Should A Wife Be Submissive to Her Husband?

In our modern culture, most people cringe at the slightest suggestion of inequality. So whether you’re sitting in a pew, listening to a podcast, or reading a blog, a certain scripture verse may cause you to tense up. 

I get it. I’ve been there, praying during Mass when the lector almost timidly speeds through those words. I’ve witnessed people clench, keeping their neck rigidly still so as to not make eye contact with anyone else in the church. Heck, one time the guy sitting in front of me at Mass leaned over to his wife after hearing that line and whispered, “well that’s bull****”. You know, the sort of thing you whisper in a church.

So what is the scripture passage in question? 

“Be submissive to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be submissive to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the Church, he himself the savior of the body. As the Church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be submissive to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesians 5:21-27

Some Context to the letter to the Ephesians.

The letter to the Ephesians was most likely written by St. Paul in the early 60s (although other dates and authors have been proposed). And depending on which scholar you believe, his letter was either addressed specifically to the people of Ephesus (a major metropolitan city in what is now southwest Turkey) or it was written for several churches in the region (including the one in Ephesus). Prior to writing the letter, St. Paul had spent several years ministering to the people in Ephesus and spreading the Gospel throughout the region.

In some of St. Paul’s other letters (Galatians, 1st and Second Corinthians, etc.), he is writing specifically to combat doctrinal errors and attack moral laxity. But in his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul reflects on the reality of Christ being the head of a universal Church and how, through Christ, God has revealed a great deal about His plan of salvation. As the Ignatius Study Bible says, “Instead of pastoral surgery, Paul gives the Ephesians a dose of preventative medicine.”

What about St. Paul?

Paul was a Pharisee who studied under Rabbi Gamaliel, an illustrious Jewish doctor of the Law, (Acts 22:3, Acts 26:5). With that background, St. Paul would have been intimately familiar with the Book of Genesis. So Paul wouldn’t have written anything that contradicted the Hebrew Scripture (especially the Torah, aka the Pentateuch, aka the first five books of the Bible). Click here to read more about what Genesis says about the relationship between husbands and wives.

When it comes to the submissiveness of the wife, I’ve heard it said that, “this was just how they saw women back then” or “that was before women were seen as equals”. And it’s true that in ancient society wives were often viewed as property and husbands were free to behave as authoritarian tyrants. But as we see in Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:19, and 1 Peter 3:7, St. Paul is pushing back against the prevailing customs of the day by presenting the Christian understanding of marriage as a loving partnership, both equal in dignity. 

In Theology of the Body Explained, author Christopher West writes, “Indeed, (the passage) turns the typical interpretation (i.e. that St. Paul is justifying male domination) on its head. Knowing that male domination flows from sin, the Apostle is actually calling husbands and wives to live according to God’s original plan in which there was perfect balance, complementarity, and equality between the sexes.”

So if Saint Paul was pushing back against the authoritarian rule of husbands, what could he mean by “be submissive”?

In no sense then is the wife the servant, but rather the companion of man.

Ven. Bishop Fulton Sheen (Three to Get Married)

What this Passage Actually Means

For more help on this, I reached out to a Catholic priest who is both an expert on biblical languages and a teacher at a seminary. He said, 

The Greek word for submissive is “upotassesthe”. This word was used in antiquity to describe the action of a column, which stands underneath something only to hold it up. In other words, it has far less of a chauvinistic connotation than modern ears perceive in that verse—it means more of a “support”, or as  I prefer “sustain” (which in English means literally “hold together while under”).

So a woman’s role in a marriage is to support her husband’s mission. Not his career or his arbitrary orders; his mission. And those of us who are husbands don’t get to choose our mission. St. Paul spells it out. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. And Christ died for the Church. 

At our wedding Mass, the priest looked over at us during the homily. He explained that just as Christ died for His bride, so too am I called to abandon my desires fully and completely out of love for my bride. That as a husband, I am to die to (aka sacrifice) my wants and needs in order to fully love my wife. Then he turned to my bride and said, “And Jess, your job is to help Tim die!”

Husbands are called to sacrifice their wants, their desires, and their needs in order to fully love their wives and children. Like Christ, we should willingly offer ourselves every day out of love and service for our bride. 

