Friday, June 30, 2017

Steven Crowder Invites Catholics to Try and Convert Him.

Yesterday, I bought a subscription to  to watch the discussion between Steven Crowder and Michael Voris about the Catholic Church. Here's the link at: #convertCrowderday (#191 Catholicism vs. Protestantism). At this point, you will have to subscribe $10 per month to watch it. 

My thoughts on the discussion:

Firstly, it took me eight years of open-hearted, open-minded prayers and research to convert to Catholicism, so to think a quick two-hour dialogue that wanders all over the map will be able to explain Catholicism is ridiculous. I am not assuming Crowder or Voris expected that would happen, but I have encountered many Protestants who think that if Catholics are not totally convincing with a few theological soundbites, then game over--Catholicism is wrong. That is unrealistic. 

So, while both Voris and Crowder realize no one will be converting, for theological addicts like myself, this exchange does make for interesting television.  

The First 300 Years

Almost immediately the two started debating the early church. Before I make a couple observations, I want to remind Michael Voris that I wrote him years ago about putting together a series on Church Militant TV dealing with the Catholicity of the first three hundred years of Christianity, pre-Constantine and pre-Bible. Simon Rafe answered that Michael will get right on it!

Crowder's concept of the pristine early church is not unique. Often Protestants believe they are linking themselves directly back to the early church with their doctrines and practices. They are returning to a time before the Church corrupted the faith with things like the real presence of the Eucharist, the honor of Mary, praying to the saints, etc.

Catholics need to prove that in the three centuries before the Bible was put together, the church was united in its belief on the Eucharist, the primacy of the bishops, and doctrines and practices the world today considers Catholic. The early church is nothing like Protestants romanticize it to be. If Protestants really want to return to the pure, early church, we need to show them just what it looked like. We need the evidence out there. Maybe Church Militant will get that series out! 

Now to my two points how to clearly show the differences in Catholicism and Protestantism.

The Truth that Binds  

Protestants unite behind what they believe is truth. Its organizational structure is more akin to a political party in that ideas bind them together. A Protestant church forms around some person's interpretation of the Bible and those who agree with that person's interpretation. So, theology, correct theology, is of utmost importance to Protestants because it is through correct information that they are linked with God and each other.

Through theological positions, one is judged saved or unsaved, a believer or non-believer. If a Christian gets theology wrong, Protestants (who think they have accurate information about God) are obligated to divide with those who cling to falsehood. Because rightness cannot mix with wrongness.... Doctrine  is the glue holding a Protestant denomination together and doctrine is the reason denominations break apart.

While Catholics absolutely believe truth/doctinre is vital, it is not the reason the Catholic Church is united. If the Bible or the Church were to be proven absolutely fallible and in error, Catholicism would still maintain its course. Protestantism would utterly fall because, through scripture Protestants know truth and true truth connects them to God. 

Catholicism isn't wholly dependent upon truth nor scripture. Catholicism unites under family ties. We believe Christ began His family kingdom. 

Christ entrusted His doctrines and scripture to His family. The family structure was formed first, then His truths were given to them. You do not arrive at God through correct doctrine, but through a correct relationship to God's family. 

The different between these worldviews may not seem great, but it is vital in understanding both Catholicism and Protestantism.

Catholics become family through baptism (most often baby baptism where no theology is yet understood). We call Mary our mother, nuns our sisters, monks our brothers and of course priests, our fathers. Through the blood of Christ in the eucharist, Catholics take the kinship of believers very literally. 

For Catholics, it is not an information connection with God but a family one. That is why Catholics can be radical left and radical right on "truths" and still maintain united in their church. Because if Christ is the way, the truth and the life then truth is not found outside Christ. It is our relationship with Him that brings us into truth, not our relationship with truth that brings us to Christ. 

This fundamental worldview difference is clear when Steven Crowder cites Catholic theological divisions and sees these differences as similar to Protestant denominations. Crowder can't understand why Catholics don't simply kick out bad priests and bishops. Within a Protestant worldview--if leaders no longer agree with the church on doctrine, then these rogue theologians need to be fired or be kicked out--anathematized. 

A Protestant church is able to fire an adulterous or thieving pastor. But in the Catholic system, you can't fire an uncle or brother, the blood connection doesn't allow for simply walking away. Our spiritual familial connection obliges us to take responsibility for even the most horrific pedophile priest. The Catholic Church must not discard even the worst among us. (Even if it is imperative that we don't allow rogue priests and bishops to continue leading people astray. If the problem is not legal, we simply put them in a monastery and tell them to be quiet. We don't fire them.)

