A Catholic Jeweler Shares the Scriptural Heritage of Precious Metals in Wedding Jewelry

JESSE ROTH

 

The average American spends an average of about $6000 on an engagement ring. As a third-generation jeweler, I designed my own wedding ring about fifteen years ago, using precious metal and diamonds, and being in the business I was able to spend considerably less than this figure.

But this isn’t about how much to spend on a ring. The reality is that your budget determines that for you. If the cost of your wedding jewelry seems steep, consider this perspective into why we should use precious metals, which are particularly significant for sacramental Catholic marriage.

In Exodus, the Lord gives Moses very specific instructions on how to create the vestments, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and more. The Lord’s chosen materials? Gold. Silver. Bronze. In fact, gold and silver are each mentioned approximately 200 times in the Old Testament. Similarly, wife is mentioned 228 times.

What does this mean for us? To start, it means the inherent value of certain physical materials is something that the Lord pays attention to. It is part of his vocabulary of creation.

This is because he created everything. And among those created things are the chemical elements of silver and gold. An entire star has to explode in a supernova for Him to make them! When speaking to Moses, God chooses these materials specifically and calls them by name, in Exodus. He even gave the artisan Bezalel the special talent of creating “artistic designs in gold, silver, and bronze.”

In Genesis, after Abraham’s wife Sarah died and their Isaac had yet to be married, Abraham must have experienced tremendous considering that Isaac was the son of whom God had promised countless descendants. So Abraham sent a servant to his own land in order find a wife for Isaac. The servant followed dutifully and took 10 camels to the city of Nahor.

The servant prayed to the God of Abraham:

...if I say to a young woman, ‘Please lower your jug, that I may drink,’ and she answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels, too,’ then she is the one whom you have decided upon for your servant Isaac. In this way I will know…”

Enter Rebekah, carrying a jug on her shoulder with which to draw water. The servant “ran toward her” and the prayer was answered in exactly the way he asked God to make it clear, at which point he presents her with a ring. Of course, it’s made of gold.

That’s the depth of the heritage of wedding rings in precious metal.

Deep down, we all know precious metals mean something. That some things are sacred.

A Styrofoam cup, for instance, isn’t used for a chalice during the liturgy of the Eucharist, but silver or gold. We participate in the sacrament of Eucharist regularly; it is sacred yet it is commonplace. We honor and revere this sacrament, and our choice in materials shows this. As Catholics, our marriages are first and foremost a sacrament. So similarly, our choice in wedding ring materials is an opportunity to honor and revere this everyday sacrament.

Admittedly, the cost of precious metals can certainly be a financial sacrifice. Yet marriage itself is a sacramental sacrifice. The precious metals we choose allow us a unique way in which to offer thanks and praise to God for our spouse. The metals we choose can reflect a fitting expression of our view of this sacrament.

They allow us to look at the meager 118 elements God created and choose the same precious materials he chose. To co-create alongside him something that is both old and also new, a precious symbol of love and honor and tradition. Something universally precious.


About the Author: After a consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Jesse Ross was filled with the Holy Spirit "to create artistic designs in gold, silver, and bronze," as prescribed in the Book of Exodus. He decided to leave a tenured position to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather as a jeweler. Jesse and his wife, Angie, are Co-Founders of 31:Four Artisan Jewelry, an all-Catholic design and manufacturing studio based in the Orlando area. They are teaching the trade to their four children, who will be fourth-generation jewelers.

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On Advent and Waiting

ALEXA DONCENCZ SMITH

 

It’s no secret: Advent is a time of waiting.

As a kid, I always looked forward to the week at Mass when the Little Blue Books would appear in the vestibule for Advent, free for the taking. In the weeks that followed, I was diligent in reading the reflections each night before bed, carefully absorbing every saint quote or nugget of spiritual wisdom. I was kind of a nerd, truth be told, but I loved the aura of waiting and preparation that always surrounded the weeks leading to Christmas.

As an adult, waiting can be a bittersweet subject. While anticipation breeds excitement, waiting for the things we desire isn’t always a pleasant feeling--especially if their eventual arrival isn’t guaranteed. Waiting for anything--from a vacation, to a promotion at work, to meeting one’s future spouse--is filled with a vulnerability that can give way to doubt and discontentment.

