My Country Valentine

My Country Valentine

With Valentine’s Day upon us, I wanted to take a moment to thank God for sending me my best friend James, and blessing us with the most beautiful marriage. It is better than I ever imagined, and sweeter than I ever deserved.

This morning on my way to work, I was listening to Gus Lloyd on the Catholic Channel ask listeners about their song. People called in and said how many years they’ve been married, what their song is, and how it came to be their song. It was the sweetest show!

On our first Valentine’s Day together James made me a mix tape (CD). Songs included Diamond Rio’s “Unbelievable”, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, Brian McKnight’s “Back at One”,  and Westlife’s “On Angel’s Wings”, among others. Can you tell we were kids in the 90s?

He also included “Amazed” by Lonestar, and that was the one we danced to at our wedding. That is our song. But we also have a few more that are close to our hearts.

Taylor Swift’s “Our Song” is pretty much the story of our first year of dating. Slammin’ screen doors, sneakin’ out late, talkin’ real slow cause it’s late and your mamma don’t know… you get the idea. We were 20 and 22.

The song that always makes me feel super warm and fuzzy though is none other than Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”. Cause yeah, he got down on one knee… and we planned it all out for the middle (beginning) of June.

So Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, but most importantly to my handsome, country music loving, best friend and husband James.

Do you have a song that really speaks to you? What song just makes your heart melt?

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Marriage Advice from a Pumpkin Patch

I told James that I wasn’t going to be happy this Fall until I had carved a pumpkin, baked a pie, and raked leaves. Check numbers 1 and 2.

My Jack-O-Lantern of 2012

We got our darling pumpkin from a redneck on the side of the road. First thing he says when we pull up is, “So who’s paying?” When we said that I was the one with the cash, he said “It’s always that way with young people. The girl pays and the guy’s just standing there.” “Well it’s all both our money anyway,” we said. “Oh, are y’all married?” “Almost,” we answered.

So began the conversation. He told us about how he and his wife divorced after 10 years and then became best friends until she was struck by a car and died. You could see the heartbreak in his watery blue eyes. He told us that the worst thing you can do in a marriage is be jealous. “If y’all go to a party, doesn’t matter who she’s talking to, as long as she leaves with you that’s fine.”

I guess the moral of the story is that marriage is hard enough, so don’t sweat the small stuff. Like my grandfather used to say, “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half-shut after.” What is it about “forever” that makes people start getting petty and forgetting their friendship? I hope we always remember that we are best friends, and that nothing is ever more important than this.

Rumpelstitskin, Belle, and the Bachelorette: Fairy Tales and True Love

Now that Once Upon a Time is over for the season, what is there to live for, really? I cried excessively as Prince Charming and Snow White were reunited in Storybrooke (just thinking about the moment he cried “Snow!” is making me teary-eyed), yet I was disappointed that Rumpelstiltskin did not react as much to Belle. I thought that after years of missing her, he would have given up his magical pursuits to be with her.

I supposed that would have been too much like a fairy tale. As much as he loves Belle, it’s just not enough.  The moment the curse was lifted and she remembered him, we didn’t get a beautiful, sweet, romantic moment full of “I’m sorry” and “I love you.” He was too absorbed in his own power to live happily ever after with Belle. I wonder if that will be a significant part of next season’s story line.

In other fairy tale news, the Bachelorette is quickly turning into an obsession. I love Emily Maynard; she’s so sweet. Hopefully, as a single mom, she’ll bring a bit more class to the show. Still though, you wonder why a single mom who’s been engaged twice would trust reality television to find a good husband. I hope it works out for her.

Why is it that we all love fairy tales, no matter how old we are? Maybe it’s because in today’s world, true love is often a rare, elusive dream. I wonder if the reason it’s so rare in the 21st century is the lax sexual morals of the last 50 years. “Free love” is one of those instances where you get what you pay for. Real, true, Corinthians 13 love comes from total selflessness and giving. It comes from a philosophy in which the love between a husband and wife is one of the most beautiful and sacred of gifts. Love is patient. Love is kind. And when people do their best to live beautiful, honest, selfless lives, they find the truest love the world has ever seen.

 
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. ~1 Corinthians 13

Engagement Stress = Blessing in Disguise?

Like most girls, I love the movie Bride Wars with Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. One of the major themes of the movie is how engagement stress can either drive couples apart or bring them closer together.

James and I have had our share of engagement stress. Thankfully, we’ve been able to recognize that with every road-block comes a chance to work together. We’ve never put it in those words, but it’s true. Every issue that has popped up in our path has made us turn to each other for help. Everything that’s happened to us has been another chance to hold hands and walk forward.

Recently I was telling a priest some of the struggles we’ve gone through, and he pointed out that perhaps it truly is a blessing in disguise. People that have fantasy engagements do not always get the chance to prepare for what marriage really involves: sharing and sacrifice. I pray every day for a happy marriage. Maybe this is God’s way of answering my prayers. If we learn what to expect now, we will have an easier time adjusting later. Maybe if we can be happy together in bad times, we can be happy in good times.

I know I’m very young and often naïve, but I have a good feeling about this.

Dating on Faith: How important is Spiritual Compatibility?

It’s time-honored advice, marry someone with the same religion as you. Or at least, be compatible on a spiritual level. What does this mean, really?

From the time I was a little girl, my parents told me to marry a fellow Catholic. Marriage, they said, was hard enough without a difference of faith. This was a little surprising coming from my mom, as her dad was Catholic and her mother was Lutheran. When I got a little older and went to Catholic University, I still held on to this belief. It took a few years to realize though, that there was more to faith than a religious label.

Plenty of people say they are Catholic, or Lutheran, or Jewish, or Episcopalian, or whatever. It’s easy to find someone with the same religious label as you. What is NOT easy, though, is finding someone with the same view of God.

You can tell a lot from a person by asking one simple question: “What would this person do if God showed up at their front door?” Some people would fall to their knees and beg forgiveness. Some people wouldn’t care. My family would answer the door and say, “Hey man! How’ve you been? We’re just sitting down to dinner. Want some spaghetti?” If you’re type who would invite God as part of the family, find someone who shares that. At the end of the day, a person’s ingrained view of God can affect everything! A person’s relationship with God affects every aspect of their life. This includes how they treat others, how they raise their children, and how they deal with the trying times of their life.

Like a lot of naive young women, I learned this the hard way. Spiritual incompatibility can make you lose sight of who you are. It wasn’t until I found my James that I remembered why my faith was important. James’s faith reminded me of my dad’s faith: a strong belief that God is a friend, a member of the family. God is a sweet, loving father who will always be there for you, no matter what you do. Go to church on Sunday, pray every day, at least just to say “hi”, because God loves you and wants you to be happy. Love God with all your heart, love your neighbor as yourself, and put your family first no matter what age you are.

It usually takes a while to figure out what kind of faith someone has. You can listen to them talk all day, but you’re not going to know who they really are until you spend some time with them. Faith isn’t just a personal thing, it’s a life changing, cultural thing. For me, it took a lot of mistakes and years of searching to figure out what was important to me. It’s not all bad, though, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Without those years of searching, I would never have found myself, my fiancé, and my faith.