Driven to Drink (Conclusion)

During our premarital counseling with Monsignor Gilsenan 20 years ago, the seasoned priest remarked how well my husband and I knew each other. He commented that we were one of the more outspoken married couples he had encountered. Our being so direct towards each other would send many other couples into corners of theirs homes licking their egos back to good health.

So I knew I would likely take some action when my husband Joe’s work-related stress gushed into our home. He had a case in juvenile court made unnecessarily contemptuous by the two unscrupulous opposing female attorneys, who more resembled two pit bulls on steroids than upstanding members of the bar. With the kids, me, and our guests over for the book study, Joe engaged in some old, tacky, thoughtless behaviors I had not seen to that extent for a long time.

Discerning whether or not to bring the issue to his attention, I relied on the bad breath / B.O. / spinach-between-your-teeth rule: if I were doing some of those things, wouldn’t I appreciate for someone, my spouse or otherwise, to let me know I was doing it? Or would I rather continue going up to everyone at the party with unknowingly rancid garlic breath?

I opted to speak with him about the topic.

I explained what I was seeing and how I experienced it. I gave examples and shared my concerns of the impact to our kids,me, and on him.

Joe did not defend or justify. He just kept nodding his head and saying he will work on it.

Then he said, “I really need to get to confession”.

He independently verified what I had been feeling already about our family while observing the unpleasant side-effects of our self-created, two-month reconciliation vacuum. I have always been a big proponent of going regularly to confession; particularly regular confession as a family. But honestly, I have underestimated the positive overall impact regular confession has had on our family until the experience of going without it these last two months.

Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Make sure you have scheduled your next confession.