“Most people think that once they marry then they can’t sin sexually. Actually, most people sin more sexually in marriage than they do before it.”
These words of our spiritual director from our early days of marriage weren’t just referring to adultery and contraception, though these are serious and all too common. He was referring primarily to the myriad ways that we can use our sexuality to manipulate, demean, deprive or dominate, sometimes in the subtlest ways.
Of course, the misuse of our sexuality is not the only way we married couples can fail to live the fullness of God’s vision for our vocation. This excerpt from an Examination of Conscience for Couples by Fr. Thomas Weinandy certainly pricked our conscience and illuminated some areas of shortcoming that we hadn’t considered.
Why not take some time to reflect on this list, and use the Stop-Reflect-Connect for an Apology to address them with your spouse. Follow it up with the Sacrament of Confession for added spiritual grace in resisting a relapse!
Responsibilities to my spouse:
Have I cared for my spouse?
- Have I been generous with my time?
- Have I been affectionate and loving?
- Have I told my spouse that I love him or her?
- Have I been concerned about the spiritual well-being of my spouse?
Have I listened to my spouse?
- Have I paid attention to his or her concerns, worries, and problems?
- Have I sought these out?
Have I allowed resentments and bitterness toward my spouse to take root in my mind?
- Have I nurtured these?
- Have I forgiven my spouse for the wrongs he or she has committed against me?
- Have I allowed misunderstanding, miscommunication or accidents to cause anger and mistrust?
- Have I nurtured critical and negative thoughts about my spouse?
Have I manipulated my spouse in order to get my own way?
- Have I tried to bully or overpower my spouse?
- Have I spoken sharply or sarcastically to my spouse?
- Have I spoken in a demeaning or negative way?
- Have I injured my spouse through taunting and negative teasing?
- Have I called my spouse harsh names or used language that is not respectful?
- Have I physically abused my spouse?
Have I gossiped about my spouse?
- Have I undermined the authority and dignity of my spouse through disrespect and rebelliousness?
Have I been moody and sullen?
- Have I bickered with my spouse out of stubbornness and selfishness?
- Have I lied or been deceitful to my spouse?
Have I misused sexuality?
- Have I used sexual relations solely for my own selfish pleasure?
- Have I been too demanding in my desire for sexual fulfillment?
- Have I been loving and physically affectionate in my sexual relations or have I used sexual relations in a way that would be demeaning or disrespectful to my spouse?
- Have I refused sexual relations out of laziness, revenge or manipulation?
Have I refused to conceive children out of selfishness or material greed?
- Have I used artificial means of contraception?
- Have I had an abortion or encouraged others to have one?
Have I masturbated?
- Have I flirted or fostered improper relationships with someone else, either in my mind or through words and actions?
- Have I used pornography: books, magazines or movies?
- Have I committed adultery?
Have I misused alcohol or drugs?
Have I been financially irresponsible?
About the Authors
Byron Pirola is husband to Francine and father of five. Byron is a Management Consultant by day and by night, the co-director the Marriage Resource Centre with Francine and coauthors of the SmartLoving series.
Francine Pirola is the founder of CathFamily and regular contributor and editor. She has been married to Byron for over 25 years and has five children. She is also the author of the My School Diary Series that is used by over 100,000 catholic school students and teachers around Australia every year.
For the full version (there are also sections on our Responsibilities to God, to our Children, and to Society): Click Here