HONEY, I”M HOME!!!
by Michele (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org)
(unedited as always, pure Michele)
If I hear those words when I am married I know I’m in trouble. Not with my husband, but with myself. I know I’m not doing my job! When my husband returns home after a long, hard day at work, I need to be waiting at the door ready to greet him. Why? It’s his house, too, he knows his way in. Well, that is true, but consider this. When I invite guests to my home, I greet them at the door. When my children visit, I greet them at the door. In fact, when my children were younger and I worked outside of the home, I made every effort to greet them EVERYDAY at the door. No latchkey kids, for me. No latchkey (future) husband for me. How lonely, I know, it is to step out of a harsh day, or even a pleasant day and into an empty house. Brrrr. It’s cold, even in the middle of summertime.
So when he arrives home, I’ll be there at the door, with a big smile, ready to ease him into the best part of his day. His Day. His time. As Joseph, he’ll be able to tell me what he needs from me. A big hug? Dinner? Quiet time? Time alone? A good listener? I’ll learn his routine and be ready to adapt as needed, according to what happened in his day. That’s what Mary does. She knows that Joseph spends his day working to provide for his family and now his work day is over. Mary knows that Joseph strives to be an integrated man, therefore leaving his work day behind, and having already spent time with Christ in prayer and praise, he will now take time to relax and have some fun! These three areas of a man’s life are not exclusive: Christ, wife-time, family- time, work and so on, they overlap. Sometimes work cuts into family time, praying as a couple blends well together, and so on.
What if one day my husband comes home and brushes past me and shuts me out by hiding behind the newspaper or spending the whole night in front of the TV? What if he comes home and starts talking in an extra lively manner about a woman who was particularly “nice” to him that day? What if I cut my hair or wore a new outfit just for him and he doesn’t even notice, but makes a comment about another woman’s appearance? What if he compliments Tom Brady’s wife for defending Tom when reporters harass her because New England lost the Super Bowl against the Giants, yet says nothing about the way you always defend him NOT TO MENTION that you’ve spent months watching football with him and actually know who won the Super Bowl? What if he comes home, but doesn’t even come inside, instead he stays in the garage because he has important things to do out there? What if he takes phone calls from clients during dinner or makes long phone calls to friends when it is supposed to be wife/me-time? Or….or….or??????? Did I miss anything in the Litany of Ways Men Hurt Women? If so, think of your favorite way right now and add it to the list.
In other words, what if my husband comes home acting like Marik, (who is actually Mark becoming Joseph) instead of the real Joseph? Well, as Mary, I realize that Marik has given me quite a cross to bear. Or not. Maybe Marik, because he is feeling so much M, M, M, M Michele love for him, realizes that it is safe for his demons to emerge. Somewhere deep inside he recognizes that I am his Mary because that is what I promised to strive for when I pledged my marriage vows during our wedding ceremony. Over time Marik has learned to trust me to be the best Mary I can be as we grow together and he knows that means I meant what I said and said what I meant. It’s safe. His past (and even present) hurts can begin to emerge to be healed.
If I take his behaviors personally, I will have my buttons pushed, but if I do not deal with those button pushings silently with Jesus as Mary does, neither of us will heal. Instead we will argue and this topic will be a continuous argument for eternity, or at least until I surrender. Until I surrender and see Mark as he truly is, which is Mark becoming Joseph. Until I surrender, because God has given women a special grace to surrender. Mary is the Queen of Surrendering, and my plan is to be Mary. I recall 1st Corinthinians, Michele is patient, Michele is kind, Michele is long suffering. I, as MMMMMichele, must keep my hurts/complaints to myself as much as possible and only speak lovingly, saying something like “I noticed that Marik came home today instead of Joseph, what do you need from me?” That sounds nice, but it is NOT what Mary would say. I, as Mary, would say nothing and I would do my best to continue treating Marik as if he were Joseph, because he is Joseph, he just slipped for a moment. When this happens I vent my frustrations in my private journal (private meaning I never show it to Mark, because I let loose and say whatever pops into my head and then if I read it later, I wonder, “Who wrote that?” because what I write is NOT what Mary would write or even think. We are both on a journey and it is so much easier helping each other up the mountain, walking hand in hand, rather than pushing each other off of a cliff when we don’t like what we see or hear. Then we have to start all over trying to make it to the top of the mountain! Isn’t there a psalm that asks who is worthy of climbing the mountain?
