💙Don’t argue with your wife (especially when she has a logical case in her favor).
See below example ⤵️
Wife: “Matt, you need new socks!”
Me: “No, I don’t. I have plenty of pairs.”
Wife: “They have holes on the heels, the threads are wearing out, and on several pairs I can see your big toe poking through. Last winter had record lows temperatures. Remember February 12th when Sioux Falls (and other parts of the Midwest) had colder temperatures than even Antarctica?!”
Me: “Yeah, but Antarctica is in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course our winter time is going be colder sometimes because it is experiencing its warmest temps.”
Wife: “Regardless, you need socks. Hey what is that Catholic website that sells neat saint socks?”
Me: “Socks Religious.”
Wife: Okay, that is what I am getting you for Christmas. You love Catholic saints and I love your feet being warm so you don’t catch a cold. Deal?!”
Me: “Okay, but can you get me a JPII or Fulton Sheen pair?”
🔷Catholic husbands don’t be like me. Listen to your wife when she tells you that you need new socks!
🔷For quality socks with creative Catholic designs check out Socks Religious. They include socks for kids as well (because we all know that socks mysterious lose their partner in the dryer so better to have more in the dresser on hand).
🔷Select from a variety of saints from Mother Teresa and Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. John Paul II and (soon-to-be blessed) Fulton Sheen!
💡Husband Hack #7 💡—💙Leave an unexpected note for your wife to cheer her up during a stressful week.
Example: I left a post-it note 📝 on the bedside dresser on my spouse’s phone. Included with the note was a small piece of chocolate 🍫.
🔷I have learned that showing simple and spontaneous gestures of love toward my wife go a long way.
🔷You don’t need to over complicate things when it comes to surprising your spouse. The key is following through on those random acts of kindness.
💡Husband Hack 19💡—💙Use your natural skills to show love towards your spouse. Do something creative and unique for them.
Example: I am a storyteller and writer. My wife is an avid reader—she loves fiction books and especially Harry Potter.
🔷 I started telling a whimsical take on the marker board in our kitchen. Real simple. A paragraph or two at a time. This unique gift is helpful in making the best of us working different schedules.
💡Husband Hack #58 💡—💙If your wife tells you not to play video games because it is the kids bedtime (she is out doing errands or having a girls’ night), keep in mind two things:
1️⃣ Listen to your wife. Happy wife= happy life! 😉
2️⃣ Be creative—you can still get the kids ready for bed while having fun! See example below 👇
Wife: Matt, remember the kids need to be in bed by 8:00 pm. You can’t play Mario Kart with them now.
Me: Okay! Got it. I won’t “play” video games. [I need kids their bedtime snack, brush their teeth, play a YouTube video of the Dr. Mario Championship match on the the background with subtitles and low volume to prevent kids from being distracted.]
✅ Kids in bedtime on time. 🙌
✅ Brushed up on my SNES Dr. Mario 💊skills and learned new strategies!
💊 I enjoy Dr.Mario because I am a puzzle nerd and I love Mario Kart because it is an easy game to play with my 8 year old!
🔷How do you surprise your spouse?
🔷 How have you utilized your natural talents or skills to strengthen your relationship with your spouse?
🔷 What kinds of games do you like playing with your kids (or your friends if you don’t have kids)? What makes them special?
An excerpt from the upcoming book, “God Moments” by Orlando Javien Jr.
For those who have ever golfed or know someone who golfs you may have been asked a time or two this question, “How is your golf game?” This is just simple way of asking how have been playing.
Today I’d like to ask you, “How is your marriage game?”
Marriage, like golf, is very humbling. I don’t play golf all that often, but when I do, it’s always the same. At some point in the round, I hit that ball so well it makes me say “Wow! I did that?” Then I do it again and start thinking, PGA, here I come.
Once God hears me thinking that I can do it on my own, he brings me back to reality. The next shot I top the ball, then I totally miss the ball, and to make things worse, I then lose the ball. “PGA, I think not!”
