Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crowley Coupledom's top 10 most-read stories of the year

It seems like every blog I'm reading has their top 10 most-read stories listed now as the year comes to an end, so why not list mine? What were the must-read stories of 2010? I let you decide!

No. 10 was "Surrounding yourself with uplifting, encouraging couples." "As a married couple, I've found it's so important to surround ourselves with other uplifting, encouraging couples as often as we can."

No. 9 on the list was "To love, the decision." "Define what we mean by the term 'love.' What I term as the word is '"putting the needs of others above yourself.' Doesn't sound like an emotion to me. That is an action, a purposeful intention one makes. A decision."

No. 8 was "A top 10 list of top 10 lists." Among those lists given were top 10 marriage mistakes, 10 awesome gifts for married couples and top 10 reasons to communicate.

No. 7 was "I choose you today, tomorrow and every day." "...so now every morning before we part for our days, we leave with saying, '"I choose you today,' to each other. I like to believe it starts our day out with our priorities in the right place, putting each other above everything else, under our relationship with God. If we have each other, not much else matters."

No. 6 was "Engagement video finally made." Ha, I don't know if people thought I'd actually posted the video on this post, but it was actually just a statement that I'd finally made one. I couldn't post it on YouTube because it was too big or used music that had been copyrighted or something. Does anyone know how I can post it online?

No. 5 was "Thankful for having the same mindset on marriage." "How did I get so blessed to be married to a man who loves being married and thinks the utmost of the sacrament of marriage? These are his own words, by the way. That divorce is never an option."

No. 4 was "Marriage bucket list." I listed life experiences I wanted to have with Mark that included having children, diving the Great Barrier Reef and making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

No. 3 was "Couples to Behold: Lauren and John Knaus." A part of a series I'm doing that features our married friends and qualities they possess in their relationships I would like to emulate. "One of the things I admire about Lauren's and John's relationship is how, as a couple, they place value on familial relationships ... While I know there can be an imbalance for couples when it comes to extended family, I think Lauren and John have found that great level that works for them and nourishes their relationship as a couple. Having that support system can make a huge impact!

No. 2 was "Reason no. 532 my husband is awesome." A thank you post to Mark for doing the things he doesn't like or that turn out to be more work than he bargained for, all because I asked him to or it would make me happy.

No. 1 was "Catholic 20-Somethings Ministry = Cupid." "Now looking at the ministry five years later (five years of 20-Somethings -- crazy?!), after having met my own husband through it, I can appreciate the fact that it has changed lives in bringing future spouses together, resulting in families."

Thanks for following my blog this year! I look forward to continuing to share my married experience with anyone who will read. :) Let me know if you have anything in particular about which you'd like to hear!

June 13, 2009

Monday, December 27, 2010

Couples to Behold: Christi and Thomas Payne

Christi and Thomas were just married six months ago. A few short 197 days later, this husband and wife are expecting their first child at the end of March 2011! How God chooses to bless our marriages is awesome, and I'm so excited for them as they journey toward parenthood.

I first met Christi when she was a new parishioner at Saint Mary Cathedral and I was the director of ministries there -- about four years ago, perhaps? I met her for dinner at Central Market to get to know her better and see where her interests might lie in getting involved at the Cathedral. Our friendship quickly took hold and she has since become one of my dearest friends. We were in each others' weddings and will, no doubt, remain close friends over the course of time.

Thomas, I met when he and Christi began dating about a year and a half ago -- on the dance floor of my wedding, to be exact! He is a sweet guy and clearly couldn't be any happier than to be married to his beautiful wife.

What I love about Christi's and Thomas' relationship is how they recognize the meaningfulness in doing the little things for one another. Every now and again I'll hear about how Thomas has left something out for Christi at the house for when she gets home from work, whether it be a special drink, flowers or just something else to make her smile. Thomas knows just how to bring that girly smile to Mrs. Payne's face, and not much else says pure joy when you catch a glimpse of it. Christi loves taking care of Thomas and being the nurturing wife that comes so naturally for her. They both honor what makes a relationship stand true and steady -- by doing little things for one another often. Sure, the big celebrations and gifts are important and create special memories, but it's those thoughtful everyday gestures and affirmations that are the most powerful and will grow and strengthen the relationship.

An awesome couple to know!

Christi and Thomas Payne, June 19, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pope's Advent Message to Newlyweds: Follow Mary [2010-12-01]

"...and for you, dear newlyweds, may the Mother of Jesus be your guide in building your family on the solid rock of faith." Love it.

Pope's Advent Message to Newlyweds: Follow Mary [2010-12-01]

** Don't forget to vote for my blog to be one of the top 10 marriage blogs of 2010!

Couples to Behold: Nikki and Steve McMinn

Steve is another great guy who grew up with Mark, and Nikki is his sweet wife. I first met them when we attended their wedding several years ago, and they were blessed to have their first child, Garrett, this last summer.

