Exodus 90 is not like other parish programs that you attend. It's a spiritual exercise that you take up. An exercise that reorients your very way of life. Your participation in Exodus 90 will thus impact your wife and family. Share with your wife why you are doing the spiritual exercise and what Exodus 90 entails. It will be important for her to understand both the sacrifices she will have to make and the blessings she will receive.
The Exodus Man and His Bride.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25).
The reorientation to Christ that Exodus 90 makes possible for a married man will necessarily impact his wife and children. Because of this, a married man must prepare not just himself, but his family—and most especially his wife—for these changes. With proper communication ahead of time and a good measure of God’s grace, this ninety-day spiritual exercise will lead to positive results, not just for himself, but for the whole family.
The preparation starts with proper communication. That means finding the right kind of communication and discerning the right timing. If you inform your wife of the Wednesday abstention from meat for the first time at the dinner table, while her delectable pork roast and bacon-enriched mashed potatoes are sitting in front of you, your timing can’t be said to be good. To help with proper communication, we have provided a list of the five steps to proper communication with your wife before Day 1 of your Exodus 90 venture.
4 Steps to Proper Communication with Your Spouse Before Day 1
1. Share your why.
Sit down with your wife and share with her the reason that you want to do Exodus 90. Tell her your hopes for your family and the ways you want to become a better husband and father. Be specific about your search for uncommon freedom. Don’t overlook or take lightly the importance of sharing the specifics of your vision with your wife. This is a crucial part of your conversation.
For help writing your your why, see "What's a 'Written Why' and How Do I Write One?"
2. Discuss the basics of Exodus 90.
Bring your wife into the practical details of the exercise. Show her the list of disciplines. Ask her if she foresees any of the requirements posing a problem for your family life. Talk about how each of them could benefit the family in the long term, connecting them back to why you are doing Exodus 90 in the first place.
Be sure to listen carefully to your wife’s concerns and avoid downplaying the possible effects of the disciplines on the rhythms of home life. Acknowledge the difficulties they might present, and work together to find solutions that are in line with the spirit of the exercise and acceptable to your wife.
3. Support your wife.
Some wives love the idea of their husband entering into Exodus 90. Your wife may have been waiting for you to do something about your spiritual life for a long time. On the other hand, your wife may have a harder time seeing the value in it.
Many wives who are less than excited about their husband doing Exodus 90 are worried that it will take him away from them and their families. This is not entirely wrong: the disciplines do take the husband away from his family for prayer, exercise, and weekly fraternity meetings. At the same time, the disciplines give a man many opportunities to be present to his wife and family more generously. He is no longer checking his work emails or sports scores while “playing” with his children. He isn’t wasting one-on-one time with his wife each night by catching up on Netflix shows or playing video games.
This gift of presence that frees a man to give time to his wife and family far outweighs the time that he spends away from them. And when he is away, he is reorienting his life to Christ. He is more likely to listen to the words: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25) and to be given the ability to live them.
4. Make a decision.
Exodus 90 is not for every man at every time in his life. At the end of the day, the decision is between you and God with your entire family’s spiritual well-being in mind. Scripture makes it clear that you are called to lay down your life for your wife and family. What that should look like needs to be discerned. If Exodus 90 seems like the best way to serve your family, take it up boldly. If God seems to be calling you to something else (possibly something even harder), then do that.
Spirit of the Law
For married men, the good of the family must always come first, and for that reason, there may be a few situations where you might need to relax a discipline during Exodus 90.
Here are two examples:
The disciplines are meant to be purifying for you and beneficial for your wife. Though they may generate some inconvenience for her, they should not make her miserable. It is you who is choosing to take up this spiritual exercise, not her. Be attentive to how this exercise is affecting her and serve as the source of hope she needs along the way.
At the same time, do your best to stick with the spirit of the law and be open to new ways of sharing life that keep you in accord with the exercise. If you start to see a pattern forming of breaking the disciplines for the sake of wife and family, bring it up to your fraternity and seek their advice. You know your wife and family best, but sometimes a little fraternal third-party input can help a man see things more clearly.
More important than following the disciplines, love your wife.
"Who can find a woman of worth?
Far beyond jewels is her value.
Her husband trusts her judgment..."