Wednesday, May 18, 2011

raise 'em right...

I tried to post on the topic of marriage last week and chickened out...it wasn't the right time for me and I hadn't finished formulating my thoughts. My parents have been married for 33 years and at times it was rocky and hard. They separated at one point and weren't sure that they would make it, but they worked at it and are happily still together today. The message that gave me was that it isn't always pretty, but you keep working at it. There is a commitment and it is everlasting. When I met Matthew, I knew his parents were also still married (a fact that both of our parents were still married to their original spouse surprised us at the time) so he too was given a model of what marriage can and should be. Both sets of our parents are happy and very much in love, however, there have been trial and tests along the way.
Around the time I was getting out of college, wedding fever was everywhere. I was in five weddings (five bridesmaid's dresses. all periwinkle blue. the bridesmaid's dresses for my wedding? yep. periwinkle). With time, distance, and life coming as it does, I have lost touch with some of these friends. Over the last few weeks, I have heard that two of these unions have dissolved. This saddens me terribly to think that the love and excitement I witnessed as the two became one have given up or hurt each other beyond repair. Marriage is hard and I don't know the specifics on these relationships; I don't know the reasons they have for choosing divorce. I have also been struggling as I watch some close family friends deal with some marriage difficulties. The outcome here is not clear, but I pray that the family can be saved (I am not preaching, I promise. It goes without saying that some marriages cannot be saved. Those that are abusive or when one of the parties isn't commited are harmful and should be dissolved or annulled). 

{while I was inside taking pictures of Sam, this is what the girls were doing this...}

I think all of this has made me grow in my own faith in some very profound ways. I believe now more than ever in the sacrament of marriage. I also believe that my husband is also steadfast in his beliefs in the commitment and sacrament of our marriage (rest assured, I have grilled him about it). These situations have opened a dialogue about our feelings on all of it. It has given me cause to pray, really pray, for the involved families and for the protection of my own. I am also more thankful now than ever for the way my in-laws instilled family values, boundaries, and morals into their children. I am so proud of the man that Matthew is and am so glad that his parents modeled marriage the way that they have.
 So...all of this is to say that the pressure is on. As a parent, I already felt the pressure to get the alphabet down pat, to instill a love of reading, to illustrate kindness and patience, to work on math skills, and to give them a strong moral compass...but now I realize that I have so much more than that to do! The way that my husband and I handle conflict and disagreements as well as protect and nurture our own marriage is how we model family and marriage for our own children.

10 comments :

Manda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Megan said...

This was a great post, and I'm glad that you wrote it. You are right - marriage isn't easy, and it is something that deserves attention and effort. But it's so worth it!

Natalie said...

Love the pics of the girls on the swings! I don't have your email but wanted to respond to your question on my blog post. We loved Puerto Rico, and we stayed at a condo that we found from VRBO.com. I would so recommend PR...it is very afforable and very nice! The flights there aren't bad at all either. You should defintely go for your anniversary

CA Rhoades said...

It IS hard to write about marriage. I've often gone back and forth about posting about it on my blog as well, but haven't quite done it yet. Though I did do a pretty brave post about natural family planning. Haha.

Anyway, thanks for writing this. Marriage IS a sacrament first and foremost. My biggest advice to engaged couples is always to make sure they are on the same page about what marriage really means to them BEFORE they make their vows. Sometimes couples I've known break off their engagements, which is painful, for sure, but much less so than it would be if they were already married. If only couples would devote more time and conversation BEFORE getting married to what marriage means to them, I truly think there would be a lower divorce rate. Marriage isn't just "the next step" in a relationship... it's THE step. Final and forever... and AMAZING!

Sorry for the long comment! Thanks again for posting this. I'll be saying a prayer today for all marriages and families :)

MomofBoys said...

Great post Kristen. Marriage definitely isn't easy, but hopefully my boys will see how much their Dad and I mean to eachother and will use that as a measuring stick. Talk about pressure! :)

chris aka mama bird said...

beautiful post...i am a marriage veteran...we will celebrate 25 years this december. it is a life process of learning and offering grace and a whole lot of laughter. in 1,000 gifts, she talks about time and how precious it is to live today; not stewing about tomorrow or wishing back yesterday. this is so true when raising precious God loving souls.

and your three are just adorable.
love-
chris aka "mama bird moments"

Amy said...

Kristen-

This is a beautiful post! I must admit that I feel blessed that all of my family members are still happily married. In this day and age, it is hard to believe that we haven't had a divorce in our family. I think the key, as you so lovingly pointed out, is love of each other, love of God and the sacrament of marriage, and having the patience and strength to communicate and work through the hard times.

You are a beautiful person inside and out. I'm so glad that I can call you a friend as well as family.

Nicole Hackney said...

Wow, great post! I needed to read something like this. Times are tough and your right marriage is not easy but with God, we can make it through anything. Thanks :)

Holly@A Life-Size Catholic Blog said...

Hey there … I tagged you in a blog meme on A Life-Sized Catholic Blog. I had a lot of fun participating, and I’m looking forward to your responses too! Go to my blog and check it out. I had a ton of fun sharing my maybe not-so-conventional reasoning!

( http://alife-sizecatholicblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/three-favorite-scriptures-blog-meme-fun.html )

Nanners said...

You have THREE sets of eyes and ears listening and taking in everything that you say and do. You are a model to them on what they can expect from a relationship. I overheard Anna Jane telling one of her friends, when they had a disagreement: "We do not yell in this house. If you need time to calm down--then take five. I will be here to listen when you are ready" (!!!!!!) WOW, that really made me feel like I was doing something right (even if we did have cereal for dinner last night!)