by Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes
Mistianna: Derrick and I know that marriage is hard and really requires a daily decision to love each other, even when you don’t feel like it! Choosing to love your spouse, even when they aren’t lovable, often means making small sacrifices for them and for your marriage. This daily decision to love and to respond in love really can improve and even enhance your marriage! We’d like to offer you some suggestions that will hopefully help you and your spouse respond in love to each other, every single day of your marriage life, together.
Deacon Derrick: We are not married in order to have a competition – STOP KEEPING SCORE – When you live together, it’s only human to feel unappreciated for the work you do around the house. Do you nitpick and keep track of who does what around the house and how often? Do you feel like you are the ONLY one who ever changes the toilet paper roll or takes the trash out to the curb on trash day, or does the grocery shopping? If you are feeling unappreciated for always emptying the dishwasher and walking the dogs, stop nitpicking, and stop keeping score. Instead, do things as a gift, given in love to your spouse, each and every day!
Mistianna: “Please” and “thank you” are definitely, magic words – I’m constantly following everything Pope Francis says on Twitter and Instagram and his thoughts on engaged and married couples are full of great insight and great information! So, I was very happy when he encouraged couples to use the same healing words, the purple dinosaur, Barney, promoted during the majority of our daughter’s childhood: “please” and “thank you”! While I find myself often using these “healing words” with my family and friends, I neglect to regularly use them with the person, I love the most, Derrick. I think couples both engaged and married have a great opportunity to decide to love each other by thinking about the healing power of everyday words and using them to build up their marriages and relationships, and communicate love, appreciation, and even humility to the loves in their lives on a daily basis. I often think of the variety of thankless tasks Derrick does for me on a regular basis (making me breakfast in bed, cooking dinner, taking the trash to the curb on Tuesday night, doing the dishes, and even going to work every day to support our family. And, I think it’s really important for our marriages that we each say “ thank you” to our spouse for all their gifts of service to us and to the family as a whole. I really do appreciate Derrick and what he does for me and for our family, and I need to let him know that every single day of our married life together!
Deacon Derrick: Start Praying Together – If you have not grown up praying as an individual or as part of a family this one seems uncomfortable. The sharing of your talks with God with your spouse is the most intimate you can get with the one you love on a spiritual level. What a great way to find out what your spouse is worried about, thankful for, and what they are thinking about on a daily basis than to listen to them talk to God! There is no better way to unite yourself and your marriage with God than by putting yourselves in his presence, every day, together. Just remember that praying together doesn’t have to be complicated. And, the couples that pray together, stay together!
Mistianna: Spend More Quality Time Together – Whenever you have downtime together do you each sit silently and stare at a flickering television screen? Or text one another from different rooms in the house instead of sitting on the couch, and just talking face to face? Maybe you are like Derrick and I are and sometimes retreat to separate corners of the house, each pursuing our own activities? While there is really nothing wrong with television or independent projects, being separated all the time, isn’t good or even healthy for your marriage. However, actively deciding to love your beloved, offers a unique opportunity to replace this alone time with shared activities that will feed your marriage and nurture your relationship. Shared goals and common activities bring you closer together and foster a more cooperative spirit in your marriage. This commitment to spending more quality together, laughing, loving and enjoying, each other’s company is something you have to decide to do, each and every day!
Deacon Derrick: Attend Mass Together – By attending Mass more often together, you will find yourselves growing closer to one another as you grow in closeness to God. By daily deciding to love each other and to choose activities that grow and deepen your relationship, commit to finding a way to put yourself and your spouse in God’s presence more often, by going to Mass together.
Mistianna: Like the wedding at Cana, our marriage, and your marriage are meant to be real life celebrations of love. By daily deciding to love each other, you may each need to make some small changes, even some small sacrifices, and maybe even, some new commitments to each other. If you make the decision to daily love each other, you and your spouse can really enjoy a true celebration of your love! Your reward will be a stronger, happier, more satisfying, and Christ-centered marriage!
Good luck and God Bless!
Deacon Derrick Barnes and his wife Mistianna were married in 1995 and were college sweethearts. They have one daughter, Kailee, who is in college at UK, and two fur babies Elvis and Presley Anne. They have been involved in a variety of Marriage Prep Programs in the Archdioese of Louisville for more than 18 years, as a sponsor couple, speakers at Foundations of Marriage and presenters for the Engaged Encounter.
In, 2012, Derrick was ordained a deacon and is assigned to Saint Margaret Mary Parish in Louisville, KY where he and Mistianna are parishioners and founders of SMM’s Marriage Ministry. Deacon Derrick and Mistianna are passionate about the Sacrament of Marriage and feel called to help others have happy and holy marriages. They are currently on the Leadership Team for the Louisville Engaged Encounter and speak and conduct workshops on a variety of marriage prep and marriage topics across the Archdioese of Louisville.