Recently, my wife and I just got a puppy for our family and have been enjoying the gift of this fun loving bouncy ball of fur. She (Bella) has been very loving and is bonding nicely with each and every child. However, as with every puppy, she needs attention and help in learning where it is acceptable to pee and poop and what things are OK to chew on and which things aren’t. In having a new addition to our home, it is very important for us to be attentive to her needs (i.e. potty training, food, water, obedience training, safety fencing, shots, de-worming medicine, etc. If we do not pay attention to these issues and needs, we chance having an out-of-control dog, or a dog that bites, or a malnourished dog, or worse yet, a dog that becomes sick and possibly dies. Often we “deal” with the puppy stage in order to get them to a point where they are pretty self sufficient: we can just feed and water them and get a little love and affection now and then. In other words, that steady companion by our side that loves us but is not too demanding of us.
Unfortunately, this is how many people treat their marriages: A lot of attention in the beginning, and then we take them for granted, putting little effort into the relationship, and expecting that everything will be fine. Until we wake up one day to find our marital relationship to be malnourished, out-of-control, or even dying in some ways. Our marriage has to be something that we constantly put time and effort into. Our spouse is not just a companion on a journey. They are a gift from God and someone we promised to care for in good and bad times. They are someone we said we would care for in sickness AND in good health. We must understand that we need to give all of ourselves, everyday to each other and not just expect our spouse to be OK if we only give 10%. Our spouse is a gift from God, here to help us on this life journey and we are called to become better people through the Sacrament of our marriage. When we stop growing in our marriage, a part of us dies along with the relationship. We no longer are working to be the best person we can be.
Resolve today, to give more to your spouse each and every day. Understand what their needs are and help them get their needs met. Make time to “check in” with your spouse if you have been separated for a time due to work, kids activities, travel, etc. Go on dates and continue to woo your “Pearl of Great Price.” Seek moments to laugh and play together. But most of all, always seek to give all of yourself to them, so that your marriage can thrive rather than merely survive!