Marriage is the same way. I read a few books (The Five Love Languages, Every Man’s Marriage and the instruction book of marriage: Ephesians 5:21) and started to see my marriage improving. Then complacency set in. I stopped showering my wife with love; I thought all the things I did yesterday or last week would carry over to today. Then I was reminded that it doesn’t.
I don’t get it! What do I need to do to love my wife? I prayed and asked God, “Lord, please show me how to love my wife.” Sure enough, he answered quickly. I was led to the book Fireproof: Never Leave Your Partner Behind. I read the book and found the answer I was looking for.
The story was about a firefighter that was so engrossed saving lives that he neglected his marriage. Caught up with an addiction to pornography and only living for himself he forgot about the special gift that he had in a wife.
In a nutshell, the book taught me that whatever you put the time, energy, and money into will become more important to you.
I’m not good at golf because I don’t practice. If I don’t continuously practice loving my wife, I won’t be good at loving her either. So practice loving your wife. Get books on how to better love them and don’t get complacent.
“Remember, you wooed her to get her; you better woo her to keep her.”
According to the National Sleep Foundation, humans are considered the only mammal that willingly delays sleeps. For more interesting facts about sleep here is a link: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/25-random-facts-about-sleep. Sleep is an issue that pervades all of human life. As a father to four young children, I oftentimes determine the success [or failure] of a day over whether my children successfully or unsuccessfully take their scheduled nap!
The stresses of life, dealing with sick family members, and limited sleep due to my new work schedule drain me on a daily basis. The exhaustion last week became so overwhelming that I almost gave up hope. But the thing about tiredness is that is oftentimes causes people to forgot and lose strength to continue.
On the verge of wallowing in a lake of lassitude, I suddenly remembered the words of Bishop Paul Swain that he said at a confirmation Mass. Specifically referring to the sacrament of confirmation, but I believe his words apply to the rest of the sacraments as well, the successor of St. Peter said, “Sacraments [the sacrament of confirmation] are not the end or graduation of the Catholic life, rather sacraments act as theological rest stops to give us strength.”
In the past, I associated the sacraments as offensive weapons against sin, however, recently I have come to view the sacramental system as a means to shield and sustain oneness from the endless assault of the Enemy’s attacks. Below I wish to explore my experience with how the sacraments of confession, Eucharist, and marriage help provide spiritual rest for my pilgrim journey.
Growing up I remembered the summer vacations my family and I went on involved a ton of driving. If the rambunctious nature of sons is any indication of what I was like as a kid, I imagine my parents looked forward to taking a pause in the long drive to allow my siblings and I to run out our energy. As a parent, I learned that a periodic rest stop sometimes solves a fussy situation in the car. Pope Francis once declared, “Always remember this: life is a journey. It is a path, a journey to meet Jesus. At the end, and forever. A journey in which we do not encounter Jesus is not a Christian journey.”
Too many times I forget that life is more of a pilgrimage—toward Heaven. Life is not simply a tourist attraction for me to amass as much pleasurable and exciting experiences as possible.
Without Jesus as the focus of my journey I lean toward being a tourist of the world instead of a pilgrim in the world. Confession is the sacrament that provides me an opportunity to rest and receive God’s graces. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “This sacrament reconciles us with the Church. Sin damages or even breaks fraternal communion. The sacrament of Penance repairs or restores it” (CCC 1469.
Recently, I received the sacramental graces of the medicine box. I felt a large burden lifted from me and have the strength to be able to encounter the busyness of life with a calm assurance that God will sustain me even during tough situations.
Eucharist— Fuel for the Road Ahead
While Confession heals the wounds of my sins, the sacrament of the Eucharist provides me nourishment and strength for the journey for the rest of the week. In the book of Exodus, God listened to the plea of his people, traveling in the wilderness, a plea for food to sustain them during the tumultuous journey. As amazing and unmerited the gift of manna in the Old Testament, Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist as a fulfillment of this prefiguration in Exodus. Jesus decisively teaches us in John 6,
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.48I am the bread of life.49Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;z50this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.51I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.
After receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ every Sunday Mass, I gain the strength to make it through the trials of this world. According to the Catechism paragraph 1391, “The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”226 Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.”