So after writing in my journal, I then take those frustrations and hurts to prayer. Another option is to tell Marik “I”m leaving.” I mean I say “I’m leaving to go to the Adoration Chapel, would you like to join me?” “No? Ok, I’ll be back soon.” At this point the Michele-Mary me hands over my hurts and complaints to Christ and I ask Him to strengthen me until my Joseph returns. If I feel hurt or annoyed or angry or anything other than love and compassion for Mark, I know I need to change as well. I pray “Change me, Lord.” Next I remember to trust God to change and heal Mark because ONLY God has the power to change people, and He will, when He decides it is time to change each of us.
God brought us together to heal each other, because God is love, and love heals all wounds. God is so smart. He knows that Mark’s Marik behavior pushes all of my buttons and that leads to my healing, and it does because Mark is always loving and accepting of me and my behavior. God knows that my behavior pushes all of Mark’s buttons and leads to his healing, and it does when I am loving and accepting of Mark and his behavior. Mark is Mark, he is not his behavior. Mark is perfect, his behavior is not. When I say Mark is perfect I mean he is made as the perfect image of God, but as a result of original sin, his behavior is sometimes less than perfect. The same is true about me. The same is true of everyone. We are not our behavior, our behavior is not who we are, it is what we do. When I am Mary, I see others through her eyes. When I am Michele, sometimes I forget and begin to judge others or feel hurt by their behavior. These are my sins and they are between me and God. Mark’s sins are between Mark and God. It is not up to me to point them out to Mark unless I am going to tread carefully and show how his sins are affecting me or our relationship. Allow me to explain. If Mark is committing a sin, it is a sin for me to try to stop his sin, but it is correct for me to lovingly support a better choice for him.
Again, it is important to tread lightly here and really be sure I have prayed about the situation and ask God to show me what to do, how to proceed. This requires me to have a really close relationship with God. Here is a simple example. Let’s say when Mark is stressed, he has been know to eat a whole box (3) of Double Chocolate Magnum Ice Cream Bars in one day. WHOA!!!! Wait a minute! Mark stress-eats Magnums? Did you forget that Mary always has her man’s back? Do you think I am going to reveal Mark’s coping mechanisms to anyone? That wouldn’t be very Mary-like would it? That is Mark’s story to tell. Actually that is what I do….used to do……., sometimes do…… don’t do so much any more…… when I am stressed aka not able to quite process my emotions peacefully. Thankfully, the more I become like Mary, the less I need to rely on those Magnums for comfort, and I know for a fact that when we are married, the marital act will most certainly replace them and burn off the extra couple pounds that I added on my journey to emulate and personify Mary. Actually, as time passes and Mark and I become closer as an engaged couple, I am learning to turn to Mark for comfort, rather than Magnums.
So, back to the treading lightly example…..Mark stress-eats Magnums. I could gently say to Mark, “You know honey, those Magnums sure look good on you, but if you need to work through something, you know I have your back. I love you, you are my man, no matter what. Have you considered that those ice cream bars are filled with fat and sugar and your cholesterol level could sky-rocket, which will affect your health. I will be really annoyed if you die before we are married.” Period. If I have to say anything, again, I make sure I was led through prayer to say it and then I say it once and only once. Mark, and I believe all men are super attentive, they do not need to be told anything more than one time ever. Again,I question whether anything needs to be said at all, because as Mary, I try to talk about things with others only after I am sure that God wants me to say something. This means that before making a guided, loving, convicting statement (not a devastating, nagging, whining, complaining judgement), I spend hours praying about ice cream bars. But I know for a fact that God likes it when I spend hours with him, no matter what. The bottom line is that Mark’s sins are between him and God, just as my sins are between me and God. In the world, self-help books and talk shows do not confirm this, the Holy Bible does, therefore the Catholic Church does. I remember God’s word: “love your neighbor as yourself”, and “love others as Jesus loves you.” I ponder things in my heart as Mary does.
