this day, one only needs to think of Ireland or the fact that Tony Blair did not convert until he was out of office because a Catholic cannot be prime minister in the UK.

So what does the Church already do? Those adulterers are always welcome in Church. They may receive a blessing from the priest in lieu of communion. They may sit in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and they may be counseled by a priest about how best to remedy their situation – often one which becomes even more heartbreaking when children are involved. They may receive assistance in filing for an annulment if there are bonafide grounds for such. The Church did not create their sin, they did – and only they can reconcile it with God and the Church. These rules of the faith are so basic and fundamental that even children know them. The Church is eternal and not progressive, God does not change his mind.

The fact is that any solution has to be grounded in doctrine, and not opposed to it. Doctrinally, there can be no Communion for remarried divorcees, nor any other soul with unreconciled mortal sin. As Catholics, we take our Sacraments very seriously because we experience their power in our daily lives. The fact that these people feel the heartbreaking suffering because they have distanced themselves from God by their sin and further still by knowing he is but a decision away. The solution is that a decision must be made, one cannot have their faith and subvert it too. Each person must decide whether or not God is more important than whatever they think their adulterous marriage has gained them and make a choice. It is a basic choice between good and evil – and then they must make penance and reparation as is possible to their spouse and the heart rending suffering they have caused them through their actions. Even if reconciliation is no longer an option.

What we can do as Catholics is to keep all such Catholics, trapped in a living Hell of their own making, in our prayers. Most especially the children and spouses whom have been dragged innocently into this hell with them. I would also pray for the Synod that they can find some way within the confines of Cannon Law to improve the spiritual lives of the afflicted individuals and help them to bring them into full communion. May God grant them the strength and faith to do what is right.

Sincerely,

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

“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

Pregnancy, Change, Marriage

10 Aug

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colin

Mine vs. Ours

28 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.

What does marriage mean? What is it’s purpose? I have always loved the wedding vows from the episcopal book of prayer in the 1600’s (before their divergence from the Catholic Church reached the current level). They read something like this:

With this ring, I thee wed.
With my body, I thee worship.
And with all my worldly goods, I thee endow.

The words touch something deeply inside me about the nature of marriage, which many have forgotten. Marriage not a business partnership, about the money or things, nor about protecting oneself. If you do then you will never have a spiritual partnership, and whatever flame there was between you will slowly starve for lack of ability to be fed afresh from your combined hearts. This is because you are holding back and placing something else before your wife.

If you want to truly be one, you must treat and do for her as if she were yourself. You must do more than that actually–treat and love her as God loves you.

Trust always begins with one party lowering their defenses to show their sincerity to the other. As the husband, that responsibility falls to you.

Examine your life together.  Are you truly one or are you separated?  One of the surest signs is separated finances and property. If you weren’t prepared to trust unconditionally when you got married, then you should not have done so. Now the vow is made, and if you are to have any hope of the relationship intended for you, you will have to examine your situation and make changes accordingly. Likely this will be difficult, but most worthwhile things are.

There are very good reasons the Catholic Church will not marry a couple with a pre-nuptial agreement in place. Don’t presume that anything you own will ever compare to the joy you can feel when the barriers between you are removed. Pool your resources, and work together to make sound decisions for your future. Don’t let something as petty as money or material possessions drive a wedge between you. If you do, you will always regret what could have been. The regret of knowing you could have done something to change things but did not.

If you need to, think of it like a bet. If you venture little you limit your losses, but you also limit your potential gains. In marriage, the bet is an “All In” proposition. You put everything on the table and bet it all, with nothing in reserve. Too often now I hear from couples ho have separated finances and ask hard questions about why there seems to be a emotional gap between them. They fight over money, but worse, they worry about different things. In essence, they no longer share the same concerns at the local level. This leaves a couple disconnected from each other both materially and emotionally, especially when your are busy keeping score with who pays for what or contributes too little.  Most of the time these couples consider themselves enlightened, a new vanguard in the development of marriage, and a step in the right direction. They arrogantly assume that in all of history such arrangements have never been tried before and, therefore, have never been disproven as a a viable solution. No matter how forward thinking or enlightened you may tell yourself you are, the truth is that all of it is a massive self-justification you are using to try to convince yourself that your selfish impulses are fully compatible with a loving marriage. Most people want so very much to believe this that any truth or reason simply falls by the wayside along the way, and is replaced by wishful thinking and new-age philosophy. It’s almost like a fulfillment of the promise of the apple as made by the serpent, and  such knowledge without the moral compass to guide us quickly steers us into the abyss.