Reading this passage makes me reflect on the popular adage, “you are what you eat”—receiving Jesus in this sacraments helps transform us into the best [i.e. most Christ-like] versions of ourselves!
Matrimony—Momentum for the Journey
G.K. Chesterton is considered a king of wit and satire—especially among Catholics. His quotes on marriage frequent social media. Ironically, I actually shared the below memes on Instagram recently!
Wait! “I thought this article was about theological REST STOPS for our pilgrim journey—not holy hand grenades,” one might say. I agree with Chesterton, oftentimes marriage is like going to war—sins of pride, impatience, anger, lust, greed, and sloth [to name just a few]—become casualties. However, war does not always involve active or constant movement. Rather, a large part of war entails strategizing against the enemy—and that involves resting and planning. The sacrament of marriage is a gift from God that allows spouses to acquire the graces of rest and perseverance.
Marriage as a sacrament involves total commitment towards one’s spouse. Husband and wife do not split responsibilities as in a 50/50 contract. Instead, marriage is a covenant—an oath that involves 100/100 dedication of the husband toward the wife and vice versa. Honestly, I sometimes struggle to view marriage this way. Throughout periods in my wife and I’s marriage either she or I would have to “more time and effort” than the other “put in”. Keeping a tally sheet and IOUs does not lead to a fruitful marriage. Only by donning a servant mentality did I truly receive the sacramental graces of matrimony to acquire true peace and rest.
Rely on the Sacraments for Rest!
To close, I wish to again ponder the words of Bishop Paul Swain, “Sacraments [the sacrament of confirmation] are not the end or graduation of the Catholic life, rather sacraments act as theological rest stops to give us strength.” Do you take advantage God’s oasis’ for holiness? If you are married do you take time to see God work in your spouse? Is there any ways you may be able to deepen your participation in the sacrifice of the Mass? Let us use the rest of Lent as a time to grow in holiness and thank God for the gifts of the sacraments—theological rest stops for our pilgrim journey!
Caution ahead. Construction zone on Grief Highway, slow down ahead. Exit now with caution or stay to the left to take the outer belt around the city, avoiding depressing content at all costs. Alternate route suggestion: binge-watch stupid sitcoms on Netflix until you have numbed yourself to sleep.
I want to talk about grief. This isn’t going be easy! But this topic is important. In fact, it is so vital I had to consult an expert. According to C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed,
Bridge-players tell me that there must be some money on the game ‘or else people won’t take it seriously.’ Apparently, it’s like that. Your bid—for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity—will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horrible high; until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpence but for every penny you have in the world. Nothing less will shake a man—or at any rate a man like me—out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses…
Grief Surpasses Culture and People
Grief is an odd thing. A truly transformative thing that should be where we stake our bets on what kind of strength resides within us when we are confronted with a loved-one’s death.
Our old neighbors were from India and became like family to us. The husband told me once of nursing both of his parents through cancer to their deaths, and all as a teenager and young adult. He explained that in his culture they had something like “the crying”. For days after a loved-one’s passing, they stopped the world, and wept. “We didn’t sleep; we barely ate…we just received visitors who wept and grieved with us.” It sounded horrific to me at the time, but in a culture where we feign self-control, it would seem contrary to our “togetherness”.
My Grapple With Grief
I was the last to go into my mother-in-law’s hospital room. A moment away from trying to be brave and helpful to my husband, father-in-law and siblings because I knew they had more “right” to be upset than I did. I also knew that I had to face my own earthly separation from her, and so with a deep breath I entered her room.
Our three aunts were there, weeping together (yet somehow very alone). We greeted each other attempting to comfort one another with tearful embraces. I approached the empty chair next to my mother-in-law, who laid peacefully on her hospital bed only an hour or two after she had passed. The next moment took my breath away—literally.
Shockingly, a spiritual vacuum seemed to engage and take hold of my soul. Tears, sobs, and the very breath pulled out of my lungs for what felt like an eternity. My stomach knotted and twisted in a way I never thought possible. I sobbed in a way I had never done before.