Allow me to tell you the real ice cream bar eating story. As of last summer, Mark and I had been dating for about a year, but were not yet engaged. As part of my Mary-in-the-making journey, I decided it was a good idea to have more fun in my life because I was spending a lot of time alone in prayer again. That in itself is great, but God did not call me to be a Carmelite nun, no matter how much I love and admire St. Theresa of Avila and St. Therese of Lisieux. I realized my life was out of balance and felt God was calling me to balance enjoying alone time with him in prayer, with enjoying time with him having pure fun. As soon as I acknowledged to God that I am open to greater balance in my life, I was invited to spend an entire week at the beach with some girlfriends. I am the only devout Catholic among this particular group of girlfriends, yet they were happy to work our beach time around my mass time. In fact, one of my girlfriends, a former Catholic, attended mass 6 out of the 7 days with me! I enjoyed reading a book about Edith Stein rather than a romance novel while lying in the sun. When a handsome man walked by and my (married) girlfriends wholesomely enjoyed the beautiful creature made by God I chose to continue reading rather than take an innocent peak at the man. I chose to honor Mark, our Lord, and our future marriage. No one noticed that when the wine flowed at dinner I chose to have one glass rather than overindulging. I laughed just as hard as everyone else, but I didn’t need the wine, I’m keeping myself full of the Holy Spirit. Am I a better person than my girlfriends? Do I love God more than my girlfriends? Was I showing off that I am holier than thou? No. I am just a devout Catholic woman. Whether at mass, at home, or out in the world I”m at home with Christ. Home is where the heart is and no matter where I am or what I am doing, Christ is in my heart, Mary is in my heart, Mark is in my heart. “Honey, I’m home!”
Having Mark in my heart and wanting to look good for my man, I carefully and safely cultivated a beautiful tan. As an oversight, I did not realize that my hair had grown quite long because I had it tied up for most of the summer. I also had become thinner than usual because being “in-love” with God, the church and of course Mark, I was quite happy and feeling loved. When in this balanced state, I find that my whole life is in balance, so my weight is healthy and balanced, as is every part of my life. I mentioned earlier that I was familiar with stress-eating in the past, but I prefer to call it what it is, the sin of gluttony. My eating had been out of balance most of my life because of the “stresses” in my childhood and throughout most of my life, up until now. I was never overweight by more than a few pounds, in fact, I was usually at an ideal weight or sometimes underweight. So, returning from the beach, my family and friends remarked that I looked the way I looked in high school (which is where I first met Mark!). I went directing to Mark’s house, excitedly shouting “Honey, I’m home!” I missed him while I was away and I was looking forward to seeing him. I was feeling really healthy and happy and I hoped Mark thought so, too. Rather than complementing me as I had hoped he would (after all, it was a lot of work lying in the sun every day for a week) I felt unnoticed and unappreciated when he welcomed me, but didn’t comment on my appearance. “Gee, if you don’t notice that I look good now, I guess I’ll never look good enough for you! I’ll never look as beautiful as women on tv, the woman down the street, blah, blah, blah, blah” I thought. My buttons are now pushed. “I make a conscious effort to look good for my man all the time, and this is what I get?” I’m sure if I would have recognized at that moment that my buttons were pushed I could have asked Joseph what was up with Marik. I’m sure Joseph would have said something like “I think you blew Mark right out of the water with your glistening tan and flowing long hair, not to mention the cute, yet modest summer dress you were wearing.” He was probably thinking “Who is this beautiful woman and what is she doing in my house? I don’t deserve her, after all, I”m Marik.”