Catholic divisions are like a fighting family whereas Protestants divisions are like a divorced family or more precisely, a business. 

There may be Catholics standing in a corner speaking with utmost vitriol about an uncle or aunt they may vehemently disagree on doctrines, but when the family is called together for dinner, we all sit at the same table. Protestant divisions are more permanent because their theological differences often cause someone to leave the family and start a new one with a new table. Catholic divisions are just as pronounced, but a Catholic--a real Catholic--goes to mass. The Catholic model is spiritual genetics, our basis for uniting isn't truth, but Christ's Body and Blood. (And I can assure you that many Catholics deeply wish the church could just fire a bad pope or cowardly bishops!)

The Invisible Bride

Protestants and Catholics agree that God's church is His Bride. Yet, Protestants believe that the connection of Bride and Groom is in the heart of the believer and is not specifically organizational. Though Luther did not agree with this, America is mainly a nation of Calvinist theological roots. And John Calvin taught that the church is invisible

Catholics highly disagree. Imagine a man with an invisible bride and anyone who claims to be the man's bride through some experiential connection with him is welcome in his bed. I know I wouldn't want to marry a man under those conditions. I, Teresa, am a visible bride to my husband. And Catholics believe that Christ wants His Bride-Church to be clearly seen.

A visible, organizational bride-church is absolutely necessary to fulfill Christ's commission to His followers. If the church were this unorganized spattering of believers all over the world, how could Matthew 18 be followed? 
If your brother sins, go and point out their fault between the two of you.... If they refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector (parts of vs. 15-19).
How can we take people we are concerned about to an invisible church? That would be very confusing. Anyone in any church could claim this ultimate authority. 

Throughout the New Testament the church is a visible group that is persecuted. How would a persecutor find an invisible group? No, these people met together and formed connected groups with leaders. 

Protestants take all the Biblical verses about the Church and see them within an invisible worldview. At most they will see the church as little organized local groups with no interconnectedness and no centralized leaders. However that is anything but historical or Biblical. 

We, as Catholics, need to establish the scriptural and ecclesiastical evidence that proves from the very beginning, the church was visible, organized and united. And that same church was already known as "catholic" by AD 107. 

Michael Voris did a terrific job in his discussion with Steven Crowder. I hope they will do it again, as promised. Voris and Crowder, like many discourses between Catholics and Protestants, need to  define worldviews before dialogue can be successful. I am not suggesting we will convert Protestants, that is up to the Holy Spirit. But we will at least get past misunderstandings and get at the real differences.

To start, we need Protestants to understand that Catholics are a visible family-church united by the blood of Christ. Though we believe scripture to be the inerrant, infallible Word of God, the basis for our Christianity goes to the very kingdom Christ established centuries before the Bible was put together. Our foundation and source is Christ Himself telling His apostles that they are chosen to lead a visible Bride that Christ will never leave nor abandon them. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Call to the Joy of Holiness by Teresa Beem

Why does God allow suffering? The cry burst forth from every heart who has known or seen great tragedy. Suffering is all around us, behind the most courageous smiles, the jokesters, as well as the quiet, the judgmental, the irritable. Even pondering the question of suffering can cause pain for it questions the very goodness of God. Why God, why all the death and appalling hatred and destruction, the agonies of the innocent cross human time?

As Christians we often hear the answer to this question as: "sin."

Sin desires hopeless, despairing suffering. The force some call Satan, desires the utter destruction of God's creation. This mad ceaseless, tireless, merciless force will never sleep until there is not one breath of life, one grain of sand, one distant star left in the universe and all is obliterated.

Jesus warns us against following this force of sin, for it is the very cause of the suffering we see. But Christ gave us an answer to how Christians can combat this force while we await His ultimate eradication of it.

Jesus did not tell us to fight suffering with fun, nor to defiantly stand and face suffering down. Jesus said, we fight sin by taking up our cross daily and following Him.

Christianity, rightly understood and lived through the power of Christ, does not seek to avoid the suffering, at least through means that will not draw us into holiness. But Christians seek to redeem this curse of suffering through transforming it. We wrest the power from the devil to hurt us and twist it upwards, giving it to Christ. We take what is meant to harm and use it to make us holy.

