Time is our most precious commodity. For so many things in life, we can change the circumstances and regain what we have lost. Yet, with time, once it is spent, it is gone forever. When transitioning into the married life, you will now have new unique demands on your time.
When I was dating my wife and we were living several hundred miles away. We would have time each evening, about an hour, set aside to talk on the phone. It would typically happen during my evening commute, so there wasn’t really any time “lost.” When we got married, I realized that I would need to carve about that same amount of time daily, if not more, to spend physically together.
As men, we have many demands on our time. Our relationships, our families, and our work. We oftentimes are forced to make a decision about what activities get cut and which stay in. Of course, we could always change the rules by going to bed later or waking up earlier. Yet, it seems that the first two activities to get cut are prayer and exercise.
For many of us, myself included, we view both prayer and exercise as “luxury” time items. In other words, we do them when we have extra time. We could not be more mistaken. Prayer and exercise are not luxury items, they are essential to manhood today.
As married men, we are the head of our “Domestic Church.” It is our primary responsibility to care for those entrusted to us. It is a job too big for us to carry by ourselves. We are foolish if we do not keep the lines of communication wide open with our Creator. An investment of time into prayer can pay off dividends. We turn away from ourselves and our own needs and are more in tune with the Divine.
It takes a lot of energy to do all of the things that we have to do today. We need to leverage our bodies to be excellent partners in our great mission. If your body is tired, then you won’t have the strength to carry on, even if your mind is strong. Exercise can tap into that pool of energy that lurks right below the surface. Ask anyone who lived a sedentary life and then began an exercise program.
We recognize that we need to get back in the game and factor these two important activities back into our lives. How do we do that? Before we begin, this is going to take discipline. Use this quote from the Bible to help you stay motivated, “At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.” (Heb 12:11
First, determine what your prayer regimen will be. Will you pray a structured prayer like the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office)? You could pray the full Office (5 times daily) or just a few, such as Morning and Evening Prayer. Will your prayer just be time set aside for a variety of prayer? No matter what you decide, make a decision and stick to it. Second, determine what exercise you will engage in. You don’t have to go out and buy a gym membership, but make sure there is a mix of activity so that you don’t get bored. Boredom in either of these activities will be the main threat you have to deal with, after laziness.
It is time for us to be men again. It is time for us to give ourselves the tools and advantages that we need in order to live as Catholic Men should.