To me, Mark is the most handsome man in the world and he “does it” for me (keep in mind, we are celibate). He is love and beauty and Christ and Joseph personified. I love the whole Mark, and God is so good. Mark is handsome and lean and physically appealing to me. In fact, this is not just my opinion. Some of my girlfriends have made less than Mary complements to me about Mark. He is truly a beautiful man inside and out (like Joseph!) and he’s handsome, too. “Rugged and sexy” to quote one of my girlfriends. I am saddened to hear my married girlfriends to make comments to me about Mark, because I believe it dishonors their husbands. As Mary, I truly do not see other men, I do not recognize them as individual men, I truly notice them only as a creation of God and nothing stirs within me when I notice another man. Mark is Joseph in this respect. But what a struggle, what a dragon to slay!!! Partly, I believe, because men have been conditioned by our culture to be on the look out and images of beautiful(?) women are thrust upon men (and women) every day, all day long Satan hopes these images will incite lust in men and diminish women’s self image. I wonder if I would be as strong as Mark if the culture reversed itself. What if images of seductively attired men or their sexualized body parts flashed in my face all day, every day? As Mark becomes Joseph and I become Mary, God gives us the grace to only have eyes for each other. In fact, it is my understanding that, it has been scientifically shown, that a woman becomes addicted to a man via a chemical in his semen. God is so smart. By practicing celibacy prior to marriage, and only sharing the marital act with her husband, a wife only desires her husband. Having many sexual partners confuses men and women by forming unnatural attachments with people
who are not their spouse. In His plan, a wife only desires her husband and a husband only desires his wife. It is also my understanding that men and women become most aroused by the smell of their spouse. That means there is no need for wearing perfume or using scented lotions, soaps or hair care products for either men or women. Our culture tells us we need to buy certain products to attract a man or woman. God made us to be attracted to and fulfilled by what is real, what He created, not what man (under the influence of the evil one) has created.
Back to the story….So following along with Satan’s plan because I had not yet become Mary in this area, I decided that Mark didn’t care what I looked like, so why bother. I then began my cycle of unhealthy overeating and gained about 15 pounds over the next few months. As it turns out Mark really doesn’t care what I look like. He continues loving because I am me, I am not my body. My body is only the part of me that carries around my mind and heart and soul. My “unpleasant” button being pushed experience led to a beautiful healing within me. (No pun intended!) I was not seeing and accepting myself as beautiful, but I was blaming Mark for him not seeing me as beautiful. Mark NEVER took me aside to tell me that I was becoming a bigger bundle of joy to love. He NEVER pointed out my minor sin of gluttony which I lazily referred to as stress eating. More importantly he NEVER pointed out my major sin of not loving myself the way God loves Jesus, not seeing myself as Mary, which is the way God sees me because that is the way He created me.
OK. I’m beautiful as Mary is beautiful, inside and out, the only beauty that really matters. Godly beauty. And no matter what Mark says or doesn’t say to me I know he sees me through God’s eyes as well, so why bother taking care of my body? The ultimate reason is because my body is God’s temple. As Mary, I now know this in my heart. Our culture teaches us to worship beautiful bodies, male or female. Our culture teaches “real” men to openly admire and praise beautiful women or their individual body parts. Our culture teaches women that we are only body parts, all of which must be outwardly beautiful, yet what is considered beautiful constantly changes. Do I need to have short or long hair, black or blonde hair to be considered beautiful to a man? Do I need to be tall and lean, have big breasts or a big bottom? What is the latest trend. Again, why bother, I’ll never succeed in being beautiful and if I’m not beautiful I won’t be loved. Before I started my journey to become Mary, I bought into the culture and it’s trends only minimally, yet deep inside I was obviously not accepting or loving myself as a beautiful image of God. Mark’s button pushing has healed this in me. His lack of being Joseph in one area, yet being Joseph over the top in another area helps me to become more Mary-like.