Not Degrading or Servile 

Tragically, this passage has been twisted as an excuse to dominate and even abuse women. Over the years, I’ve heard from many women who have either experienced this abuse personally or have known survivors of such abuse. Some of these women even told me that husbands have used this passage as justification to physically forced their wife into degrading sexual acts. To call this behavior a distortion of Sacred Scripture would be the understatement of the century. 

According to the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, the Greek implies that a wife’s submission is free and voluntary, not degrading, servile or coercive. And since a wife entrusts herself to her husband as part of her devotion to the Lord, her submission cannot be unconditional, especially if her husband commands what God has expressly forbids (Acts 5:29). So “wives be submissive to your husbands” does not in any way justify abuse of any kind. In fact, proper understanding of this passage would reveal that it condemns such behavior.

So should a wife be “submissive” to her husband? Yes. A wife is called to support her husband’s mission of self-sacrifice. She is called to be a source of strength. She does not have to bring him his morning coffee, keep her mouth shut during the ‘big game’, or make sure that dinner is on the table when he demands it. She is called to sustain him as he lives out his mission, but he has to live out his mission. 

Love excludes every kind of submission by which the wife would become a servant or slave of the husband, an object of one-sided submission.

– St. John Paul II (Theology of the Body 89:4)

A Mission Worth Supporting

Husbands should view this as a call to action. This is not about the rights of men, but about the responsibilities placed on men by God. The position men should seek is not atop a throne, but on our knees in humble service.

We need to develop a culture of men who emulate Christ through daily sacrifice. Because if a man wants a woman to be the strength and supporter of his mission, then he better have a mission worth supporting. And St. Paul makes it clear, loving your bride is a mission worth dying for over and over again.

Did God Make Eve to be Adam’s Helper?

The Bible can be confusing. Very confusing.

A single word can send us down a rabbit hole of questions, concerns, and even objections. 

In Genesis chapter two, after God had created Adam and placed him in the Garden to cultivate it, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone”. He then formed many animals and brought them to Adam. Then “The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. (Genesis 2:20).

So did God make Eve to be Adam‘s helper?

Yes. It says it right there. End of discussion, right? Not exactly. When it comes to the Bible, our modern ears often deceive us. 


One challenge of reading and interpreting Sacred Scripture is that while God has always known that we would be reading it in English in the 21st century, the human authors wrote in style that was more easily understood in their day than ours. So we need to do our best to view the scriptures through the lens of an ancient audience. This audience was often Jewish and in the first century or earlier.

Another challenge that we face when reading the Bible is the limitations of translation. For years I’ve heard people say that the Greek word “Logos” means “word”. It sounds like a one-to-one translation. For every use of the word Logos written in the Greek, a translator simply changes that to “Word” in the English. But there is a big problem with that. “Logos” (like many Greek and Hebrew words) actually has several meanings, giving it a lot more depth than can be conveyed in just a few English words. Therefore, when it comes to the word “helper”, we need to investigate the root language, which in this case is Hebrew. 

If you’d like to learn more about biblical translations, check out this article.


I don’t read or speak Biblical Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, or any other language that would help me better understand the Bible. Luckily, there are such experts. 

“Helper” or “helpmate” can sound to modern ears like “assistant” or someone lesser meant to serve the master. In the Hebrew, the words translated in Genesis 2:20 as “helper” (sometimes translated as “partner” or “help-mate”) are “ezer kenegdo”. Let’s take those one at a time.

This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.

Genesis 2:23


For help on this, I reached out to a priest who is both an expert on biblical languages and a teacher at a seminary. 

Ezer can be translated as strength. Most often the term “ezer” is used to mean “help”, but six times in the Old Testament, “ezer” is used to mean “mighty/strength”. This includes instances of military strength. So while it’s clear that this word means “help”, the simple fact that it can be used to describe military strength helps us understand the nature of this help. 

This isn’t a servant, slaving away at the whim of the master. The help is truly powerful. In fact, there are passages in the Bible where it reads, “God is my helper” or in the Hebrew, ezer. So Eve provides Adam with strength in a similar way to how God gives strength to Israel.  When it comes to the word “ezer”, I like to think of scenes in action movies where it looks like the heroes are going to be defeated when suddenly the reinforcements show up and blow the bad guys away. 

So Ezer is a strong help. What then is Kenegdo?


