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My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: Develop a Conjugal Spirituality

My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: Develop a Conjugal Spirituality

Kate and I have been married for just under ten years, and we currently have six children under the age of eight (four sons and two daughters). So, from the get-go our relationship has been defined by our constantly having more demanded of us than we seem to have to offer. This often drives us to prayer to ask God to make our kids (and one another) less demanding, to miraculously give us more energy, patience, and love, and to somehow get us on the same page each time fertility comes back around and we’ve got decisions to make. God is faithful, and He responds beautifully when we come to Him, so our deepest struggles usually don’t come from His lack of communication but from our own.

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My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: Take the Benedict Option at Home

My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: Take the Benedict Option at Home

I first visited a Benedictine monastery when I was a theology student in England. I wasn’t a Catholic, but I was impressed by the beautiful abbey church, the austere lifestyle and the obvious dedication and simple stability of the monastic life. Over the years I have made my annual retreat at many monasteries and learned that St. Benedict’s fifteen hundred year old wisdom is as relevant and vital in the twenty first century as it was in the sixth.

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My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: Love is an Action Verb

My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: Love is an Action Verb

My journey in faith began to come alive in about mid 2005. I would have considered myself “agnostic” at the time, but my search for Truth led me to the Catholic Church. I was confirmed in 2007 and married my beautiful wife, Maria in October of the same year. We have 8 amazing children and my vocation as husband and father teaches me something new every day. The most valuable lesson that I continue to learn is about Love.

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My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: Give Yourself Fully to God

My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: Give Yourself Fully to God

For a little over a decade, I have witnessed the growth of an incredible movement of men’s spirituality and men’s leadership sweep across the United States and beyond. That Man is You! men’s program started with humble beginnings at my local parish in Houston, TX. Today over 25,000 men gather each week in their local communities. It’s absolutely beautiful.

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My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: We Must Give Image to the Heavenly Father

My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: We Must Give Image to the Heavenly Father

I married my High School Sweetheart, Susan, thirty two years ago. Being the youngest of four boys, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that God would give me five daughters to raise. I was in for the ride of my life. They are all grown and living on their own now. How blessed I have been to be responsible for leading my “six pack” of women to the heart of Christ. How humbled I have been made to think that God placed six eternal souls in my direct care. It’s an awesome responsibility worth of our greatest efforts.

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My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: You are Steward, Not King

My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: You are Steward, Not King

I am not sure why, but I have always been hesitant to operate from the “expert” mode, even in areas where I have clearly been gifted or worked hard developing understanding or skill. Perhaps because I am keenly aware of my failures, defects, sins, and mistakes that still haunt me as a husband, father, and evangelist. There is so much I wish I had known as a young husband and father! So, after 23 years of marriage to my beloved Melanie and raising eight kids, I offer you my “#1 Lesson” as a Catholic family man in the form of counsel that I would offer the “me of 1993.”

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My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: Don’t Allow Regret to Define You

My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: Don’t Allow Regret to Define You

I wish I could say I had “one” lesson that is most important to me as a dad and husband. The lessons, at least for me, are many and unending! The minute I feel like I have one lesson down here comes another one. From the moment I said, “Yes,” to my wife twenty years ago, until now, I’ve been learning lessons. Over the sixteen years since we brought our first of four children home from the hospital, I’ve been learning lessons. Many of these lessons have been simple…

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My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: We Must Listen

My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: We Must Listen

I was honored by Jim Havens’ invitation to contribute a thought or two from my experiences as a husband (32 years this October) and as a father (30 years this November). Though I’ve had a lot of practice with my wife and two sons, I’m sure they would agree in complete unanimity that I am not perfect yet! Still, I think I have learned the importance of at least one thing, and I’ll try to pass that on.

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My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: We Must Humble Ourselves

My #1 Lesson for Husbands and Fathers in Christ: We Must Humble Ourselves

I am admittedly no expert on being a husband and father. My stats are still quite young compared with the seasoned vets of this great vocation: married eight years this October, raising four children (the oldest just turned seven), and I have certainly made my share of mistakes. And yet, I have learned a good lesson or two worth sharing. This article is my attempt to give you my #1 lesson from what I have learned so far as a Catholic family man and a practical challenge for putting it into practice today.