One thing I've noticed about their relationship is that they seem really supportive of one another. Someone asked me not too long ago what I thought to be one of the most important qualities of a good spouse, and being supportive was what I immediately answered. From when I've seen Nikki and Steve together as parents, to being at Steve's surprise birthday party Nikki organized a few years ago to miscellaneous other times spent together at events, they just appear to be a supportive couple. Such a great quality to try to emulate!

Another great couple to know. :)

** Don't forget to vote for my blog to be one of the top 10 marriage blogs of 2010!

Steve and Nikki at the Chaudhari wedding, June 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vote for me!

OK, so first was the nomination process. Noooow you can go vote for mine to be one of the top marriage blogs of 2010!

1. Take some time to check out the list of blogs nominated here.
2. Vote for your favorite (me, if you feel so called to!) by filling out the form at the bottom of the post. 
* Please vote only once
, but encourage your friends to vote!
3. Voting closes at midnight CST Dec. 14.
4. The Top 10 Marriage Blogs of 2010 will be announced on Dec. 16.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

 July 2008

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Couples to Behold: Julie and Ken Richey

You're going to catch a theme within a theme here ... many of the guys grew up with Mark. It's bizarre / awesome how all the guys with whom Mark grew up are still the best of friends today. I don't really know any other groups of their size (10+ guys) who are still close after so many years. Talk about loyalty! It's pretty sweet.

In any case, Ken and Mark grew up together.

Julie and Ken have been married for 10ish years; they were the very first of the group to get married, long before I ever knew Mark. They were engaged after four months together! How awesome is that? When you know, you know. They're a great couple, and I'm sure since they're the ones in our group who have been married the longest, there's a lot we could learn from them about marriage!

One thing I admire about their relationship is how they really enjoy each other. From my knowing them a couple of years now, it's great to watch how they're comfortable with each other's individuality and just love hanging out together. You can tell they're good friends, more than just husband and wife. Maybe your marriage grows that way the longer you're married or maybe they've always been that way from day one of their relationship; either way, it's awesome.

Another fabulous couple we're blessed to know!

** Don't forget to nominate my blog to be one of the top 10 marriage blogs of 2010!

Julie and Ken Richey, May 7, 2010, Knaus Rehearsal Dinner

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Welcome to society, the new Mr. and Mrs. Ruben Garza, Junior

My good friend Ruben married his beautiful new bride, Jen, last Saturday! It was a wonderful wedding weekend, and I feel blessed to have been asked to lector. The two of them are such a great couple, and I couldn't be more excited for them and all the joys that lie ahead of them! God bless you two and your marriage.

Jen and Ruben Garza, Nov. 6, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Couples to Behold: Amy and Sunil Chaudhari

Sunil was Mark's first friend when Mark's family moved to Texas about 24 years ago. Apparently Sunil got the lucky assignment of showing Mark his book-covering skills.We were blessed to meet Amy about four years ago when she and Sunil first started dating; they are also newlyweds, having gotten married this past June (June 5, 2010).

One quality I admire about their relationship is that they are quick to forgive one another. Let's just admit it: when around good friends, you can usually tell when there is some tension between a couple. Disagreements happen all the time in a healthy relationship, and goodness knows Mark and I have shown it around those with whom we're comfortable. What's awesome about Amy and Sunil is that while it may appear they're in disagreement one moment, it's not too long before you turn around again and they've worked out whatever the issue is and they're back to their doting couple-selves. Being quick to forgive is something to be admired in anyone.

Another great couple to know!

** Don't forget to vote for my blog to be one of the top 10 marriage blogs of 2010!

Amy and Sunil Chaudhari; Knaus wedding; May 8, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Vote for my blog to be one of the top 10 marriage blogs

Stu Gray of The Marry Blogger, began a Top 10 Marriage Blog List last year.  It was quite successful in helping people find quality content regarding marriage on the internet.  You can see last year’s Top Ten by clicking here.

In order to become one of the top 10, a blog must receive the most votes.  With only one vote allowed per person, it would quite an honor to be named on this list.  So, please vote for my blog!  All you have to do is click on the graphic below to be taken to the voting page.  When it asks for my URL, simply copy and paste this web address when prompted: http://crowleycoupledom.blogspot.com.

The voting is open until Nov. 24, so won’t you help me get the word out?  I appreciate all of you who regularly follow my blog!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christian Wives, Spouses Have Model in St. Bridget [2010-10-27]

I love this quote from the pope: "May the Spirit of the Lord give rise to the sanctity of Christian spouses, to show the world the beauty of marriage lived according to the values of the Gospel: love, tenderness, mutual help, fecundity in generating and educating children, openness and solidarity to the world, participation in the life of the Church."

Mark and I visited San Brigida in Italy this summer and saw the cave [St. Bridget] lived in for something like five years in the 10th century. Beautiful part of Italy!

