Take two, add grace, and stir

couple leaningJennifer and Dave, married 14 years, with two boys ages 10 and 8, rely on their differences to build a strong marriage.

“Dave always says to me that together we compensate for each other’s weaknesses,” Jennifer explains. “Dave is more relaxed and does not worry as much. I am more structured and want a plan. The longer we are married, the more we realize that working together we can get through life, because I keep us organized and Dave makes sure we take time to relax.”

The grace a husband and wife receive through the sacrament of marriage helps each spouse advance the other in holiness.

If thoughts of “advancing the other in holiness” are not on your mind as you ask your spouse to retrieve your son from basketball practice and pick up a gallon of milk on the way home, you’re not alone. The sheer speed of family life doesn’t allow for much time to reflect on where grace may be at work in your marriage.

But the Catholic teaching on the sacramental nature of marriage is something that all couples should grab on to. In the sacrament of marriage we are promised the grace of God to help us make decisions, answer big questions, raise children well, cooperate, and get along. But in order to receive this grace, we must be open to it.

Need more grace? For some, the notion that God’s grace can help a couple navigate the more challenging aspects of marriage sounds like a fairy tale. If grace isn’t apparent, put yourself in a position where you can more easily receive it.

“About four years into my marriage I felt myself becoming irritated with just about everything my wife did,” says Jared, who asked that his real name not be used. “I considered separation. But then I thought back to our wedding day, when I was thankful to God for giving me my wife. I decided to make a point of looking for the good in her, rather than the annoyances, and I found myself approaching my marriage with more faith that God knew what he was doing in having us meet and get married.”

To use the grace God offers us, we need to back away from selfish thoughts that lead to angry and unfair actions. During moments of irritation we can consciously decide to hold our words until we can find a compassionate way to approach the problem. In this effort God’s grace will come.  …continued next week

By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our FaithClaretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2013 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for the past four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

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