I asked that same language expert about this and he said,  

“Kenegdo is a word composed of three elements: a prefix “ke” (which means “as/like”), the root “Neged” (which means “that which is opposite/that which corresponds to/that which is proper to”), and the personal possessive suffix “o” (which means “his”). So, the word here in Genesis encompasses many meanings: that which stands in front of, that which is complimentary, that which is proper to. All three of those shades of meaning are present in Genesis 2:20.”


Elsewhere in Genesis, we see that God took the rib from Adam’s side to make Eve. God didn’t take part of Adam’s foot so he could stand over her, nor did God take part of Adam’s head so Eve might rule over him. 

Eve wasn’t made to fetch Adam his morning cup of coffee or bring him a beer as he reclined after a long day at work. She wasn’t made to cater to his every whim and she certainly wasn’t made to do his laundry. Eve was made to be Adam’s helper, his strength, his companion, his bride. Eve is like him in dignity, she belongs to him and he belongs to her. And this belonging is not as a possession, but in union with the other. And as a married man, I can confirm that a good wife gives a man strength, not by being under his foot, but by standing at his side. 

How to Get the Most Out of Father’s Day

Father’s Day should be about so much more than grilling and buying dad yet another tie.

Men don’t become good fathers by accident. And there’s no doubt in my mind that fatherhood is simultaneously one of the most misunderstood and one of the most important things in the world. This discrepancy is likely due to a combination of factors ranging from misguided social norms to the mysterious nature of God‘s Fatherhood. But regardless of why we can struggle to comprehend fatherhood, the struggle is very real. And it’s important that we challenge ourselves to understand and experience fatherhood in a deeper way. 

So here are just a few suggestions for how to take your Father’s Day to a deeper level.

Take some time to connect with your Heavenly Father

Everything should start with God (this is Christianity 101). And the fatherhood that people are usually most familiar with (human fatherhood) is a reflection of Divine fatherhood. So spend a little extra time in prayer. Try to pray in a way that you haven’t before. Or simply get back to the basics by thanking God for all he has done, telling him what you’re struggling with, and letting him know what your needs are. Trust me, as a loving father myself, I can tell you that your Heavenly Father wants to hear these things.

If possible, spend some time with your earthly father

There’s no cookie-cutter way to do this. But if you can spend some time with your earthly father, do so. I recognize that many fathers like to take this as an opportunity to treat themselves to a round of golf or some quiet time without the kids. There’s nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to spend every second of the day with your dad, but if it’s possible try to spend some time with him.

For many of us, that’s simply not possible. People have fathers who are deceased, overseas serving in the military, absent from the lives of their children, or any number of other situations. And if you don’t have a relationship or a good relationship with your earthly father, they can make Father’s Day very difficult. But it doesn’t mean that you have to sit this holiday out. You can also choose to spend time with a husband (or if you’re a father, with your wife and kids). If you have a son or close friend who is a father, maybe try to spend some time with him. 

Men don’t become good fathers by accident.

Show appreciation for spiritual fatherhood

Our priests put up with so much. And while many of them make mistakes or struggle in a particular role, they are only human. And yet we are often so quick to criticize them and so slow to forgive. We need to stop thinking of priests, especially parish priests, as simple administrators. These servants and shepherds do more for us than most people realize. 

So thank your priests, wish them a Happy Father’s Day, pray for them, and maybe even get them a card or have a Mass celebrated for them. 

Acknowledge Any Wounds 

The “dad wound” can cut deep. And this wound could be from the dad who raised you, the dad who was absent, or even a current or former parish priest. As the saying goes, there’s no hurt quite like Church hurt. So take the time to be honest with yourself and acknowledge these wounds.

After acknowledging the wounds, take the next step. Try to start the healing process and possibly repair damaged relationships. Don’t try to race to the finish line. Relationships aren’t usually healed in a ten minute conversation. And depending on the circumstances, it might not be possible, safe, or healthy to speak directly with a father or father figure who has hurt you. But don’t let that stop you. Talk to someone, write your feelings down, or even begin counseling. And no matter what else you do, bring your hurt to God.

Reflect on the impact that a father figure has had on your life (and possibly share that with others).

A lot of dads are unsung heroes. And as a father myself, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t need credit or admiration for raising my kids. But as a son who has lost his father, I know how important it is to reflect on all the things my dad did. And not just to remember what he did but why he did it. 

In a world that often seems to lack strong father figures, a lot of us need help identifying what a good one looks like or even the reminder that good fathers do exist. And by talking more about good fathers, we will help make the healthy, loving father-figure will begin to seem normal.