Mark tells me that I do the same for him. I help him to be Joseph. This morning, Valentine’s Day, Mark called me to wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day, and during our conversation he made the comment that he doesn’t know what he would do without me. I said I don’t know what I would do without him. (Look at the healing example I just explained. We need each other to heal our sinful ways.) Mark went on to say that I would be fine without him. I told him, “Yes. It is true I would be fine without you, but I am great with you.” It is true that I was completely happy being single because I made peace believing that God’s will for me was to be single. I now see that God’s will for me is to be Mark’s wife and my time alone was the time I needed to prepare to be Mark’s wife. I needed that time to begin my journey toward becoming Mary. When I had finished pushing my own buttons and heal them, I was ready for Mark. I need Mark to heal me and I need Mark to allow me to be the best me that God made me to be, his chaste, receptive, nurturing, loving, trusting, servant aka future wife. He doesn’t see how his love heals me and makes me a better me, the real me, the Martha Mary Mary Michele me, but he said he does see how I bring out the best in him. We ended our conversation with me saying, “You know Mark, behind every great man is a great woman, that’s what I want for us. And when we are married and at home alone together, you can be a great man behind me!” (yeah, yeah, yeah!) Knowing this I am sure Mark is looking forward to the day when I will greet him at the door of our home. He’ll wrap me in his arms and say “Honey, I am home!”
When Mark is home, it is Mark’s time. I have all day long to day to spend time with God, do God’s will in terms of serving on a church committee, taking care of the children, the house, spending alone time with God by having my own quiet time and so on. All of these activities glorify God. But all activities glorify God (or not, of course), but in my world I actively chose to be glorify God in all that I think, do and say. As time passes and I grow more in love with God by getting to know him better, my love will continue to deepen. So God’s time is God’s time, but in reality all time is God’s time. So Mark’s time is God’s time. When Mark is present I must glorify God by serving Mark, that is my job as Mark’s (future) wife. I mentioned earlier that I realized I was telling Mark that I could not have dinner with him because I wanted to attend mass. That is not what God wants me to do because I serve God by serving Mark, whether making dinner or making love (when we are married). Although Mark and I have realized that all of our actions toward each other are “making love”. In other words, they are expressions of love. Packing a lunch for Mark is making love, Mark putting air in the tires of my car is making love. Mark opening my car door for me is making love. Giving a massage or back rub to each other, kissing each others neck (this is a habit we’ve developed while one or the other of us is cooking or washing dishes) is making love. We make love through our words as well. We constantly speak lovingly, saying please and thank you and I appreciate you to each other. That is making love. Our thoughts are a vehicle for making love as well. Mark calls me when he is up early driving to work and sees how beautiful the snow fall looks over the landscape and he calls me while I am snuggled in bed at my home to tell me about it. Or he’ll be out and see a peppermint patty or some Berger Cookies or a dark chocolate bar or some other treat and he’ll buy it for me because he spends most of his day away from home. I call Mark to invite him to dinner when I stumble upon a great recipe that I believe he would enjoy. (This is a challenge for me because I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life, and Mark is definitely a meat-eater. I tease Mark by saying, “See how much I love you? I touched meat for you today!?) I also make large meals for him, so he can take the leftovers home and on the evenings when I don’t see him, even though he is a fabulous cook, he doesn’t have to take time out of his evening to cook, instead he can relax and just warm up a nice meal made by me out of love for him. When I know Mark has a particularly long or hard day at work I not only offer to make a meal for him, I offer to take his mother to the doctor for him, or make a phone call or run an errand for him because I spend most of my day at home. So when we are not together we are still making love with each other by thinking of things the other would enjoy or appreciate. Christ died for me, He held nothing back, not one drop of blood, not one breath. He totally and completely died for me. He calls me to die for Him. The vocation of marriage calls me to die for Christ by dying to myself for Mark and Mark dying to his self for me. This is heavenly.
