Posts Tagged With: marriage

Good Friday

This is my third Good Friday at this duty station.

This year I spent on the couch with my husband, watching the EWTN broadcast of the Celebration of Our Lord’s Passion from the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The stream cut out in the middle of the intercessions, which coincidentally was at 3 PM, so we went ahead and prayed today’s Divine Mercy Novena. The broadcast was beautifully full of silence, and so even if we couldn’t be there or at our own little church here, at least we were able to fill our living room with prayerful sounds.
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Categories: army life, life happenings | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Brief Note of Concern

Okay. I’ve seen a couple young ladies on my newsfeed link to a blog post entitled “The Day I Decided to Stop Listening to What Everybody’s Saying I’m Supposed to do & Why I’m Not Ready to Get Married in 44 Days.” The first time I read it, most of the comments were still sensible, but apparently many more people have discovered it since then and the sense has mostly been buried.

If you go back through the comments, I highly recommend reading the original comment from “Nathan” and also one from “Sandy.” If you’re too lazy/anti-internet-comments to do so (understandable), have a soapbox moment from me instead:

1) This post very much reads like it was written by a young twenty-year-old. There is nothing wrong with being twenty years old! It is a transition time from teenagerdom to adulthood. And some people are older at twenty than others, and this young lady falls into the latter category.

2) On that note, I’ve read blogs and talked to people who were married at twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two. Some of them were young, like the author of this blog post, and those whose marriages have lasted will unabashedly tell you how difficult being young and unready (which in this case often means “completely unaware of the sacrifices involved”) made the first few years of their marriages.

Others were older, and though unready in the sense that it’s impossible to truly understand what the sacrament will do to you until it’s done, had a sense of the responsibilities involved–had the sense that they still had growing and changing to do, but were committed to going through those experiences together.

3) In that sense, being “ready” to get married can, in part, be understood as being “ready” to submit yourself to God and to your spouse–and in THIS is freedom.

4) The author of the blog post defines freedom as “God created me as a [free spirit/the person I am right now and therefore I can do whatever I want because that’s who he made me to be.” This is not Christian freedom. Christian freedom does not elevate the individual above the community, nor does it provide justification for your every action. Christian freedom is the freedom to follow God, freedom from the slavery to sin, freedom to serve one another as Christ served us.

5) This is what God created us to do, to be. Each in our own unique way, with our own gifts, yes–but we are called to submit those things to him, and to do with them as he wills. Oftentimes that means submitting ourselves to the authority or will of others–rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, or honoring our fathers and mothers.

So ironically, the message the blog post author wants to convey is, technically, correct–we are called to the freedom of God’s children, which often bucks conventional “worldly” wisdom. She is, however, completely INcorrect as to what that actually looks like. Her words are quite romantic, but it’s an adolescent understanding of freedom–a young twenty–that fails to understand that her “free” (in this case, we could charitably call it “blind”) spirit is not the primary nor final arbiter of right and wrong, nor even of the path God wants her to follow.

God doesn’t always speak to us directly in our hearts. Sometimes he uses those around us–because after all we Christians are a communal people, one body bound in the breaking of the bread–to be his voice in our ears. True discernment–of marriage, of moving, of all the decisions we make–lies in learning to hear his voice, to see past the cloud of our desires into the clear sky of his light–and then learning to align our desires with his. Again, THAT is true freedom. Not walking barefoot at your wedding (a neutral act), nor putting your feet on someone else’s desk (actively willful–and somehow, I doubt that will is God’s).

So please, when reading this article, take it with a grain of salt. Or better still, skip it. But at the very least, recognize the difference between ramblings and wisdom, between a young woman experimenting with her understanding of the world and a young woman who understands that the world does not revolve around her.

Categories: marriage, theology, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Childbirth Class the First

Having now watched two birth videos I can safely say that by the end the mommies and daddies on the screen were not the only people crying when they got to hold their babies for the first time.

The emotional whiplash from “oh gosh she looks so tired oh labor’s still happening oh she’s so exhausted this looks exhausting this is going to be so exhausting” to “what the are they showing us the baby crowning oh that’s gross that’s so oh no oh NO OH NO I DON’T WANT TO BE WATCHING THIS HAPPENING OH NO” to “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAW LOOK AT THE BABY IT’S OVER THEY’RE ALL TOGETHER EVERYONE’S OKAY I’M SO HAPPY FOR EVERYONE” is intense though. Probably these videos should come with a warning for pregnant women. Unless they’re trying to help us practice for the actual emotional whiplash on its way.
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Categories: family, marriage | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lent: The Halfway Point

I’ll admit it–this year has not been my best Lent.