Of all the pernicious evils which creep into the marital relationship, selfishness is the most virulent. This is the one evil that affects every aspect our marriages and poisons them from the inside by creating strife and discontent in every conceivable facet. Whether it be in household choses, finances, work outside the home, or our bedrooms, selfishness alone can destroy the bonds between us. To be perfectly honest, once it has infected any one area, the next place it manifests is in our level of intimacy where each subsequent infection chews away at the bonds that bind us together and drives external wedges into the gaps it creates between us, hammering away until the bonds are broken and in tatters. How often have you realized that whatever you are angry about has suddenly manifested itself in your bedroom in the mood or actions of one partner or the other? Has your blood ever run cold, because you realized deep down what the cause was?  Perhaps you told yourself it was something else, because you wanted to cling to your “enlightened” notions. Of course, once the effect is in your bedroom the only real fix is to cast away all trappings of the situation which allowed it in, but once again we are too selfish to allow for that. We have this awful tendency to cling to our failed notions and try to retool them so that we don’t have to admit we were wrong rather than abandon them completely. In doing so, we give this evil the time and room to operate that it needs to destroy us and our marriages from within.

Guard against selfishness in your marriage. Ensure that your “self-interest” is realigned to whatever is best for your wife and not yourself. The only way to defeat this beast is to make her the focus of your efforts at self-preservation. This also goes for her as well–she must make the same effort. It will come much more easily and naturally to her when she sees the example not just in your actions, but in the unspoken speech reflected in your eyes and body language. The  sense of security and surety that such actions will foster in her can be overwhelming  and the end result for your marriage can be nothing short of miraculous – even if the miracle unfolds over time instead of appearing suddenly. You should be prepared for this to be the case and prepared to stay the course regardless of apparent immediate results. What you will have for your efforts is a complete lack of regret for both your actions and your motivations. You will have a clean conscience, and know that no matter what the outcome you have done everything possible to crush the serpent winding it’s way between you and in doing so also crushed any regrets and remorse, or self-recrimination you might have otherwise been liable to endure. Every time, and I mean every single time – I have put myself first in my marriage I have come to regret it. No matter how rational the decision seemed at the time, the end result was never justified, and I never felt like I had done the right thing, especially in hindsight. I hope that others can learn from my mistakes, rather than having to make them themselves. At the very least, I hope I can shorten the learning cycle down so that they come to the truth much faster and less painfully than I did. There is always time to make a change for the better, and never a better time than the present to do so.

Very few get a second chance to address such regrets. As one who has, I can assure you that there is no regret in failure that compares to the regret of not having taken the risk at all. Do not saddle your soul with regret, it is one of the few things you do take with you when you leave this life.

As always, please feel free to share your thoughts or stories in the comments section, as always I appreciate your feedback and comments, tweets, likes, and reposts. You can email me at cc70458@gmail.com if you’d like to pass anything on.

Sex, Intimacy, and NFP

16 Jan

I’m well aware this is a topic nobody really wants to talk about. We would be happier to just pretend it didn’t exist and go on our merry way. None of this changes the fact that I feel compelled to write about it today, and it’s a post that I have been stewing over for some time now. You’re probably telling yourself this doesn’t apply to you or your marriage, or that you and your wife have a mutual understanding. The hard truth is  what you really might have is a mutual desire to avoid a deeply emotional subject which could potentially ignite a conflict if even mentioned. If after you read my story you find yourself feeling differently, consider letting your wife know that you’ve been reconsidering any prior decision on artificial birth control. This opens the door for a conversation if she senses you are sincere and would like the opportunity to revise the way things are. Heck, you might even let her read this just to get her reaction.