After spending a bit of time reflecting on Advent, it seems like no coincidence that the Church dedicates a whole season of the liturgical calendar to the meaning and purpose of waiting. Though it may not seem like it, waiting can be a blessing in disguise that can help guide us along the path to Heaven. Here, five ways we can benefit spiritually from this season:

Waiting provides the space for God to work.

Life can get so busy that it becomes easy to get caught up in our own plans, wrapped up in a universe of which we are the center. We have our days scheduled down to the minute and our calendars booked up for weeks, so it can definitely be frustrating when the unexpected comes in and messes with our carefully laid plans.

With our days are booked solid, spent constantly running from one obligation to the next, this doesn’t leave a lot of room for God to work in our lives. We might even find when we’re too busy, our meaningful attempts at prayer fall to the wayside. While God is always present, he often chooses to speak to us in the silence.

And if there’s no silence, or if our lives are just too hectic, we may miss our chance to hear him. Waiting has a way of slowing us down. The resulting pause can produce a helpful reorientation of priorities.

Waiting is an invitation to trust.

When our plans get stalled and things don’t happen how we think they should, it can cause disappointment and even helplessness. This is an opportunity to humble ourselves, remembering God is in control--not us). That there is a greater plan we cannot see; even if we’re confused about how things are going to play out, we know that the one in charge loves us and always wants the best for us.

Waiting forces us to be present.

Frustration with waiting can indicate that our minds or hearts have gotten ahead of us, and we’re trying to live in the future. Two years ago--ironically, during Advent--I was not-so-subtly waiting on a proposal. My fiancé and I had been dating for several years, and we’d had countless talks about moving toward marriage.

We both agreed getting engaged was our next step. But I felt this to the extent that I failed  to appreciate our relationship in the present moment. I had myself convinced nothing more could be accomplished in our relationship or preparation for marriage until we were officially engaged.

Waiting pulls us out of our daydreams about the future (sometimes not so gently), and challenges us to ask, what does God want me to do right now? 

As I  anxiously awaited my proposal, I believed--whether I realized it or not--that engagement was the next thing God wanted me to do in life. But maybe engagement and marriage were a few more bullet points down on the list, and he had other gifts and blessings in store for me first.

I could have easily missed how God was working in my life during that time because I had unconsciously tuned out the present, preoccupied with what I thought should be my next endeavor. Waiting can be a gift that keeps us living in real time.

Waiting is a reminder: our time is precious.

When we’re stuck in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic, we have two options. We can either grumble and complain, letting our annoying situation get the best of us, or we can remember those very minutes are an irreplaceable gift from God. It might be challenging to view being trapped bumper to bumper on the highway as a gift, but these instances serve as a reminder that all our time is borrowed: it all belongs to God, and we should always use for good the moments of life he has given us.

Waiting gives us hope for a bright future.

When we are so stuck on achieving certain desires that we end up devaluing entire periods of our lives, or we begin to feel as though we are killing time to get to a particular accomplishment or milestone, we are called to remember something: God’s plans are higher than our own. God can give us gifts we never would have dreamed of. And yes: they’re even better than the things we’re pursuing for ourselves.

The feeling of waiting sometimes indicates our timeline doesn’t quite match up to God’s. Rather than giving ourselves over to despair, this is an opportunity to realize that God may be saying no or not yet to our prayers.

Because he might be about to give us something even better than what we imagined.


About the Author: Alexa is a 2013 graduate of The Catholic University of America, where she earned degrees in biology and psychology. Since 2014, she has served as the Assistant Coordinator for Youth, Young Adult and Family Ministry for the Diocese of Allentown. Alexa and her husband Patrick got engaged in December 2016, and were married in June 2018. Together they’ve enjoyed Cracker Barrel breakfasts, long walks around Barnes & Noble, and deciding which bridal expos had the best cake samples. Alexa's hobbies include writing, photography, and drinking coffee. 

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How to Practice Mental Purity in Your Marriage

LARABETH MILLER

 

One of the things I appreciate so much about marriage is the complementarity of men’s and women’s brains. Our mental habits, influences, and motivations are so beautifully designed to support and unite.

Marriage has deepened my understanding of the male brain, and I’ve come to realize my husband often views the world from a single-track, logical perspective. In turn, I have also learned to understand my own mental habits. Though there so many beautiful strengths in the female brain, I have come to recognize the dangers that can arise with how I perceive my husband.