Completing my day’s work on my time is what God desires, being available to serve Mark when Mark is available is what God desires. Hearing the words “Honey, I’m home!” is my reminder of that. When we are married, I imagine Mark and I will naturally pray together more often because right now we say grace together before meals and we attend Sunday mass together. Sometimes when it fits into Mark’s work schedule, we attend daily mass together. Let me add in, making love here as well by holding hands through most of the mass, holding the hymnal together, snuggling together when we listen to the readings and homily, and touching elbows when we kneel. We also squeeze hands when a special prayer pertains to us and nudge each other when, in preparation for communion, the Priest thanks God “from whom all good things come.” (I forget how it is worded in the new translation, but it says the same thing.) Are we being disrespectful to God doing these things? No! We are recognizing His awesomeness!!!Being physical during mass does not detract from mass, it adds to it. It’s as if we are even more attentive to the mass by uniting ourselves through physical touch. Mark also always allows me to walk in front of him to receive communion and I sit down and wait for him to lower the kneeler when it is time to kneel during mass. After mass we light a candle, or have one of our children who are with us, light a candle to pray for all of our families. We explain that it is for Mark and me and all of our families and ex-families back through all of the generations the whole way to Adam and Eve. We pray for our true conversion and the conversion of all. “Lord, change us.” “Honey, we’re home!” is what we are saying to our Lord and Savior through our thoughts, words, deeds, prayers, praise and worship.
“Honey, I’m home!” Reminds Mark that I am at home while he is out and he can count on me to be here if he needs me during the day. He can count on me. He knows that I am just waiting to be needed, to serve him, to love him. I am not waiting by putting my life on hold, by watching soaps and eating bon-bons, I am working, but in a different way, I am working to fulfill the personal vocation Christ has set for me. So actually this does include watching Soap Operas, but not eating bon-bons. Soap Operas are neither operas nor soapy, but they do make me feel bubbly because I find them hysterically funny as well as a very clever reflection of life. I also enjoy seeing the latest clothing styles and hair fashions, but I am sure by now that you know that I keep the remote close by because I have no desire to see a man without a shirt, or even a woman skimpily dressed, and I particularly do NOT want a love scene in my head. I am protecting my eyes so that when Mark and I are married we only have images of each other in our heads. I am protecting my eyes as Mark does when he is out in the world, or when he is watching sport. He has often said “All I want is to see some football. Those commercials are an annoyance.” That is how I feel, too. When an undesirable sexy soap scene is about to appear I grab the remote, not piously, but out of annoyance and flip to another channel, hopefully to a different soap. It truly is nothing more than an annoyance. Those scenes have no power over me, it is no different than having a boring news report cut into my viewing time. I just casually grab the remote and flip the channel. The key here is, in my home “I”m home!” I have control over what comes into my home, what I view. The same is true when I am out in the world. The closer I become to being pure Mary, the less power partially dressed people have over me (to make me feel inadequate, that I can’t compete, etc.) whether I see them on tv or in the street. But oddly enough, or maybe this is God’s plan, it seems that I don’t even see these scenes or these people out in the world any more. I’m not sure I would believe this if I heard someone else say it, but it is my experience. I truly do not see what is there, instead I see an image or Christ, an image of Mary or Joseph. It is as if I don’t even make an effort to lift the remote, it’s as if it is being done by someone else (hmmm, I wonder who?) I do not make a conscious effort to NOT see inappropriate dress or behavior on men or women. Evil can not be in the presence of goodness. I am saying I am as good and pure as Mary, but I pray to be so, I strive to be so, daily I ask for the grace that this is so. As I strive and pray to be more Mary-ish, I pray that Mark becomes more like Joseph, and he prays for the same thing. Lust has no power over Joseph. Yes, I’ve heard stories of men and women who lust after their wives or husbands, but I know from my experience that sins fall away as I become more like Mary and Mark