The other morning, in the early haze of dawn, I asked my husband how I could support him spiritually. He was quiet for a while and then said, “What you are doing is enough.”
Not to be dissuaded from helping my husband get to heaven, I thought of the myriad choices available to him: Exodus 90, That Man is You!, The Bible in a Year, Dynamic Catholic, REBOOT!, Alpha and more. We are incredibly blessed to have so many options.
Every time I open my email, read the church bulletin or scroll through my social media, I feel a pressure to share these with my husband. As he is the spiritual head of our family, I want to help provide opportunities for him to grow in his faith and to feel supported.
I have learned, however, in our almost 25 years of being married, that how my husband encounters Jesus is different from how I do, and that my constantly presenting opportunities can hinder his journey instead of supporting it.
I am spending time fondly reminiscing about what it was that drew me into his heart in the beginning. It was, of course, his depth of faith and hunger for it. It’s also important for me to reflect that we both have changed as we have grown in our faith. So, what once was may not now be, and we have to make room for that growth.
I initially was surprised at my husband’s reply, as I’m not really doing anything. I thought about the times we pray together. If I am praying my rosary, I will always invite him to pray with me, and sometimes it’s a “yes,” and other times he is off doing jobs that need to be done. “Ora et labora” (“Pray and work”) is his motto.
Sometimes he will be listening to a podcast. Sometimes he’s catching up on his Scripture or some music. The point being that he has his own way.
I enjoy my rosary and Bible groups, my close friends, a daily devotion, adoration, praise and worship. I’m a bit of a smorgasbord when it comes to growing my faith. It makes sense my engineer husband does things differently.
As I reflect on this, I am also very aware that my example as mother and wife is a constant reminder to my family of the richness of the Catholic faith but can also make them feel as if they do not measure up if they do not share the same spiritual habits.
In a time where social media can influence our hearts and make us feel that we need to be doing more to be fully participating in our faith, I would like to suggest that we take a step back before signing up either ourselves, our children or our spouse for the next and best faith-growing opportunity.
I’m challenging myself to listen to both my children and my husband. I am hoping to ask them how they best draw close to Christ and support them if they need it. I am choosing to be more intentional and focused.
The beauty of the Catholic faith is found in its richness and diversity. So, too, is beauty found in each and every unique relationship shared with Jesus Christ. For me that means comparing less and rejoicing more.
This post first appeared in the Catholic Times
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