When we willingly take up our cross and follow Jesus, we understand where this is going. It is going to our own crucifixion, where we will transform the hate of the kingdom of Satan and turn our sorrows into joy. Through willingly bearing our cross, given us by Christ, Satan's power to harm us and rend us useless with pain and confusion, is forever broken. Christ gives us the power, not to ceaselessly avoid injustices and submerge ourselves in distractions as to not face life, but as King David 23 Psalms, to courageously walk through the valley of the shadow of death fearing no evil, because "Thou are with me."

Christ warned us that his followers' persecution and tragedy will not be lessened but indeed, they will become a target by the dark principalities for greater attacks. Our defense is not to fear these moments, but conquer the power of Satan by holding our arms out in fearless acceptance as Christ did on the cross. We will break the power of the dark forces by our faith that God will not just sustain us during these but with absolute trust in God, He will give us joy!

Imagine the miracle that we can face sufferings with joy. There is nothing the Devil fears more from us than that we will have the courage to walk through fire for Christ. The power of sin that controls us with fear and tragedy would be eliminated. And that fire, meant to destroy us, will turn into a consuming fire of holiness that gives us a freedom that we can never experience when we are enslaved to sin.

God's kingdom turns this world of sin upside down! Think of a life of peace and joy, without fear, not because we perfected the art of ignoring and numbing ourselves with alcohol, drugs, entertainment, or hedonism but because Christ gives us a transcendent life that glimpses eternity!

That is what Christianity is: a glimpse into the divine life of God. And it is worth walking through His Holy fire.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Abortion and Seventh-day Adventists

If you follow me here at this blog, you will know that I converted to Catholicism after leaving the Adventist church. 

I grew up in a wonderful Seventh-day Adventist family. (My testimony can be seen here.) Once I was married and pregnant with my first child, I realized that my beloved church was pro-choice. For twenty years I tried so hard to stir up the Adventist people, who by-in-large are pro-life, to stand up to the General Conference and change the church's stand from pro-choice to pro-life. I was completely unsuccessful and the abortion question was one of the reasons I awoke and started studying other SDA doctrine. Which led to my departure. 

Adventists claim to be the sole remnant of Revelation 14:12 because they alone among the denominations still keep the entire Ten Commandments. Which means to an Adventist that they alone still keep the true Sabbath and everyone else worships on Sunday.  

And yet, I had to finally admit, Adventists do not keep all ten. In fact, the church is pro-choice and some of their hospitals do abortion-on-demand. So Adventists actually teach only that we have to keep nine of the ten. (Ignoring the "thou shalt not kill.") Exactly what they say boots other denominations out of the remnant-hood. So the SDA church is in reality no different than any other church--just keeping nine of the ten, making us all even, right? Their pro-choice stance undermines all authority and all possibility that they are the remnant. 

That is the background of why I am posting this video on a Catholic blog. Because I know many Adventists read this and Catholics need to realize what is going on within the SDA church.

I applaud this young Adventist for his passionate love for the SDA church and his prophetic voice to them. I hope every Adventist will watch this and fight to reverse the SDA church's stand on abortion and once again protect human life. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Equality, Tobit, and the Creation of the Canon

From Gutenberg's 1611 King James Bible

The page after the book of Nehemiah is where things get exciting for me now that I am a Catholic. Whereas, I have read all the Old Testament Protestant books dozens of time, now I open a new page on a relatively new book for me. Where the book of Esther used to be, now I get to read Tobit. The Catholic and Protestant Bibles re-converge again at Esther, we just take a little side trip into Tobit and Judith. And it is an amazing story—with angels, miracles, romance and a happy ending,  not to mention quite an insight into the Jewish mind while in captivity in Ninevah.

Tobit is weird, yes, but not any weirder than books and passages in the Torah/Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible.) And these deuterocanonical books are now favorites among my family. My
husband, Arthur, is nuts about the heroes and war scenes in the Maccabees, my daughter loves the story of the heroine, Judith.

But me, I love the story of the making of the canon. How did they choose what books will be in scripture? Why did the Protestants take out seven books of the Bible? I went all over Europe and the East Coast hunting down early manuscripts of the Bible just to verify for myself—see with my own eyes that the earliest Bibles included some or all of these books. So, here are some insights I discovered—that almost everyone else in history both Jew and Christian have known—but I got to rediscover with my own eyes. 

(Now all you have to do is go online to these ancient manuscripts and see them for yourself. Here's one of the earliest known Bibles, the Codex Sinaiticus from the fourth century. The link is to the direct page of The Book of Tobit.)

