intimacy

Again

I slip in bed again

wearing the gown you picked

a Christmas ago,

what glow it gave me then.

 

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And do you, O brides, Lift up your hearts?

When I was first married, I really didn’t think about obedience and submission as being pleasing to God. I believed that the man was the head of the family on a very basic level, but I didn’t view submission as virtuous exactly. I wouldn’t have described myself as submissive either, feisty, was more like it. Strong willed and stubborn certainly. I suppose I still am those things, I’m not afraid to speak my mind, I am quite talkative with my husband and rather opinionated.  But I don’t submit because its my personality– its not. I submit because it makes sense to me.

When we were dating and during our engagement my husband really took the lead and I just reacted to his leadership; I never thought of obeying as a good.

And in marriage prep there was a lot of talk about mutual submission and deferring to one another’s wishes, compromising and seeing God through your spouse, inspiring each other (especially the woman inspiring the man) and absolutely no talk about the husband’s authority or the beauty of a wife’s obedience. 

It wasn’t until being married and realizing on a  personal level how much I needed him to take charge and how miserable I was when I took charge, that it clicked for me. Despite all the talk about mutual submission it is very simple, either the man leads or the woman. And I knew I didn’t want to lead. That is when I began to see obedience to my husband as rightly ordered and virtuous. That is when I began cultivating it- rejoicing in it! Now, I see my submission as pleasing to God! It is where graces flow!

Why keep these truths from me? Why wasn’t I properly taught to rejoice in this God-given order? Are we afraid of these truths? We still speak of obedience in religious orders why not marriage? If only these words were spoken to me years ago:

And do you, O brides, lift up your hearts? Do not be content merely to accept, and–one might almost say–to tolerate this authority of your husbands, to whom God has subjected you according to the dispositions of nature and of grace; in your sincere submission you must love that authority and love it with the same respectful love you bear towards the authority of Our Lord Himself from Whom all authority flows.” ~Pope Pius XII, Allocution to Newly-Weds.

 

Helping Your Man

“But the reality is that women today do not think of themselves in the context of helping “their man.” Women today have been brainwashed into thinking that efforts in that direction are in the category of oppression, subservience, and catering to frail male egos. It is sad that this is the prevalent point of view, because interdependence is what ultimately feeds both the man and the woman what they truly need to be happy.”
― Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Men love Women. Women Love Children. children love hamsters

JMJ

Alice Thomas Ellis a very talented writer, a Catholic and an anti-feminist once said,

There is no reciprocity. Men love women. Women love children. Children love hamster. Hamsters don’t love anyone; it is quite hopeless.

The quote annoys me because I like to think that women love men. That I love men. That I love my man. It annoys me because I know she is getting at something, there is a strong urge for men to protect women. There is a strong urge for women to protect children and, yes, children find hamsters irresistible. The urge to protect my children is much stronger than any urge to protect my husband. Despite these natural urges – Love, I pray, is reciprocal.

I have also heard people say, “men marry for wives. women marry for children.” Which also annoys me because I like to think that I married my husband because I loved him. Because I loved him enough to surrender completely to him as my authority. I ask myself would I have married him if I knew we would be childless? Yes. What else was there for me but him? I was hopelessly in love. I knew marriage was my calling. I knew he was my calling. Did I hope children were also my calling? – of course! But I only wanted his.

I was reading CH he wrote:

A good, if abstractedly imperfect, test of a woman’s love for you is to ask if she would she die for you. You can ask yourself this question, and if you’re honest you’ll know the answer.

Would she die for you?

Because most women wouldn’t.

I ask myself would my husband die for my children? Yes. Would my husband die for me? Yes. Would I die for my children? Yes. Would I die for my husband? Yes. Because, I like to think that I love my husband. I like to think that I love him enough to die for him. I like to think that I am virtuous.

Dear God, make me good!

In Sickness and In Health

JMJ

In Sickness and in Health 

I never thought while saying those vows, that I was the one who was going to be sick. I always envisioned a sick husband to take care of. One who suffered from dementia  or facing disability. I cringe at the Sentimentality of my thoughts then- Never did I imagine it would be me.

Dr. – called. You have Lyme.

Weird he knew first. The Dr. told him first and he told me. He rang and rang to reach me. I sometimes wonder how it hit him. Did he think back to our wedding day too? Sacred vows given freely, with a firm, hushed and quickened tone in the little chapel. The chapel of my youth.

– I do? She called? 

yes. Call her back. 

alright.

-honey.

yea.

it’ll be okay. I Love you. 

-Click –

She was never the same again. I sat on the sofa those words kept coming back to me. Is the woman I was just a few months ago- is that woman gone? will my husband look back and think to himself. She was never the same again? How much easier it would be for me to say those words about him! but I can’t, it’s me. Oh, how proud I was, even in those vows. How proud!

The blessed ring in my hand, I repeat the vows. Trying to comprehend the meaning of the symbols, the ceremony. In sickness and in health. I try to slip the ring on his finger, but it gets stuck half way. Nervous, I look up. Amused, he smiles. Finally it moves. To Death Do us part. 

I didn’t make dinner. I felt too tired. I’m sorry. 

It’s okay. Lay down. 

There’s left overs I think. The girls already ate. 

Lay down. Don’t worry about it. Are you hungry? 

No. 

My rings clank. Loose now. The ruby keeps slipping to the inside of my palm; the rings once proportioned, look large. I straighten them and lay down on the sofa.  Dear God!  The fatigue is unbearable. The vows spoken years ago weigh on my soul, but not as a burden, as I lay there I feel anchored. I am his. I was his in health and I am still his even now, especially now- In sickness. . . 

 

The Marriage of Mary and St. Joseph: an example to us all

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“The Mystical City Of God” by Venerable Mary of Agreda is a fascinating, devout, and mysterious read.  I was particularly  struck by the visions she had concerning Mary’s submission to her spouse, St. Joseph. Her obedience and submission is an example for all married women. Let us meditate on this passage and seek to imitate our Blessed Mother’s obedience and submission in our own marriage:

Mary Agreda’s vision of St. Joseph and Mary searching for lodgings in Bethlehem:

The most modest Queen followed her spouse through the crowds of people, while he went from house to house and from door to door. Although she knew that the hearts of the house of men were to be closed to them, and although to expose her state at her age to the public gaze was more painful to her modesty than their failure to procure night- lodging, She nevertheless wished to obey Saint Joseph and suffer this unmerited pain.

Another detail that hit me was when Mary spoke to St. Joseph she addressed him as, “My spouse and my Master.” Mary, the Mother of God, submitted herself to her earthly spouse. Let me repeat that. Mary, the Mother of God, submitted herself to her  earthly spouse.  She wanted to obey st. Joseph and she rejoiced in each opportunity she had to submit to his authority!

Let us reflect on her love and ask her to intercede for us as we try to imitate her great respect for her spouse.

Mary, Queen of patriarchs, pray for us!