Quick takes–for married people


The week was off to a distressing start, wasn’t it? Lots of controversy, threats of war, Catholics being sassy to one another, and maybe there were other personal challenges too.

Something that put it all in perspective for me, was watching this movie:

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Maybe you hated Terence Malick’s “Tree of Life”–too long, too impressionistic, and what is his thing with ladies dancing in the sunset?

I’d still give “To the Wonder” a chance. It’s much more concise and plot oriented but still conjures up all the beauty and heartbreak of just being a creature of God. Plus, Ben Affleck, in spite of his prominent jaw-line does a staggeringly good chinless man in it.

Malick clearly loves women, knows their yearnings and their disappointments. And he manages to capture a convincing longing for God on film–which is something movies mostly fail to do.

It’s out right now on DVD and should be in your redbox. Great date movie.



So, I found this diagram of a woman’s internal pleasure circuit very fascinating.

I’m sure everyone saw the article not too long ago about how Devout Catholics have better sex.

This study reveals that “multiparous women were more sexually responsive than primiparas or nulliparas.”

Considering the way that the clitoris wraps around the vaginal canal, someone really must do a thorough study examining the evolution of the organ as it pertains to multiparity. An informal survey I conducted of Catholic Women reveals there may be co-relation between grand multiparity and multi-orgasm.

I wish I’d gone to school for this. Of all the career paths not followed… I might have been a sexologist.



I have been reading Dr. Popcak’s book Holy Sex! and finding it challenging. What I find challenging in it is not what I thought I would find challenging in it. The first half of the book is about chastity primarily, setting up the ingredients for chastity and what he terms “Infallible loving.” And I guess I found myself surprised that a primary ingredient of chastity is actually Joy.

He writes:

“Joy is an important part of our sexuality. It allows us to be playful with our mate, to laugh and be silly without taking or offering offense….To cultivate joy, look for opportunities to be playful and silly and cultivate a respectful sense of humor.”

In Beyond the Birds and the Bees, his guide to raising sexually whole and holy kids, he also notes that in order to help our children cultivate chastity, we also have to cultivate joy in our families.

You know, I’ve had my share of sad-sack days, and after a decade of pregnancy and giving birth, I’m kind of tired of white-knuckling it. Popcak’s book is bringing to light for me that– just like in the trailer above for “To the Wonder” –You Shall Love. Also, you shall also laugh.

You have got to find a way to be happy today, to goof off with your spouse and kids. I think it’s a fine directive.

I hope to have a more thorough review of these books in the future.



Awhile back there was an article in The New York Times about the generation of women who stayed home to raise their children, and how many of them now want back into the workforce. It profiled a few women, and their motives for returning for work, and gave us an idea of where they are now. This quote stuck out to me:


“She acknowledged that what she was trying to do was impossible. “The pace at which I’m living right now is unsustainable,” she told me. She tried her absolute best to cut things that weren’t strictly essential. She almost never saw friends, rarely exercised and was trying to trick her body into running faster on fewer hours of sleep. Something had to give — and, unfortunately, that something was shaping up to be time with her husband.”


So, I’m not against women in the workplace.  My mom worked, and I still had a very happy childhood. And I personally have a W2 on file for this gig at Patheos.

It might just have been the cavalier way the author of the article tossed off the “time with her husband” line, as though it’s just one of many good things a person can scale back on to pursue their goals, “things that weren’t strictly essential,” but it seems like an extreme folly to let such an important thing go.



I really have come to believe that the marriage bed is the seat of wisdom for married couples. How we honor the marriage covenant also informs how we approach every other relationship in our lives. Therefore, if we commit sin with our spouse in the marriage bed, or towards our spouse outside of it, it clouds our judgement and causes us to distort nature and reason in order to justify our behavior, and all of our relationships go out of alignment.

Some other good has upended our priorities–the desire to please God first, the desire for the good of our spouse, followed by the good of society and all who inhabit it.

If we remain in the light, however, both our public and private lives are resistant to sin and shame, allowing us to extend charity and chastity to each other, and to everyone we meet. We can have healthy friendships with co-workers of both sexes. We can moderate our commitments to work and play.

Popcak also touches on these themes.



“Sin speaks to the sinner

in the depths of his heart.

There is no fear of God

before his eyes.


He so flatters himself in his mind

that he knows not his guilt.

In his mouth are mischief and deceit.

All wisdom is gone.”


–Psalm 36 :2-5


7. That’s all I’ve got. See Jen for more Quick Takes.

About Elizabeth Duffy
  • Mary

    Okay, I will leave an anonymous comment for this one, but our marital intimacy was greatly increased after each of our 4 children. I was never sure if this was a physical matter of stretching/healing or feeling emotionally safe within our marriage as the years went on. My husband might have a different story, but for me, this shift has been nothing short of miraculous.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/duffy/ Elizabeth Duffy

      I think may be a more common experience than we know.

    • Mrs. Chastity

      I completely agree. I enjoyed our intimate life before children, but afterwards, it’s even richer. I did not foresee this, but am incredibly grateful.

  • jenny

    “..I really have come to believe that the marriage bed is the seat of wisdom for married couples…”

    I totally agree …. I wish I knew it before I got married…

    Along the same line: just wondering if the church would consider any “test” to check the maturity of the future couple; this way the sacrament of marriage would be given (hopefully) to people who are really ready to receive it and also, it will involved more accountability for both parties: 1) the future couple, and 2) the priest who give the sacrament.

    A personal point of view: if the Pontifical Council for the Family / Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments,
    would include a more practical component, as expressed in the article above, along with having married couple beside unmarried priests, then, maybe, maybe, the “Marriage Tribunal” would be less busy.

    Just a thought….

  • TheReluctantWidow

    Doing my best “Church Lady” imitation: “Well, wasn’t that special.” Had things to say but decided to keep it to myself. ;-)