Book of Tobit from AD 1240 Manuscript


With our American "equality" perspective on everything, we don't realize that the Jews had, and still have, a hierarchy for Biblical books. Not all books were considered equally holy, equally important or equally inspired by God. The Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) were considered virtually the holiest scriptures. They were the Holy of Holies in the Bible in that after a priest touched their scrolls, he had to wash his hands because they had been "defiled" by the physical holiness of the pages. (Defiled was a term that had no derogatory understanding to the priests. The holiness of these texts was not symbolic, but they felt the pages radiated sacredness in a way that came off onto your hands like actual radiation.)

Next in importance were the books written by the prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel. This is what was meant by the phrase, "the law and the prophets." (Jesus would often call scriptures, "the law, the prophets and the psalms.")

Finally the Psalms and other genres of books such as the wisdom (Ecclesiastes, Proverbs) or apocalyptic such as Daniel. 

However, again, the holiest books were in the Torah (law) and next—the prophets. The other books such as the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Lamentations, were not the main scriptures for Israel and had a lesser status.

For Israel, there was no such thing as a Bible bound all together. They had individual scrolls that either contained one or more (if short) books they considered holy. Only after the time of Christ did the Jews decide exactly what books should be in their canon (the list of "official" holy books to the Jews.) Until then their were some differences, not just in the translation, but of the books themselves. The Samaritan of Northern Israel had a different set of scrolls they considered sacred than those who lived in Jerusalem. The Israelites living in Ethiopia and in Babylon had a different set of scriptures. 

Also, when Jesus was on earth, there were differing translations of the scriptures (just as there are now.)

Note: It is interesting that we can know which translation Jesus used when he quoted scriptures because there were several. Just like today we can know someone is using the King James Version (with the thees and thous) rather than the Message Bible because of the wording. 

Rembrandt's Tobit's eyes being healed


Which brings me to the Greek set of Old Testament scriptures.

In the third century, before Christ was born as a babe to save us from our sins, there was a very large group of Jews living in Egypt and Greek king Ptolemy II wanted the Hebrew Bible included in his library in Alexandria, so he sponsored seventy-two Hebrew scholars to translate the Torah into
From Book of Tobit Manuscript
Greek. Over the next couple centuries, the other Hebrew holy books were translated including Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, I and II Maccabees. So, this became the Greek canon of scripture. 

In first century there were at least five different Hebrew canons (differing books) in different areas in the world. Because in Jerusalem Israel spoke Aramaic, the Greek Septuagint was the main translation used by the common people. 

During Christ's ministry, it was easy to distinguish which one of these scriptures Jesus was quoting from in the same way we would be able to identify if someone was reading from the King James Version (with its thees and thous) and The Message Bible. Protestant, Orthodox, Coptic and Catholic scholars are in agreement and certain that out of Jesus 350 quotes from the Old Testament, 300 were from the Greek Septuagint version. So Christ used the Greek canon that included these seven books which 1600 years later the Protestants would remove.

But I digress, my point is that the reason there were so many differing canons of Hebrew scripture at the time of Christ is that there was a hierarchy of inspiration. The Torah was the essential. The Torah were the scrolls most
protected and copied for use in the synagogues. The prophets, both major and minor were of secondary importance. Each Israelite settlement and late Jewish area might only be able to procure a few scrolls and therefore their particular "canon" didn't include what others did. Yet, not matter what they would spare no expense to have a copy of the Torah. For the synagogue was build around the study of the Torah--although they would study other sacred scrolls if they could procure them.

Historically, Christians made the same distinction with the New Testament scriptures as the Hebrews did for the Old Testament. The four gospels were equivalent in Christian minds to the Hebrew Torah. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were considered the primary and most inspired texts in the Christian canon. It was not until the fourth century after Christ that the four gospels joined the writings of the Apostles and their scribes to form the New Testament. (And that was the same time the Old and New Testaments came together in a book called The Bible. Three hundred years after Christ died!)

Tobit in Renaissance painting
Many Protestants, who are not aware of the distinction in inspiration of scriptures, tend to misunderstand these Deuterocanonical books (Protestants call them Apocrypha.) Catholics readily admit that these seven books do not have the same holiness and inspiration as does the gospels, just as Israel readily admits that different books of the Old Testament do not equal in inspiration. We read all the books of the Bible differently. Some are praise (Psalms), some are poetic (Song of Solomon) and some are prophetic (Revelation).

I think if Protestants understood how Israel and Christians have historically understood the canon of scripture, there would be less anxiety about these differences in our canon.

