Allison Auth is wife and mother to 4 living in Denver, CO. She enjoys helping couples prepare for marriage as an online instructor for www.catholicmarriageprep.com. Before having a family, she was a youth minister and director of Confirmation and has a Catechetics degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She enjoys board games, hiking in the mountains, and a glass of red wine with good friends. You can contact her at allisonandnathan@catholicmarriageprep.com.


Need Parenting Advice? Look to the Parents of the Saints

Need Parenting Advice? Look to the Parents of the Saints

No, this is not a blog from a parenting expert telling you the proper way to discipline your children. This isn’t about discipline at all really but about example – after all, the word “discipline” comes from the word “disciple,” which means that we should set an example for our children.

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What to do with our wounds?

What to do with our wounds?

In our marriage prep course, one of the questions is, “Do you think your past could be a problem to your relationship?” And I am often surprised at the naivety of couples who simply reply “no,” because the last time I looked, we are all a little wounded. 

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Marriage, Perfectionism, and Mercy

Marriage, Perfectionism, and Mercy

When I became serious about my faith, I thought it came down to “not sinning”. I would become holy because I wasn’t sinning.

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Practical Ways to Put your Spouse before your Kids.

Practical Ways to Put your Spouse before your Kids.

I’ve heard many times that in order to truly love your kids, you need to love your spouse first. 

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What Breakfast Taught Me About Prayer and God’s Will

What Breakfast Taught Me About Prayer and God’s Will

One morning at breakfast I had an interesting realization about God as I was offering my daughter 3 choices for breakfast. 

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Spiritual Asthma

Spiritual Asthma

As I mentioned last week, I recently got an inhaler

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Your Body Matters

Your Body Matters

Last year was my worst on record (save for the turmoil of middle school) in terms of mental and emotional health. 


I really don’t know how it happened, but by the time I had realized it I was holding a prescription for anti-anxiety meds because I couldn’t handle the day-to-day stress of life anymore. There was no major trauma in my life, although that would have seemed better because then I would have had a reason for my emotional behavior. Instead, I was hoping to go to the doctor and get some pill or shot to make it better. Unfortunately, yet very fortunately, it was a series of small changes that I needed to make in my life that changed me.

Before I got help, I was having frequent panic attacks and little things such as sweeping the floor or cleaning the bathroom were tasks too overwhelming for me to accomplish. I was having daily breakdowns where I was on the floor crying. I was losing it on the kids and distant from my husband. I was unable to discipline our kids, so whatever they wanted they got. I couldn’t pray. I couldn’t focus. I had a hard time getting out of bed and I was tired all the time. I had no hope that things would ever get better.

Before taking the anxiety medication, I decided to try one last thing. I got my blood drawn to see what nutrition I was depleted in, and then I started taking supplements. By giving my body what it needed, I was able to get the clarity I needed to start thinking straight. I went to a chiropractor and got adjusted. I got an inhaler so I could exercise. I started showering every day, and trying to stay on top of chores. I was able to start praying again, and I was finally starting to see glimpses of the old me. Finally, I made a decision to change my diet. I am happy to say that while I realize I’m not completely out of the woods, I feel much more whole, happy, and hopeful.

It was through this experience that I realized how much our bodies matter to our souls.  As we say in one of our answer keys, “our bodies are the visible sign of the invisible reality of God’s presence in our souls… this makes them a sacrament by definition.” When I really start to think about that, it blows me away.  And it makes me realize that I need to take care of my body so I can glorify God through it. Because when our bodies aren’t working properly, it can be hard to live out our vocations and allow God’s love to shine through us. Without the nutrition and balance my body needed, it was affecting me spiritually. I couldn’t keep a consistent prayer life, and I certainly couldn’t be the wife and mother my family needed me to be. So for me, a change in diet and lifestyle was to help me live my life to better glorify God.


In the Creation account, our bodies were formed out of clay and then God blew his breath, his Spirit, into us. This shows that we are made with a body/soul union and that our bodies are sacred temples of the Holy Spirit. In our culture today, there are two prevalent heresies that try to separate the soul and body: gluttony and idolatry.

The first lie is that our bodies don’t matter. We hear couples in marriage prep say that our bodies are just on loan, or our bodies are superficial, or we all die anyway so who cares because it’s our souls that we need to take care of. So some take that to mean we can eat whatever we want, sleep with whomever we want, or smoke or drink however much we want because as long as we are spiritual we are fine. No, that is gluttony.  And our bodies do matter! Our bodies are the sacramental consent that makes a marriage valid. As Catholics, we believe in the resurrection of the body and the incarnation where God became flesh. This teaches us that the physical world leads us to the truths of God.

The other heresy is that taking care of our bodies is godliness in and of itself. Eating healthy and a fit body are the ultimate fulfillment.  As a mom, I know it’s important to feed my kids good food and give them exercise. But if I care for their bodies yet am not teaching them to pray, if I find time to work out but don’t find time to pray, this is idolatry. Having a healthy body is a good thing not because we worship ourselves, but because in order to be the best version of ourselves - in order to live out our vocations and truly be the image of God’s love in the world- our bodies need to be working the way God designed them to.

We need to take care of our body in order to glorify God through it.  Some of you may be in perfect health, and some of you may struggle with health issues.  If you have a health issue out of your control, there is something God is allowing you to suffer through that. But for the majority of us, our health is in our hands and we need to take care of our bodies so that we can take care of our souls.

“The body is the organ of the divine life and the sacraments. It is the body that is washed by the water of Baptism, so that the soul may obtain its purity and clarity. It is the body that is anointed by the oil and the unction of the Holy Spirit, so that the soul may be consecrated. It is upon the body that hands are imposed, so that the soul may be enlightened and can communicate blessings. It is the body that receives the Eucharist and quenches its thirst with divine Blood, so that man, becoming one with Christ and sharing with Him the same life, may live eternally.” Father Charles Arminjon

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The Importance of Validation

The Importance of Validation

Validation of feelings, not parking, although parking could be important, too.


Let me tell you a story. Long, long ago there was a charming man and a stunning woman and they felt like they were meant for each other. There was chemistry, they had complimentary personalities, and everyone thought they were perfect together. They got married, and their wedding day was a dream come true. The Mass was beautiful, he wrote the song for their first dance, and their friends and family traveled from all over the country for a great celebration. It seemed like happily ever after.

Then, reality hit. He liked to sleep with a fan blowing on his face. She couldn’t sleep with a fan on and just wanted to be covered with layers and kept warm. He liked to unwind and do nothing, she wanted to be busy doing something all the time. They just felt like they were on different pages!

One day, they wondered if they should have even gotten married. He owned his own business, and would call his wife in the middle of the day to say that something went wrong, or got pushed back, and his schedule was ruined. She tried to fix it by making a plan to get his schedule back on track.

Then he would come home. She would complain about how messy the house was and how exhausting the kids were all day, and he would tell her to clean as she went and give the kids more quiet time. Neither of them felt heard, and eventually they stopped sharing how they felt. He kept his business worries inside, and she grew to resent him for his job outside the house and how he never seemed stressed or shared what was on his mind.

This is a true story about my husband and I. Neither of us knew how to validate each other’s feelings, and so we never felt heard. My husband just stopped calling to vent and gave up on sharing his feelings, because he didn’t want me to fix anything, he just needed to let off some steam. I, meanwhile, continued to complain every night when he got home because I just wanted to feel that he understood how hard it can be to take care of 3 small kids all day long.  He would try to one-up me by explaining how tiring and physically demanding his job was. We were butting heads constantly.


When he came home without validating my feelings, he would start picking up, and then I felt like he was secretly holding it against me that I didn’t have time to clean before he came home. He was sticking it to me that he could clean up better than I could. Really, he was just trying to help me be less stressed, but I didn’t know his ulterior motives!

I didn’t get what validation was at first. I just seemed like you were a parrot, repeating what your spouse said. Why should I repeat what he just said, when I could ask how I could help instead? Doesn’t that seem more practical and loving? But what validation does is show 3 things:

1.     Acceptance – it’s okay for you to have this problem, to feel the way you are feeling.

2.     Understanding – I see where you are coming from, I understand how you feel.

3.     Empathy – I am putting myself if your shoes, and I am feeling what you are feeling.

The fixing and the coming up with solutions can happen later. For my husband, he could often figure something out himself after he was able to share his feelings and then have time to think about it.

When he came home, all my husband needed to say was, “I heard the baby was up last night, you must be tired after taking care of the kids all day!” And then I could feel safe, and let him help me pick up without trying to pick a fight about it.

Then my husband could call at lunchtime saying, “This is the last straw. I’m going to look for a new job, because I can’t do this anymore.” In the past, I would say, “no, you can’t quit your job because your family is depending on you! All you need is to tell the customer this, go buy this new piece, rearrange your schedule to look like this, etc.” But now I know to just listen. “You feel like you want to quit your job, and nothing is working out for you today. That is so frustrating!” By the time he gets home for dinner, he has figured out a solution to his work dilemma and can keep on working.  He had a safe place to share his feelings and time to work out a solution, and it doesn’t lead to an argument or bottled up feelings.