Sure, I’m pregnant, and hitting the very pregnant stage, and we’ve had two snowstorms trapping us in the house, so we’ve missed Stations twice and haven’t made it to Adoration at all. But for Lent I said I would make a point of spending half an hour in prayer every day, and last week I think the longest I made it was ten minutes.

See, we’re doing this study called Oremus in the CWOC group that I joined, which is all about deepening and enriching your prayer life, right? I came in on week three, so I had to do a bit of catch-up with the exercises, but the general idea is that every week has a set of readings and every day you do the lectio divina, and then once a week you gather with your group to watch a DVD talking about the next week’s focus and then discuss how the previous week has gone. It’s a pretty darn good study, and to me the most valuable aspect is that it a) sets forth a reading plan and b) provides accountability in the form of my fellow ladies. (More on that latter point in another post.)

And then we hit the most recent week, where Day 2 invites you to get up at sunrise and contemplating Genesis 1–not in a lectio divina sense, just in a communining with God in the beauty of his creation sense. Which would be great if a) I could motivate myself to get up at/before sunrise (hahahahahahahaha) (ah ha) (ha) (ha) or b) there had been a morning in the past week that wasn’t so cloudy as to obscure said sunrise. One day I tried to say screw it and just meditate on Genesis 1, but I was so tired I almost fell asleep as soon as I finished reading it, and anyway I feel guilty for not following ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS lest I somehow fail to get out of the program what I’m supposed to be getting out of it. And then our meeting for last week was canceled due to snow, and this week’s meeting was canceled due to Spring Break. So the two things that have been motivating me–the reading plan and the accountability–both fell apart.

And I let them.
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Categories: theology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday Chores

Today marks the very first time my husband and I have ventured into a gym together. Usually I get my exercise from walking the dog, but given the terrible weather lately that hasn’t been an option. So twenty minutes on the exercise bike it was! If only upright bikes had wider seats; I had to go recumbent, which is not very comfortable either, given the whole legs-constantly-bumping-into-bump thing. The baby was vaguely concerned about the jostling but mostly slept through it, at least.

And now my husband is washing our dog. I love listening to him do this. I love the whole process of bathing the dog, which generally goes like this:

1) Mommybird gathers up Ladybird’s bedding and beloved blue blanket and throws them into the washing machine, thus designating that Sometime Today, the Dog Will Be Clean.
2) Daddybird forgets he is supposed to wash the dog.
3) Mommybird reminds him.
4) Daddybird says, “Laaaaaaaaadybird, do you want to take a bath?” in the most excited tones possible.
5) The dog retreats to her corner of the couch.
6) Daddybird repeats his not-quite-an-invitation.
7) The dog’s ears go back; her tail tucks underneath her; she attempts to disappear into the couch.
8) Daddybird gathers the dog into his arms, still extolling the virtues of bathtime.
9) The dog attempts to escape Daddybird’s arms. Sometimes she is successful, and steps 4-8 repeat themselves.
10) The dog looks longingly at Mommybird, who stalwartly ignores her.
11) Daddybird carries the dog off to the bathroom.
12) Mommybird sits at the computer or in her chair with her book or basically doing anything that isn’t bathing the dog.
13) Mommybird hears, wafting from the guest bathroom, a tireless and sometimes tuneless song about Ladybird being given a bath, and how she is a good girl NO NO NO NO oh what a good girl she is she is such a good girl NO NO NOT YET oh what a pretty girl she is.
14) The faucet is turned off and Mommybird is treated to an encore performance of “what a good girl she is.”
15) Daddybird announces, “Crazy dog!” and a split second behind the announcement the dog comes careening through the house, heedlessly bouncing off furniture and walls, trying to find a safe place amidst the cruel, cruel sight of her pack alphas.

She’s outside now to dry, which she is less than pleased about, but on the other hand it’s sunny and she loves the sun. I’m sure she’s only clawing at the door because she thinks it sounds cool.

Bathtime with the baby is going to be so much fun.

Categories: family, random thoughts | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Motherhood (Impending)

I stopped updating this blog, and I stopped updating because in September I came down with something called “the first trimester of pregnancy,” which affects women in various ways and me in particular by giving me a severe case of “incapable of leaving the couch.”

