The George Bailey Syndrome: Why Parents Get Discouraged and How They Can Find Joy

Remember that scene from It’s a Wonderful Life where George Bailey loses it in his home?

George: You call this a happy family? Why do we have to have all these kids? Janie, will you stop playing that lousy piano?! Now, cut it out! Stop it!

Janie: Oh Daddy! (starts crying)

Mary: George, for heaven’s sake, what’s wrong with you?

It’s a Wonderful Life

That happens to me sometimes. I call it “George Bailey Syndrome or “GBS” for short. All the stresses of life build up, and you just snap. You snap hard.

george bailey syndrome

This morning, I started looking at old family pictures. You know, it’s funny. By looking at the photographs, I could read the years: “Yeah, that was a good year. 2009. Look at us. We were so happy” Or conversely, “Oh man, that was a bad year. 2011. Look at me. Look at Joy. Yikes. That was a rough one.”

You can really read it all when you look at the faces of Joy and me. We’re smiling, but there is also a tiredness in our eyes.

After the children were at school today, Joy and I talked about the years. Why were some good times and others so tough?  We just had our seventh baby, so we are starting to understand it better and see the patterns. Here’s what we discovered. These are our personal reflections. They are not meant to be universal stereotypes.

Why Parents Get Discouraged:

  1. Lack of Sleep. 5-9 months after the birth of a baby is hard on the body and mind. Lack of sleep really takes a toll on happiness. Patience is short. For me, 2007 (after our fourth baby) and 2011 (after our sixth baby) were really hard on me.
  2. Uncertainty. When I left the Episcopalian ‘priesthood’ and became Catholic, it came with uncertainty. I slumped into discouragement. My darkest years were 2007 (new baby and new job, new city, became Catholic) and, once again 2011 (new baby, trying to finish PhD, uncertainty about employment).
  3. Financial Fears. Nothing gets you depressed and discouraged like watching a checking account run to $0.00. Even worse, the accumulation of debt is full-out slavery. When I talk to men all over the country, their number 1 fear against having a large family is financial. (For mom’s its emotional fatigue – probably related to lack of sleep and total exhaustion.)
  4. Advice (and Mockery) from Family and Friends. I hear sad stories about this all the time. Strangers, friends, (and worst of all family) will question the prudence and responsibility of parents. Not just on family size, but on every detail: children’s’ diet, children’s’ entertainment, children’s’ education, children’s religion, children’s schedule, etc. On and on. Everyone has an opinion and they lump it on the shoulders of parents.
  5. Criticism. We live in a neighborhood without many kids. The police were at our house yesterday because the neighbors called 911 (again). Why? What was the crime? Our children were playing in the cul-de-sac. The police officer: “It’s technically illegal to play in the street. But yeah, I know. I grew up playing in the street.” You just want to throw your hands in the air. “Oh, okay, officer. I’ll lock the kids inside the house from now on, and I’ll have them play video games all day – you know those video games where they go around shooting people. Would that be better?” It comes in other forms. The priest or parishioners criticizing your for your children’s behavior in Mass. Or just the “look” some give which is worse than anything they could say.

I don’t experience these things all the time, but often. These factors cluster with the birth of a baby. Like I said, with the birth of a baby you get:

  1. lack of sleep
  2. uncertainty
  3. financial instability
  4. lots of unsolicited advice
  5. criticism (from others and sometimes from your spouse)

George Bailey Syndrome: So how do you pull out of it?

Well, my temptation is to turn inward, become gloomy, and become agitated with my wife and children. It’s horrible. I regret it. Even more I repent of it.

When were having baby number 5 (for me this was 2009), I had coffee with a Catholic man I respected. Tom Spence. He has 10 children. He’s amazing. After talking to him I left Starbucks that day with two lessons:

1) I must cultivate a deep interior life of prayer, penance, spiritual reading. It has to become deep like the Grand Canyon.

2) I need to be intentional with my life: sleep, fitness, marriage, emotional life, etc.

Practical Advice for Fathers

In a sense, my reflections on parenting and living on this blog and in the podcasts are merely a summary of these 2 lessons. And let me tell you, I write this blog and record podcasts as a kind of therapy for myself. I’m giving advice to myself so I don’t keep forgetting it.

