Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Taming My Tongue

My newest article on Catholic Exchange:
In the year 2000, while in graduate school, I decided to challenge myself to 30 days of loving my wife how she wanted me to love her, instead of loving her how I wanted to. This challenge transformed my marriage, as I will explain shortly. Because of how well it worked, and because I was recently challenged by God, through my personal reflection, I have now embarked on a second 30-day challenge. The final results are yet to be determined.

While studying for my Master degree I really enjoyed the subjects I was studying because they were intellectual candy for me. But, I knew, as every theology student should, that if it didn’t transform my life, then it was of no value to me personally. It was at this time that I first encountered John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which is an extraordinary teaching on God, humanity, sexuality, and love. I couldn’t get enough, at least intellectually. It provided me with insights into God, humanity, my own destiny, and more that I never had previously. To sum it up – I am made to be a gift of self to others – just as God is an infinite gift of self to all of us. This was a wake up call for me. It lead me to examine many areas of my life and question many aspects of my relationships, one in particular: Was I really living my life as a gift for my wife or was it all about me?

This resulted in my first 30-day challenge. I decided to love my wife as she wanted me to love her, which wasn’t the way I wanted to love her. She wanted me to do little acts of service for her (e.g. wash the dishes, help bath the kids, clean up messes, etc.). I, on the other hand, wanted to love her by being affectionate and telling her nice things. Of course, this is the way I want to be loved, not necessarily the way she wants to be loved. So, while my intent was decent, I was going about loving my wife in the wrong ways.

For 30 days I challenged myself to love my wife as she wanted me to. At the end of the 30 days, and ever since, our marriage was transformed. We stopped arguing over house work. I started to appreciate how much she did for me. She knew more deeply that I loved her because I was willing to change for her sake and love her as she wanted me to.

This leads me to my second 30-day challenge.

I have noticed recently that with 5 little kids it is easy to get upset and raise my voice, this (most certainly) teaches my children that to solve a problem you need to raise your voice and have an angry tone. While it is sometimes quicker to stop a misbehavior or an argument by raising my voice, it isn’t the best way to do so.
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