These books have been holy scripture to the vast majority of God's people throughout history. They are just as much a part of the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God as any other book. But... they are not as high on the hierarchy. Tobit is not equal to any of the gospels. 

Tobit having his blindness healed


Saturday, May 13, 2017

MISSION VATICAN--my new book is published!

For the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

After almost a decade of research and writing that took me on a pilgrimage across Europe for six months, the first book of my Mission trilogy, Mission Vatican has finally been published! 

Please take a moment to watch the book trailers below and share them! Then go to at MISSION VATICAN and purchase the exciting book! It is also available on Kindle. 

Thank you!
Teresa Beem

For a little fun: 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Then Ten Commandments of Marriage


By Arthur and Teresa Beem

We have a large family by today's standards. With our own children, plus many nephews and nieces that have recently married and more who will become married in the next few years, I thought I would hand off some advice to them and their potential spouses. After all, my husband, Arthur and I began dating in 1979 and married in 1984 and so we have learned some things about how to be happily married.


As crazy as it may seem to ask that question; in today's world, it is time to go back to the basics and review what marriage actually is and what God established it for. Marriage isn't just nature working itself out. It is so much more. In fact, God told us that marriage is a profound and great mystery. God infused marriage and the family with deep symbolism that foreshadow and prophesy of who God is. The triune man, woman and child express the relationship between God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Marriage reflects the Trinity. God wanted us to learn of Him through His crowning creation of the family.

But the layers of meaning in marriage go much deeper. Marriage is a symbol of Christ and His Church. The man represents God and the woman represents His Church. Just as Christ and His Church are one flesh, the church being His Body on earth, so a man is to be one flesh with his wife. She is his body. Whole books have been written on just this very topic and the mystery of marriage is profound.

Marriage is a sacrament. That is, God instituted marriage in order to help man grow in perfection. When two Christians are joined together by God in Holy Matrimony, there is special grace given to them; marriage infuses divine graces that actually propel those people into righteousness. The selfless, sacrificial demands of marriage take us out of our narcissistic self-centeredness and through love we are to give ourselves fully to another person. Holy Matrimony is God's gift to His people draw us into and lead us to the perfection. And each spouse's first duty is to see that, through loving sacrifice and daily encouragement, their spouse makes it to heaven. That is one of the purposes of this eternal, monogamous institution. Marriage is supposed to be a saint-maker. But that vital truth has been lost in our culture of pursuing personal happiness.

Man is told to make a kingdom on earth to reflect the Kingdom of Heaven.
Into marriage, this amazing reflection of God's unity and love, something miraculous happens. Within the marital embrace, we become most like Him. From this holy union, immortal life springs! If we have the wealth to build civilizations; if we build monuments that will stand for thousands of years to honor us, there is nothing a human can achieve on earth that comes close to the divine miracle of creating a human not only in our own likeness, but in the likeness of God! Our Christian children—those precious souls who will never die, who are destined to rule heaven as kings and queens—that God privileges us to be born from our own bodies, are brought into the world through the us to form a little trinity. Life! The ultimate joy and design of marriage shows us in a very real sense who God is and His love for us.

Satan's final attack on humans will be to utterly destroy the family—man, woman and child—for it most represents the Trinity in heaven.

Create your Kingdom and bring the Kingdom of God to earth.


Statistically, almost everyone gets married, so everyone needs to be preparing for this way before they are old enough to date. Historically, all known cultures and civilizations used to prepare their children for marriage and families, but today we just assume it happens naturally. Tragically, parents focus their time and resources on preparing our children to make money instead of preparing them for something vastly more important.  

Parents: No matter how wild and irresponsible you were before marriage, you need to step up and start expecting more from your own children. No need to just assume that your child's behavior will inevitably be like yours. You are to have the courage, as parents, to be the giant shoulders your children will stand on. Don't curse your children to make the same mistakes you did. Teach your children to be faithful to the spouse they will eventually meet. Explain to them that one day they will stand before someone they love with all their hearts. They will at one point find someone they will make the vow to be faithful to them until "death do us part." 

Single people: There is no joy on earth like giving yourself to your spouse fully, without regret of having slept with anyone else. The greatest gift you could ever give your husband or wife is to have been faithful to them sexually before you ever met them. In our Sodom and Gomorrah culture of lasciviousness and wanton self-gratification, we do not see the vital need of keeping oneself for one's spouse. But if you are young, I urge you to pray and think about this important topic carefully. Be courageous. Be a hero to the one you will one day love.


