Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Love begins at home: in the bedroom
by Mary Cronk Farrell
(From the May 24, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)
In his first encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI narrowed our focus to a fine and fundamental point – Deus Caritas
Est – “God is Love.” He challenged Catholics to see with the eyes of Christ. “Love is indeed ‘ecstasy,’” he wrote,
“not in the sense of a moment of intoxication, but rather as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking
self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of
The pope drew a strong connection between the love of a married couple and charity in the world saying, love does
not merely serve reproduction, but rather is “concern and care for the other.” His encyclical refers to “Song of Songs,” a
sensual book of the Bible believed to have been a Hebrew wedding song borrowed to illustrate God’s love for us and our love
Experiencing sexual union within a deeply loving marriage may be the closest we’ll ever come to understanding God.
It is the spring from which our waters of love flow to family and the greater world. So why is sex so often low priority?
Why do we commit to yard work, exercise, American Idol, coffee with friends, watching sports and extra projects for
the boss, but not to loving our spouse?
Redbook magazine reports upwards to 24 million American women say they don’t have time, are too tired, or just
not in the mood for sex. If you have any number of children under four, at this stage you’re probably ready to clobber me.
Moms caring for babies and toddlers get more than their share of physical touch. The demands of youngsters can take every
bit of a mother’s time and energy.
After counseling hundreds of couples about sex, psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman says too many husbands do not
understand that if they helped more with the kids and housework, their wives would be more interested in sex. He says women
often have no idea that many men’s primary sexual desire is to satisfy their wives, and that a sexually fulfilled man will
do anything for his woman, including housework.
Dr. Leman’s book Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage is frank, factual and
fun. Written from a Christian perspective, it begins with advice for engaged couples and ends with a candid look at
physical intimacy in the golden years.
The intimate relationship between married couples is one of God’s greatest gifts. Even poets through the centuries
have been unable to fully describe its wonder. But whatever movies and TV would have you think, a satisfying love life does
not come naturally to any one of us. Practice, effort, forethought and a selfless spirit are necessary.
Gloria and Bill have been married 16 years and have five children. But it’s not the kids that hinder their
lovemaking. Gloria says the problem is assumptions they make about what their partner is thinking or needs. “It’s failing
to communicate,” she says.
Mike and I recently got a king size bed. I sometimes cup my hands to speak across the expanse, then sham that I
can’t hear him answer. We laugh, but it’s no joke that men and women have difficulty with direct, open talk about sex.
Sheet Music demystifies men and women’s sexual differences with humor and blunt honesty. Leman calls both
spouses to take responsibility for learning the uniqueness of the other, being supportive, and cultivating the sexual bond.
He addresses, quite frankly, every problem I can imagine a couple confronting in their love life, and offers detailed
solutions and ways to spice things up. A more exciting and satisfying love life, Dr. Leman claims, will rejuvenate your
I picked up this book when symptoms of peri-menopause sparked fears that my love life might suffer as my body
changed. My doctor’s basic advice was, “Use it or lose it.” Mike needed no convincing. With all this encouragement, plus
Pope Benedict’s blessing, I decided to tune up the orchestra before the concert was over. What’s to lose?
© 2007, Mary Cronk Farrell
(Mary Cronk Farrell is a Spokane free-lance and
children’s writer. Her latest book, Celebrating Faith: Year-Round Activities for Catholic Families, has been
published by St. Anthony Messenger Press. Contact her at www.marycronkfarrell.com)
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