Stewardship in love and marriage

February is an appropriate time to enhance the beauty, faith, sacrifice, and joy of marital relationships

The January edition of The East Tennessee Catholic contained an insert describing the purpose and focus of the 2013 Bishop’s Appeal Campaign.

The title of the campaign is “Love Never Fails,” and the idea of stewardship outlined in the material has stayed with me. Stewardship in the context of the campaign asks us to support the work of those in the diocese who help build and sustain the kingdom of God.

The idea of steward is a beautiful description of how we can relate to our spouses. Our marital vows ask a husband and wife to work together to build the kingdom of God. Are we doing that to the best of our ability? Are we supporting our spouse’s family life ministry?

There is no question that family life can be challenging, but it’s in the day-to-day business of living that we have the opportunity to support our spouses on their journey to holiness.

Marriage requires us to love from the depth of our being, not just from our surplus. It is easy to say but very difficult to do. We have so many distractions from the outside world that we tend to compromise on the relationships that give us the least amount of trouble. Our spouses seem to be the ones who get neglected most of the time. “Love Never Fails,” but it takes effort to keep it alive.

February is the month dedicated to love and romance. This month, let’s be good stewards of the gift of our spouse and intentionally support them while they work on building the kingdom of God. Below are a few things to consider and discuss with your spouse as you are enjoying a quiet dinner together.

  • What do you consider the most important work of your life at the moment? When you look back on your life, what do you want your most important work to be?
  • Is your work building the kingdom of God? Do you need to shift your priorities? Identify how you can help each other build the kingdom.
  • After you have identified how you can help each other, design a plan to make your efforts a reality. The plan might include volunteering as a couple, committing to a monthly date night, spending time alone each night to check in with each other, or adjusting the household responsibilities.

No matter what the plan, it will require effort on both of your parts. It is always good to remember that when you do something out of love, “Love Never Fails!”

Also, don’t forget that you have two more opportunities to renew your marriage vows with Bishop Stika. The remaining 2013 Diocesan Marriage Celebrations and luncheons are listed below. These annual Diocesan Marriage Celebrations are in recognition of World Marriage Day, which in 2013 is Sunday, Feb. 10.

World Marriage Day honors husband and wife as the foundation of the family and the basic unit of society. It salutes the beauty of their faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in daily married life as they work to build the kingdom of God. Upcoming Marriage Celebrations are:

  • Saturday, Feb. 9, St. Mary Church in Athens.
  • Saturday, March 9, St. Patrick Church in Morristown.

Mass on each date starts at 11 a.m., and a free luncheon immediately follows. To make reservations, contact Karen Byrne in the Office of Marriage Preparation and Enrichment at 865-584-3307, ext. 5739, or e-mail her at

Mrs. Christiana is coordinator of the diocesan Marriage Preparation and Enrichment Office.


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