Our Marriage Equation:
you + me + loving sacrifices – silent treatment + sense of humor -selfishness(x2) = total Joy.
Our first two years of married bliss, a summary:
one Polish honeymoon
Zachary’s first communion
Michele’s first heavy metal show
Zac learns about coffee, gardening, & travel
Michele learns about Tolkien, hockey & beard growing
Zac & Michele both learn (a lot) about NFP
2 tiny apartments
2 new careers
& 2 years later.
Marriage is an incredible thing, really. It brings you out of yourself and into something more. It shows you your weakest self (Oh, selfish wretch!) and then, only through the grace of God, it makes you better. You discover quickly the things that don’t belong: having the last say, raging insecurities, & the silent treatment (eh hem, I know. Did I mention the selfish wretch part?). When Zac and I were engaged we met a stunningly beautiful older woman who gave us this golden tidbit:
I always gave 95% and expected 5% in return. He likewise promised 95% and only 5% in return. We had a wonderful life.
It reminded me of this prayer-mantra: “I must decrease so that You may increase.” It’s like that in my relationship with the Lord and it’s kinda like that in marriage, too, now that I think about it. We both agreed on August 27th 2011 to take our inner selfish brat and slowly, bit by bit, through loving sacrifices, be less bratastic and more better for each other (yes, even more better). And holy cannoli, let me tell you, that’s not easy! Too often aren’t we all afraid to be the one who loves more, who gives more, because it shows weakness, vulnerability, and that usually leads to heartbreak (hello, giant walls built up around heart. I know thee well)? And, ladies, where have we learned this? I’m blaming every episode of The Bachelor, Cosmo, my goodness the MTV music awards (what the what Miley girl?) and anything post season one of Vampire Diaries (guilty) which have told us for years that we need to be sexy and not beautiful & strong but not loving. But when you stand before God in an adorable vintage inspired dress and promise not only to love but to give it all for this one handsome person, forever, wow does that change you. It’s through the scrubbing away when dishes pile up again and, ugh, tackling the “I have no idea how to cook meat” nights for a certain carnivore, especially when (waaaa!) I’m tired- I’m decreasing the brat in me. And by Zac waking up every morning and bringing me coffee, frying up one veggie omelette that gets split in half so I have a healthy start, and then supporting like 85.9% of my crazy ideas- that’s sacrificial love. And you know what? By getting less of what I want, I am actually growing more into my true self. It’s crazy against physics! It ain’t always easy, people, or pretty. But in this simple life of growing together in love, we do great things. And this past year, it has been all about just how we define great things. We think it has a lot less to do with square footage and climbing ladders and a lot more to do with those dishes being cleaned, overcooked pork chops, and that 6am cup of coffee in bed.
Ok, time for Wedding Day recap! (Cause us girls like this sort of thing)
Two years ago today we celebrated our mucho grande love at St. Paul Church in Butler with 35 of our closest family and friends.
Zac proposed on February 11, 2011 after we visited the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel for some peaceful prayers with Jesus. It was freezing cold so I ran to the car while he almost plopped to one knee, alone, in the snow- whoops! He proposed in the nice warm car with my mother’s beautiful diamond. Then we went to the Slippery Rock Brewery (Alleluia, craft beer and pretzels drowned in cheese!). We prayed a courtship prayer every night of our 6 month engagement together (because we’re so holy? Child, please, it’s because we needed the grace! It’s super fitting that we were married on St. Monica’s feast day because she prayed and prayed that her son would give up his crazy ways and come home, and we’ve both felt like prodigal sons in one way or another. Also, our favorite prayer together was St. Monica’s son Augustine’s, “Our hearts are restless, Oh Lord, until they rest in thee.”). And so, on August 27, 2011 we offered our marriage to Our Lady in a special moment during our ceremony at this altar.
We then had a seriously ridiculous Italian 7 course meal with our closest at Enrico’s Biscotti! Olives, Chilean Sea Bass, pasta pasta! Who cares about cake when you have raspberry pie and chocolate hazelnut torte? So much wine, so much laughter, so much amore.
Our simple bands.
I wear my mother’s engagement ring and her mother’s wedding band. Completely cherished.
“Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self- denial.” Blessed John Paul II
St. Monica, pray for us.