Grief Engulfs You
As my lungs continued to viciously choke breath forward, my memory mourned every sweet word she had ever said to me. Every stitch she had sewn into my clothing and every bite of every delicious food she prepared as if all meals were a wedding feast. Mostly, I mourned the way she accepted me as her daughter. She loved us all so well and united her suffering with Christ.
I think the level of my grief was shocking to me, and to my husband’s dear aunts, who were suddenly silent; perhaps suspended in the shock of what had overtaken me. I wanted to calm down. To control myself from what was perhaps too dramatic of a reaction, maybe even frightening to them. Yet it was too late! The door opened and grief entered in. I had no other option but to give it a place to rest its feet for a while.
From Grief to Good
It’s difficult to discuss this moment of pain and loss of self-control, but there is love in the offering. A revelation of grief as C.S. Lewis admits that writing “A Grief Observed” was recognition that “bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love.”
During the event of my mother-in-law’s passing, we all experienced the loneliness of grief. This occurred whether we were together in the same room or not.
Grief is a solitary experience. People connect with one another in a way that impresses upon the soul. Our experiences seem to form a linear bond of relation that can never be duplicated by two other people; we can’t even recreate the exact same moment of interchange or experience that we had with another person again. Each moment of interaction with another person holds its own relevance in time and eternity.
Our actions and relationships help shape us into the person we are today— better or worse. These are the things that we mourn at separation. While I was hugging my mother-in-law, I recalled the words she stated at my bridal shower. The same type of care and love her mother displayed all her children. My father-in-law was remembering sweet embraces of their early marriage. He also endured in supporting in the days before her death. My brother-in-law missed the way she laughed at his joy. My husband missed his mother who always encouraged him.
Seek Love During Grieving
When God our Father reminds us through his son, Jesus, that the greatest commandment is love. Love God first. Then love our neighbor as ourselves. He knew that every word, look, impression, feeling, condemnation, encouragement and connection built an interior experience that is outside of time and space.
Everything counts. The preciousness of human relationships is entwined in the great tapestry of the Master. Listen intently, O little creature of His; ask for a pure heart that sees the other with His eyes. Go forward with a prudent pace, a burning heart and a desire to delicately preserve those in your path today with the knowledge that each encounter will be forever imprinted on their soul and yours.
This article was inspired by a recent viewing of the movie Unplanned. I cried a gut-wrenching grief. Such grief has been a rare experience since the day of my sweet mother-in-law’s passing.
Megan Naumovski is on a mission to remind the world of the love God has for each and every soul, and how that love deserves our response. Every day she is a wife and mom in her domestic church, but in the world she helps lead others to Christ though ministry leadership, teaching, speaking and blogging at The Domestic Church of Bosco, http://boscoworld.blog.
Over 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons (326 million trillion gallons) exist on our planet. My mind is still amazed that numbers go way up to a trillion, let alone million upon millions of trillion!! Words simply cannot do justice to the size and sheer amount of water that is present on our globe. I found these pictures that best capture my own sense of minuteness in the grand scheme of the universe. Let us reflect on these images for a few moments to consider our dependence on something greater in this mysterious and vast universe.
Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
According to the dictionary, the word mercy is defined as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm”. St. Maria Faustina is the champion and first great channel of God in the 20th century to remind the modern world that God’s mercy overcomes all sin.
The Holy Spirit inspired the Polish sister to write down these words in paragraph 1142 of her Diary, “My daughter, be diligent in writing down every sentence I tell you concerning My mercy, because this is meant for a great number of souls who will profit from it.” Throughout the history of the Catholic Church both the judgment and mercy of God has been taught. However, in the centuries leading up to the time and life of St. Maria Faustina a pendulum swing focused on the omnipotence of God. People viewed our Creator primarily as a Judge. God utilized a simple and humble Catholic woman to be the impetus to renew the teaching of God’s mercy!
We live in an age where surveillance technology is improving its efficiency on a day to day basis. More and more movies deal with the issue of utilizing governments monitoring its citizens under the pretense of national security. Needless to say, being watched over and guided does not necessarily have the most positive connotation in the 21st century.
