Several years ago, I attended a workshop on sexuality and intimacy. It was for clergy in our role as counselors of couples who may be experiencing sexual difficulties, difficulties of intimacy in their relationship. I heard that committed couples might tend to overlook issues of intimacy in their relationship. They think it’s “no big deal.” Well, it is. It can be a relationship breaker.
God has given committed couples the gift of intimacy. It takes different
shapes at different moments in a relationship. However, it is meant to be embraced, whatever stage of life you are at, or whatever the circumstances are you face. One of the things I learned centered on thankfulness. How many times in the course of a day or a week do you thank your partner for who she is, for who he is? A good sexual relationship always takes place in the context of gratitude. You tell each other: “I’ve been blessed to have you in my life.”
If you have children, you are blessed. You do well to say, “I’m grateful for our children, grateful for the struggles we’re able to get through together, but it’s you, you who are my greatest gift. And. I just want to thank you. ”
I have frequently said at baptisms to each parent: “The greatest gift you can give your child is to love his mother. The greatest gift you can give to your child is to love his father.” Of course, thankfulness is more than words. Little gestures of gratitude, unannounced, when the pressures of a sick child or issues at work weigh upon you, are sacraments…signs of your gratitude for her, for him. Giving thanks. It is another word for sating “I love you.” It is also another word for faith.
If you are a person who gives thanks for who you are, what you have, that special person, those special people in your life, for this world of ours, for our common struggle as a people, for your weaknesses, even your sins, for God’s presence in your life, then you are a person of faith.
In the midst of chaos, in your own life and in our life together, in your struggle for intimacy and love, try to realize what you have, what you have been given. Realize that you, that we, are instruments of healing for one another. If you do, then in that realization, that awareness, your thankfulness will save you.
David J. McBriar, O.F.M.