If you and I were having coffee together and talking about parenting and GBS, here’s what I’d tell every dad. (I’ll have to leave it to Joy to give the wife-mommy version at some time – maybe a guest post.)

  1. Write Down Personal Goals in three categories: I want to own, I want to do, I want to be. Fill out each category and be 100% honest with yourself. If you want a silk suit, a Harley, or season tickets, don’t lie to yourself and not write it down. Write it down. Write everything down. It should only take you you 5 minutes. If it takes you longer, you’re over-analyzing it all.
  2. Now create a hierarchy of those goals so that you can live an intentional life. As I explained in my post on creating goals, begin with God, your soul, your body, your wife, you children, finances, etc. I believe spiritual goals are first, and then personal goals (soul and body) come next followed by family. You may disagree. My defense of that order can be found here.
  3. Three things. Supernatural joy in this life, comes to me when I do the following daily:
    1. fulfillment of my spiritual goals: mental prayer, Scripture reading, Rosary
    2. fulfillment of physical exercise – usually jogging or lifting weights
    3. creative mental work that completes pre-planned goals

If all three get checked off, I’m a great man for my wife and children. If not, I’m not.

Conclusion: Revisiting George Bailey

Look, if you don’t set up intentions or goals, life will happen and it will stretch you so that you snap. You must plan. We cannot foresee everything. I still get blind-sided. But life is too short and my family is too precious to get knocked down and stay down.

If you are discouraged and knocked down. Don’t worry. Don’t feel lost. God is with you. Emmanuel. He will help you even if no one else will. Draw close to Him. If you really need encouragement, please read these 12 attributes that God has given you in Christ.

And guys. Find your vigor and swagger again. Write a note to your wife. Go home and give her a big kiss in front of the kids. Let her know (and the kids know) that you love her and them and that you are the hero of their home. If you need to, dress up like this:

george bailey in uniform

Question: I’ve been a little vulnerable. I’d love to hear from you. How do you struggle. What are your goals and preventions to pick yourself back up and keep on moving in Christ? I look forward to reading and engaging with your comments. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Scott Killian

    Hey Taylor,

    I know how you feel about the neighbors. When we lived in the house prior to our current home. I had a neighbor yell at me for letting my kids play in the vacant lot down the street. I said the same thing, I guess you prefer they stay inside and play video games. I grew up playing outside and the only rule I recall was to be home when the street lights came on. I believe this breakdown in our society is and will have long term effects.

    On a side note, I need to get out the dutch oven as it is perfect weather.

    Thanks for the great post.

  • Lisa Ann Homic

    Deep down inside of me, I know God feels rejected when I put my fears ahead of him. I am breaking my own heart once I admit what I have done. It really is putting other gods before him. Fear becomes an idol. The devil likes it when I remember the bad leaving little memory of how I actually resolved it. Dr. Taylor Marshall, you private messaged me a while ago and I want you to know, your words lift up thousands. I want to do the same for you.

  • isabel

    Yes, I agree, that it is saddening when people give you “well-meaning advices” when everybody else already did. Deep down you think “I KNOW!!!” but for the sake of courtesy and civility you smile and say “thank you”. As to those looks when you are in the church, that was the reason why we did not go to church when the kids were still little because I had “Irish twins” – 10 and a half months apart. You get hold of one, the other slips away and so on…But as my mother always said, now is not the only time…you get better as time passes by. I’m not sucking up to you but your posts has been a source of information and education for me. As they say, hang in there and tomorrow is another day.

  • Maria

    Taylor…….

    GBS can hit any of us, no matter our circumstances or status. Whereas I can’t relate to your life as a parent (as I’m childless not of my choosing) and the lack of sleep/time/sanity thereof, as a new convert I’m finding that the loneliness of empty arms can be overcome by embracing those in my parish with me in my new adventure. By involving those with various journeys in the Faith in my walk, their experiences and love make such a difference, as I come to grips with such incredible, and sometimes confusing changes. In the end, I have Godly friends that are truly part
    of my life.