One last note before we begin the Ten Commandments of marriage. I have often heard people make the grievous statement, "I think I married the wrong person." If you both are Christians, that is utterly impossible. God would never join in a holy commitment of marriage two people who He would not give the grace to be the perfect mate. Never even allow that thought to come into your head. You did not marry the wrong person. You have come up to a situation in which marriage has greatly wounded you or you feel betrayed or disillusioned. Grab your beloved and pray. Rededicate your hearts and souls and minds to God and start anew, no matter how painful or hopeless the situation. Do not despair. God has given our us marriage to heal our wounded and sinful souls. Now is the time to grasp God's promise that nothing is impossible for Him. Time for the battle of prayer to release yourself and your spouse from the grip of sin.



The bad news: marriage doesn't happen naturally and is hard work. The good news: the hard work can be fun and rewarding like climbing a mountain or getting to the Olympics or writing a novel or going on vacation. It is so worth the time, effort and sacrifice.

Take time everyday to think—not just about your marriage—about important things. Think about how to be a better person, how to be a better Christian, how your home can work better and how to be a better spouse.

Caution: Often in this step of thinking, newly-married people focus on how their spouse can change to make their lives happier. As you mature in Christ, you will focus less on how others can make you happy and begin to realize that you will only find lasting joy through giving joy to your spouse. Jimmy Durante had a song that helped remind me of this, "Make Someone Happy."

Also, when you sit down to think, try and discover how your husband or wife sees a situation. Try to see things through their perspective. And ask God to give you wisdom so that you can see better how to make your marriage glorify Him and be a blessing not only to the two of you and your children, but be a witness to the world of the relationship of Christ and His Church.

We live in a world that is glutted with entertainment and noise. Take time daily to meditate and think where it is quiet. It will make your marriage better.


Just as the church has liturgical seasons, such as Easter, where we are commanded by God to rejoice and celebrate, marriage needs these too! Find out what you both enjoy doing and do it often. It doesn't have to be expensive: cook together, watch sports, read to each other, walk or ride bikes, dance, sing.

It is normal for couples go to counseling and make time to deal with their problems, but they often forget that couples need to nurture the greatness of marriage. Life can be stressful—with student debts, misunderstandings, car troubles, taxes, health issues…. we become enslaved by our culture of money. So, having marriage holy days is vital. Keep them even when you are furious with each other.  Make a commitment that during this time frame, there will be no fights, no criticisms. It is the "safe-space" for your marriage and the rule is that you must set aside everything to just enjoy that person during this time. And, it is best to end the night with a more intimate romance. That will inspire most husbands to keep the date!

Everyone's marriage is in need of holy days (holidays) just like your career. Create marriage festivals and celebration. A time to enjoy each other.


Erase the word "divorce" from your vocabulary. It is the most dangerous word than any spoken by humankind. It is marital blasphemy.  There is no end to the ills and ruination of our society when we, as Christians, believe that it is the right thing to do to divorce. (Don't let your marriage get to the point that there is so much abuse you think divorce is the only way out. Do something to prevent it. Separation. Jail time if it is that bad.) Remember as a Catholic if God fused you as one flesh in a valid, sacramental marriage—only He can rend you asunder and believe me, He won't. He will heal your marriage, never tell you to divorce.

God made marriage. He created marriage to work. And women—know this—though both of you must be fully committed to marriage, men are designed for commitment. It deteriorates the souls and fabric of men to be only kind of committed. They must fully commit. There is no such thing as a partial launching of an attack in war. Men should be launching their hearts and commit 100% to marriage and if not your marriage will be totally overrun.

Thou shalt not quit listening. Listening is a grace and a habit that one must develop. Listen to your spouse with patience and gentleness. This is especially difficult for some men because they are made to fix a problem. So it is a sacrifice for them to slow down and use their listening skill not just to improve their careers, but their marriage.
Men need to realize women are brilliant but they think differently. Don't pander. 

Women need to spend more time listening and less time thinking about how they are going to respond to their husbands. Listening is done quietly, without interruption.

The Hard Stuff About Not Quitting: Marriage is going to hurt and sometimes hurt very badly for many years. Prepare yourself for that. You will survive it and be rewarded. However, your sufferings to stay married can be lifted up to God and miracles can occur. Do not pray for God to permanently separate you (for at times and for a short season, in serious cases, you may have to separate); rather, pray for a miracle of healing. For to make gemstones, rough rocks are placed in a tumbler and they bang against each other to bring out each other's beauty. Marriage is a saint-maker, that its point. There is no trouble, no situation, no beyond God's healing power.