Christian Wives, Spouses Have Model in St. Bridget [2010-10-27]: "Pope Reflects on Life of Co-Patroness of Europe"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Couples to Behold: Michelle and Forrest Higdon

Forrest Higdon is another friend of Mark's whom he's known since Forrest was in middle school, or somewhere around there, and Michelle is his beautiful wife. I was blessed to be able to witness their wedding four years ago, not too long after Mark and I had first started dating.

One thing I admire about this fabulous couple is their spirituality. I could be wrong, but I think they met through church while they were in college (Catholic fraternity and sorority?). They also volunteered in our current church's youth program, Life Teen, for a while and participated in a small faith-sharing group Mark and I led several years ago. It's such a beautiful thing to not only be able to share your faith with your spouse but also to grow in your spirituality together as a couple. While some folks go their own way in their search for God, Michelle and Forrest demonstrate well the value they place on growing in it together.

Another great couple we're blessed to know!

Michelle and Forrest Higdon, March 2010, Crilly Couples' Shower

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Couples to Behold: Lauren and John Knaus

Mark grew up with John and I've known Lauren since 2006 / 2007 through the Catholic 20-Somethings Ministry.  They got married May 8, 2010, so they're still newlyweds! :)  I've been around since the beginning of their relationship, so I've been blessed to witness them grow together as a couple.  Mark's group of guy friends and their girlfriends / wives often travel together, so we've all been on several trips together, from Miami to Dallas to the Texas Hill Country, and we spend a lot of time together here in the great ATX.  I think it's safe to say that we'll be a constant in each others' lives forever since this group of guys is so close and has been together so long!  I pray we have a lot of life together to look forward to!

One of the things I admire about Lauren's and John's relationship is how, as a couple, they place value on familial relationships.  John's dad was his best man at the wedding.  They live within 15 minutes of both sets of parents.  Lauren was just talking a couple of days ago about how important her family continues to grow to her.  While I know there can be an imbalance for couples when it comes to extended family, I think Lauren and John have found that great level that works for them and nourishes their relationship as a couple.  Having that support system can make a huge impact!

Another great couple to know!

Lauren and John Knaus, February 2010, Payne Engagement Party

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Couples to Behold: Debbi and Mike Apperson

Funny as this may sound, I actually don't know Debbi and Mike all too well.  I've only met them a couple times, the first time being a ski trip we all went on earlier this year; we ran into them a month after that at a hockey game.  Mark has known Mike for years ... they probably grew up together, like so many of Mark's current friends.  Even with only having met them a small handful of times, I admire Debbi and Mike and know their relationship has something to teach me and Mark.  Probably the greatest aspects of their relationship I've taken away from knowing them so far is that they have fun together and really seem to understand one another.  Just witnessing the way they interacted on the trip, I could tell how well they go together.  A great couple to know!

Mike and Debbi, Keystone, CO ski trip January 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Couples to Behold: A Series on Our Married Friends

I believe strongly in encouraging couples in their marriages.  I know marriage can be difficult and how important it is to have that support system to reaffirm your vocation and encourage you to be the best spouse you can be.

Therefore, I'm going to start a series featuring our married friends: Couples to Behold.  I want to highlight the quality I admire most or think is one to honor in the marriages of our friends.  If you know me well and you're married, chances are that I'll probably be featuring you here, so if you'd rather not be included, shoot me an e-mail!  Otherwise, look for your fabulous faces in the weeks to come. :)

We're blessed to have in our lives many married couples to admire.  I hope that this series will not only encourage you in your own marriages but will help you look at the married couples in your own lives and honor them, too!  We all need affirmation from time to time.  You never know when it makes all the difference to someone.

Halloween 2009, "A Scottish Couple"

Monday, October 4, 2010

My childhood future husband

Meet: Brian Stevens.  He had an athletic build, brown hair and looked mostly like Jared Leto:

Jared Leto when I was in high school

Brian was someone I dreamed up when I was a high school-aged girl, the man I was going to marry.  He only ever existed as a figment of my imagination. 

Being dreamy high school girls, my best friend, Angela, and I decided we would predict the men we would marry and make a notebook of our future weddings.  I came across this notebook this past weekend as I was going through some old boxes from my childhood.  Ha! 

The first page of the notebook has the details of what our future husbands and lives would look like,
 including the number of children we'd have (Mr. Stevens and I would have three), while the next several sheet protectors held torn out bridal magazine pages of wedding and bridesmaid dresses we liked and hot honeymoon destinations of the time.  Apparently Jamaica was where Mr. Stevens and I would go.

I wish I could give more details I'd dreamed up, but I've since repacked the notebook -- you know, so my future children can have some good laughs later; meanwhile the box it's packed in collects attic dust.  Instead, I'll happily turn toward dreaming of my real, wonderful husband.