    Like you this includes making my life full by the involvement of prayers, the Rosary and studying of the Scriptures/Catechism. I’m finding there is just as much blessing in those around me in the Faith as there are in a quiver full of kiddies!!!

    Blessings to you and yours…….
    Maria

    • Benjamin Glenn

      Maria – welcome and Godspeed your journey. I am a convert too (7 years young as a Catholic). If you found Taylor, then you are on the right track! Keep reading and praying – I have been astounded by the depth and richness of the faith. Yes – in loneliness – there is no greater consolation – put those feelings into your Rosary and look for those times in the life of our Savior when He faced such a similar circumstance. No matter how much something stings, once I realize that he has handled something far greater, my troubles wither in comparison. Keep on the trail – Benjamin

      • Maria

        Great words, Benjamin. Thanks for that. It brings to mind all the times that the rush of the reality of my life would begin to drown me. Long before I made the decision to pursue the Blessed Virgin for myself, I remember speaking the words of Job: “Though He slay me, I will trust Him.” (Job 13:14-16) There were times I didn’t know how the words ever surfaced for air. But once they did, the comfort of knowing how Job faced the amazing obstacle of losing everything, including his family, made me realise just how good I’ve got it.

        On this Earth, I’m barren…..but I’m singing loud. I’ve got a tent to fill!!! (Isaiah 54:1-3)

        Blessings,
        Maria

  • lifeknight

    Well, I don’t know what I did to tick off the Big Man upstairs, but I am living in a parental nightmare. I guess it could be worse, but suffice it to say I will have the 50-50 split of divorce within my family after last night. Our daughter spent last night in jail after a row with her husband of six months. Pathetically, we try to be devout. The two failed marriages make me and my husband depressed and left with questioning our parenting. We still have six other children to worry about (two still at home) and we feel like we are always putting out fires.

    • Jen S

      Lifeknight, my heart goes out to you – it sounds like you indeed have been through the ringer. The good news is that God finds us where we are, and He can use all our past sin, our problems, our impossible situations for our eternal advantage, and for your children as well. I have recently prayed a novena to Our Lady, Udoer of Knots. It is a rosary each day for 9 days, asking our Blessed Mother’s help to undo all the knots that we have in our lives due to our past choices and sins – and we all have them! I would say that your “pathetic devoutness” as you call it is so very pleasing to God. Who was justified – the “righteous” pharisee who doesn’t feel any need for God, or the “tax collector” who beat his breast and simply said, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner”? These are the prayers that reach our Lord, b/c they are full of humility and openness to Him. God bless you; stay faithful and you will see God’s healing miracles in your life in time.

      • lifeknight

        Thank you. I am praying for God’s perfect will in this trauma. I appreciate the kind thoughts.

    • Theresa

      lifenight.. I will pray for you this very night. I’ll ask that souls in purgatory keep you in their prayers.

  • Julie Martin

    Excellent insight and advice!! Definitely an on-going challenge for all of us, as parents. Couldn’t agree with you more, in regards to getting outdoors. When my husband and I are at our “snapping points”…we can often see the pattern of a “hurried life,” and the frantic pace which stresses both parents & kids. We’ve got to be intentional about finding that rhythm of work and rest….the necessity of building “slow” into our lives…being present to God in the present moment.

    PS: Would love to see that guest post from Joy :)

  • Pete Serafin

    Taylor,

    as I begin a new chapter in my life with a fiancé and daughter from an annulled marriage I have found that much of the past 8 years has been spent getting my own spiritual life in order and learning to serve others, but struggled with the strength, courage, and ability to foster a deeper relationship with Christ in my bride to be and daughter. I have not been a diligent leader in my own house, which while isn’t broken, is not representative of the foundation it should be. Through the understanding that it is my biggest responsibility to get my daughter and wife to heaven I began praying to become more like St Joseph and praying for his intercession that I am a better example of Christ in serving my family. I also include intentions in a daily rosary that they grow in their relationship with God and that I have the courage to love, serve, forgive, and be humble while maintaining a parental authority. I try to focus on the fact that, like Joseph, God has entrusted to my care a wonderful woman and a great young girl whom in the end are truly daughters of God. I try not to be weighted down by my failures of being a strong spiritual leader and instead focus on the blessed opportunity that God has still provided me the time and resources. As men we must remember that while food on the table and a roof over the head are required for a good home, no home can exist without the loving bonds of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and this must always come first.

