I currently have four unread marriage books on my shelf and four more on my Amazon list. It’s getting a little out of hand. The last one I read was Scott Hahn’s latest, The First Society, and it added even more fuel to my passion for strengthening my own marriage, and the whole culture of Catholic marriage.
The theme of the book boils down to the truth that strong sacramental marriages have the power to change the world. John Paul II was fond of reminding us that the family is the foundation of all society, and has the power to shape our culture. Families need to be based on strong sacramental marriages to thrive.
I’ve picked up some great tools from my library of marriage books. I’ve learned how to better manage conflict, how to resolve intimate issues, how to navigate marriage after kids, how to focus on making myself better rather than trying to improve my husband (Notice, I said learned how to, not actually did it all. This is all a work in progress, folks.), but even if I accomplished all that, I’d still be so far short of what my marriage actually needs to be.
My fellow marriage fans, Jen and Logan, posted a video on Sunday night where they were discussing the three things that they use to keep working towards perfection in their marriage. Numero two and the bonus topic were Reconciliation and the Eucharist. The more I read and learn, the more I agree with Jen and Logan. If I focused solely on keeping my soul clean, and receiving Christ in the Eucharist as often as possible, I could throw out every book on my shelf (but I’m not gonna, cuz books!) and still reach my goal of “Best Wife Ever”.
The sacraments transform us in real ways. Later in the week, I’ll take a look at the Eucharist, but for now, here are three ways that regular confession will supercharge your marriage.
Confession motivates us to be good. Your soul is kind of like your car. When there’s already french fries between the cushions, old bottles in the backseat, and smelly clothes in the trunk, one more fry, bottle, or a pair of socks doesn’t seem like a big deal. Versus when it’s clean, you want to keep it that way. We do the same with Confession. If it’s been a while, what’s one more harsh comment to your husband, one more selfish choice? But when we keep our souls clean, we tend to monitor them better! We’ll think before making harsh or selfish decisions, and take our spouse into account more.
Confession allows us to grow in humility. Everybody loves being right. Nobody enjoys having to take the blame. Sometimes though, we are to blame, and we need to own up to that. In the sacrament of Confession, we acknowledge our failures and our sinfulness. We own up to the damage that our choices have caused. It’s impossible to overemphasize how essential this is to a marriage.
Regular Confession builds the habit of acknowledging our own faults, and not placing blame on anyone else. Instead of looking at everything that is wrong in our marriage as our spouse’s fault, regular Confession will help us not only see, but also admit to each other the things that we have done to damage our marriage.
Confession teaches us how to forgive. Each of us has a list of injuries done to us by our spouse. Some may be big, but most are small. It’s a sad fact that the more intimate a relationship is, the easier it is for the people in it to hurt one another. When those hurts aren’t forgiven, they turn into resentment and coldness. Instead of the heart-eyed lovebirds they once were, there’s just a pair of bitter and discontented people. Once we experience the Love and Mercy of God, God teaches us to share that with others.
Marriage is an incredible sacrament, and it does have the power to restore our society, but only if we first restore our marriages to what they are meant to be. Allowing the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist to work with the sacrament of Marriage is the best way to do just that.