He does have brown hair (thankfully shorter than Jared's) and an athletic build.  We honeymooned in beautiful Belize and pray to be blessed with any number of children someday.  My wedding dress was much more beautiful than the big bows and puffy sleeves that adorned the dresses in my notebook, as were my bridesmaid dresses.  I still donned the gloves I'd always dreamed of, though. ;-) 

God blessed me beyond my wildest imagination when he chose Mark for me long ago.  No dreams of any boy-crazed teenage girl could have ever thought the God-fearing, strong, handsome and funny man I now call my husband would have been set aside for the silly, hopeful and sometimes awkward girl I was.  Mark got a real kick last night out of seeing my old yearbook pictures -- I think fourth through seventh grade provided the most laughs.  Gotta love those middle school years.

Thank you, Jesus, for having a plan, for knowing in what magnificent ways you wanted to bless me, for loving me so much as to save Mark for little old me.  We look forward with great hope to continuing to watch your plan unfold!

March 2008

Monday, September 27, 2010

March 1 / 2, 2006: Our first real date

Our first official date was the evening of March 1, 2006, and it was to celebrate my new job at Saint Mary Cathedral!  Mark and I had spent time together before then, but this was our first official, "Let's go out on a formal date," date.

We first went to my favorite place to catch live music in Austin, the Elephant Room.  It's your perfect jazz club -- down in a basement, dark and great music.  I haven't been here in a while, actually.  I'm sensing a revisit sometime in the near future ...

Next, Mark suggested getting donuts at his favorite place near campus, Ken's Donuts.  Now, what's funny about this is that while he had suggested it, I actually didn't want any, but if he wanted one, sure, I'd go with him to get one.  I didn't think this would be a big deal until we showed up and he looked at me when it was time to order.  When I mentioned that I was just along for the ride and wasn't interested in eating any donuts, he couldn't believe it and didn't understand why we'd come in the first place.  I kept laughing and said that I didn't mind going and that I just wanted to be with him, so it didn't matter.  He still gives me a hard time about that to this day.

Lastly, we headed across the street to Spider House Cafe to drink some coffee and chat some in a quieter environment than the jazz club had provided.  This was the place where we also later took some of our engagement photos because of the sentimental value; if you received our wedding save the date cards, the picture on that (because I'm sure you all remember which photo it was, ha!), that was at Spider House.

 Engagement photo at Spider House Cafe, November 2008

We also call this our first official date because it's the night we had our first kiss ... awwww, I know.  It was actually Ash Wednesday that day, March 1, so unbeknownst to me, Mark wouldn't kiss me until after midnight because Ash Wednesday is supposed to be a somber day of self denial.  Ha, so after midnight, officially March 2 when it was no longer Ash Wednesday, he kissed me.

And we lived happily ever after. :)

On our first dating anniversary, we recreated this date, which was a lot of fun!  We visited each place and relived that first fateful evening.  I'm sure it won't be the last time we will have done that.

Yay for falling in love!

August 2009, Touring the Hill Country wineries

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Hey, honey, I want to marry you .... but let's purchase divorce insurance, just in case."

Wow, divorce insurance ... really?  A North Carolina-based insurance company offers a payout if your marriage ends in divorce.  Why would you even get married?  The money?  Those are marriages heading straight for doom.  In the back of their minds, the couple will always have the divorce insurance payout in their back pockets.  What reason do you have for confidence in your marriage, confidence to express your concerns and work through problems, confidence your spouse will stay with you "through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, until death do you part?"  None.  Boo.  Boo to you, insurance company, for being evil enablers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A top 10 list of top 10 lists

Some food for thought on a Monday morning.  In no particular order ...
  1. Top 10 marriage mistakes
  2. Top 10 marriage myths
  3. Top 10 [pieces of] marriage advice
  4. Top 10 marriage books to read in 2010
  5. Top 10 Bible studies on love and marriage
  6. Top 10 tips for a happy marriage
  7. Top 10 ways to destroy a marriage
  8. 10 awesome gifts for married couples
  9. The top 10 marriage blogs of 2009
  10. Top 10 reasons to communicate
Some of my favorites ...
  • 1. An overnight stay for the two of you or a Marriage Retreat.
    I love this.  This out-of-the-box idea came to me through Twitter, and it was my favorite.  In the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in consumerism and focusing on gifts.  While great gifts can be an asset to marriage (as I hope I’ve demonstrated above), why not surprise your spouse with plans to get away from the responsibilities of home for an evening away?  For a deeper experience, I’d highly recommend you try a marriage retreat.
    (10 awesome gifts for married couples)
  • 7. Quit dating. Saying "I do" doesn't mean that you should stop dating your spouse. You still need time together – time away from home, work, the kids and other responsibilities. My husband and I try to have a bi-weekly date night, and a once or twice-a-year weekend away without the kids. Even though we see each other every day, we need time to just concentrate on each other.
    (Top 10 ways to destroy a marriage)
  • 2. Grace
        * Say this again and again. “I’m not perfect and my spouse isn’t perfect.”
        * If you have unrealistic expectations, you’re bound for so much disappointment. I’m not saying that we should expect mediocre marriages, but we need to be realistic. This is another way of accentuating the importance of Grace.
    (Top 10 [pieces of] marriage advice)
  • 1. Lack of Respect
    Don't badmouth your spouse to your friends or associates. Spouses need to be thanked. They need to know they are appreciated.
    (Top 10 marriage mistakes)
 Destin trip, June 2008

Monday, September 13, 2010

Europe recap

As I sit on my lunch break eating a New York Italian sandwich from Thundercloud, I reminisce about our recent European vacation and can taste the salami and ham sandwiches we ate in Florence and Rome -- Thundercloud doesn't exactly measure up.  All I need is a glass of white wine and some olives and cheeses to complete my lunch.  Don't think I'll find any of that in the church office!