It was, in a word, pathetic. And by that I clearly mean “full of pathos,” because what is more moving than the sight of a woman furiously in the throes of setting up her internal baby-growing infrastructure? What could inspire a greater sense of the commonality of the human race than witnessing a woman as she participates in its propagation?
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Categories: family, marriage, random thoughts, theology | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NFP Awareness Week: Common Misperceptions

Here’s the thing. I’m having trouble figuring out where to begin with this because on the one hand I came to NFP because I’m Catholic but on the other hand it’s something I feel so incredibly passionate about above and beyond the calling of my faith, and that’s what I want to communicate. So let’s skip the conversation about the morality of hormonal birth control and talk about why NFP (and the women [and men!] who use it) deserves consideration and respect. So maybe let’s start with some misconceptions? Yeah. Let’s start there.

1. NFP doesn’t work.
There’s a statistic that’s been quoted to me that non-hormonal contraceptive methods are less than 75% effective (worse than condoms!). My understanding is that there are several reasons for this:

  • Many studies on the subject don’t provide responders with the opportunity to specify that they use NFP; instead, they’re just given an “other” option.
  • In that vein, the “other” option often includes those who do nothing to either prevent or encourage pregnancy, a state of affairs that generally leads to yup you guessed it pregnancy.
  • Also in that vein, there’s no room for distinction between the various NFP methods OR between NFP and the “rhythm” method (more on that in a moment).

Obvious anti-non-hormonal-contraceptive-methods bias aside, if you go to any of the NFP methods you’ll see that they’re all 99% effective, just like hormonal birth control (and way better than condoms). And beyond statistics, I can offer you hundreds of examples of women (and men!) who have used NFP with that 99% effectiveness not just on a monthly basis, but on a yearly or even decadely basis.

“Oh sure,” people will say airily, “but that’s perfect use, and nobody could possibly use an NFP method perfectly.”

Well, all of those 99% effective statistics rely on perfect use. If you forget to take a pill you lose that 99% effectiveness just as surely as if you decide to have sex when you are clearly ovulating out the wazoo. Furthermore, you’re insulting the intelligence and self-control of a whole heck of a lot of people with that statement, which leads me to…
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Categories: feminism, NFP | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Homemaking

“What do you do?”

What an excellent question, person I’ve just met.  You’ve noticed I’m not carrying a baby and certainly don’t look like I’ve had one, and you’d be right.  You’ve probably figured out I have a college degree, so naturally you’ve assumed I must have some kind of employment, given that I’m not living at home with my parents.  Of course, it will come out that my husband’s in the military, so it’s understandable if I haven’t found something yet.  But there must be a something, right?

To answer your question, I’m a teacher.  I had a teaching job that I loved with most of my heart and soul, and I left it because I loved my husband with all of them.  But I don’t have my Master’s and I’ve never taken any education courses and thus can’t get my certification and in any case the state market is currently flooded with teachers desperate for work.  I could tutor or volunteer in a school, sure, but it’s summertime anyway.  And as previously mentioned, my husband’s in the military, so until I have a sense of how long I”m going to be in any one place it’s hard to look for work.  What’s the point of starting a job in August when I’m going to leave in October?  This is especially poignant when it comes to what I’d really love to do, mentor, because it’s not fair to a child to start building a relationship and then cut it off two months in.

“Jo,” you say, “those sound an awful lot like a whole bunch of excuses.”

They probably are.  I’m making excuses to cover up how much I miss it.  I’m talking around why I’m not doing what I love, why I’m not doing something that’s work yes but so rewarding and awesome that I ultimately would do it for free (maybe I should put that on my resume), why I’m not doing something that comes fairly easily and naturally to me.

Instead, I am doing something hard hard hard, something totally against my natural inclinations and desires, something I do not because I love it but because I love and it must be done:  homemaking.
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Categories: marriage | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

when things of heaven are wed to those of earth

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending my friend Katie’s wedding at an Antiochian Orthodox church on the South Side of Chicago. Unlike probably most of the people on the bride’s side of the church, I have attended Orthodox (and Byzantine Catholic) liturgies in the past, and one of my good friends is Antiochian Orthodox (we took a Mariology class together at Notre Dame and shenanigans ensued). But this was my first Orthodox-of-any-kind wedding, and I was incredibly excited about witnessing a liturgy most people recognize only from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

People complain about those Roman Catholic papists with their elaborate churches and decorations and gold everywhere but let me tell you, we ain’t got nothin’ on the Orthodox.

 

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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