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
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