The world is a rough place. A place where you might be mocked, teased, put down, cursed, laughed at, fired, misunderstood and abandoned. Home should be a place where you do not need to keep up your emotional defenses. Home should not be a place of war or even a hostile peace.

Make your own home a place where your spouse loves to go most. It is their favorite place of peace and encouragement. We often make the grave mistake of giving our best to our friends and co-workers. Do not give your best to others. Give your best at home

Speak words that uplift and not tear down. Be careful with demeaning teasing, snarkiness and sarcasm. Sarcasm often is a way of spitting out pent up rage. It may seem cute and fun for a season, but eventually it will begin to wear away at your joy. Rather than allow rage to develop, talk it out rather than allow it to boil over in sarcasm. Sometimes sarcasm doesn't have any hidden anger, but is just a person showing off how clever they are. Even that can get old after a while in a marriage.

Never, ever, ever publicly humiliate your spouse.

Don't be irritable. Decide that you won't let little things irritate you. Learn to not take yourself seriously and laugh.

Cultivate a treasure of words that uplift each other. Let your home be full of Godly encouragement. The world will oppress us. Let home be a place of warmth and grace. It is hard to live like this—it takes commitment and discipline. And to live like this is possible, but only if you stay connected to the One who gives these graces freely.


Often inside a marriage we take on roles. He is the immature one. She is the nag. I have seen many people take on the victim role, the martyrdom role, the self-righteous one, the stubborn one; there are many of these we fall into out of habit. It is very difficult to break out of a role and your spouse should help and not hinder that.

No matter how bad you were yesterday, that does not mean you cannot be a saint today. The whole point of the sacrament of marriage is that each day married people walk together they are to be more heroic.

Do not force your spouse into a role you have imagined. Sometimes women and men want to make their spouse out in the image they have in their head. God's image of who each of us should be far, far exceeds what we think we want.

Allow men to be men and women to be women. The differences are supposed to work together.


The marriage bed is holy. This means more than being faithful and not committing adultery. In our desperately wicked culture (i.e. Fifty Shades of Gray), even married people are encouraged to do sinful things, promising intense sexual gratification. Never do anything, watch anything that will cause you to regret. Always remember that God created the pleasures of sex. Do not demean it with porn. Do not demean it with sin. Stay faithful, stay trustworthy. Never do anything together that you would be ashamed (not embarrassed, but ashamed) to go public or for your children to find out. NO PORN period. Period. No matter what.

(Note: Women put away your romance movies, novels and soap operas, they will make you unhappy with real life and with your real husband. They can become women's porn! To be happy with your husband—quit filling your brain with novelists' and writers' impossible fantasies. These actually make you unsatisfied.)


First and foremost, no secrets in marriage. (Surprises for birthdays, anniversaries etc, of course, I am not speaking of.) In fact, in the Catholic Church, if you enter marriage with serious secrets, you invalidate your marriage. Secrets are the home of sin; they often lead to lies (and worse) and will destroy trust between you. If men or women wish to be respected, wish to be a person of character, do not keep secrets from your spouse. In fact, I tell my family and friends that I cannot hear secrets (within reason, of course) that I cannot tell my husband. If a family member tells me something trivial that would embarrass them if my husband knew and it doesn't in anyway concern my husband, then that is different. But if my husband would want to know or should know? Then I can't keep it from him.

Communication is a learned skill and takes enormous practice. People and genders communicate differently. Sometimes the same conversation must be said over and over for full understanding as you grow and mature in life and your marriage. Do not get discouraged if it takes many times to explain something.

After twenty years—twenty years of frustrating miscommunications, my husband and I decided to start defining our words. We get in our heads that words are defined in the same way for others as they are for us. Not true. Some words may even mean the same thing but have emotional contexts attached.

For instance, my mother would always say "please" when she was at the end of her rope! (She had six kids—so I don't blame her.) So I grew up with an emotional attachment of irritated exasperation attached to the word. Others thought I was being rude by refraining to use "please" even if I was generous with my "thank yous." I was not being impolite, I simply didn't want anyone to think I was upset with them. 