If there was a single word that could garner immediate interest and make your blood boil “SEX” would be it, whether with anger, fear, indignation, trepidation, anticipation, or some variety of other powerful and inflammatory emotions.  I think that’s why it has such a potent effect on our relationships with our spouses. On one side it is a driving biological imperative and at the same time an emotional one. Sex is a wondrous construct, with the power to do far more than provide pleasure .  It is also a conduit to intimacy, and when in the right context with the right person, a deeply bonding experience.

This was something I missed for the longest time. I think everyone notices that sex changes everything in a relationship. This is especially true in a marriage. I may find myself on a cracked and skinny limb here, but after over 20 years of marriage I discovered  a few things – some of them far more recently than I should have and this is one of them.

During my wife’s conversion to Catholicism she decided she needed to talk to me. It was obviously important to her; as she let me know in advance and very carefully selected a time and place to drop the bombshell. “I want to talk to you about stopping the artificial birth control”, she said. You could have knocked me over with a feather. If you’d asked me, I would have said everything was great! We had two children and were thinking maybe of having some more, but not that instant. I was taken aback. This would change everything, and change it far more than I realized at the time. It seems she had already talked to the priest about it and read up on what the Catechism had to say on the matter. It wasn’t an ultimatum, and she made it clear that she would not go forward without my agreement to do it. She wanted my consent and for me to take a little time to honestly evaluate the situation in order to give it.

That made things hard– no confrontation, no defiance, no excuse to react in any other way than to agree to look at it and give it some real thought. You might think I would have brushed it off, but I didn’t. Actually, it ate at me and gnawed continuously on my conscience. She provided me the sections of the Catechism relevant to the subject as well as Humane Vitae and some other materials on NFP. I stuck to the actual church materials and avoided other peoples interpretations of them. To this end, I actually read several of the sermons that comprised “Theology of the Body”. In the end I stewed and fretted, not just about the moral implications, but also about how it was going to affect me. Selfishness reared its ugly head early on and guided my “gut” reaction to help ensure the outcome it favored. One of the most important steps we took was to take a class on NFP. I only thought I understood a woman’s body and her natural cycles and rhythms. What I discovered was that I knew more about the inner workings of a nuclear reactor than I did about the inner workings of a woman. We went through the class and spent a few months tracking her cycle. It was something we did together, and it was actually both intimate and interesting. By the end of second month I started to realize just how much I hadn’t understood.

In the end I wholeheartedly agreed, without reservation, to end the artificial contraception for many reasons,  including the following:

I was not willing ask another person to commit mortal sin with me or for me, so that I could enjoy marital relations without reproductive implications. It was not worth the increased cancer risks and other assorted health implications, including decreased libido and increased stroke risk, for my wife to take those pills. When I thought about it objectively, what I was doing was putting my wife’s health at risk so that I could have my way with her without fear of impregnation. Essentially, the pill turned her from a human partner into a receptacle for my sexual angst, whether or not that was ever my intention. What’s worse, I had learned that most pills are abortive. Many work by causing a spontaneous abortion or failed implantation when the prevention of ovulation fails. A condom makes an even bigger statement. Then there is a very tangible physical barrier between us which has a direct bearing on intimacy. To be honest, I heard artificial birth control in general saying something to my spouse – it said, “I want to have sex, but I don’t want any entanglements to ensue”.  The truth is that marriage is all about entanglement, in all aspects of our being.

I had always hoped for a son one day, and one day after my wife passed a clot  during her period, I went to look at the carefully wrapped bloody pad in the wastebasket. It dawned on me with a sudden clarity that the son I had so long desired might be that very clot now laid to rest in a tidy package at the bottom of the trash can. That moment my mind was made up, and I agreed.

The part of this whole discourse that is important however, is that it caused me to totally change the way I viewed and treated my wife and our sexual relationship. I would have been aghast and defensive if you had suggested to me that I had been selfish or that my motives or actions were less than honorable. However, that feeling does not stand the test of scrutiny from several years forward in time. While parts it of manifest themselves immediately, the change was not instantaneous – but no lasting change usually is. The truth is that things only got better from there, and we had 2 more children using NFP to achieve the conception by predicting those times most favorable for doing so. My wife felt much better in general, and thought I thought our sex life was great before – there was a spark missing which rekindled itself into a burning flame once the intimacy barrier of artificial conception was removed.

