Every person is created with a divine destiny: God created us for eternal union with him. Our earthly life is preparation for this union but all too often, we neglect our spiritual development through busyness and pre-occupation with the things of this world.

[box] Sarah was on a mission. Her husband had become ambivalent about attending Church and praying in the home. She felt increasingly anxious about the impact of his actions on their children, who often complained “why do we have to go to Mass if Dad doesn’t?” She felt resentful and abandoned in the task of raising their children in faith and her criticism and nagging intensified even as he became more obstinate in his resistance. In her haste to reform her husband, she didn’t realise that she was neglecting her own spiritual life.[/box]

Some Christians fret and worry about their spouse’s lack of faith. In vain they try to nag, cajole and coax their spouse to attend church more often, pray more fervently, worship more piously and… be more like them! And usually, the harder they try, the more their spouse resists. Their lack of peace and presence causes their spouse to reject their project of reform.

The truth is, we cannot give that which we do not have, so our first responsibility is to develop our own spiritual life and to grow in virtue. This growth increases our capacity for love, making us a better spouse and connecting us with God’s peace. It also allows our spouse the freedom to find their own expression of faith while encouraging them through our example, which becomes a point of attraction rather than an issue of obligation or guilt. Only then do they become true ‘spiritual guardians’ rather than ‘spiritual dictators’.

How’s your Spiritual Health?

  1. On a scale of 0 (dead on arrival) to 10 (maxed out), how would you rate your spiritual health:
    1. Peace/serenity
    2. Prayer and devotion
    3. Growth in virtue
    4. Love for others
    5. Spiritual learning/education
    6. Right priorities
  2. Identify one growth area on which to focus and set yourself a spiritual goal for the coming week.

Over to you! Have you caught yourself being a bit of a ‘spiritual dictator’ with your spouse or your kids? Do you have any role models in faith that deeply impacted your own faith in your marriage? Tel us in the comments below!

This article featured in the October 2013 edition of the CathFamily eMagazine. For more, check out:

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