Marriage should be a safe space where you can be less than perfect with your spouse. You should be able to feel your spouse loves you and will not judge you harshly as you walk together towards sanctification. No one should be abandoned or shunned because they are less than perfect. Two Christians who are sold out in being obedient to God should know that marriage is the place to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Some people do not communicate because they don't want anyone to know how dumb or selfish they are. In fact, some do not want to reveal that they are stubbornly clinging to a beloved sin. (By the way, that's why God set up confession!) However, it will actually help you overcome your temptations, your worries, your weaknesses if you discuss them with your spouse. Often just saying them aloud will help you see these worries or temptations have less power than you gave them.

Ask many questions and as you grow old together, you will begin to know the right questions to ask so you will know the very soul of your spouse. 


This is one of the toughest ones. And it can only be done with much prayer and pain. (Wince. Sorry!) However, this is where Christian talk hits the road of realville. Take a deep breath and swallow hard and sacrifice your wants, your needs, your plans and even your most precious rights for your spouse. Don't expect sacrifice to be equal. Don't assume you know that your spouse is not doing his share of sacrificing, because one day you may awaken and find your spouse has been enormously patient and sacrificial for you and you didn't even notice. It takes a lot of maturity to see what others are doing for us. We all have an enormous blind spot that with the help of our spouse will slowly diminish. And believe me, you will be humbled—sometimes humiliatingly, embarrassedly humbled as your blind spot shrinks and you see how stupid you have been in some ways.

However, there may be times you will be the only one sacrificing. And that's okay. Imagine yourself to be Sponge Bob and absorb the inequalities you are experiencing. Sometimes deep wounds in your spouse can cause them to behave selfishly out of self-preservation and with prayer and self-sacrificially absorbing the hits, will show them the love they never felt they deserved.

This part will take wisdom: Never sacrifice for spouse or children to enable them to behave badly. Spouses and children should not be spoiled or encouraged to be self-centered by your suffering and sacrificing for them. You do not martyr yourself so that your spouse can buy a car you can't afford, or watch a television show that is full of moral filth. Sacrifice should always bring out the best in others. And it will be required of everyone who is married at sometime. My advice, be the first to sacrifice, because if you both learn this early—it will save you enormous pain in learning to do it later. 

Remember, Christ did not show the universe love by giving humans an example of buying everyone a car and cellphone. He didn't come to show us love through taking the whole world to Disney World. He showed the highest love when He was hanging on the Cross. Love takes up the Beloved's sufferings, not that they may continue to do wrong, but that they may do what is right.


Yes, as we near the top of the list of the marriage commandments, they become more serious and difficult. But I can assure you, that a marriage is worth it. It is worth all the sorrow and sacrifice and battles and drama. And the more you are genuinely following the rules, the less pain and drama there will be—guaranteed!

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do when your spouse had destroyed your trust. And your spouse may not deserve forgiveness. But forgive them anyway. It is the first step in healing the wounds for yourself and your marriage. Forgiveness is never carte blanche for someone to continue to wrong you or themselves.

Forgiveness is not a point in time, it is a process. If your spouse had abused you, betrayed you, lied to you, ruined your credit—something of great evil—you enter a cycle of forgiveness in your heart and mind that will take re-forgiving them over and over. Forgive because you don't want to become bitter and full of rage. You will no longer enjoy life and pleasure will cease if you don't forgive. Your marriage will seem like a bit of heaven when the healing of forgiveness really happens.

And don't for one moment think that when you sin against your spouse that forgiveness is easy, nor cheap. Don't ever put your marriage in that dangerous position of needing serious forgiveness. Wake up, grow up, don't do stupid things. Don't act selfishly. Both of you should learn to live so you don't have to forgive!


I bet you all knew I would write that as number one for a happy, healthy marriage. Well, it is true. For all the ten through two commandments cannot be done successfully if God isn't right there giving you the grace to think, persevere, sacrifice, etc.

Every single day, make it a habit to have devotions together (or go to mass)—read the Bible and pray. Individually, have them too if you wish, but never neglect family devotions. Even scientific, sociological studies have proven that miraculously! families that pray together, stay together! (Hmmm, wonder why?)

It is so easy to let this slide, but every time you let is slide, restart it!

God gives us a promise put the kingdom of God first and all other things will be added unto it. God first. Before entertainment, before sports, before job, before relaxation, before everything and anything…. before even spouse and children; for He is the source of love and energy and life that will give to make the family work. Nothing will work without His grace.

And if you feel overwhelmed by this list, that's normal. The list is impossible, absolutely impossible and that is not a joke or hyperbole. For us, it is impossible, but with God… all things are possible. And I can assure with with all my heart and soul, with all my love and assurance that a good marriage is worth all of it. A good marriage is the beginning of eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven.