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Shelly Henley Kelly ponders how married couples need the Holy Spirit's gift of Wisdom.

The first gift of the Holy Spirit is Wisdom.

As children, many of us grew up with stories of “true love” influencing our concept of romance and courtship. From fairy tales and literature to television and movies, we daydreamed about our own perfect wedding day.

But did you ever notice that the fairy tales always stopped at, “And they lived Happily Ever After?” What about what comes after the wedding? The ordinary everyday real life?

By wisdom a house is built. ( Proverbs 24:3)


Our education and expectations about marriage grew from watching our parents. As we witnessed their relationship, we formed our own expectations about married life.

Take a moment to consider your parents’ marriage and how it shaped your view of married life. Maybe your parents are still together after 30 – 40 – 50 years of a healthy marriage that modeled a spirit of friendship, togetherness, and mutual respect while supporting one another during challenges.

But maybe your parents did not have a happy marriage. Perhaps you—or your spouse—grew up with parents who grew apart until all that was left were hurtful words and actions towards one another. My husband’s parents divorced when he was 19. The experience his father modeled was one of temper and infidelity. Thankfully, instead of learning to emulate his father, my husband took away a different lesson, adopting a strong sense of, “I will treat my wife as my mother deserved to be treated, not how she was treated.”

To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1608)


close-up of couple holding hands


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The Holy Spirit allows us to grow in wisdom, guides our thoughts, and enables us to learn from past mistakes. #catholicmom

The gift of Wisdom enables us to see God at work in our lives and in the world. Grounded in common sense with life experience, it helps us distinguish between right and wrong. It seeks and upholds truth and justice. The Holy Spirit allows us to grow in wisdom, guides our thoughts, and enables us to learn from past mistakes.

We are not guaranteed—or condemned—to have the same marriage experience as our parents. Even now, we are modeling the vocation of marriage to our own children, forming their future expectations. With Wisdom, spouses come together and create their own journey with its many ups and downs. Being mindful of the Holy Spirit at work in our marriage opens us to grow in wisdom for a strong, lasting relationship with our spouse.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)



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Copyright 2022 Shelly Henley Kelly
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