The following is my continuing review of the above book that I am doing in weekly increments on Mondays. To follow along, you may want to begin with the First Chapter review here.
This week's focus:
The Garage: A Husband In The Picture
What better time to reflect upon your marriage and your relationship with your husband, then during Lent? I think this chapter comes at a good time, especially as my husband and I work harder toward accomplishing more prayer time as a couple. This chapter really focuses a lot on the husband and wife relationship and that we have been growing together each day and that we actually become a reflection of "God's love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church his bride" (Familiaris Consortio, 17).
At times, this is difficult, is it not? Goodness, we are different beings! How intricate and beautiful both male and female are, but we come together as one in Christ therefore it should all be easy and glorious every day, right? It just does not always happen that way. Although we are united as one, we are sure to be very different from one another. A man's brain at rest is most ready to achieve instant activity or to physically respond to stimulus. A woman's basal resting state is more attuned to differences in expression and communication. This makes sense in a way that the male is the father and husband who falls into the 'protector' role and ready to serve and physically take care of his family. A mother becomes the 'nurturer' and provides the care of the home and family. It's amazing how us mothers become the 'dispensers' in our families in order to care for them: of the band aids, kisses, hugs, crayons, snacks, meals, laundry, etc. It is how we nurture them. Might I take a moment to remind you of last weeks lesson on how we need to pray that we respond with Mary-like 'sensitive-attentiveness' to the care and needs of others? (I'm still working on that one!) We need to learn how to communicate lovingly and acknowledge our differences and the fact that man and woman have their own specific gifts to bring to their marriage and family that will help alleviate some of the anxiety and confusion.
It is not always easy to live daily life with our spouse. We all know that. They are wonderful blessings, but the differences we have can sometimes be huge obstacles in our growth together as a couple. As the book indicates, we need to grow in mutual self-giving. The sacrament of their marriage unites the couple in love, responsibility, sacrifice, and service to one another. Our love needs to be one that is authentic, devoted, strong, and sacrificial. That sacrificial one can be a tough one sometimes, can't it? I can be authentic in my love and dedicated to our marriage, but sometimes when sacrifice is involved it's easy to pull out the mental tally card and start keeping track of all the things that I have to sacrifice in order to have a successful marriage. How great is my sacrifice then? How devoted is my love to my husband? Those are definitely things to ponder. It is with great sacrifice and love that Christ gave of Himself and yet how often do I balk at the sacrifices laid before me? Too often the 'easy road' looks so much more delightful! Beautifully though, through our self-giving, our marriage blossoms and grows in holiness and maturity.
Along with sacrifice, prayer is absolutely vital to our marriage. As mothers whose time is demanded by many and spread thin, do we still find time for prayer with our husbands? Too often it is set aside because we are just too busy. Prayer helps to strengthen the marriage bond and draw them closer to God. Prayer together needs to be set as a priority and is needed on a regular basis. Even if it starts as a single prayer together before bedtime. In time once a habit is formed, hopefully you will be able to extend your time of prayer together. As a Catholic married couple, we receive many graces through the sacrament. Through our prayers we are united and strengthened in our sacred marital bond. The grace we receive helps us be strengthened in our unity and be enabled to help our spouse to attain holiness. In living out our state of life faithfully, we are given graces to become holy! This is God's plan for us and our marriages. What a gift He has bestowed on us!
That's a lot to think about this week! It will be the perfect time for my husband and I to continue working on our prayer time together and establishing a better routine.
Blessings upon you and your husband as you work on deepening and strengthening your marriage and as you focus on your domestic church's garage!
Next Week: The Nursery!!