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Marriage Conscience Exam: Marriage Spirituality: 3 of 4

January 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Marriage Spirituality

So, if you are back for more I think it is safe to assume that we agree that we are our spouses “keeper.” valentineThe challenge now, is where to start. The best place, once we understand that we have fallen short, is always the sacrament of reconciliation. We must have the grace of God provided in this sacrament to change the spiritual course of our marriage. But before you go to reconciliation, spend some time in prayer and, if possible, explore this challenge with your spiritual director. Ask Mary and Joseph (the models of the perfect family) to pray for you, to help you see your shortcomings, pray for God’s light as you ask yourself a few tough examen questions we have provided for your reflection:

  • Have I neglected the spiritual care of my spouse?
  • Have I allowed the busy-ness of life to crowd out my primary responsibility of caring for the spiritual needs of my spouse?
  • Have I put my own needs and desires ahead of the spiritual needs of my spouse?
  • Have I done anything that distracts my spouse from his/her spiritual development pursuits?
  • Have I failed to nurture the spiritual interests of my spouse?
  • Have I allowed my own fears or feelings of inadequacy to hinder spiritual activities with my spouse (e.g. praying together)?
  • Have I been impatient at the lack of spiritual growth in my spouse and allowed despair to rise, or my hope in Christ to wane?
  • Have I stopped praying and making sacrifices for my spouse that they might come to know Christ or to know Christ more fully?
  • Have I stopped working on my own spiritual progress in holiness toward my spouse because of offenses that I nurture?
  • Have I failed to forgive my spouse as Christ has forgiven me?

The good news is that God will give you the grace and strength necessary to honor your marriage and either deepen your relationship as it stands, or to embark on a new spiritual journey together. If you have taken these posts seriously, you are well on your way to changing the spiritual course of your marriage. The next step is to explore how to make basic commitments and follow through on them. Be assured that God’s grace will be with you as you fight to bring Christ more fully into the center of your relationship.

In Christ, Dan and Stephanie

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Art for this post on marriage spirituality: St Valentine baptizing St. Lucilla, Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo da Ponte), 1500s, PD-US author's life plus 70 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • judeen

    i married to grow closer to God.. and told him so… and so I did.. anything and everything went wronge.! finally after 37 years… learned to correct kindly.. to keep my mouth shut.. and ask myself why doesthis bother me.. how would God want me to act or react.. it is not His fault but my reaction.. He has to be responsable for him self… did I ask or did I expect.. did I push or did I share what means so much to me.. and ask Him to share with me.. do I lead or let Him lead.. so much … still learning… asking God for Gods guideness.. and blessings… and help

    • Alexandra Campbell

      I am so glad you are learning to react in a G-d ordained way to your spouse. I know I failed miserably in the area of keeping my mouth shut and in properly honoring my husband. I know it takes two, but I feel primarily responsible for his leaving me for another, younger, more admiring woman. This all happened right after he was received into the Church and we had had our marriage convalidated! I still pray for God to restore the marriage if it is His will and I still grieve the loss. But we are on good terms, finally, after two years and he is active in raising our two sons. He is not in Church at all though, so please pray for him and me! I consider myself a “consecrated divorcee” now and have no plans to seek any new relationship. I am working solely on deepening my relationship with G-d! He has been so faithful to me and comforting. I am learning a lot about suffering and that is a good thing!

      • judeen

        life is a deep spiritual walk.. the pains and sufferings you have , offer them up to God for marraigages… marraige is hard… alot of times it is fears or getting old.. with men.. and alot of the times old wounds from child hood.. seen many marraiages on the rocks because they would not sit down and talk to each other , both sorry for the same fight.. Gods will not ours ,, Im blunt.. yet my husband does not hear what I say.. I make him repeat what I say .. and it is not even close to what I say or feel.. people do not take things like we want them to.. God knows our hearts.. keep growing closer to Him .. one never knows how God is directing your life.. some times we have to let go .. to love deeper..

        • Alexandra Campbell

          thank you so much for your kind response, I will keep on keeping on with G-d!

  • jd

    and this examen is especially tough because my husband wants no part of my faith. I pray for him but i wonder if i do enough because he adamantly against the Church.

    • Yours is a tough situation – I am sorry to hear of your struggles. Be assured of my prayers.

      • jd

        thanks for your prayers. just pray for my husband. 🙂 i do pray and offer up various sacrifices, (like keeping silent when makes a comment regarding my beliefs), i am happy for those whose spouse wants to pray and wants to share their faith it is truly a blessing and it warms my heart that there are husbands i nthis world like that – it was my own choice to marry him and practicing my faith when we did marry was not important …. at least my children are Catholic and my marriage convalidated. when i read this, it seems like i am standing far off praying for him and the challenge is how to put all of these in place … something to work on during lent. thanks for posting it Dan

  • Constance

    soooooooooo….. where is post 4? :)-can’t wait to read that one… have not figured out how to look in the archives just yet…
    and in my mind, i am trying to see my husband as a son of the king….

  • Cat Christie Logan

    I love reading EVERYTHING you write about. Really it’s my spiritual soul food that gives me nourishment in addition to God’s graces. Thank you for your work and your ministry.

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