It was early in our marriage that I, Matt, treated Mindy more like an object than as a helpmate—I was selfish. My own mother sensed a lack of grace from our marriage. She approached me and said that if I hadn’t been to confession in a real long time that I wasn’t truly being faithful to God, my wife and the Church. That was painful to hear. However, it seemed to put the finger on the heartbeat, or rather lack of heartbeat, in our marriage. Because of selfishness and sin, I was asleep in our marriage, or at the least in a deep slumber. Begrudgingly returning to the sacrament of confession, as my mother proposed, I experienced the love and mercy of Jesus that I had never allowed him to pour out and into me. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states: “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

In Christopher West’s book Theology of the Body Explained he notes that “matrimony” literally means “the state of motherhood.” “Matri” means “mother” or “motherhood” (from the Latin mater – “mother”) and “mony” comes from munus which means “mission, calling, gift, present or service.”

Human beings are the crowning glory of all of God’s creation and God knowing all, saves the best for last—woman. Eve is the very last of God’s creation in Genesis. May we as men boldly, with the help of God’s grace, stand up—like the first Adam failed to do—and crush the head of any serpent that tries to tempt our brides, our sisters our mothers, or any woman, away from God. May we defend our brides and lead them and our families toward God. May all husbands be men of God and carry out a mission that our wives want to be under.

The graces received from the sacrament of reconciliation that day awoke me from my slumber, and a newfound love for Christ, our Church and my bride came about. Sometimes we men fail to realize that we can be “real men” on our knees; we can be real men praying the rosary to our Blessed Mother Mary; we can be real men teaching our children about our beautiful faith; we can be real men honoring the dignity of all women, but especially our wives. With continual growth in the sacramental life of the Church and with God’s abundant grace, Mindy and I joyfully celebrated our 23rd anniversary on Divine Mercy Sunday.

The month of May is the month of Mary, our Blessed Mother, and in it we celebrate Mother’s Day for women all over the world. When Jesus freely laid down his life for his bride the Church, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son,” and to his beloved apostle, St. John, “Behold, your mother.” Jesus, from his holy and venerable cross, created a new order and gave his mother, Mary, to all of humanity as our mother. Mary is the new “Eve.”

Genesis 3:20 states: “The man gave his wife the name ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all the living.” Or as St. John Paul II put it in his apostolic letter “Mulieris Dignitatem” (“On the Dignity and Vocation of Women”): “Thus the ‘fullness of time’ manifests the extraordinary dignity of the ‘woman’ … the ‘woman’ is the representative and the archetype of the whole human race: she represents the humanity which belongs to all human beings, both men and women.”

St. John Paul II, pray for all men to protect and honor the dignity of all women!