by Libby DuPont
Matrimony is a vocation, which means that for married people, it is our path to holiness.
Jesus is present to us in the person of our spouse, so whatever we do (or fail to do) for our husband or wife, we do in a special way for Jesus. Our sacrament is supposed to be a sign to the rest of the church of how much Jesus loves us all. (No pressure, right?)
How I treat my spouse is central to my growing in holiness, but it’s often the last thing I think of when preparing for the sacrament of reconciliation.
This week, as we celebrate both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day, I invite you to join me in an examination of conscience for married couples. While this is in no way exhaustive, may it help us to grow in love for Jesus, in and through our marriages.
• Do I give my spouse the benefit of the doubt, or am I always keeping score?
• Do I speak words of love and encouragement to my spouse? How much criticism does he/she hear from my lips?
• Do I speak positively about my spouse to others, or do I “vent” to friends about his/her faults? Are we a united front with the kids?
• Do I listen to my spouse with an open mind and heart, or am I dismissive of his/her thoughts and feelings, assuming I already know what he/she will tell me? Do I trust my spouse enough to share with him/her what is happening in my mind and heart?
• Am I quick to admit when I’m wrong, seeking to reconcile quickly, or do I let things fester? Do I always wait for my spouse to apologize first?
• In what ways do I take my spouse for granted? What things does he/she do (such as earning money, caring for kids, taking care of the home or yard, scheduling activities, paying bills, etc.) that I fail to help with or even show gratitude for?
• Am I controlling about how certain things are done in the home (how a certain chore must be done, what we eat, what the kids wear, etc.)? Does this communicate to my spouse that he/she is not good enough?
• Do I pray for and with my spouse?
• Do I freely offer physical affection to my spouse as an outward sign of my love?
• Am I generous in spending time with my spouse, or do my hobbies and projects come first?
• Do I invest time and effort into learning how to better love my spouse, or do I settle for just getting along?
Find a marriage enrichment near you this Lent. Go online to: Marriage Enrichment — Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas (archkck.org).