Points for Meditation
Those of us who have some religious belief, which leads us to pray -- that is, to converse with God, so that we can see our entire life in His eyes -- should bring everything to that conversation, including our marriages and our marital intimacy. Here are a few points that might help stimulate that conversation.
- God had given you this woman as a very special gift, with all her wonderful qualities, and a few faults as well (which are also gifts from God). May your heart overflow in thanksgiving for this great blessing!
- Make frequent acts of thanksgiving for the blessings in your marriage: for your wife, your children, your family life. She and they are your sure path to holiness.
- Be humble. Respect your wife's judgment even when you disagree. She needs that respect more than you know - and you owe it to her, and to God.
- That delight and pleasure you experience when you renew your covenant with your wife is very much something God wants you to have. He intended it. Thank Him for it. And thank your wife for it.
- Always remember that the wonderful pleasure that accompanies your marital intimacy - which God very much wants you to have - is a means, not an end. It is to deepen the union between you and your wife, to renew the bonds between you, to bless you both as you cooperate with God in bringing new souls into the world and for eternity.
- Chastity is not negative - something you don't do. For you, called to marriage with this woman by God, it is realized in those often (though not always) exquisite, loving marital relations, in your constant struggle to live a fidelity to her that brooks no compromises, in your joyous self-sacrifice in many little events of each day, in your loving delight in and guidance of the children the good God sends you.
- Find God in your loving embraces with your wife, for God intends you to find Him in the delights of your marital union. You are not seeking merely pleasure for yourself (or even for her), but the one who is the Author of those pleasures and the source of those gifts.
- Don't judge the frequency and manner of your wife's sexual self-giving by your own desires. Don't resent what she may not be able to give. Accept with joy and gratitude all that she gives you (which is a great deal), and offer to God with the same joy whatever she cannot. (And understand that she too makes joyful sacrifices for you.)
- You find it difficult at times (perhaps many times) not to focus on the attractions (physical or other) of women other than your wife. Turn your eyes and your heart back to your wife, firmly and calmly. That is the manly and courageous fidelity God is asking of you (and that you owe her, in justice and in spousal charity).
- Have you ever asked yourself how a canonizable saint would approach (or how they have, in fact, approached) the marital embrace, how saints have lived chastity in their sexual union? With what joy and gratitude - and supernatural vision - they have united themselves to their wives, cooperating with God, open and eager to receive the gift of life and to deepen their shared love.
- Temperance is a virtue in marriage too. It does not consist in trying not to have "too much" delight in the marital embrace (though it does include avoiding a too one-sided focus on the pursuit of pleasure). Just as we mortify ourselves in small ways in eating and drinking (sometimes foregoing something we like or taking a little more of what we like less), so we can find little ways of reminding ourselves that sex, like food, is not an end in itself, apart from or competing with God. And the ordinary course of marital relations usually offers ample opportunities to live this virtue with cheerfulness.
- How many times we have whined interiorly (or sometimes exteriorly) that our wives lack our intense physical desires. We have very little understanding of how disappointed they are in our lack of intense desire to be close through loving and attentive words and in our lack of emotional closeness (except when we want to make love). And we almost never think about how similar is our lack of intense desire for God - how much He wants us to DESIRE Him intensely.