Through validation, we can share what’s on our heart and know we are being heard. Our relationship feels safe instead of feeling like a ticking time bomb. Rather than a breakdown of communication, validation is leading us to deeper communion on an emotional level.  Our marriage will always require effort, but there still can be a happily ever after! Validation is an important way to make that happen.

Click here to watch this award winning short film called Validation!  Also make sure to visit The Catholic Communication Cure, and try the free talks

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He Loves You all Year Long

He Loves You all Year Long

The other night I was reading this cute book to my daughter before bed called, “I Love You All Year Long.” 


It goes through each season of the year, and how the mother loves her child in each season. It’s March here in Colorado, so the idea of swimming and beaches with sandcastles seemed very appealing. Yet, the raking of leaves and hot apple cider on a hayride did not have the same draw. After giving it more thought, I realized that a hayride and hot cider is so exciting and refreshing after a hot summer of drenching in sweat! Currently we are getting a spell of warm weather here and the kids have been playing outside every day, which makes me long for summer. But how exciting was it to get the kids bundled up to go play in the first snow!


That’s what I love about the seasons here. They are always changing, which allows us to appreciate the unique opportunities each season presents us with. This is much like the seasons of life that we find ourselves in. Sometimes like spring, they are full of new wonders and are very colorful. But they can also be rainy, keeping us indoors. Sometimes like summer, our lives are very dry, needing constant watering, even though we are busy doing lots of things. In fall, we rake out the dead leaves and really celebrate the changing of seasons. The different colored leaves of autumn are one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! Then come the holidays during the winter, filled with anticipation, parties, and family time. But the days are cold and dark.

Every season of life has its ups and downs. Even our spiritual lives reflect these same truths – we have dark nights where we feel far from God, we have spring times of faith when we are filled with hope. Sometimes our prayer is dry and needs lots of water, and other times we rake out the dead of sin and can see the fruit of our efforts. But there is always something we can gain from each season. We need these ups and downs to not take a particular state for granted. If we can recognize these different seasons, we can appreciate what they bring, and look forward to the next change. The only constant, like in the book, is that God loves us in each season of our life. Our goal is to love him back the same in each.

At my brother’s wedding several years ago, Fr. Brady opened the Mass with the words, “The only tragedy in life is to not become a Saint.” We will experience tragedy – cancer, death, betrayal, poverty, etc. But redemption and our reward in heaven overcome all of these. On the other hand, missing the opportunity for holiness in each of these trials is the real tragedy, as God offers us grace continuously, no matter the external circumstances. Missing out on an eternity in heaven? That’s the worst.

Not feeling like you are a Saint? Neither did many of the saints. A saint is anyone in Heaven, whether the Church has publicly recognized him or her or not.  We are all called to be saints. What do all saints have in common? They never gave up in each season of life. They clung to grace to get back up again when they fell, and they embraced God’s constant love in each of these ups and downs. 

 
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Loving God through Marriage

Loving God through Marriage

I struggle with loving God. Not because I don’t want to, but because I find it hard to figure out how. 


I struggle with thinking that the only way to love God is to participate in reverent Masses and have long hours in contemplative prayer. Well, with 3 kids under the age of 5, Mass is usually anything but reverent and prayer is almost never long and contemplative. So, I often feel like a failure when it comes to prayer.

In my mind, I know that if I wanted to spend long hours in prayer I should have become a nun. But marriage is my vocation, yet often times I feel like my vocation (particularly children), seem more like an obstacle to holiness instead of a path to it.
Now, I’ve read St. Therese’s Story of a Soul, and I’m familiar with her little way in that ordinary acts done with love are more important than great acts. But no offense to the wisdom of St. Therese, it just seemed like a cop out to my feeble human mind.
"Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ,” are the words of St. Therese, and I didn’t get it for a long, long time.

Then, one day it hit me while my family was at the park. I was watching my husband play on the playground with our children: chasing them around, helping them down the slide, pushing them on the swings.  And I just felt more in love with him! I felt loved in how he was showing love to the children we created together. So then the light bulb went off: of course that must be how God feels about us! When we love our spouses and kids, we are loving the Creator in whose image we are made.  As St. Therese said, “My vocation is love.” And love comes in lots of different forms!

Having that experience with my own family helped me realize that while time aside in prayer to God is important (vital!), I truly can love God through my vocation. By laying my own wants aside to serve my husband, getting off the computer to sit down and play trucks with my sons, or having one more tea party with my daughter, by doing these things, I am loving God. If all would make use of the ordinary duties and trials of their state in the way God intended, they would all become saints." Sister Miriam Teresa DemjanovichAnd now I can remember that day in the park, how I felt about my husband, and be reminded that’s how God feels about me.

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

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