Is your husband expressed interest in Exodus 90? Are you curious about what that commitment would mean not just for your husband but for yourself and your family? When my husband and I first discussed him participating in an Exodus 90 group at our local church the first thing I did was jump on the internet to see if I could find any resources or articles written from a wife’s point of view.
The only information I could find was for men who were going through the program and nothing from the point of view of a spouse. Now that my husband has finished with the program I wanted to write about Exodus 90 from my point of view and what the experience meant for me and my family.
Although Exodus 90 is strictly a men’s program, if your husbands going to be successful he’s going to need full buy-in and support from you. So even though you won’t be doing the program yourself, it will directly impact you and your family for the duration. It’s going to be a challenge for everyone involved. But I think the benefits for your husband and your family outweigh those challenges.
What is Exodus 90
Exodus 90 was started in 2010 by a priest to help seminarians brake their attachment or reliance on various vices before they entered the priesthood. The program has been gaining popularity ever since and now extends to laymen in the Catholic community (it’s also available to those in the protestant and eastern orthodox community)
According to the Exodus 90 website
“Exodus 90 is a ninety-day spiritual exercise for men based on three pillars: prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. All three of these pillars are essential aspects of the Christian life. It is for this reason that taking up this spiritual exercise requires taking up all three of these pillars both simultaneously and humbly.”www.exodus90.com
What exactly does all that mean?
For 90 days men involved in Exodus 90 work on improving their prayer life, increasing their self-control/self-mastery (asceticism), and building friendships with a group of men they can rely on to support them in their search to better themselves (fraternity).
So what are the “rules” for the 90’s day?
The “rules” for Exodus 90 are pretty strict and at first, may seem almost impossible. But the idea is that by pushing yourself far out of your comfort zone you’ll break the vices that are holding you down in life. A basic breakdown of the “rules” are;
- Daily prayer – a holy hour
- Cold Showers
- Regular exercise
- No alcohol
- No sweets & desserts
- No snacking between meals
- No soda or other sweet drinks
- No TV, movies, video games, or live sporting events
- Only music that is uplifting to the soul
- Only using the computer for work-related or essential tasks
- Only use your phone for essential purposes, no social media or games/apps
- Abstain from spending money except to make essential purchases
- Fasting and abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays
- Attending weekly fraternity meetings
Why is there not a women’s version of Exodus 90?
I’ve mentioned this a few times already but I wanted to take a quick second to dive into exactly why this is a men’s only program and why you shouldn’t do or be expected to do it yourself.
The Exodus 90 website has this to say about the topic
After years of encouragement to release a women’s program, we made a discernment with a prominent and flourishing women’s religious order about the possibility. However, through their spiritual motherhood and experience of ministry to women, we realized that this is not a model of healing for women and this was not a calling from God for our ministry.Exodus 90 website
This is a spiritual exercise designed to fit the spiritual needs of men. As women, we have different needs that require a different approach. If you’re looking for a program to participate in I would highly recommend checking out Endow Groups, Walking With Purpose, or Blessed Is She
How is this going to affect you and your family?
Although your husband is the only one who will be abiding by the strict rules from the 90 days it’s also going to have a HUGE impact on family life. I think that this aspect cannot be understated and that wives really need to know what to expect if they are going to be the support system their husbands need during the 90 days.
You’re going to have to be more mindful of meal planning
With Wednesday and Fridays being meatless that means you’re going to have to factor that into your meal planning. Usually, I would try to make meatless dinners on those days but I’ll be honest and say that towards the end of the 90 days I was running out of meatless options, or sometimes I would forget.
I bought some salmon burgers and veggie burgers that my husband likes and kept those in the freezer for days I either forgot or the kids didn’t want to eat fist or pasta again.
Another issue I ran into was that I usually cook enough dinner for my husband to take leftovers for lunch the next day. This meant that meals I cooked on Tuesday and Thursday couldn’t be used for leftovers if they had meat in them. This really put a kink into my meal planning and was a giant pain.
How can you make meatless Wednesdays and Fridays easier?
- Talk with your husband to come up with a few premade meatless options that you can keep in the freezer to help make things easier on you during those busy days.
- Plan your meals so you don’t forget to cook a meatless dinner on Wednesdays and Friday’s
- Look for meatless dinner options that can be made in bulk and frozen from later.
He might be grumpy for a little while
Exodus 90 is going to be a shock to the system if he’s following all of the “rules”. And there’s a good possibility that he might end up going through sugar withdrawals if candy, sweets, and sodas were a big vice. His social life is going to change and he’s going to be pushing himself out of his comfort zone. So expect that he might be grumpy for a little while.
Just think about how you’d be feeling if you had to give up everything he was giving up and how that would affect your mood. Give him grace and understand where he is coming from. Try to support him the way you would want him to support you if the roles were reversed.
Its going to affect your social life
Not being able to drink or watch sporting events can really put a damper on social gatherings for a lot of guys. And if an event is on Wednesday or Friday when your husband is fasting and eating meatless then going to events on those days probably aren’t going to be fun for him.
You’re probably also going to find yourself and your husband explaining to people over and over again why he has to follow all these new “rules” and field a ton of questions about why he’s doing it.
For our family, the difficulty was with inviting people over. I had to take into account if it was a meatless night, the fact that my husband couldn’t watch sporting events, he couldn’t drink, or snack between meals. We actually ended up socializing more with the other families that were in the exodus 90 group since we all understood what our husband’s restrictions were and we didn’t need to keep explaining what they were and why they were doing it.
He’s going to need your support
I know I’ve said this a few times around but it’s important. Not only is he going to need your support when it comes to the meal planning aspect but he’s going to need your support when he feels like giving up or breaking some of the “rules”. On those days he is really going to need you to help uplift him and remind him that he has the ability and the strength to keep going.
What happens if you have an anniversary or other important events during Exodus 90
Exodus 90 wasn’t originally created for married men, so the time commitments and competing obligations of fatherhood weren’t something that was factored in. On their question and answer page, they try to help resolve the issue a bit;
While it is true that the best results will come when the disciplines of Exodus 90 are followed exactly as they are given, for married men, the good of the family must always come first, and for that reason, there may be a few exceptions along the way.Exodus 90 website
We had a trip to Florida for a wedding booked months before my husband started Exodus 90. He talked with his group about the trip and what rules he was going to relax during that time and what he was going to stick with. This way we were both able to enjoy a trip we’d been planning for months and he was still able to stick with the program just with some relaxed rules.
We also still did a family movie night at least once or twice a month as well as a date night with a glass of wine monthly. Our agreement was that if it was something that was good for our family or our marriage he was allowed to slightly relax the rules.
What Was our family overall experience
My husband jumped into Exodus 90 pretty quickly and without much research into it. He was in Europe for work when the guys in our friend group decided to start an Exodus 90 program at our church. The day after he got home is when the program started so neither of us had a really good understanding of what type of commitment was required.
Looking back at the entire experience I can say that one of the hardest things honestly was going meatless two days a week and how it changed our social life. Like I talked about above we attended a family member’s wedding right int the middle of the 90 days and I spent A LOT of time having to explain and almost defend what he was doing and I had a lot of people look at me like I had gone off the deep end.
Overall I think that was an amazing program for my husband and it came at the perfect time. He was about to undergo a massive career change and the program really helped him focus on all the things he needed to get done without being distracted by the things that didn’t matter. He also became a lot more involved in our church and the church community.
Now that the program is over he’s decided to try and stick by a lot of the rules going forward because he felt that they made such a positive difference in his life and in our family life overall.
I hope this helped to give you a little more insight into the Exodus 90 program from a wife’s perspective!
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