Instead of viewing such observation and guidance as a bad and thing to be avoided, St. Maria Faustina’s mantra- and really is the message of the universal Church—is Jesus I Trust in You! To be guided is not always a terrible thing. Through the intercession and life of Sister Faustina, other amazing saints arose during the murderous 20th century—Maximilian Kolbe and Pope John Paul II to name just a couple. Both of these men were influenced by the Polish nun. She acted as a sentinel, a beacon of hope, to usher Christ into the 3rd millennium.
Uplifted my Marriage
My wife officially joined the Catholic Church as a convert from Lutheranism during her junior year of college. She selected Sr. Faustina as her confirmation saint and patron saint of her conversion to the faith. Along with providing the world with the wonderful vision—later captured by artist—of the Divine Mercy Icon, the Polish saint taught the world the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It was this prayer that gave my wife spiritual sustenance during a low point in her life.
As the years of my marriage accumulate, I have developed a great love and closeness to Maria Faustina as well. In fact, she is my honorary confirmation saint [I never actually officially selected a confirmation saint as my role model in high school!]. I also love the Eucharistic references in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Through its repetition, this short [IT IS QUITE BRIEF AND GREAT FOR PARENTS OF YOUNG KIDS PINCHED FOR TIME!] prayer unites me to Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. Another effect of this prayer is my marriage is strengthened and I enjoy conversations about the Polish nun’s life with my wife.
I will end my thoughts on St. Maria Faustina with part of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy [the section prayed on the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary” beads of the Rosary. I challenge you to find one person in your life that is not aware of this prayer and teach it to them. Your communication with God through this form of prayer will bring great joy and peace.
How to Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
Say on “Our Father” bead:
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
Say on each “Hail Mary” bead:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Note: This was originally posted in 2015. My family has since grown and we have been blessed with four beautiful children: Noah Matthew, Amelia Bernadette, Josiah Fabian, and Avila Catherine Geraldine!
We are nearing the Solemnity of Trinity [my favorite feast day in the Church’s liturgical year]. Instead of talking about shamrocks to explain this wonderful mystery of our faith I am going to use my kids as a way the Trinity is present in my life. In fact generally speaking many early Church Fathers spoke of the family as a “mirror of the Trinitarian life”. The love between the Father and Son is so great that a third person [the Holy Spirit] proceeded from that love. So too, the love shared between the husband and wife in the marital act transmits a person(s).
Fruits of Marriage (and the Holy Spirit!)
Keeping on this example that the family is a shadow of the Trinity I will focus exclusively on the gifts that children can provide the parents to grow in holiness, because the point of any sacrament is to manifest God’s grace and to help people grow in holiness. Now, I am very grateful that God has sent me three advocates (my wife and children: Noah and Amelia). Because I am a fallen sinful man, I am prideful and often lack patience. I also suffer from greed, anger, and am a control freak! But God in his infinite mercy and wisdom sent me my family to help whittle away at those sins and build up virtues.
A concrete example is in order to further illustrate my point: even as I am writing this post I am interrupted by Amelia as she is having an irritable night’s sleep. Note: Anyone who has children knows that this situation is not unique to me! 🙂
Receiving the Gift of Patience
Many days are a struggle for my wife and I as we try to pacify our son’s meltdown situations in a calm and loving way. It took two years for my son to sleep through the night without waking up. AND I AM GRATEFUL FOR THAT EXPERIENCE! Why you may ask? It is because I have grown immensely in the virtue of patience.
I tend to think of the sacraments as divine weapons that Jesus gives the Catholic Church to ward off the devil and his temptations. If I view my children’s meltdowns with the eyes of faith I will see them as opportunities. Opportunities to grow in holiness. Their tantrums will act as a theological sandblaster smoothing out my rough edges and polishing me in the virtue of patience.
A fruit of the sacrament of marriage is children. The family life is a great arena by which a sinful man like me may be tested and tried daily. Such testing will hopefully result in an increase in holiness. I think of my children as the best gift that our Trinitarian God has given me personally to grow in virtue daily.