  • JMJT

    I approached motherhood as a married late a and big city dweller knowing I was very stupid about how to raise children so I welcomed and solicited opinions from various people, some from other cultures. Some very good advice and practical hints were offered, and I was grateful for them.. I later read that Dr. Spock gleaned all or most of the information in his book from parents. So I think it is wise to be open and not insulted when people offer advice. The risk for the offerer is that the advice may not be fitting for a given situation, but in such cases hopefully it will be politely ‘shelved’ and perhaps passed on to some situation where it is fitting.

    I think it is important to correct other people’s children when they are doing something annoying to the group they are in , such at Church, or when they are doing something dangerous like wandering or playing in the parking lot or perhaps even a street, or putting their fingers near a door in a well busy public area. Parents should correct first but if they failed to do so then they should politely thank responsible people and re-correct the child instead of correcting the adult who did the job they neglected or otherwise were distracted and did not notice. Regarding playin in the street safety of children, and child snatching is a reality to be seriously considered…before some tragedy happens. My sister and I still remember a serious abduction attempt when I was a preschooler that in the alley behind our backyard. A man had already lifted me into the cab of his small truck and if it were not for my brother ( 2 years older, and years later a Captain in Vietnam) who got me out , I would have been abducted . There were some attempted abductions in the good neighborhoods near where my son attended grade-school.

    Neighbors with active and noisy children should be aware of neighbors who may crave some quiet moments in their own yard and if this occurs at a certain time ..like one hour on Sunday afternoon, then perhaps the kids schedule could work around that. I grew up in a family of 5 in a
    nice neighborhood of single family homes on 1/4 acre lots and we were always reminded by our parents to be aware that our neighbors sometimes needed for us to be quiet…although they were good to us and friendly. We were not allowed to play in the street but could with permission go to the park with older siblings and without an adult…probably not a good idea these days.

  • JoeAllen

    Jesus came as our “Sacrificial Savior” to let us know that we are the “sacrificial human race.” We are born to be murdered and annihilated by Satan. Jesus told us that our hope is in the Resurrection when the human race will be re-created into the Kingdom of God. Stay salty, my friends … !!!

  • Greg

    Dear Dr Taylor,
    How do you split time with the kids so she can achieve her goals? I find it immensely difficult to find time where neither of us have the children because we usually don’t get them down for bed for good until 10pm at night

  • Pat Schwarz

    Dear Taylor I don’t comment very often because of my vulnerability to “you don’t have much to offer except complaining about the way things are now.” With discouragements such as you are married 47 years and your husband is still not interested in considering becoming a Catholic, living with I wish I had done, or didn’t do this or that, or where was my faith in this situation, no wonder our children have these struggles, etc. etc. The biggest ray of hope for me is this…..seeing families, such as yours. I know, in spite of the darkness and trying times, The Father’s Plan for us is at work and will “prevail” through and over all things, including the mess of a world we have passed on to our children and grandchildren. One holy priest told me not to look back or I may turn into a pillar of salt just as Lot’s wife. That sticks in my head. Keep going, in God’s Grace, one day at a time, one prayer at a time. Holy Mother Church is a constant source of consolation, joy, and strength. How can I despair or give up when Jesus feeds me with His Precious Body and Blood everyday. Know that many of the “baby boomer” generation, are praying for your family, and all families, and thanking God for the “Wonderful Life” He has given us and all the Wonders of His Love. Just look into the beautiful faces of your children. There it is.. Runny noses and all. P.S. My husband read “Father Elijah” by Michael O’Brien. He is not Catholic and would never read a “religious” book. This amazing apocalyptic novel definitely opened a door on the Catholic Church to him. This sat on my bookshelf for a few years. I placed it on his nightstand. How simple was that. This book is one of a series of novels about children of the last days. I can’t decide now if the next one on his nightstand will be “A Father’s Tale”, “Eclipse of The Sun” or “Island Of The World”. I am not the reader he is. Now that I am not as busy with grandchildren and volunteering, I hope to change that. Your articles are a constant source of inspiration and learning. I love them. Your books are on the reading list too. Taylor, isn’t it true, that all of our actions, when done with love for God, will bear fruit, now or in future, both for our loved ones and strangers we will meet in Heaven. God bless you