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Five Principles for Romancing Your Wife

Five Principles for Romancing Your Wife

About 13 months ago, I kicked off CatholicFamilyMen.com with a blog post sharing a good example from Blessed Frederic Ozanam on how to celebrate your monthly wedding anniversary. I immediately sought to follow his lead and over many months of putting his good example...

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Be the Primary Educator in the Faith for Your Children

Be the Primary Educator in the Faith for Your Children

A good example from Blessed Laszlo (Ladislaus) Batthyany-Strattmann:  (This is part two on Blessed Laszlo - to read part one, which includes a brief biographical sketch, click here.) Blessed Laszlo was hands-on in the formation of his children. His dedication to their...

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Order All Your Responsibilities to God’s Kingdom

Order All Your Responsibilities to God’s Kingdom

A good example from Blessed Laszlo (Ladislaus) Batthyany-Strattmann:  Ladislaus, a.k.a. Laszlo, was born into the lineage of Hungarian nobility in 1870, the sixth of ten brothers. Material wealth enveloped him, think castles and vast lands, and at the age of nine his...

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Unite Your Sufferings with Jesus and Mary

Unite Your Sufferings with Jesus and Mary

A good example from Blessed Jacopone of Todi:  Born as a member of a noble family in the northern Italian city of Todi, Jacomo ("James") became a lawyer and had a reputation as a worldly and greedy man. Yet, by God's grace, he met and married Vanna, a beautiful and...

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Take Your Family on a Pilgrimage

Take Your Family on a Pilgrimage

A good example from Saint Richard:  Saint Richard, sometimes called St. Richard the King or St. Richard the Pilgrim, and his wife Wunna are excellent intercessors for true success in parenting as all three of their children have been canonized as saints: Saint...

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Go to Mass Every Day and Eliminate Excuses

Go to Mass Every Day and Eliminate Excuses

A good example from Saint Isidore the Farmer:  Isidore and his wife Maria had one child, a son, who died very young. After his death, this peasant farming couple devoted themselves entirely to prayer, the Mass, and work. Saint Isidore prayed hard and worked hard. He...

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Engage the Culture with Christ

Engage the Culture with Christ

A good example from Blessed Erkenbert of Frankenthal:  In the lives of husbands and fathers who have officially been named Saints and Blesseds by the Catholic Church, we sometimes see the example of a sort of "second calling" later in life to enter into religious...

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Be Kind to Your Wife Always

Be Kind to Your Wife Always

A good example from Saint Homobonus:  Homobonus Tucenghi (from the Latin homo bonus literally meaning "good man") lived in Cremona, Italy in the 12th century. Even though he and his wife were unable to have biological children of their own, Homobonus gave himself as a...

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Form Each Child to Understand and Embrace Vocation

Form Each Child to Understand and Embrace Vocation

A good example from Saint Ferdinand III: St. Ferdinand III was married twice (his first wife Beatrice died after 15 years of marriage) and had a total of 13 children. Two of Ferdinand's children entered the call to consecrated life. His son Sancho received the...

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Write a Vision of Life for Your Children

Write a Vision of Life for Your Children

A good example from Saint Louis IX of France: King Louis VIII died in 1226, leaving the throne of France to his 12-year-old son Louis IX. St. Louis IX of France married in 1234 at the age of 19. His marriage to Margaret lasted 36 years and resulted in 11 children,...

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Follow the Good Example of Your Earthly Father

Follow the Good Example of Your Earthly Father

A good example from Blessed Thomas Percy the Younger: In 1537, nearly two years after the martyrdom of Saint Thomas More, Thomas Percy senior - a nobleman from the northernmost county of England, was executed for his part in leading a failed armed rebellion against...

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Read the Holy Recommendation of Your Wife

Read the Holy Recommendation of Your Wife

A good example from Blessed John Colombini: Blessed John Colombini was a wealthy business man with a wife and two children. Before the age of 50, he was greedy for material gain, focused on worldly ambition, and prone to anger. Blessed John's conversion began in his...