Early in our marriage, I wanted to do everything in my power to ensure our relationship grew. I wanted to understand him and give my husband everything (I thought) he needed as a man. But this became difficult when it came to discovering all the things about my new husband that I didn’t care for.

Before long, frustration crept in as we spent the next year learning more about each other. At times I wondered what was wrong with his brain as he shared some solutions, desires, and perspectives that were, frankly, foreign to me. Because I was a terrible communicator, I attempted to analyze him instead of talking to him. I came to my own conclusions fueled by strong emotions. Then something happened that I thought never would: I came, at times, to despise my new husband.

Whenever he did something his way, I thought he was being ignorant. If he was honest with me during one of our arguments, I immediately labeled him uncaring and selfish. If he didn’t make efforts to make me comfortable or happy, I would tell myself he didn’t really love me. I always made every attempt to determine what he needed from me, so why didn’t I get the same treatment? I went deeper down this rabbit hole, until gradually we weren’t on the same side anymore.

You see, this is an easy entrance for Satan to attack your marriage. We, as companions to our spouses, are gifted with the ability to consider our surroundings and relationships and come up with ways to make it better. Even if that is influenced by our need for control. But our husbands are not the same as we are.

My husband is driven by his desire to provide for me, even if that means using the most efficient and logical solution. He provided honesty in order to get to the point and come to a clear understanding. And he had no idea how to make me happy or comfortable because I had never told him! He thought he had taken care of me already by paying the rent every month and helping me with the grocery budget. But I was too deep into my own concocted contempt for him to see that he was trying to learn to love me the best he could.

So as Scripture says,

“With all vigilance guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life.”

Proverbs 4:23

The best way to ensure a sense of mental purity is to seek encouraging outside sources that draw you outside yourself. Whenever we bump heads or are both are going through a stressful times, I look for solid reminders of our path in marriage. I read books on marriage, I listen to good podcasts, or I journal how I’m feeling and look at it with a prayerful perspective. I reserve time, without distractions or stress, to have a conversation with my husband, making sure I put aside my assumptions and opinions. Above all, I take it to Jesus in prayer.

Consider, as well, that many women find it radically helpful to be able to speak about their struggles with a friend or family member, but there is a major trap that lies in this. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen one man torn apart by a large group of women who joined and supported the wife in her emotional misunderstanding. I’ve seen marriages torn apart  by a mob of supposed friends who convinced a woman her husband was a monster.

When considering a confidant, it’s important to choose someone who supports you and your husband as a couple. They should wish to see your marriage flourish the way God intended it to. This adviser should be able to take an objective, prayerful approach by considering the influences, strengths and weaknesses of each person. In my own life, I have carefully chosen a mentor who has been married much longer than I have. Each time we speak, I can recognize her deep love for Christ and her husband. I’ve come to trust her deeply because her advice leads me to regard my husband with holy empathy and self-sacrifice.

We are called to look upon our spouses with the same eyes God does; to recognize his goodness and talents. To forgive when mistakes have been made and allow for the situation to sanctify you both. You know well the reasons you chose your beloved. Remind him of your admiration as often as you can. Consider a devotion to the Divine Mercy or Mary, undoer of Knots, and trust the graces of the sacrament of marriage will support these challenging seasons of growth.   


CIRCLE HEADSHOT Larabeth.png

About the Author: Larabeth Miller is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. She is the owner of Graced by Color. Read more

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Inviting God into your Wedding Planning Desires

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

God created us, and he creates our desires to point us towards goodness, beauty, creation, and virtue. When we are attentive to our desires--both the lighthearted and the deepest desires of our hearts--Christ can teach us something about ourselves or about himself. (Or really about anything, because he is God.)

Does your season of engagement feel overwhelming and distracting due to stress or expectations of wedding planning? With a prayerful approach, the desires and details in our wedding planning can become a sacramental aspect within the sacrament of matrimony. When we seek God in our desires, the smallest wedding details can give visibility to a truth of our faith, to our relationship with Christ, or to the deeper desires of our hearts.

The sacramental aspect of our Catholic faith describes the ways physical objects make an invisible truth visible. For example, water is the physical object signifying the spiritual cleansing, or rebirth in Christ, through the sacrament of Baptism. In marriage, the first night together as husband and wife, and every act of love thereafter, makes tangible the unifying vows of the sacrament of Matrimony.