    • JoeAllen

      You might mention to your husband that it is our SEARCH FOR MEANING that gives rise to our Religions. A Religion does NOT always involve a supreme being or God; if it doe NOT involve God, it will involve gods.

      Animals can process INFORMATION but they can NOT process MEANING. So, Animals have NO need for Religion.

      God said: Let us make Adam and Eve so that they can process MEANING.

  • defiant12314

    I get a GBS moments because it seems that nothing I do (prayer, pennece etc) is enough, and not only that I’m forever told that just because I forgot to make my morning offering through the Immaculate Heart of Mary that God will not accept my prayers and sacrifices because of the ‘self-love’ that I’ve allegedly attached to them. Sometimes I think, Why Bother? at least I can control the worldly stuff like a computer game (allot of it boils down to mathematical equations you can manipulate), whereas unless you pull the metaphysical levers in precisely the right order, God will kick you back, press the reset button and send you back straight to the beginning

    I hate to say this by I can see the emotional appeal of evangelicalism, reading St Louis De Monfort it seems like prayer is not enough, in order to obtain grace one must grovel in a specific manner, pull lots of levers in the correct order and do the spiritual equivalent of binary in order to obtain grace, so much for ‘ask and it shall be given to you’, even the so called ‘promises’ of the Divine Mercy, The Infant Jesus, the Rosary etc etc seems to have so much small print attached as to make them worthless. In Contrast the Evangelical says that all you have to do is ask and God will provide, God WANTS to give you all these things and doesn’t care if you didn’t use the precise formula.

  • Luke Arredondo

    Hey Taylor,

    Great post. I’m trying hard to avoid GBS right now, and have been for a while. I’m almost done with a master’s degree, thinking of going on for a Ph.d. but not sure about the debt. Plus we’re having our third daughter in as many years this March. And I’m working fast food 15 hours a week, all from 4-9 a.m. because my parish job isn’t cutting it financially. Looks like I’ve got all the symptoms!

    But I also know that I can be intentional in my suffering, and that there has to be something out there for me that will let me use my gifts and my education to serve the church and provide for my family. I just really hope that is either continuing on in school or a high-paying job, because I don’t know how long I can last at this pace.

    I hope in a few years I can look back and see how I made it out of this tricky spot I’m in, because I really don’t know at the moment.

    Thanks for your post. It’s encouraging to know we all have some struggles from time to time.

    Pax,
    Luke

  • Karen Bell

    Yes! Please ask Joy to guest-post!

  • http://evangelizela.com/ Ricky Jones

    Interesting that you bring this up. I was having this very conversation with my wife this morning. You know, the whole “we used to be so happy” conversation while you look at old photos. I’ve taken up the goal setting this year (thanks again) and finally got my wife to follow suit. We’re starting to see the results already. Like you said, priorities have to be first. The Life of J.O.Y. Jesus, Others, Yourself.

    For me the most difficult thing lately has been keeping up with a daily routine of any sort, since I work at home and help with our kids (two boys under two). I’ve been Catholic for five years now and last year was the time I felt closest to God, mostly because my daily routine of prayer and spiritual reading was consistent. However, now with the two boys it is sometimes just not possible to get the quiet time in the morning I was so used to spending with God. So I’m working on ways around it, seeing God in other ways, hearing His voice throughout the day as opposed to only in my set time for prayer, etc. I have by no sense mastered it, but I’m getting the hang of it.

    BTW, I admire the big family and hope to continuing growing ours (if only I can convince the wife). I hope you will continue to share these kind of posts. I love the theology stuff too, but it’s nice to hear about the life stuff, especially from the manly point of view.