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Develop a Small Habit of Penance for Generational Sins

Develop a Small Habit of Penance for Generational Sins

A good example from Saint Francis Borgia: Saint Francis Borgia was born into an aristocratic Catholic family and grew up in a world of high nobility and luxury. He married at 18 and became the father of eight children. Francis exhibited many strong virtues, but his...

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Serve Anonymously with Your Child

Serve Anonymously with Your Child

A good example from Venerable Pierre Toussaint:  Venerable Pierre Toussaint's infant niece Euphemia, whom he and his wife Juliette adopted and cared for as their own daughter, flouished in the Toussaint home. As she grew, it is said that "her religious and moral...

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Serve Anonymously with Your Wife

Serve Anonymously with Your Wife

A good example from Venerable Pierre Toussaint: Venerable Pierre Toussaint’s work as a highly sought after hairdresser for the upper class of New York provided material wealth for his family well beyond what was needed. It is written that Pierre and his wife Juliette...

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Bring Life to Each Child

Bring Life to Each Child

A good example from Venerable Pierre Toussaint: Venerable Pierre Toussaint was born into a life of slavery on a wealthy Haitian plantation in 1766. Political unrest and economic turmoil in Haiti led Berard, the plantation owner, to take refuge in New York. Five...

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Freely Offer Sacrifices

Freely Offer Sacrifices

A Good Example from Saint Timothy the Lector: Diving deep into Church history, we find Saint Timothy the Lector, a disciple of Christ who lived out his earthly life in the late third century under Roman persecution. Timothy was known for being an authentic disciple of...

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Cultivate Eternal Perspective

Cultivate Eternal Perspective

A good example from Blessed Bartolo Longo: We have already looked at two good examples from Blessed Bartolo Longo (Pray the Rosary Daily and Deeply, Share the Rosary), yet one last good example deserves our attention before we move on to our next father and husband of...

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Share the Rosary

Share the Rosary

On October 7, 1871, the three hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, Bartolo Longo was enrolled in the third order of St. Dominic with the name Brother Rosary.

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Pray the Rosary Daily and Deeply

Pray the Rosary Daily and Deeply

A good example from Blessed Bartolo Longo:  Blessed Bartolo Longo is a somewhat unconventional family man in that he entered marriage at an older age (44) and then lived the married state while remaining faithful to a previous vow of celibacy he had made (he and his...

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Write a Philosophy of Formation

Write a Philosophy of Formation

A good example from Saint Thomas More: Saint Thomas More took his fatherly responsibilities very seriously. Thomas had an unyielding intention to provide for the needs of his children, especially in the area of formation. This formational provision was...

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Maximize Sunday

Maximize Sunday

A good example from Saint Louis Martin: It seems appropriate to follow two posts on St. Louis Martin with one more to round out a trilogy of good examples. Surely we have ample material recorded on this holy role model to keep us occupied for many months, but we will...

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Schedule Family Prayer

Schedule Family Prayer

A good example from Saint Louis Martin:  In the last post, we looked at the tremendous affection and intimacy that St. Louis Martin exhibited toward his children. Louis was a man of great tenderness, and at the same time, he was also a man with backbone. In this post,...

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Nickname Your Children

Nickname Your Children

A good example from Saint Louis Martin: Louis and Maria Azelia (“Zelie”) Martin were canonized on October 18, 2015 - the first joint canonization of a married couple. St. Louis Martin is best known as the father of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, a.k.a. the Little...

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Live the Catholic Faith

Live the Catholic Faith

A good example from Saint Philip Howard: Early on in his marriage, Philip neglected God and his wife because he valued his career and worldly advancement above all else. For Philip’s efforts he received the title of Earl, became a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, and...

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Write a Love Letter to Your Wife

Write a Love Letter to Your Wife

A Good Example from Blessed Franz Jagerstatter: Blessed Franz Jagerstatter was a Catholic Austrian under Nazi German occupation during World War II. Franz believed it would be a sin to fight on the side of the Nazis and so he refused to do so. He chose to stand firm...

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Celebrate Your Monthly Wedding Anniversary

Celebrate Your Monthly Wedding Anniversary

A Good Example from Blessed Frederic Ozanam: Blessed Frederic Ozanam is best known as the founder of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, yet he was also quite an excellent husband. He wrote the following letter to his future bride prior to their wedding: “I cannot...

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