becomes more like Joseph. The sins present themselves, I am convicted by them, I confess them, and through reconciliation Christ provides the grace to not repeat them. God can not stand evil. I pray continuously to be filled with God, it all makes sense to me. (God is so smart.) So, not even seeing the sleezy (soapy?) part of soap operas, I am able to enjoy the story lines, the cleverness of the writers, the fascinating psychology behind the soap. I enjoy seeing the fashions, I love to wear fun clothes (which I buy at the local thrift shops), the hair styles (my daughter cuts my hair) and the love stories (I also started reading Catholic novels, but the greatest love story is found in the Bible!) Yes, the beautiful love stories, the sad stories that reflect real life and current issues, and everything in between. Does the sleeziness ruin soaps for me? No. I literally don’t even see it. The good news it soaps have been introducing prayer into their stories! Wow! Soaps provide a balance to my prayerful life. Soaps also keep me informed of the worldly life and reminds me to pray for people experiencing the issues portrayed on soaps. I do not read the newspaper or watch network news because it is so out of balance. I learn about the news at mass, when my priest offers prayers for what is happening in the world. I also learn about worldly happenings on EWTN, they are my official news provider…. for the good news and worldly news. My hope is that EWTN hires me one day to help create and write and maybe even act in a Catholic Soap Opera! (If it doesn’t take me away from Mark, maybe we’ll do it together!)
This leads to my next “Honey, I’m home!” It is great to serve on committees and volunteer or be paid for what Christ is calling us to do, but once married, it seems to me that Christ will be pleased if I serve on committees with my husband. Then, together we will be attending meetings, doing the leg work, and so on. Our children are grown and need us a minimal amount of time, or large amounts of time every once in awhile. It makes sense that for us, it will be time to serve together, particularly when Mark retires. Until then “I’m home” when Mark needs me to be home. Right now I serve on the Altar Committee at my parish because everything that needs to be done can be done during the day. I wash and iron the linens at home and then drop them off prior to daily mass. I place flowers by Mary and Joseph when appropriate. I serve two months out of the year and help to prepare the church for Christmas and Easter, and then clean up. Simple, but an important job that serves our Lord while not taking away from my time with Mark. Initially, I was on a committee that met in the evenings, and you guessed it, it interfered with the time Mark had available to spend with me. I also teach two women’s groups. One meets the third Wednesday of each month in the morning. The other meets for 9 weeks at a time, for a few hours in the morning. I also help to prepare non-traditional students for Reconciliation, First Communion and/or Confirmation. We meet Sundays prior to mass, for a limited amount of time each fall or spring. I can serve the Lord, but volunteering for church activities that do not conflict with the time I need to serve Mark as my (future) husband. To be home when Mark is home, so we can both say “Honey, You are my home!”
I recently heard the story of St. Hilarius and St. Quieta. The story goes something like this. Hilarius is married to Quieta, they have a model Catholic marriage and they are saints. Hilarius, the husband, dies and is buried. Later, Quieta dies and Hilarius’s grave or tomb is opened so that Quieta may be married with him. The miracle is not that they have a model marriage and they can be saints (that’s my plan for Mark and me), the miracle is that as Quieta’s dead body was being laid in Hilarius’ tomb, he reached his hand upward, around her neck and pulled her head gently to rest upon his chest. I called Mark with this story as soon as I heard it and shouted with delight “That’ll be us!”. After further pondering this story in my heart, as Mary does, I realized that as a man, St. Hilarius probably has a deep appreciation for hilarity, for fun, joy, pleasure and I am sure that Quieta provided this for him, enjoyed it with him. They enjoyed this lifestyle together. At the same time, Quieta, most likely lived according to her name, quietly pondering things in her heart, being a quiet comfort and support to her husband. Together, they are saints living a model Catholic marriage, which means they surely must have invited Christ into every part of their individual lives and together into every part of their married lives. God first, spouse second and a marriage created out of a beautiful balance of quiet and hilarity.