What more could I ask for?

Location: Rome, Italy

Sunday, November 13, 2005

"C" here of "MAC". I promised Princess Dancing Strings that I would post this and I am now a few weeks delayed! I believe the request came after I spilled out my heart over pasta e fagioli zuppa (with parmesan and red pepper!) at La Tana di Noatri in the beautiful area of Rome called Trastevere. Between the wonderful company of PDS and Puita, the moonlit sky and the charismatic waiter, the ambiance seemed to inspire in me the desire to share my recent feelings on marriage in general and mine, in particular.

A bit of background, I've been married to Matt now for three years (on November 23rd!). We dated for four and a half years before heading to the alter....four rollercoaster years, sometimes painful and less than peaceful. We were, and are, very different people...as PDS I believe put it, in many ways we couldn't be more opposite. It's true! (He's practical, pragmatic, brutally honest, determined and disciplined. I'm disorganized, often led by my feelings, undisciplined and willing to sometimes bend the truth a little to spare others' feelings. Of course, not to make him sound like a Nazi, he's also generous, devoted, hilarious and passionate.) Looking back, it's a true blessing that we dated so long because it takes time to get to know someone and to start to come to the middle when you are very different.

So, that brings me to married life. We didn't really go through too many of the "first year" struggles that so many marriages go through, but we definitely had to learn and are continuing to learn to communicate well. We took a major leap of faith last summer and left our jobs in the tech world and moved to Rome, Italy for Matt to study theology at what's considered one of the very best universities for Biblical Theology in the world. God has been faithful to us...Matt LOVES the program he's in and is getting the very best foundation for eventually being a university professor that he believes he could be getting. We are happy here, although we miss our friends and family tremendously. I think the biggest challenge for us as a couple has been that we're very much social beings and with Matt studying 80 hours a week, it's rare that we are able to host dinners like we used to or just spend time with the new friends we've made. I digress.

The thing I looked forward to the most in moving here was that I knew Matt and I would have a slower life. This is true. The things that take us away from family life are few. We don't have family and friends to lean on, TV here is awful, we don't own a car, etc. etc. We have really had the opportunity to become much closer because, we're all we have! We can't avoid issues, we have to face them because we're together alot. We don't need other people to have a great time....as much as we love being with others, we have a great time just hanging out at home together. This has been a blessing.

Also, because Matt studies so much, usually 80 hours a week, his needs are simple, yet crucial. Clean house, clean, ironed clothes for school, dinner, quiet, peace. That's about it! It's nice when you don't have to guess how to care for the one you love. This brings me to the "gift of self" Veronica mentioned she's reading and studying Pope John Paul's Theology of the Body....if you're interested in learning more about the topic of "gift of self", pick it up. You won't be disappointed. I'll just give you a little snippit related to his. My favorite thing I ever learned about marriage I heard from Scott Hahn, popular Catholic convert and theologian. He starts that marriage isn't a contract, it's a covenant. A contract is an exchange of good or services, where a covenant is an exchange of persons. Thus, in the old testament, when God made a covenant with his people, he would say, "I am your God and you are my people." This is the same in marriage. What we are really saying to one another when we marry is "I am yours and you are mine". This is fundamental! It's also beautiful because it mirrors God's way of relating with us and his love for us. But, the other reason I believe it's so relevant is in what this means for those of us who are married. We always here that marriage is 50/50. NOT TRUE! If marriage is a covenant, then it's 100/100! There is such a freedom that comes in understanding this because we don't have to count the cost! Does this sound familiar? "Well, he never does this or she won't do that." If both spouses understand that marriage is a covenant, each will give themselves completely to God and their spouse and the other will feel completely free and compelled to do so also. And in joining our toil and suffering with that of Christ on the cross, it is sanctified and used toward God's plan of salvation for the world! This is God's plan for marriage. Is this exciting to anyone else?

I have been blessed with a spouse who gives 100% of himself to God and to me every day. It's truly humbling. And what hit me that night with PDS and Puita is that Matt can really help get me to heaven, not just because he's my husband, but because of who he is! WOW. I've always heard that our vocation is our path to holiness/heaven, but it's not just a theoretical idea for me anymore. I'm experiencing it first hand. I have recently realized that if I will only follow Matt's lead and let God use him to mold me, I will attain holiness. I always knew Matt was an amazing, wonderful man, but now I know that his is also wise and prudent and that he loves God above all things, even me, and that he wants me to be a saint and is willing to die to himself to get me there! This is what we all want and need in a spouse! Ladies (and gents), if you're single, this is what to look for! And for those of us who feel completely unworthy of such a thing, it doesn't matter because God wants this for each and every one of us. He wants us with him, right? So, why wouldn't he give us the means to get there? If you're calling to marriage, God wants and has a holy spouse for you! So, don't despair or settle...TRUST.

If it hasn't come across, I must tell you, I am SO in love. I love my husband! I love my marriage, I love my life. I feel fulfilled, blessed and very loved. I haven't always felt this way and I'm sure we'll have our times when we struggle and even feel unhappy, but this I can tell you, Matt and I are growing. We're growing closer to God, closer to each other and little by little, closer to the persons God wants us to be...the persons he destined us to be and needs us to be to help him save humanity and build the kingdom! That sounds grandiose, but it is reality. As adopted children of the King, we are called to nothing less!

We are expecting our first child in April. It feels really great to know we're building a solid foundation for the family we'll welcome our children into. Thank God for the grace of this amazing sacrament!

Well, thank you for hearing me out. This is my first blogging experience and I have to tell you, I am a little nervous, which is funny because those who know me know that I'm not afraid to share my feelings. For some reason, in this forum I am! I also lost this post just before publishing it, and it's 2am, so I hope I made some sort of sense.

May God be with us all and bring us to salvation! Amen.