Let’s be clear that I’m not at all advocating having children until your wife’s uterus falls out, nor am I advocating against spacing the children you do have out. Just that you leave room for God to work in your life. Artificial birth control is not infallible either, and just provides a false sense of security which ends up being an excuse for the holocaust of abortion in far too many instances. I am saying that disposing of artificial birth control will change your entire perspective on sex, your spouse, and your marriage. In making this decision together, you’ll both be sending the other person a message – and don’t let that message to be “I love you, but not enough to accept the possibility that our love might create a new life who is part of both of us.”. How would you feel if your wife whispered in your ear, “I love you dear, but I abhor the thought of carrying your child”?  It would kill the mood for me too. Opening yourself to life might add a spark and excitement that has been absent far too long, and the message it sends about love and acceptance to the other person works wonders on the intimacy level which can be achieved.

As always, please feel free to share your thoughts or stories in the comments section, as always I appreciate your feedback and comments, tweets, likes, and reposts. You can email me at cc70458@gmail.com if you’d like to pass anything on.

 

Soulmates

8 Jan

Soul Mates“, the very term conjures up images of a relationship so deep and comfortable that one blissfully sinks into it without a care or thought toward any distractions to their partner or from their partner. Often these daydreams include visions of our idea of the most physically attractive partner we can imagine paired with a mind always in agreement with our own and seeking nothing for itself.

Of course, one wakes from these daydreams and distractions eventually and realizes the truth is much closer to home. For me it was my grandparents who despite their advanced years remained very much actively in love, playful with each other, very physically affectionate, and while capable of vehement disagreements they were capable of having them without anger or malice of any kind towards each other. They also regularly finished each others sentences and when queried by a third party they often responded in unison. I remember that each had the uncanny ability to predict exactly what the other would say when asked a specific question – but this never stopped them from communicating. Their interests diverged dramatically in many respects with his being favorites in things like flying, woodworking, and mechanics. Hers lay in travel, art,  and culinary exploration. Rather than their diversity being a source of derisiveness, having such divergent interests allowed them to better complement each other. They had married very young by today’s standards, and had been married for well over 50 years.

I remember one seminal moment when the doctor came to see my grandfather when he and my grandmother were both in the hospital. My grandmother had been at home, sleepless with worry (as my grandfather had had a recent bout with Lupus) and busying herself with cooking for family and watching the Travel Channel as she plotted whether or not there was yet another place she needed to see in person. She had a favorite stool at her kitchen’s island and it was old and worn. She fell asleep on the stool and suddenly fell sideways breaking her hip. She had been suffering from heart problems making it necessary for them to wait a few days for the replacement surgery and as she did her health seemed to deteriorate quickly. She too soon had caught an infection and the fever set in. The surgery never happened and she became bedridden – home care was arranged but she seemed to wilt as she realized her life would never be the same.

My grandfather aided by family watched over and cared for her – but eventually she needed in-patient care to stabilize her and she was transferred to the hospital. About the same time, and though my grandfather had been quite healthy and vigorous, a small wound on his foot had become infected, the infection reached the bone, and a partial amputation followed. Soon a systemic infection set in and this burly and powerful man was laid low by the smallest of creation’s creatures and they were in the hospital together in separate rooms on separate floors.

I was visiting him one day when the doctor came in and told him that he had finally turned the corner and if things continued he would be going home the next week. He immediately brightened up, and told the doctor how good it would be to be back at home with his wife. The doctor paused, and carefully explained that he would be going home – his wife was another matter and that he should expect that she would never go home again. Her prognosis was very grim, and with that, his dreams of being back at home with her again were dashed like a crystal vase on a tile floor. I saw it in his eyes and face. It was like the emotion drained out of him. His eyes which once sparkled and glittered now dimmed and dulled, his expression became solemn and lifeless, and he seemed smaller and suddenly weak. In addition, because of his prior infection and her weakened state he would be not be permitted to see her in person or be in the same room, much less have any form of physical contact. He nodded to the doctor, and without saying a word lay back in the bed and closed his eyes. He almost whispered, “I’m so tired, and I just can’t face going home without her…”. A tear rolled down the cheek of the one man I had never seen cry. He refused food and drink. The next night he passed away quietly and wordlessly, as if to use silence to say “there is nothing more to be said”. I never saw him alive again.

