By Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes
Deacon Derrick: As kids we were taught to “give up something” for Lent. To deprive ourselves of something we really loved so we might better understand the sacrifice Jesus made for us by dying on the cross. Many Catholics now add something during Lent rather than giving up something. This Lent we encourage you to do just that by doing some spring cleaning in your marriage.
Mistianna: Remember when you were dating your spouse and it felt like you couldn’t stop talking? It’s easy to get settled in to the daily routine of marriage and to forget how we used to talk constantly to each other. One way to regain this communication with your spouse this Lent is to share the highlights and the lowlights of your day with your partner. Sharing those moments of your day (and listening as your spouse shares theirs) is a great way to communicate that you and your spouse are part of each other’s lives, even when you’re apart.
Deacon Derrick: It’s easy to let our calendars fill up to the brim — between work, dropping off kids at school, catching up with friends, and making dinner, sometimes it feels like you barely have enough time to breathe, let alone dedicate quality time to your marriage. But, as busy as your life is, don’t give your spouse just the leftover scraps of your calendar. To spring clean your marriage this Lent, begin by planning time with your spouse first when you plan out your schedule. Then, after you’ve given them your best times, add in things like hobbies, grocery shopping, or community events.
Mistianna: Words have real power in our marriage — we can use them to build up those who are closest to us, or tear them down. Because our spouse is the person who knows us the best, our words can carry even more weight. This Lent, do some spring cleaning by reviewing the words you say to your spouse. Try affirming your spouse and telling them how much they mean to you. The power of a compliment or a few kind, sexy words can be so affirming and life-loving in your marriage. Think back to all of the things that you used to say to your sweetheart when you were dating. Making a significant attempt to lift up your spouse by affirming and encouraging them which can really heat up and bring passion back into your marriage.
Deacon Derrick: Let me offer one particular activity that Mistianna I engage in: COUCH TIME.
Each day as I get home, we take 30 minutes a day to catch up. During this time no TV, no phone, no kids allowed just husband and wife talking to each other. During this time, we catch up with one another about what has happened during the day. We share what we want to do as a couple, we share our dreams and hopes. And when we don’t get this time together, we miss it. I would encourage you as well during this time of Lent to engage in this practice.
Mistianna: Lent is really the ideal time to look at your marriage and to do some spring cleaning as you evaluate your commitment to being life-giving and life-loving to one another. Do you each love as deeply as you originally intended when you first made your wedding vows? Do you each love the other unconditionally? And, do you each make the daily decision to love one another when things are going great in the marriage and when your marriage hits unforeseen hard times? Whether you have been married for three years or 30 years, use this this sacred season as the start of a renewed relationship with your spouse. God bless and good luck as you spring clean your marriage this Lent.
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 Archdiocese 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 Archdiocese of Louisville.