While I'm away on my honeymoon, I've asked some of my favorite Catholic bloggers to write their tips for "What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married." I've loved reading their wonderful advice, and I hope you will too.
Today we'll start the series with a post from lovely Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas. From her practice of urban homesteading to her love for Catholic literature, Haley is a complete kindred spirit. Enjoy her reflection below!
When you’re engaged and madly in love or adorable blissful newlyweds I think it’s really impossible to grasp some of the advice, even good advice, given to you about marriage.
“Someday you won’t feel passionately in love,” someone tells you. You nod respectfully but your soul screams, “Nonsense! I’ll always have butterflies in my stomach when he walks in the room!”
“Someday you’ll be so hurt or mad that you will want to walk out the door.” “Never! We’ll never fight! How could I ever be that mad at HIM?! He’s wonderful!” you think to yourself. It’s hard to imagine rough times when you’re so happy together, it’s hard to really believe the advice of the seasoned married couples.
I think the advice I most ignored was the idea that if we didn’t love God first, we would be incapable of loving each other well. “But our love is epic! It will get us through anything!” I thought. “To be happy, all I need is him! All he needs is me!” But that’s a lie.
None of us have enough love to satisfy another human being when our heart’s deepest desire is to be loved by God. St. Augustine's prayer is so true, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in You." What happens when we try to make another human being our source of love, affirmation, and security? We will be bitterly disappointed. What happens when we try to satisfy another person with our love? We will fail miserably.
The truth is that the sacrificial love of marriage requires divine love. When we devote ourselves to loving Christ our Lord first, everything changes. When our identity and value is wrapped up, not in flawed human love, but in the fact that God loves us enough to lay down his life for us, we are changed and we are freed to love like never before. When our hearts flow with the love of Christ and we love each other with that divine love, we can love better and more fully. That's the epic love we long for: to be filled with the love of our Creator and Savior so we can share it with our beloved spouse.
Haley Stewart is a bookish Catholic wife and mama of a preschooler, a toddler, and (in May!) a newborn living in the deep south on her little urban homestead. After quitting grad school to raise her little ones, you can find her happily (and sleepily) homeschooling her preschooler, teaching ballet, chasing babies and backyard chickens, or eating bacon. When she gets a moment to herself she loves to read Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh, L.M. Montgomery, or Flannery O’Connor with a cup of coffee in hand. Her husband of seven years is an amazing cook, gardener, beard-grower, ultra-marathon runner, and father who patiently puts up with her failure to stay organized and her obsession with musicals. Haley muses about cultivating a Catholic family through literature, liturgical living, and urban homesteading at her blog Carrots for Michaelmas.