Yes, it's taken me a bit to post a recap, but I've slowly been getting back into my routine since our return and feel I'm (almost!) there.

Where do I begin?!  Europe was just fabulous!  Food?  Good.  People?  Friendly (mostly).  Weather?  Superb.  Didn't even rain in London, really! 

We started out in Rome, which provided the highlight of the trip for me: we were 20 feet away from the pope!  We were worried that we wouldn't be able to see him at all since he was supposed to be staying at his summer home, Castel Gondolfo, 30 minutes outside of Rome.  Thankfully for us, we'd booked a tour for the Papal Audience, and since we'd done this, the tour took us on a bus to the summer home where Mark and I were probably in the last 100 people of about 400 who got into the small courtyard of the home to see the pope for his Wednesday audience.  We debated even booking the tour since you don't need tickets to go to a papal audience, but with tickets, you supposedly can sit closer so we went with it, and I'm so glad we did!  We wouldn't have had another way to get out to the summer home or as close as we did without having done so.

Mark and I as we waited (in the stifling heat) in the courtyard for Pope Benedict XVI, August 2010

Many folks were left outside the home; you had to be pretty fierce to get in.  There were quite a few feisty little Italian ladies who were determined to make it in there!  Being in front of them, they pushed Mark and I right on through, ha.

Pope Benedict XVI, August 2010

Unfortunately, he didn't give his message in English, so we have no idea what he said, but we're sure it was very holy. ;-)  We do know that he gave us all a blessing and that it extended to our families at home, so that was very special.  Therefore, family, considered yourselves personally blessed by the pope!

The next stop was Florence, which was mine and Mark's favorite city we visited.  It was a cinch cooler than Rome (though not by much) and was our ticket to wine country!  We toured the wine country two different days -- one visit to Chianti and another visit to Montalcino and Montepulciano.  We made it home with seven bottles of wine (one 5L), all intact!  

Chianti region, Italy; August 2010

We enjoyed the many squares in the city we could just sit in and people watch.  One night we made ourselves a picnic dinner and played "Pick out the Americans."  So many interesting people!  Thankfully, it wasn't a problem we spoke little to no Italian.  The Italians were the nicest of everyone on our trip!

Next stop was Paris.  Since I'd been before and seen all the major sites and Mark didn't really care to sight-see too much, Paris was where we tried to catch up on some sleep!  We slept in the two days we were there, which was heavenly.  One thing I did want to make sure to do was to go up the Eiffel Tower at night since that was supposed to be the best time to see the city, and, boy, it was.  When I'd gone up before in the daytime, all you see is a bunch of concrete, aka the city of Paris.  Nighttime, though, was just beautiful!  The City of Lights, indeed.

 View of the Seine River, Paris, September 2010

Paris was also where it started to get much cooler, most especially at night.  A welcome change!

Atop the Eiffel Tower, September 2010

Classic Eiffel Tower photo, September 2010

Last stop was London, where the weather was significantly cooler.  We toured Bath, Salisbury and Stonehenge one day while there.  We loved visiting Bath as it was modeled after many of the little Italian cities we'd just visited!  London was clean, and it was great speaking English again.

Stonehenge, September 2010

At Wicked!  The Musical, September 2010

While our trip was amazing and memories that we'll forever treasure, it was good to come back to Texas, too!  Two weeks, I've found, is a good amount of time to be away from home, as I'm usually ready to come back to the place I fondly call home.

But, if you know me at all, you'll know I was already planning our next trip abroad mid-vacation!  Mark had to remind me to just enjoy where we were.  The planner in me. :)

I feel so blessed that we had the opportunity to travel to Europe and I know we'll be rehashing the precious memories for the rest of our marriage.  God is good!

* To view all of our photos, visit here.

Paris, September 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vote now: What do you think will be our favorite part of our trip to Europe?


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reason no. 532 my husband is awesome

So after several days of going up into the sauna-on-steroids attic, drilling holes in the ceiling and wall to discover 2x4s in the way, pushing fishing poles and hangers through the ceiling to see where the hole went to, hours of holding his arms above his head and general frustrations of going from "this is an easy project" to "worst idea ever," Mark was able to install my little old recessed lighting in the cove in our living room so that I could have a little artsy cove.  It looks so pretty!  Mark will say the project wasn't worth it, but I sure do love the way it looks.  I'm so grateful for a husband who will go through loads of frustration to follow through with something I've asked him to do.  He even cleaned up the mess all by himself!  Thanks, honey, for helping me create my little dream home!  On to the next project on our neverending home improvement list ...

