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In two videos, Ellen Mongan and her husband, Deacon Pat, share wisdom they have gained in almost 48 years of marriage.

A new bride walks down the aisle starry-eyed, full of joy, and ready to meet her dashing groom, her knight in shining armor, the man of her dreams. Their eyes meet as they want this moment to last a lifetime. They have begun their journey as man and wife.

No matter how well prepared they are for the sacrament of matrimony, only God can prepare a couple for what is ahead. What is ahead? Life is full of twists and turns: good times and bad, walking through sickness and health as they commit to each other for richer or poorer. Their marriage vows will be tested. A wise couple will choose to mature together and grow in Christ in the same direction. A marriage centered on Christ will stand the test of time.

Take a pause and remember when. Remember when you were the starry-eyed bride walking toward that dashing groom, and you wanted that holy moment to last forever. They say if you want your marriage to work, you must never stop working at it. Both partners must choose to live their vows daily even when life isn’t so starry-eyed.

Deacon Pat and I will have been married 48 years in May. We are the opposite couple in every way. They say opposites attract, but they can either learn from each other or destroy each other. Accepting each other for who they are is vital. Trying to change each other can ruin their relationship. Acceptance with love is the catalyst that allows change to occur. God must be the center of the relationship.


married couple in front of a sign reading "love"


Pat and I began video podcasts called “Deacon and Dear” and recently did a series called “Pitfalls in Marriage.” Some of the topics addressed were:

  1. Tandem bike: learning to pedal together.
  2. Chocolate cake: “I like chocolate cake, do you?”
  3. I don’t do leftovers: give your spouse the first portion of your time, talent and treasure.
  4. Daddy-Daughter syndrome: treat your wife as an adult, not a child.
  5. Am I invisible: give your spouse the attention they deserve by looking them in the eye and responding.
  6. Looking through a microscope: focus on the positives not the negatives. Look with eyes of love.
  7. Opposites attract but can drive each other crazy: learn from each other instead of trying to change each other.
  8. Desert island (one is the loneliest number): don’t isolate from your spouse or build walls.
  9. Do whatever you want: be other-centered, not self-centered.
  10. No one can pull the wagon alone: pull the “wagon” of life together.
  11. Unless the Lord builds the house: be Christ-centered.
  12. Eat, drink, and be merry: weekly have fun together, just the two of you!
  13. Too busy to care: meet each other’s needs.

Maybe you find that your marriage is facing a pitfall of its own. You can either stay in the pit, let your husband stay there, or face the problem together and begin finding solutions that work for both of you. Sometimes we cannot get out of the pit alone. We need the help of others

Deacon Pat and I recently interviewed Elaina and Alonzo Ford about Retrouvaille. (French for rediscovery!) It is a marriage ministry that our Church provides for troubled marriages.

It is easy to put a smile on your face and walk through life with your head in the sand, at least for me. Trials have a way of making the real you come out of hiding. Maturity happens when a couple can face a storm together and let Jesus calm that storm. Being honest with each other and with God is essential in the midst of a storm. Problems arise in everyone’s life. With every problem, God always provides a way out.

When you encounter a cross in your life, God will always give you the grace to bear it, or He will take the cross away. God promises that He will not give us more than we can handle. A cross has two sides each spouse must shoulder, side by side or you will be crushed under its weight. God is not asking you to carry it alone. As you journey on, you will discover that the crosses you carry together are sometimes used by God to cement your marriage tighter.

Click to tweet:
The crosses you carry together are sometimes used by God to cement your marriage tighter. #catholicmom

Watch our "Deacon and Dear: Pitfalls in Marriage" videos to learn more:

Part I:


Part II:


Copyright 2022 Ellen Mongan
Images: Canva Pro; photo of Ellen and Deacon Pat Mongan copyright 2022 Ellen Mongan, all rights reserved.