    Thanks Taylor and God bless!

  • G.S.G.

    I’m single and you know what is my pet peeves? Adults who don’t try to understand what it might be like to have children. Let’s see uhhhh…they themselves have never been children?
    Like in church. I think and believe that ALL children should be welcome to stay during mass. If my mom and pop didn’t bring me to mass (and believe me I was a royal pain in the butt), do you think I would get used to it and come to also believe and accept our Faith?
    And the people who called the cops on your kids. What bitter, bitter, and miserable people.
    I love the sound of children’s laughter, when they scream with unbridaled joy to the top of their lungs..I remember my childhood. Sometimes, even when children cry during mass or even in a store and see a mom hush her child nervously or because she’s embarrassed, I feel so bad. Parents don’t ever have to feel bad for normal stuff like that. And unless one comes from another planet and never had a childhood, give it a rest. Make it your penance or something. Put it to good use. Offer it to God, if those children really get on your nerves.

  • Patrick J Donovan

    Some times I forget to pick myself up with Christ and think I can do it on my own. Then, I read you, A Catholic Thinker, listen to Catholic Answers Live and that helps to pick me up. If you ever find yourself in Toulouse I will show you Thomas Aquinas’ resting place, and the vin is on me. Cheer up. You do a lot of good for many.

  • Mishka Gora

    Great post! If I don’t pray, do (light) exercise, and write something each day (whether it be a blog post, part of a book, or a letter to a friend) everything starts to fall apart. I think it’s also important to recognise that there are other uncontrollable factors that can contribute to GBS, such as bad health. From the mother’s point of view (which means being 24/7 with the children), the key for me has been understanding that my children mirror me. If I’m grumpy, they’ll be grumpy; if I lose my temper or avoid taking responsibility, they’ll learn that’s how to deal with issues. It’s terrifying to see your children copy your bad habits and awfully difficult to change them, but unless the mother imitates Mary and her virtues the family really suffers. This is particularly challenging for us ‘alpha females’….

  • Eddy

    Taylor, I really felt God speaking to me through your words here. I just had a terrible weekend of GBS; I alienated myself from my wife and our children, and our Lord. I took myself to bed early and prayed intensely. Your writings are my prayer answered! Keep up the excellent work: you have been working miracles in my life for the last few weeks, as you are just about the only person I have taken seriously when it comes to goal setting. I will keep you, your family, and your work in my prayers.

  • kcthomas

    When one faces problems connected with job,finance etc, difficult neighbours will be terrible destroyer of peace. Your goodness,brotherly behaviour may be impervious to them. This is the time one can sit alone and converse with Jesus. We will gain power to withstand all odds and one by one our problems will be solved. Like the woman who pursued with the unjust judge,we should be persistent, as Jesus has told the disciples.
    .

  • AL

    I take a deep breath, long slow out breath, and say a mindful Hail Mary…Our Lady never seems to tire of me, I seem to never tire of the breath and prayer, and for me it is still fresh after 39 years…Taylor, you are one of my heroes, I offer at least one of these a day for you to keep up the tremendous pieces you have bitten off…but I expect that from a Texan…PAX

  • Jen S

    Hi, Taylor and all – Taylor, your post really struck a chord b/c I was looking through pictures with my daughter the other day, and I was really quite amazed at how many PAINFUL memories those pictures brought to my mind. I mean, the pictures themselves are wonderful, of my children when they were very little, and I love those. But I could just place myself in that time in my life, and honestly there were some hard times.
    I think one of the most painful things for me is knowing that I have made my choices, trying my best to follow Christ’s leading – and yes many of those choices have involved leaving my comfort zone and willingly accepting some financial uncertainty, fears, exhaustion, etc. And then I see so many Godless people, just having a wonderful, comfortable life – huge beautiful houses, nice cars, cushy retirement accounts, and nice vacations. Rationally, I know these things are not important in the grand, eternal scheme of things – in fact I know they can be dangerous spiritually, and I also know that all people have problems and fears, regardless of outward appearances. And yet, it still can take the wind out of my sails. The Lord responds, though, and the key is staying close to Him. “I am with you,” is what He tells me. And then, all is well and I can be at peace. It is really just all about Him. We struggle, but we struggle with the Lord. All is well. Be at peace. (Somebody remind me of this next time I’m freaking out…)