Learn about fathers who are Saints

We have many great Saints in the Church who are fathers: Saint Joseph, St. Louis Martin, St. Joachim, St. Thomas More, St. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Louis IX, St. Stephen I of Hungary, Blessed Charles of Austria, and many more. And that doesn’t include the seemingly unending list of Saints who are spiritual fathers.

We should also consider some of the great men who have not yet been canonized. Saint John Paul II’s father Karol is known for having been a very holy man and an amazing father, but he has not been declared a Saint. Although, that may change as the cause for his canonization was opened in May of 2020.

Sometimes I would wake up during the night and find my father on his knees, just as I would always see him kneeling in the parish church. We never spoke about a vocation to the priesthood, but his example was in a way my first seminary, a kind of domestic seminary.

St. John Paul II (Speaking about his father)

Make a commitment to do some of these things regularly throughout the year

The contemplation of fatherhood and the celebration of fathers is far too important to relegate to one day. Now I’m not suggesting that you set aside hours every day to study up on fatherhood like you’re preparing for your master’s thesis. But maybe you add all spiritual fathers to your daily prayer. Or perhaps you make a commitment to take the first steps in healing your relationship with your earthly father. Whatever it may be, lets each commit to working toward a better understanding of fatherhood.

Six Bible Passages About Sex and Sexual Love

Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and God said to them: Be fruitful and multiply

I’ll let philosopher and theologian Peter Kreft take this one. 

“The first two things we learn about sex from God, right from the beginning, are that God designed it, not man or society, and that it is very good. The first command was, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ I do not think God had in mind growing oranges and memorizing times tables.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

This passage from Corinthians is used so often at weddings that it has almost become a cliché. We see in 1 John 4:8 that God is Love. And in his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul personifies love to help explain that love is not a feeling, but a supernatural gift of God, who is Love itself. This love that St. Paul describes isn’t subject to other influences and therefore is unchanging. It’s the persistent love of God and love of neighbor Spend a few minutes with this verse. Just like people today, the people of Corinth were struggling with vices such as jealousy, arrogance, and boastfulness. Where in your life are you impatient? Where do you hold grudges? Where do you experience jealousy, envy, pride, or selfishness? None of us love perfectly, except God who is perfect Love.

Song of Songs 7:7-10

How beautiful you are, how fair, my love, daughter of delights! Your very form resembles a date-palm, and your breasts, clusters. I thought, “Let me climb the date-palm! Let me take hold of its branches! Let your breasts be like clusters of the vine and the fragrance of your breath like apples, And your mouth like the best wine—that flows down smoothly for my lover, gliding over my lips and teeth.

To put it simply, this book of the Bible may be the greatest love letter in human history. Many scholars and commentators throughout history have read it as a story about the divine marriage between God and his people. In addition, it can be understood as talking about human, sacramental marriage. Human marriage is a reflection of the divine marriage of Christ and Holy Mother Church. If we want more intimate human relationships, it helps for us to understand the nature of that human relationship and the divine relationship that it reflects.

The first command was ‘Be fruitful and multiply’. I do not think God had in mind growing oranges and memorizing times tables.

Peter kreeft

John 2:5 

His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you”.

These words were spoken by Mary to the servants during the wedding at Cana. But she wasn’t just speaking to them. This is Mary’s instruction to all of us. We are called to submit our will to to the will of God.

True love is obedient. We don’t like to think about that too often because the word obedient feels so oppressive. But there is nothing oppressive about being obedient because obedience is not enslavement. Obedience is a complete and full GIFT of self to the needs and will of another. I mean, no woman has ever said, “Oh boy! My husband is being selfish. I can’t wait to marry him!” But I know many woman who are strongly drawn to a man because of his obedience to God.

Tobit 8:4-9

When Sarah’s parents left the bedroom and closed the door behind them, Tobiah rose from bed and said to his wife, “My sister, come, let us pray and beg our Lord to grant us mercy and protection.” She got up, and they started to pray and beg that they might be protected. He began with these words: “Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors; blessed be your name forever and ever! Let the heavens and all your creation bless you forever. You made Adam, and you made his wife Eve to be his helper and support; and from these two the human race has come. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a helper like himself.’ Now, not with lust, but with fidelity I take this kinswoman as my wife. Send down your mercy on me and on her, and grant that we may grow old together. Bless us with children.” They said together, “Amen, amen!” Then they went to bed for the night.  

