Moments of Love with Mary

– The Spiritual Letter Box –

Conjugal Intimacy

I would like to say at the outset how wonderful I find your review. I wait for it eagerly every month and when I have finished, I pass it on to others. Here is the reason I am writing.

I always wanted to be a nun. In vain, I tried several times but each time my health obliged me to leave. A Capuchin Father advised me to get married. One day I met the great love of my life; it was an ideal love, a love that was shared. Only in heaven will I understand why he left me. I was so heartbroken.

Finally, after a period of repose, I met the man who would become my husband. He fell in love with me immediately and has never stopped loving me. According to my spiritual director, he was the one for me. It took me a long time to accept this. He was good to me but he was not on the right road. I finally decided that I should stop thinking of myself and start working at making someone else happy. I will not tell you how much I suffered… especially in those first years. But God, who is so good and the Blessed Virgin took special care of me. I vowed before the altar that he would never know that I did not love him with all my heart. That was difficult to do, but after twenty years of marriage, one becomes accustomed to it and it is almost a love; in any event it is a sort of love that is not egotistical. Perhaps it is the most wonderful!

I carried my first child with great difficulty and discomfort, as I did the others. So much sickness…!

Now I want to tell you about one of my sufferings in my life. I want my life always to be correct in God’s eyes. I would not want to die before being reassured on this matter. You know how it goes with sex today….? My husband, for some time now, has been asking for marital relations of a kind I feel are not permitted. (He says he has permission for this from a priest in confession.) I find what he is asking me to do, extremely revolting…. I agreed then I refused. But I do accept any intimacy in marriage permitted by God. I would never have wanted to offend God.

Please let me have your advice. May the Holy Spirit guide you. I sincerely desire that those who seek the face of the Lord may find some reflection of it in my face, given that the eyes are the mirror of the soul.

Mrs. A., Montreal

I can reassure you at the outset by telling you that in order to sin grievously against God, three things are required: serious matter, full knowledge of the gravity of the act, and full consent of the will.

Your will did not consent to this erotic, impermissible demand made by your husband who claimed to have permission from a priest in confession.

The spiritual ideal of the home must also influence marital fulfillment in the carnal giving of self. This can sometimes beget worry, anxiety and moral problems when a spouse, dominated by passion, thwarts the divine plan by insisting upon the fulfillment of his own erotic demands with no consideration for Christian morality. He thus jeopardizes that harmony which must first exist on the spiritual plane in order that it may then flow down to the level of the affective and the carnal.

Many a man, clinging to selfish illusions, causes sufferings to his wife which she does not – cannot – express, even while she displays a warm and sympathetic understanding out of tenderness and love for him. Have they any idea of the interior distress they cause? The kind you have so painfully set forth in your letter and which I must not reveal here.

You have firmly closed the door on any such further demands and he understood this. You are fortunate. Many others end up living like animals and dragging their companion in life down with them.

Thank God and live in peace. God understands your feelings, your anguish and your regrets. And He understands very well the nuances of strife which can assail the soul divided between fidelity to religious principles and responding to the demands of marriage, provided such demands are licit, and ennoble rather than debase the conjugal act.

You once had an ideal love, a love that was shared. That love vanished leaving you broken and bewildered. It is not necessary to understand why, for God leads souls according to the plan of love He has for each one, and those ways are sometimes baffling. You married, without experiencing a great love, the one He had set apart for you.

You say, “you have suffered but have known the selfless love that gives, the most wonderful of loves!” Yes, it is the most wonderful because centered on the love of God, on abandonment to His will which is clearly manifested through His events, and on the love of that soul confided to you so that you may lead it into the light. For if we are first bound to God, we are also bound in union with all our human brothers, and most especially with those He attaches to us.

You have a source of spiritual riches and graces because “you have learned to bloom there where the Lord has planted you.”

Remain firm in the grace of God and your joy will be ever greater and more profound.


(Review, “L’Armée de Marie”, volume II, no. 7)