Pretty!  It looks even better at night. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Top marriage news of August 3, 2010

I thought it might be interesting to do a Google news search of marriage to see what the top marriage headlines are today:

  1. Hills star Spencer Pratt not sure about his marriage and divorce
  2. Chelsea and Marc: Their Mixed Marriage, a Mixed Blessing
  3. Chelsea Clinton's Interfaith Marriage Challenge: Kids, Holidays, Soul-Searching
  4. 'The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose': Ali and Roberto Talk Marriage, Chris Gets Closure
  5. Review | '18 to Life': This teenage TV marriage no laughing matter
  6. James Van Der Beek Announces Marriage To Kimberly Brook On Twitter 
  7. Anne Rice explains: Catholic bishops funding efforts to stop gay marriage was a last straw
  8. Nooses anger gay pastor
  9. Behind the numbers of Prop. 8
  10. A&M And SEC Marriage In 2013?
Celebrity weddings / pop culture, gay marriage and a random sports story unrelated to the sacrament of marriage.

A friend of mine last night was talking about how she tries to watch BBC news now because the U.S. Hollywood drama doesn't make the cut ... no Britney Spears, no Lindsey Lohan.  I might have to check that out.  As someone who doesn't watch TV, I could really care less about which celebrity married who.

Our housewarming party, August 2009

Monday, July 26, 2010

Marriage as a holy mirror

Why do I bother to blog about marriage?  Why not just blog about my own marriage, my relationship with my hubby and not bring others into it?

Well, I believe in marriage.  I believe strongly in what marriage was created to be and what I believe its purpose to be.  I don't believe marriage is just for a husband's and wife's benefit, for them to stay in their little comfortable bubble of bliss and enjoy by themselves.  I believe husbands and wives are called to be witnesses to the world, that marriage is a tool that should glorify God.

St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her."  The purpose of this directive was that the Christian marriage is to be a reflection of Christ's relationship to his bride, the Church. When others look at the Christian marriage, they are to see Christ's great love reflected in the love the husband has for his wife.

I also believe that everyone (married couples, in particular) is called to be supportive of this vocation, especially in a world that has such a secular and watered down view of this most precious of divine calls to service to the Church and humanity.  We are to encourage one another in our marriages, most importantly serve and minister to those who are struggling in their marriages.

One of the ways I feel called to do this is through my little, unimportant blog here on marriage.  My hope is that it might provide an inkling of occasional hope to happily married couples, struggling married couples, those who haven't yet discerned their vocation, single people and even those called to religious life.  Maybe even future Jen.  I pray that it moves people in a way that would set them on fire for their own holy callings. 

I fully and humbly admit that, being a newlywed, I have no idea what I'm talking about.  I've only been married a little over a year and have, God willing, a lot of life together with Mark ahead of me.  I know struggles are waiting to meet us there and that our love (the decision) will be tested and tried.  Will I feel like blogging about the joys and blessings of marriage then?  Probably not. 

With all this in mind, I am blessed to have hope.  Hope in the sacrament of marriage, hope in my marriage, hope in the marriages of those I love and hope for all married couples.

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom ... we boast in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us."

I encourage you to pray regularly for married couples, especially those struggling in their marriages.  Hold fast to "a future full of hope" and realize that, if you've been called to marriage, you are called to be more that just a person having life experiences with someone else, doing your own thing in the world.  You are called to be a mirror of Christ and the love he has for his Church.  It's a big job, but you'll be equipped to meet your challenges.  That's the ultimate goal as a married person, really.

How will you answer the call today?

Destin, FL, June 2008

Friday, July 23, 2010

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Carl Johnson

One of Mark's former high school kids from his youth ministry days, Rachel, got married last weekend!  The wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Johnson was really unique and beautiful -- the first Nuptial Mass I've seen that includes washing of the feet.  It had beautiful symbolism about how we're called to servant love, and what better place to recommit to that but in your wedding ceremony.  More couples should do this in their weddings!

Rachel and Carl Johnson, July 17, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010


Congratulations to friends Jenn and Justin Rudolph, married last weekend!  The wedding was beautiful.  I especially loved the reception at the Mansion at Judges' Hill -- such classic decor!  Very elegant.  Mark and I were honored to serve as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at the Nuptial Mass.  May you blessed with many joyful years, friends.  Enjoy your honeymoon in Costa Rica!!  What I'd give to be vacationing there now ...

Jenn and Justin Rudolph, Married July 10, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Marriage bucket list

I was listening to a podcast yesterday that focused on seizing the day.  The host posed the question that we each reflect on what we might change or how we might behave if we found out we only had three months to live, a year to live.  Now, we've all talked about this at some point or another; it's not exactly a new topic.  But, for whatever reason, it touched my heart yesterday.