Sarah and Tobiah had a good reason to implore God’s protection. She had married seven times before and each time her husband took her in lust. As a punishment God struck each man dead. Some people feel pressure on their wedding night, but rarely pressure like this. But Tobiah and Sarah were pure in their passionate desires for one another.

This is a beautiful example of a husband and wife knowing God’s role in their marriage. This is their wedding night! How many people stop to pray on their wedding night?!?! This newly married couple desire each other, not out of lust, but out of love! Their love is pure and intense and passionate. And it’s made even deeper by the presence of God. So they invited God into their sexual union.

Ephesians 5:25-30 

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present himself to the Church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 

Most men love the idea of a woman. We don’t think about sex, but rather we fantasize about it. Instead of desiring a woman, we lust after her. A real man understands that love is, as St. Thomas Aquinas put it, “to will the good of the other, for the sake of other”. This means giving of ourselves every day in both the big and small ways. To better understand this, kneel before a crucifix. See the suffering that Christ chose to accept. And then say out loud, “He did that because of me and for me.” Then we kneel and repeat. We are called to give of ourselves every day in the little things and the big. Marital love is not intended to be mechanical. Sex is not simply about achieving orgasm, it’s about offering the gift of self fully and completely, just like Christ’s full offering of self on the cross.  

Five Honest Tips for Modern Catholic Dating

Are you single? Frustrated with the Catholic dating scene? Does it seem like everyone is getting married? It sure does to me, and I’m one of those obnoxious people who invited you to their wedding. Thanks for the Target gift card by the way. And to all the women, I’m sorry we made you dance to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”. But guys, come on! All the single women were right there! What were you doing in the corner acting like it was a middle school dance!

I don’t know about you, but it seems like dating is more difficult than ever before. 

Before he passed away, my grandfather would tell the story of how he started dating my grandmother. To paraphrase… He came home from World War II, asked his family if that woman down the street was still single, and then he went down the street and asked my grandmother to go on a date. That was it!

Maybe you think that’s a beautiful story. But maybe you also find yourself discouraged when stories like that make dating seem so easy. I mean, my grandmother got a date with her future husband without leaving the house. No ‘Facebook’, no ‘’, and no, God forbid, ‘Tinder’. 

Don’t let this story; anyone else’s story or even your own experiences cause you to get discouraged.

I’m a happily married man with three kids. I discerned both marriage and entering the seminary. I was sometimes good at dating and sometimes bad at dating. And despite all the things that I have going for me, I still spent years feeling like I might never find someone to marry. And I have witnessed many friends discern into successful marriages, I have come up with what I believe are five good tips for dating as a young adult. 

1. Acknowledge the Weight of Your Cross

Dating is challenging. And with all the brokenness in the world caused by pornography, divorce, and the contraceptive mentality, the journey to find a spouse may feel like you’re trying to scale Mount Everest with the enronment actively trying to stop you. 

Some people may suggest that dating is more challenging than ever. I don’t know if that’s true. But we definitely live in a culture where marriage and the family are under attack. And while we have more dating apps and websites than ever, the pool of potential spouses doesn’t appear to be getting any bigger. 

I’ve spoken with many men and women who feel called to marriage, but marriage a person worthy of them hasn’t come along. This is an incredibly heavy cross to carry. So be honest with yourself. You may not be doing anything wrong. In fact, you’re probably a wonderful person who would make a fantastic husband or wife! Many potential candidates for marriage have removed themselves as an option. They didn’t do so because of you. They did so because of hurt from their past or a misunderstanding of healthy relationships. They are not available for marriage because they don’t know how to give themselves in marriage. So, pray that these people find healing.

While we have more dating apps and websites than ever, the pool of potential spouses doesn’t appear to be getting any bigger.

2. Shed Your Preconceived Notions

First off, Stop ranking yourself and others. A so-called “Five” can date a “Nine.” Labeling and ranking people (including yourself) reduces sacrificial love to something mechanical or quantifiable. And such labels may prevent you from considering someone amazing.

Perhaps you have this fantasy ideal of the person you’ll marry and the family you’ll create together. Whether these preconceived notions revolve around money, type of job, house size, formal education, personal appearance, family structure or even dating history, no one is going to fit perfectly into the fantasy mold that you have created for them. 