    God bless,
    Jennifer

  • anonymous

    You may not want to publish this comment, I’ll try to be discreet. My husband and I have been married for 22 years and have 10 kids whom we homeschool.
    We have experienced the problems that you outline but I have a suspicion that what it really is about is husband and wife physical intimacy. That is another thing that is affected by the birth of a child. I think this is the number one problem for the dads even though it was not enumerated here. I think that husbands don’t want to see themselves as being so selfish that the diminished amount of intimacy would cause such a ripple into the rest of their lives. I think that the solution to this (or at least a step in the right direction) is for a husband to be honest with himself and his wife and say, “You know how men and women are different? Well, I need this more than you do. I understand that it isn’t the same for you as it is for me. But your generosity in this regard will have far reaching implications even though I wish I were stronger than that. It is what it is, even if I wish it weren’t.” Or something like that. That way the wife really knows what is going on and can see it as a priority rather than as something superfluous that shouldn’t be taking her time and attention away from the kids who are more vulnerable.
    So, I guess that as long as we are referencing classic films, I see it as “Honesty is the best policy.” I think that is the case with my husband but I just figured it out, AFTER 9 KIDS. It would have been nice if he would have just told me many kids ago and maybe even reminded me of this peculiarity of a man when need be. It completely explains his mood swings.
    So, am I on to something here or am I wayyyy off base, hmmm?

    • other anon

      As a man in a marriage where our three children have been conceived after embracing the Church’s teaching on fertility, I can tell you that you may be onto something. I hate to admit it, but it is really hard not to let sexual frustration spill over into the rest of your relationship. I realised I have to pray for the same graces that drew us to abandon contraception in the first place. I would add though that we went through a period where our physical intimacy took place purely at my prompting and behest, and it was horrible for both us – lots of resentment, disappointment etc. So a wife should never simply “give herself” if her heart is not in a place of generosity at that moment. Really, dealing with this takes a lot of communication and calm that unfortunately having even one child does not afford!

  • angelic_dr

    For some time, I’ve struggled with getting angry with other drivers when someone cuts in front of me, gets too close, etc. I have to make a real effort when I first get in the car, telling myself that I’m going to just let it all slide and not get upset by it. I’ve relied on the Sacrament of Penance to make progress in this area. So far, so good in 2014.

    I’m very struck by the pettiness of your large-family-hating neighbor. Dr. Marshall, if I were you, I’d consider contacting my city councilman, mayor, or other appropriate city official who probably communicates regularly with the police department, and explaining the situation. I’ll bet your local police have bigger fish to fry than coming around every time the Marshall kids are out roller skating or playing whiffle ball in the cul-de-sac. You would certainly be well within your rights to petition local government in this way as a response to folks who are abusing the police and keeping them from more important work.

  • Victor

    After having read your beetle, “I” mean Beatle post and then this “ONE”, all I can say at this time is “Welcome Back” and for what “IT” is worth, i’ll keep praying for you and your family.

    I won’t name my Virus protect her, “I” mean protector but as I write, my idols can still see this comment above: We tested this page and blocked content that comes from potentially dangerous or suspicious sites. Allow this content only if you’re sure it comes from safe sites. Long story short, I’ve never seen this before while reading your post. Go Figure? (LOL)

    I know that someday, I’m going to have to send you another email and explain all that is snapping in my brain cells if it sounds like I’m defending “The Beatles”.

    I hear YA! And then Janie says! Oh Daddy! (starts crying) :)

    Keep UP the good words and works
    God Bless

  • Judy

    I tell myself, all the time, “this too, shall pass” & “it’s just a bump in the road”. I have been through multiple surgeries, & a few illnesses, some serious, others, just the run of the mill, & I have been through hard & good times. I have lost & gained loved ones, jobs & careers. I pray for myself & for others & try to be specific in my requests & my thanks & I am still open to learning, for I know very little & there is so much to learn & GOD is trying to teach us.