Being together when you’re apart

Matt and Mindy Dalton

This is a common scenario we see in our marriage coaching: the husband travels each week for his job while the wife is responsible for working her part-time job and being the taxi shuttle for their children all week alone, making that extra effort to organize the schedule for the week. The wife with the “extra duties” may start feeling resentful for the extra-busy week while her husband gets to enjoy a week out of town.

Let’s focus on how much effort the husband makes in providing for his family. He realizes it is difficult for his wife while he is gone but also wants to get ahead in his company. He could strictly focus on his job for the week, but instead makes an effort to have a date night planned when he gets back. He calls to pray with his wife at the end of each evening and took some time to leave little notes around the house for her before he left on the business trip.

The wife could quickly become self-absorbed, only taking a look at all she has to accomplish the week her husband is away. Imagine if she were to focus completely on her husband with periodic text messages and phone calls at night to thank him for working so hard for their family, to ask him how his week is going and if there is anything he needs while he is away.

If her week is spent complaining to him, telling him how exhausted she is due to the extra work, he may not look as forward to walking in Friday evening when he arrives back in town.  On the other hand, if he has received numerous (daily) positive, encouraging, loving and supportive communication all week, he is longing to be home with his wife and kids. And if he has made that extra effort “to be” with his wife while he was out of town, she will find her week wasn’t too bad after all.

If our marriages are to be a sign to the world of God’s eternal exchange of life and love, and there is an enemy who wants to bring division and wants nothing more than to see our children ripped apart from their parents, then where is the enemy going to attack?  He is going to attack our families. We need to know who we are fighting. With wounded hearts, disappointments, lack of charity in our words, rolling of our eyes and the silent treatment, we begin to see our spouse as our enemy.

Prayer is the answer to fighting the battle in our homes, the battle in our marriages, and the battle in our families! We need to keep in mind that it is not our spouse that is the enemy, the one we should be fighting against. We should be armed and prepared to battle the enemy who wants to destroy.

Let’s commit to carving out time each and every day—15 minutes to 30 minutes, alone—in silence with God to converse with him about our lives, about our spouse, about our families. Beg for His grace and mercy to love as He loves.

When was the last time you asked yourself, and were honest with yourself, about how often you truly pray for your spouse?  But not prayers like “Please, God, change my husband,” or “Lord, make my wife see her shortcomings.”  Rather prayer lifting up your spouse such as, “Heavenly Father, I ask for you to bless my spouse today and help me to be a courageous witness of your love. Help me to be a servant spouse and to focus on my spouse’s gifts. I want to serve as you serve, Lord.”

 

COMING UP: ‘Do you love me?’: This question central to newly ordained’s priesthood, Archbishop says

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During his homily at the May 19 priest ordination, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila told the five new priests that Jesus is asking them again: “Do you love me?” The archbishop referred to the Gospel in which the risen Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him, as a reparation for the three times he denied it before being crucified.

The ordination took place at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver. The five new priests are Fathers Angel Perez-Brown, Roberto Rodríguez, and Tomislav Tomic, who all received their formation at Redemptoris Missionary Mater in Denver, and Fathers Darrick Leier and Shannon Thurman, who studied at St. John XXIII seminary in Boston. This seminary provides training to those seminarians who discover their vocation at an advanced age. Curiously, none of the new priests come from the Saint John Vianney seminary, and the average age of the five men ordained is 41 years.

Heart formation

Archbishop Aquila highlighted the importance of intellectual formation and indicated that it should go hand in hand with “the formation of the heart and the spiritual formation” and urged them to follow in the example of Saint John Vianney who, though lacking in great intellectual gifts, was a “humble man” and whose only wish was “the salvation of souls.”

From left to right: Father Darrick Leier, Father Tomislav Tomic, Father Angel Perez-Lopez, Father Shannon Thurman, Father Roberto Rodriguez. (Photo by Andrew Wright)

“The heart of every priest must be the love of Jesus Christ,” he said to them.

Archbishop Aquila also exhorted them, paraphrasing Pope Francis, to “go into the peripheries of the world […] of the lives of so many who have abandoned Jesus Christ, who do not know the good news. Even among families and friends there are those in the peripheries who still don’t know Jesus Christ”.

Later, he reminded them that their ministry does not consist in announcing themselves: “we are called to serve Jesus and to serve the Church to lay down our lives as Jesus has laid down his life, and to go wherever we are called to serve Christ.” He also pointed out that the image of Jesus, the good shepherd, “must be your model and is the model for the priesthood.”

The new priests lie prostrate before the altar during their ordination ceremony on May 19. (Photo by Andrew Wright)

And as a model of love and perseverance, the archbishop invited them to look at those couples who have been married for 50 or 60 years and compared their love to “the same type of love that would enable you to feed the lambs, tend the sheep, and serve as Christ served,” he said. He told them that every time they’ll celebrate Mass “is the same sacrifice that Christ offers on the cross”, and there is where “the joy of the Gospel” is found.

Hundreds of faithful congregated in the Cathedral to witness these ordinations. The cultural diversity present was a sign of the universality of the Church. There was a large delegation from Santo Domingo and several from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as hundreds of local people who accompanied these five new priests. Archbishop asked from them, once again quoting Pope Francis, that they be shepherds “to smell like the sheep,” so they can “accompany them, shearing with them, going out with them and always using Jesus as your model.”

Featured image by Anya Semenoff