Downpayment Against Divorce

By: Thomas O’Neill

How much would you spend to have better communication with your spouse? A few dollars? Maybe a hundred? A coworker of mine once noted that we are often willing to spend thousands of dollars on a vacation, but are hesitant to spend even a small amount of money on improving our relationship with God and with our spouse. Yet, when marriage counselors talk about what makes marriage work, they never tire of banging the same drum — communication, communication, communication. Similarly, when priests counsel us on how to improve our spiritual lives, we hear — pray, pray, pray. Communication is everything.

In a humorous story about this, a wonderful couple I know talked about doing chores together. The husband was putting away the dishes one evening, happily viewing it as a service to his lovely wife.

“Stop!” she said, all of a sudden. “Stop putting the dishes away!”

“Why?” he asked, perplexed.

“I thought you would be happy I was helping out!”

“No, because you hide them all away in the wrong places, and I have to spend double the time just to find the dish I need!”

What sounds like two newlyweds learning the ropes of living together is actually a couple has been married for more than 30 years!

This image of an evening Easter egg hunt searching for dishes is amusing. But it is helpful to note that Retrouvaille – a ministry for troubled marriages looking to improve – makes much the same point. Some of the most poignant exercises during a Retrouvaille weekend ask each spouse to simply write out all of his or her thoughts and feelings, good and bad. When the other spouse reads those secret sentiments, now laid bare, they are often shocked to discover how much they have missed in their own spouse’s life. The beginnings of a marriage “rediscovered” starts with simple communication.

Marriage Communication Workshop flyer

To that end, the Office for Family Life is sponsoring an engaging workshop on communication and prayer on Saturday, November 8 at St. John the Apostle parish in Leesburg. It will feature ever-popular speakers: Art & Laraine Bennett, co-authors of The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse; Sr. Clare Hunter, Director of the Office of Respect Life; and Rev. John Mosimann, pastor of St. John the Apostle parish. The cost is $45 before October 17 and $50 thereafter. Lunch is included. Please visit the website for more information or to register.

What will you invest in your marriage today?

One thought on “Downpayment Against Divorce

  1. As a conservative Catholic, I feel that Holy Matrimony is a profound calling and one that is most wrongly under-rated. While many vocation directors speak in glowing terms of the Clerical State and Consecrated Religious Life, I feel they spend too little effort to assert that Holy Matrimony is in no way inherently inferior to the Clerical State nor Consecrated Religious.

    Pope Francis has stated his opinion of an existence of an excessive clericalism and the false notion held by many clergy that they are more important because they preside over the Mass and other sacraments.

    Even though I’ve have made a permanent decision to remain single, my hope is that during next year’s meeting of the Bishops on the subject of family, they might be open to a new paradigm that might affirm a Sacramental Seal conferred in Holy Matrimony. Since no legitimate marriage can be dissolved because it is non-recallable, my thinking is that some sort of possible not yet recognized Sacramental Seal is possible as the marriage counterpart to the Clerical Sacramental Seal.

    I’ve come across some Catholic Clergy that seem disturbed, irked, or angered by raw red-blooded masculinity and this cannot any longer be the case. They are turning away or turning off lots of real men from interest in pursuing the Clerical State and/or Holy Matrimony.

    The only way Holy Matrimony is going to have a uniquely special status and esteem among folks is if we emphasize the greatness of this sacrament. With all of the one night stands, shack-ups, gay and lesbian unions being seen as more hip or cooler than Marital commitment, Holy Matrimony as a sacrament is in for some serious trouble. I aim to extol the virtues of Holy Matrimony and Human Sexuality instead of relegating these facets of human existence to a secondary status.

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