I'm very blessed to pretty much be comfortable with dying today, this week, this year, whenever.  I think the people in my life know how much I love them, and I have no life-changing regrets.  Do I want to kick the bucket anytime soon?  Not in the least.  There are still many things I want to experience in this lifetime before I knock on Heaven's gate.

So, per the advice of yesterday's podcast and so many others, let me make a list of things I'd like to experience in my marriage before God calls me home.  (There are others, but since this blog is about my marriage, I'll stay focused.)

Life experiences I want to have with Mark
  • Have children
  • Travel (Europe, cruise, Hawaii, Ireland, Scotland, etc.)
  • Open a wine bar????  I always say this.  Am I serious?  It would be fun ...
  • Visit New York City at Christmastime
  • Dive the Great Barrier Reef
  • Own a vacation home in Destin and visit very, very regularly
  • Go on a few family vacations with extended family
  • Minister together in some way.  We are pretty involved in our own ministries but haven't done much ministry together, apart from the Catholic 20-Somethings Ministry, from which we retired a couple years ago.
  • Celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary: June 13, 2059 (!)
  • Pay off a house mortgage
  • Read the entire Bible
  • Make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land
  • After much life together, serve as an engaged sponsor couple to those preparing for marriage
I'm sure much more will be added down the road, but this will have to start me off!  Wow, what a fun life we have ahead of us. :)

Cancun, Thanksgiving 2009

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Engagement video finally made

Don't laugh ... I've finally compiled all of our pre-wedding events videos into one video!  Yes, I know it only took me a year to do it, but it was complicated figuring out how to download all the video from the tapes to the computer (the camera's been on loan for two years from an incredibly generous friend). 

I must say, too, that -- wow, I'm an awesome video editor.  True story.  (We all know I struggle with humility. :) ).  But seriously!  I never knew it'd be only an afternoon editing to get the awesome outcome that I did. 

It's like a real movie!  It includes our engagement party, pictures, my two bridal showers, bachelorette party wrap-up, planning evenings with family, rehearsal dinner and morning of the wedding.  Let me know if you want to see it, and we can make a movie night out of it, ha. 

I definitely recommend capturing life on video!  Love, love it.  Pictures can only say so much.  

June 2008, Destin, FL

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Picking battles

I'll admit it -- I can sometimes be too sensitive.  I'd like to say I've gotten better over the years, but in all honesty, I'm not sure there's been a noticeable improvement, at least to others.

I think choosing your battles is a fine art one has to master.  It's difficult to let some things roll off your back, but I know that, in all reality, Mark loves me for who I am and never wants to hurt me.  I know he challenges me to become a better person and some things he says or does don't even mean the same thing they may mean to me.  I have to recognize we've grown up in two different worlds and that he's not out to get me. 

Marriage is about give and take.  Sometimes I take more, sometimes I give more.  Sometimes I look things over and ignore them, sometimes I let the worst of my emotions rope me in and get upset about the tiniest detail, sometimes I act like a grown up and address a concern in a responsible, mature way.  I think the latter solution is one that involves the first one I mentioned -- sometimes acting like a grown up means ignoring something if it's not going to hurt anyone, i.e. leaving out two pairs of shoes in the living room.  Yes, I enjoy a clean, clutter-free home, but is it worth it to cause an evening of misery for our family if I feel the need to blow up over two pairs of shoes being out in the man's own home?  I pat myself on the back when I'm able to recognize that our home, or whatever it is, is half Mark's, so he's entitled to choose how he wants to take care of it.  Again, sometimes he gives a little, sometimes he takes a little, too; there's a balance we must find.

We were having dinner with Opa and Oma the other day, and, again, I left inspired by their marriage, their relationship.  It really leaves you something to think about when you watch these two interact.  I've known them now for three years (?), and I've definitely noticed how loving and accepting the two are of each other.  It's a rare occasion to see the two disagree or correct each other, at least in front of others.  They are supportive of one another and don't get upset over the little things -- ever.  They have certainly mastered the art of picking battles. 

I think it's an important key to a happy marriage and one I hope to noticeably improve in our marriage.  Hmmm, I hear a 2011 resolution?  Ha, I won't wait that long to work on it ... ;-)

Cancun trip, Thanksgiving 2009

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dating with a purpose

Mark and I always had a purpose in our dating relationship.  Neither one of us was looking to just have fun with someone or pass the time with another warm body.  At the same time, we weren't rushing to the altar and talking about marriage all the time -- we didn't get engaged until after two and a half years of dating and then married until after three years of dating. 

I'm not sure I understand couples that are in relationships with people they don't ever see themselves marrying.  Or if they're not even sure they ever want to get married.  Why are you wasting yours and that person's time?  What's the point?  Get a best friend, if that's what you want, but don't pretend the relationship is something that it's not. 