I’ll use myself as an example. I never thought that I’d marry a woman who grew up in another state, let alone on a farm in the middle of rural Nebraska. And while at first mention that might not seem like a big deal, it was. Family is very important to me (and to my wife as well). This means that we must make an extra special effort to stay in touch with and visit our family out of state. I love to travel, but it can be costly and time consuming. 

So stop waiting for the absolute perfect, idealized (fictional) person to appear and date already. You’d be surprised how many amazing people are out there once you’ve opened yourself up. And you might have to go on a terrible date. But in the years that follow, terrible dates make great stories. 

3.Date for Marriage

You may have heard this before, but I think it’s worth repeating. Share your hopes and dreams, talk about your day, and pray together. Let me say it again, PRAY TOGETHER. Dating is discerning. If you keep God on the sidelines of the discerning conversation, it’s like a football team going out on the field without a quarterback. Or a modern analogy… It’s like getting in your car to drive somewhere new and immediately disabling the GPS on your phone. You have plenty of data left! What are you doing!

And while it may be a cliche, don’t date until you’re ready to date. Too many people date to fill a hole in their heart. I did that. Dating loses its meaning and purpose and you end up using someone else. Don’t waste your time and don’t waste someone else’s time. If you’re not ready to discern marriage, don’t date. There is plenty to do with your time.

Now let me be clear, discerning marriage doesn’t mean that you’re ready to sprint down the aisle. But marriage is a sacrament. And like all sacraments, matrimony is designed by God to point you to God. While dating I would think of it like this; the primary purpose of a sacramental marriage is to get your spouse to Heaven. So do you trust the person you’re dating (or interested in dating) with your eternal soul? If not, move on.

4. Learn to Date a Person (Not the Idea of a Person)

It’s really easy to elevate someone in your head. “Love at first sight” makes it easy to get caught up in the idea of who a person is. He or she is “perfect” and “wonderful” and “amazing” and blah blah blah.   

But your crush, your new girlfriend or boyfriend, none of them are perfect. You are attracted to a flawed human being with wounds just like you. When I was single I’d see a pretty girl who was into her faith and I’d think, “Is she going to be my wife? I should ask her out. But first I should find out her name.” I was focused on the idea of the person, not the person.

When you’re discerning whether or not to date someone, strive to see a person as God sees them. Not through the eyes of infatuation, but through the eyes of love. 

A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not an object of use.

St. John paul the great (love and RESPONSIBILITY)

5. Set Your Standards High (And Keep them There!)

Now this is VERY different from #2 (Shed Your Preconceived Notions). I had to shed plenty of preconceived notions when I began dating the woman I would marry. My amazing wife challenges me to grow in my faith everyday, has a great sense of humor, and calls me out when I’m not being virtuous. Not everyone I dated did this.

Date someone who works to uphold your dignity (and their own). Date someone who is essentially the same person in private and in public. Date someone who loves God more than they love you. Don’t date them hoping they will become the person who you want to date. And it’s not easy to hear, but it’s healthier to not date than to date someone who isn’t going to bring out the best in you.

And I’m only going to say it once. Gentlemen! Step up! And ask a woman out on a date! 

Ok. So maybe those tips and stories didn’t solve all your dating woes, but hopefully they help you have a better outlook on the dating life. And just maybe these tips will get you in the right place for God to do something amazing in your life. And, if not, I’m sure the D.J. at the next wedding reception will play “Single Ladies”. 

Ten Awesome Tips for a Healthy Sex Life

Most sources that offer advice on sex, simply offer advice on the mechanics of sex. But a Christian discussion must consider the very nature of sexuality. Any animal can figure out how to have sex. But when a married couple deepens their understanding of sexuality, they strengthen their union and achieve new heights of sexual bonding. Having a healthy sex life isn’t just about how frequently a couple enters into the marital embrace. Although, for many people, bonding with their spouse more often can help them better navigate the challenging vocation of marriage.

Here are ten simple tips for how to have a healthy sex life.

Assess your mental health and possibly have it assessed by a professional. With chemical causes, seasonal affective disorder, stress from work, stress from kids, and more, struggling with depression, anxiety, or any other issues of mental health is becoming increasingly common. Sometimes people are completely unaware of the impact a mental health issue is having on them. To assess your mental health, look at your entire day to see what might be wearing you down. It’s difficult to be in the mood if you’re mentally exhausted. As you work through and honest assessment, consider cutting back on things like social media. You are more than just a body, so be sure to take care of your mind as well.

