by Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes
Today we’re going to tackle head-on, one of the biggest questions we hear regarding having a successful marriage . . .
Is it True … Do The Couples Who Go To Mass Together, Stay Together?
Derrick: I want to share with you some of the most intimate moments that Mistianna and I share. And it is not in the bedroom. Instead it is in the church.
Mistianna: To attend Mass with Derrick is to let Derrick into my most personal and vulnerable space and for him to let me into his. Church for me is a refuge from the chaotic world and thus, it is space where I find refuge from the outside world; a place I can really let my hair down and find peace and comfort in the tradition of the Mass and the sacredness of the Holy Eucharist.
Derrick: Within the mass I find a Christian unity between Jesus Christ, Mistianna, and myself that is present nowhere else in my life. We first experienced it on the day of our marriage and have treasured the presence of Christ within our marriage ever since. The sacrifice that Christ suffered for me is a great role model for me as Mistianna’s husband.
Mistianna: Mass for me is a place where I can listen to God in the silence and experience and find communion with Christ when I receive the Holy Eucharist. Going to Mass is such a scared and holy experience for me; and when I share “church” and “community” with Derrick, I feel more open to our love for each other, and more open to God and his presence not only in my life, but in our marriage and in our lives together.
Derrick: A lot of people like to say that they are spiritual but not religious. The presence of my fellow brothers and sisters of our parish reminds me that in order to true followers of Jesus Christ it is not only my personal relationship with God that is important but the care and love of all human beings in my life.
Mistianna: After all of these years of going to Mass with Derrick, I have come to the realization that going to Mass together has added an extra level of intimacy to our marriage. It has helped us keep God at the center of our marriage and has given us a community, a family of faith to support and encourage us during both the good and the hard times in our marriage!
Derrick: I started by speaking of our most intimate moments as husband and wife and like Mistianna the sacrifice of the Holy Mass combined with the love for my wife, the comradery with my fellow parishioners and the love of life in general is a gift that can only be found in the Church.
Mistianna: Throughout my time in church, I’ve seen far too many wives attending Mass alone, managing their rambunctious children alone, taking their relationship to the altar alone, only to return home to a husband who is sitting on the couch or hitting the links. It’s lonely going to Mass by yourself but as women or men of faith don’t give up! Be patient, and take baby steps, and pray that God will work in your spouse’s life and eventually encourage them to attend Mass with you!
Derrick: Here are a few ideas we have to eventually get your spouse to go to Mass with you:
- Invite your spouse to a fun church event or activity.
- Invite your spouse to Mass during a special time of year like Christmas Eve, Christmas, or Easter.
- Ask your spouse to attend Mass with you once a month.
- Find a simple way to volunteer at church and then ask your spouse to help you occasionally.
- Offer a simple and brief tradition Catholic prayer at mealtime and invite your spouse to participate.
- Offer to pray aloud for your spouse over an issue or struggle she/he is facing.
Mistianna: When I attend Mass with Derrick, I know I am increasing the level of intimacy in our marriage, and you and your spouse can have that same level of intimacy! When Derrick and I worship together we reinforce our personal worship and relationship with God because it is in the gathering together that we are encouraged and reminded of the importance of our personal relationship with Christ. Going to Mass as a couple binds us to God and each other in explicit ways that our ordinary day-to-day activities don’t! So get up and get to Mass with your spouse on Sunday and bring your love to the altar of Christ!
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