Marriage Monday: Sharing Spirituality

I look around the pews in our beautiful church and I see fervent prayers.  I see women who appear to be very put together.  I watch some children who can sit still through the entire mass and not make a peep!

So I start to compare.  My clothes certainly aren't fancy.
I get intimidated.  Does Father realize I missed mass last week?  ...and the week before?
I feel self-conscious.  Oh man, why is Presley being so squirmy and loud today?
I know I'm imperfect.

I think to myself how I am constantly getting consumed in getting through each day and forget to talk to God... I don't remember how important it is to hand Him my anxiety on a daily basis.  Why is it so difficult to maintain a relationship with God?  And if I can't do that, what am I doing here in mass?  And sometimes in mass, I feel that surely there are people who can see my weakness and my struggles as a facade.  Can they tell I am nowhere near my ideal relationship with Christ?

You might know me, you might know my husband, you might be familiar with our marriage, but I realize you may not be familiar with our spiritual life, so let me explain.
I have a fantastic husband who was baptized during the Easter vigil three years ago {at the time he was my fiance}.  It was one of the most beautiful masses that I have ever attended.
And he's married to a lifetime Catholic lady who was baptized around Christmastime in 1987 {that's me}.

We're members of Christ the King Catholic Church in Moline, Illinois and cannot say enough wonderful things about our church family, the beautiful church, and most of all - our beloved priest, Father Levitt.  Father Levitt baptized Tony in 2010, married us in 2011, and then baptized Presley in 2012 and we feel very accepted and loved by him.

L: Husband & Wife - May 2011 and R: Presley's baptism - May 2012
We are Saturday evening church-goers rather than Sunday because mornings are not our thing.  I've found it's much easier to talk ourselves out of attending mass in the morning rather than the late afternoon!  We also relish our Sundays as a day for just us. 

I grew up in a house where we attended mass on a semi-regular schedule.  Sometimes we were good about going every week, other times our busy family of 5 opted to sleep in on Sunday mornings (see where I got it?).  At certain points in high school, youth group was an absolute lifeline and such a joy in my life.  Further into high school programs like QUEST, SEARCH and TEC lit a fire inside of me for Christ that I never thought would flicker out.  But over time, it did.  Never completely out, but down to just embers at times.

Tony's family never really attended church growing up.  Yet, I honestly couldn't have married a more Christian-spirited man.  He is kind and forgiving and honest and faithful to all those who walk into his life as well as perfect strangers.  This spirit is something his parents instilled in him growing up - though God wasn't a topic of discussion, they taught him respect and equipped him with unbreakable morals and for that, I am most grateful.  I know God watched over Tony and helped to protect him until we found one another.  Even still, it's the faith part that is a little more difficult for my husband to decipher.  He is a science and fact lover, so the believing is difficult for him. (Though, I have never seen science and religion as being at odds with each other.  One exists BECAUSE of the other.)  In all honesty, it's hard for many Christians and it can be just as hard for me at times.  Though, I like to think of him as my "Doubting Thomas."  (Which is funny considering my husband's middle name is Thomas.)  Because if my husband were an apostle, that would absolutely be him.

Naively, I thought once we went through the RCIA {the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults} process that we would instantly be a changed couple that would be praying together often, attending bible studies and mass together.  But we weren't.  Then I thought surely being married in the church would have that affect on us.  But it didn't.  So what about once we had a child?  Nope, none of that has happened for us.  It's been a slow process for us to grow in faith as a couple.  Some days I feel that it will come with time and patience, that my husband will feel a stronger understanding of what this faith means to him... that I will become more motivated to get the ball rolling between us... and then there are other times that I'm just frustrated.  But recently I realized that before I worry about our mutual relationship with Christ that I need to mend all the holes in my relationship alone with Christ.  As it becomes a major staple in my daily life, it will spread into our home, marriage, and family life.


And you know what I am finally beginning to accept?  Being Christian doesn't mean you are perfect - it doesn't mean you will always say or do the right things - but it means you are trying.  You are doing.  You are moving forward.  Being Christian is all about the growth and the traveling and the getting there.  Really, it's about the journey of how we get there!

When I think of my faith in those terms, I know that I am really only beginning on the path towards where I want to be.  As Tony and I learn what it means to live in a marriage full of faith and love for each other and the Lord, we will move towards the Ecclesiastes 4:12 kind of marriage - And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.  I want nothing more than to meet my husband in heaven one day and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get us there!


While we're trying to figure out what being part of a spiritual marriage means to us, I'd love to hear what it means to you.  What has lined the path of spiritual growth for you and your spouse? 

Comments

  1. I was definitely a searcher when I was growing up. I am not Catholic but through high school and college probably attended 15 or so searches, I even directed one. Crazy! Loved it and continue to have amazing friends from search.

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    1. SEARCH was so fantastic! I made it and was on team once before I moved - then the town I moved to had TEC (very similar) and just loved that experience as well and was on tons of teams like you! What was it like directing a SEARCH weekend? My sister was a co-director once & I always thought that would have been so awesome!

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