Assess your physical health. Like mental health, there is no quick fix for poor physical health. And many people find themselves facing a state of deconditioning in their late twenties or early thirties. But diet and exercise can make a difference. Ask any doctor, nurse, or dietitian and they’ll tell you clearly that improving one’s diet and increasing exercise can increase energy. I say “can” because many people have underlying medical conditions that cause a person to continue to feel drained. If you don’t have enough energy, entering into the marital embrace will be more difficult. It’s also important to know that many medications can reduce libido, can cause vaginal dryness, and can cause erectile dysfunction. Having regular, open communication with your doctors can increase the likelihood of removing these obstacles.

Read scripture together. The entire Bible is essentially a love-letter. After all, Christ’s covenantal relationship with humanity is essentially a marital covenant. Even the simple act of receiving Holy Communion reveals this. We (the bride of Christ) receive His body into our body, and then we have new life within us. God’s written word is filled with truths like this one. If you need a starting place, check out Genesis (before the fall), Tobit, and Song of Songs. 

Now, Lord, you know I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.


Figure out your love languages. Even if you’ve done that in the past, love languages can change. Mine have changed noticeably since I first got married. Between changing careers and having kids, I’m in a very different place. As a result, how I desire to be loved is noticeably different.

Connect in a variety of ways. The Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning emphasizes SPICE (bonding spiritually, physically, intellectual, emotionally, and creative/communicatively). And regardless of which method a couple uses or if they even use natural family planning, connecting with one another Spiritually, Physically, Intellectually, through Communication, and Emotionally can help the couple grow deeper in their bond. 

Ask for the intercession of the Saints. It can be awkward asking someone else to pray for your sex life. But sex within marriage is a Holy and Sacred thing. And the Saints are in Heaven experiencing the fullness of God’s Holy presence. Sex, in it’s proper place, gives more glory to God than we can even comprehend. We spend so much time asking Saint Anthony to help us find our missing keys, but we don’t need to stop there when we can ask St. Raphael (patron of marriages) or St. Joseph (the Most Chaste Spouse). 

Find a way to relax before having sex. This can be very difficult. A glass of wine, a funny TV show, going for a run, giving each other massages, or whatever works for you. It’s difficult to be fully present to your husband or wife when the sound of a child screaming for mac and cheese, the thought of the bills, or the critical words of your boss still echoing in your head.

Find ways to invite God to be a part of your union. Pray before having sex. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer, nor does it have to be immediately before having sex. Just make it enough to invite God to be present. Keep holy water in or near your bedroom and get into a habit of blessing yourself as a reminder that God is present in your bedroom. And make sure there is a crucifix in your bedroom (preferably one that’s been blessed). In a Non-Christian marriage, people may view the presence of a crucified man above a marriage bed as being distasteful or barbaric. But in a Christian marriage, we understand how the cross is the most beautiful, powerful act of sacrificial love there could ever be. And a marriage should mirror that sacrificial love.    

If you haven’t have some real conversations about sex, have them soon. Some people get years into marriage before they talk about comfort levels in their sex life. If either husband or wife desire to be touched in a certain place or in a certain way, it would be good to share that. If one or both spouses shared sexual experiences prior to meeting, insecurities or problematic comparisons may be simmering under the surface. If these things haven’t been discussed, they may need to be discussed.

Love is primarily in the will, not in the emotions or the glands. The will is like the voice; the emotions are the echo.


READ The Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West, Three to Get Married by Fulton Sheen and Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyła aka Pope John Paul II. That last one is a little heavy on philosophy, but if you can work through it, you will understand a great deal more about love, sex, and sexuality. Or for something quicker, read the section of the Catechism on the Sixth Commandment. It’s more interesting than most people think. Make good use of the great thinkers who have been able to discern and write a lot about the beauty and epic truth of the nature of sex.

The marital act is an image of the divine trinity. Both the trinity and the sexual embrace are a union of persons, known by their relationship to one another. Within the sexual act is a glorious and complex realty. Remember, you are not just a body. Scripture tells us that we are each a body, a mind, a heart, and a soul. And if a husband and a wife work to strengthen and unite every aspect of their being, they will more clearly see the depth of beauty revealed through their sexual embrace.