There was great consternation about whether or not to tell my grandmother what had happened.  The fever had taken her for days at a time and her lucidity came and went like a flickering porch lamp. Often when she was lucid it didn’t last long enough to impart any useful information, as she often didn’t know where or when she was. A few days after he died though, I had come in from a work trip to see her. They had warned me she was slipping away, and it had been a rush to beat the reaper so that we could say our goodbyes. I was awash in emotion and trying very hard to hold it together, but when I walked in she was alert and sitting up and talking up a storm. As soon as I walked in the door she blurted out to me “He’s dead you know. He’s gone. He left without me. Oh it’s so good to see you!”. We had a lovely conversation during which I told her about work and her great-grandchild, and got to laugh and cry together. It wasn’t to last, as the day wore on she started to fade. She knew she couldn’t go home and kept repeating “He’s gone, and I miss him so much. I just want to be with him again… even if for a short time, I forgot to tell him I’ll always love him…” throughout the evening. She asked me to hold her hand because she was scared,and Grampa wasn’t there to do it. I did, I sat by her bed and held her hand for the next few hours and the family piled into her room and the children played, the adults argued about inane trivia, and we all watched a TV game show she had been following. At some point I noticed that she no longer had a pulse. She still had my hand tightly gripped when she passed away, with wisp of a smile on her face. They died within a week of each other and Thanksgiving is always tinged with sadness at their loss and thankfulness for the mercy that they were able to not only live together but die together, so that she was not subjected to the loneliness and despair that his loss caused her any longer than was necessary.

They were soul mates. Their shining example of a harmonious marriage built on a foundation of service to each other, mutual love and affection, and an abundance of  joy made a lasting imprint on me. When she met the woman who would later become my wife, her primary concern was that she would not be fully aware of  the task of caring for a husband in the manner of the example I had been raised to expect. They both spent endless hours as I grew up imparting wisdom and instructions on how to care for your partner and maintain a happy and balanced marriage. She did the same for my fiancee, both before and after the marriage. At one point she provided my wife a recipe box containing my favorite foods to help her in caring for me as the military was about to take my new family far from home. Her only criteria for a good spouse was that they were also my best friend and that they truly love me and care for me, so that she could one day leave this world confident that I was in good hands. She abhorred divorce as the child of a broken home, and often reiterated that “we make ourselves happy.  Your husband or wife simply shares the joy you create.” It was her greatest hope that I would find my soulmate, but she also insisted that soulmates were made and not found, and that developing a marriage to that point would take more years than she would live to see. I know for a fact, that they are both very proud and happy for what we found together and then built upon over the intervening years. By growing together instead of apart through joy and adversity, we, too, have become Soulmates.

Picture of my Grandparents

My Grandparents

Please feel free to share your thoughts or stories in the comments section, as always I appreciate your feedback and comments, tweets, likes, and reposts. You can email me at cc70458@gmail.com if you’d like to pass anything on.

Whats in a Ring?

6 Jan

Hand with wedding ring clearly visible

My Wedding Band

What is your wedding ring to you? Is it simply a symbol of your marital status? Do you feel like it binds you? does it comfort you or is a source of discomfort to you? What memories or emotions does it evoke?

Since everyone will have completely different answers to all those questions (feel free to expound in the comments section), I am going to shortcut things by explaining what I have come to understand about this rather ancient symbol of marital union. Historically they were only given to the women and the tradition is documented all the way back to early Rome – and crosses almost all cultures in various forms (such as the Hindu use of Bichhiya or toe rings for an inestimable period of time) to represent that a woman was joined to a man. However, as our society has grown and evolved it has become a generally accepted tradition in much of the world to exchange rings in recognition that both husband and wife have claim on the other. In the Catholic Church, the priest blesses the rings themselves making the sacramental objects – ordained by the Holy Church, through the power of God, to bless and defend the marriage. This action takes the rings from the realms of symbolism and moves them to a very special place in our lives, our marriages, and our hearts.