I think the old-fashioned term "courting" sums it up best: "to seek the affections of; especially : to seek to win a pledge of marriage from." 

I believe every relationship is on its own course.  There's no deadline (to an appropriate extent -- 10 years of dating may be pushing it) that must be met or race with other couples to see who bites the bullet first.  Every relationship will have its own unique story that unravels in the fullness of time.  I also believe, however, that dating must have its purpose -- to discern if this person is whom God has intended you to marry. 

Mark and I talked about this purposeful dating in the early stages of our relationship.  We began praying together that God's will would be revealed to us, and I prayed that He would make our relationship into something beautiful and that every purpose He had for our relationship would be fulfilled -- no matter if we were to marry or not.

Loving organization the way I do (thanks Mom!), I, of course, have my own prayer schedule.  I pray for certain things every day of the week so that I don't get overwhelmed in my prayer life or sit for hours and hours praying for everything under the sun.  Mondays are the days I pray for dating, engaged and married couples.  I have a list of all of my friends that I go through by name and pray for their relationships, whatever status they may be.  I certainly pray for my friends in dating relationships, that in the fullness of time, God would reveal His perfect will for their relationships to them, in the meantime granting them His peace and patience.  Again, that every purpose He has for their relationships would be revealed.

We need to encourage our friends in these times of their lives to be purposeful in their dating relationships.  Ask them how things are going from time to time, and keep them in your prayers.  Absolutely, breaking up is hard to do, but it's better than spending years and years in a dead-end relationship when you could've been dating your future spouse.

"All I'm saying is that somewhere out there is the man you are supposed to marry. And if you don't get him first, somebody else will, and you'll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that somebody else is married to your husband." 
~ "When Harry Met Sally"

Ha, wisdom from one of the greatest romantic comedies ever. :)

April 2008, My cousin's wedding

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Walshy becomes a Payne

This past weekend, my dear friend, Christi, married Thomas!  Congratulations, you two.  It was a beautiful ceremony and an awesome reception.  Lots of good music, dancing, food and friends.  She couldn't have looked happier!  That woman deserves every bit of it!!  Cheers to a lifetime of joy, peace and laughter.

June 19, 2010, Christi and Thomas Payne's wedding day

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One year later

We've now been Mr. and Mrs. Mark Crowley for one year and two days!  We have lived every day of the year together as husband and wife, and it's flown by!  Maybe it's because we've been so busy with the special circumstances of many friends' weddings and the impending birth of our niece (next week!) and another niece / nephew later this year, but I'm not sure things will ever really slow down.  Such is life!  Next year it'll be a couple more weddings, etc.  I'm so grateful I have someone so wonderful with whom to share these experiences.  God is so good for finding it good and pleasing to have chosen us for one another.  He sure knew what He was doing when He set us apart for the other!  I couldn't be more joyful.

We had a wonderful anniversary celebration, planned by Mark.  He certainly set the bar high for me next year when it's my turn to plan!  I think I can measure up. :)

The weekend was incredible, filled with lunch at Trattoria Lisina (Mandola Estate Winery restaurant)...

a tour of Texas' only successful olive oil company, First Texas Olive Oil Co.,  and wine tasting at Bella Vista Cellars -- all located at Bella Vista Ranch in Wimberley ...

a stay at The Lakehouse Bed and Breakfast in Canyon Lake ...

dinner at a seafood restaurant on the lake ...

and general celebrating!

It was a perfect way to celebrate our first year together as a married couple!  God willing, the first of many, many more to come.

To close out this post, a little reminiscing on our holiest and most blessed day together yet ...

I can't think of anyone I'd rather be than Mrs. Mark Crowley.  Happy anniversary, hun!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Your marriage is in their hands."

Welcome to the NBC show, "The Marriage Ref."  Really.

The TV show that has a slogan of, "Your marriage is in their hands," features celebrities, such as Madonna (divorced twice), Alec Baldwin (divorced), Larry David (divorced) and Ricky Gervais (never married), who critique the marriages of everyday folk who care to share their troubles with the American public on live television.  Hmm.

There are so many things wrong with this; do I even need to go into them? 

First of all, the couples' situations are taken so out of context when their "situations" are played, just to make for entertaining viewing. 

Secondly, in the matter of 30 minutes (or however long the episodes are), random celebrities who have sometimes not been involved in healthy marriages (third problem) wrap up a quick, superficial, random solution to the couples' problems and give recommendations on how these poor people should move forward in their marriages.

What are these couples thinking by going on this show?  Take your marriage seriously, folks, and get some real help if you need it.  Quit watering down your sacramental union, and live up to the promises you made on your wedding day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Amy and Sunil get hitched

Congratulations to our good friends, Amy and Sunil, who were married last weekend!  It was a beautiful and fun wedding, and the couple looked fabulously happy.  There's nothing else like your wedding day!  Getting married is the most fun. :)  Enjoy Jamaica, friends!

Amy and Sunil Chaudhari, June 5, 2010
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