I find my ring to be a great comfort, even when I was in the military and wearing it on my finger was a serious hazard to myself shipboard – it was moved to my “Dog Tags” where it was close to my heart and still on my person at all times. It serves as a reminder not only that I belong to someone, but that they belong to me and believe in me and value me enough to entrust their heart and future to my care. My ring has come to remind me of the joyful responsibility I undertook on my wedding day, and of the one person in this world who loves me more than anything or anyone else except God.

When one partner or the other removes their rings from their person, they are separating themselves from that sacred covenant. Distancing themselves from their commitment and promises, and in doing so turning away from the God who witnessed those vows. After all, if we cannot keep promises to each other – then how can we expect God to think we can keep our promises to him? If life were an ass-kicking contest then removing our wedding band is like competing after cutting off one of your legs – you have no support and both parties end up hurt and prostrate on the ground.

Did you ever think about the symbolism, each ring is free from the other yet inextricably bound – they are linked by love – a sort of quantum entanglement on a macro level (much like Einstein’s “Spooky Action at a distance”). The perfect circle symbolizing Eternity, the precious metal symbolizing the value of the bond, and the obvious placement a sign to all others that both you and your spouse are bound to each other and therefore off limits. It reminds me of the last words before we were pronounced husband and wife, “What God as joined together, let NO MAN put asunder”. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I realized that “No Man” included myself. My ring shines as a reminder to me not just of the commitment I have made, but of the commitment my wife also keeps. It reminds me that I am an integral part of another persons heart and soul, of their very existence, and that anything I do to damage that bond inevitably hurts myself, while anything I do to build or enrich it also has the same effect on me.

In the end, my wedding band is not a symbol. It is a physical manifestation of a joyful symbiotic relationship that transcends the limits of human understanding or reason. God created us for each other, not to be independent of each other. One is incomplete without the other, unstable – like a rudderless ship in heavy seas. My ring is that rudder, something I can touch to feel that connection in a physical way even when we are apart – and a reminder of the joy, contentment, and fulfillment that we continue to exchange every moment of every day – because whether in each others presence or separated by unimaginable distance, we are always together.

Please send Suggestion, reflections, questions, or comments to cc70458@gmail.com. I especially am interested in how other people view the rings on their fingers.

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

5 Jan

Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt – these are the primary weapons we wield against ourselves. Having been hurt before we build walls to keep people from getting too close. This keeps you from getting hurt. These emotions stop you from loving and being loved, and while they do limit the amount you could possibly suffer, they also limit the depth of the joy you can feel.

Just for a day open yourself up a bit, then keep going – you cannot love a woman if you don’t trust her with your heart. The truth is, you can’t really feel loved back either unless you do. As long as we leave these walls up we remain separate. You cannot truly bond without exposing the hearts to be bonded. And once bonded, you cannot be separated without serious damage. However, the joy and contentment that you can share once bonded at the heart knows no boundaries in this life or the next.

Don’t shove her away because of your insecurity. Pull her closer for comfort and pray that The Lord watch over and protect your union, so that you might serve as an example to others of what is possible. In a world as dark as ours, even a single candle can give off a blinding light to help everyone find their way. Once you experience true love, you will find yourself unable to pry yourself away from it – and more importantly, you will never want to.

Consider that if you cannot love your own wife, how can you ever love God? What is lost to you when you fail to love is far more terrifying than any potential harm that may come to you from opening yourself up to her.

I sincerely pray that I might touch just one person’s heart, change one life, one marriage for the better. Because I know both how insignificant we are in this universe so vast that our small brains cannot comprehend its breadth and girth, and I also know how important each of us is to He that created us. He very literally sustains our immortal existence through his love alone. So important is love that If God should ever cease to love us, we would cease to exist. The same is true of our marriage if we should ever cease to love – it will cease to be as well.

Please send questions, remarks, comments, and criticism to cc70458@gmail.com

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