So how do we uncover the deeper meaning of our desires in wedding planning? How do we tune in to the songs our hearts are singing?

First, we have to know what we want. In the gospel of John, the first question Jesus asks is, “What do you want?” It’s not a selfish question to ask ourselves, especially when we are striving to know ourselves and know Christ in a pursuit of holiness.

Despite how clear your vision for your wedding day might be, consider pausing to journey into that vision with God. Invite God into your head and your heart and ask yourself, “What do I want to see at my wedding?” Note the first things that come to mind. Is it a specific flower, color scheme, or song? Is it a desired anticipation for how a moment will play out?

Perhaps a surprising  answer will pop into your mind! In those moments, you can certainly say “hello” to the Holy Spirit who is guiding your heart.

Perhaps answering the question “what do I want?” is challenging. Is there a tinge of fear, anxiety, or apprehension that bubbles to the surface of your heart when you try to dive in that deeply? If so, keep going, trust the Lord, keep Him close; He wants to show you something good! Rather than fearing the fear itself and suppressing those feelings, take Mary or Jesus’ hand and prayerfully walk into those desires.

Second, take to Christ whatever comes to mind and let him begin to unfold the mystery of your heart. A prayer as simple as, “Okay, Jesus. I want ____ at my wedding. I imagine ____ at my wedding. What is it about ____ am I attracted to? I ask you to reveal something deeply beautiful about these desires to me.”

God might reveal these answers to you in that exact moment of prayer, or maybe over a series of days. Maybe he will withhold his response until the wedding day, or even weeks after when you’re turning back through pictures. Regardless of how he answers this prayer in his timing, he hears you. He is with you in your desires. The things we are attracted to are ways God romances us towards his goodness, his beauty, his creation, and his love.

We want more than we think we want.

Even after the wedding day has come and gone, this conversation with Christ is one we can continue in any season of life.

In my most recent personal experience, praying through my desires was an effort to clarify if my desire was from God or from my own selfishness. When my husband and I moved overseas, it took over two months for our belongings to arrive from the United States to our new (and first) home. The time of waiting tested my patience and led to my restless wanting of our stuff. In the past, I’ve done well with traveling out of a backpack and maintaining a relatively simple profile, so this deep feeling of need for my things was surprising to me.

On the one hand, it takes a personal touch to create a home. We were living on rental furniture and bare walls; I desired our personalized bookshelves and coffee mugs and photographs. I desired to create a home with my husband.

But on the other hand, I was tempted to shame in those desires because I was being “too materialistic” and “too selfish” and “too needy.” The latter experience led me to my knees in a prayer to see God in those desires.

He shattered the glass of my temptation to self-shame. In his most gentle and straight-forward way, God first allowed me to speak my fears: “I feel like I am a bad Christian if I want my stuff.” Nearly instantly thereafter, he provided a sanctifying clarity: it’s not the stuff for the sake of having stuff I desire, but the love, joy, memory, journey, hope, and faith that those things represent. A home is a place of hospitality, rest, unity, and love; beyond the desire for “stuff” is a beautiful desire for a home.

And beyond the desire for a home is a desire for our eternal home, heaven. The ache for what I want now opened my perspective to what I want forever.  

My patience was restored and the process of building our first home has filled my heart with gratitude and hope for all the goodness to come--both in this life and in heaven.

Oftentimes, the details we want to see on our wedding day are a manifestation of our heart’s yearning for beauty and virtue and love. Through the gift of free will, God will patiently wait to show us those deeper layers of our hearts until we ask him to show us. When we invite him into our wedding planning--the season of preparation toward the vocation to a sacrament of marriage--he will undoubtedly show up and love on us as he does so well.

He has already shown up by inviting you into this sacrament--one of the beautiful ways he reveals his love for his people! Why would he stop there? Our God is a God of infinity.

What does he want to show you? What does he have to teach you? What beauty can be revealed as we journey through wedding planning and decision making processes with Christ by our side?

May the journey continue for you with infinite beauty and surprise.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Editor at Large. Stephanie’s perfect day would consist of a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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Newlywed Life | How to Plan a Honeymoon Staycation

Are you and your beloved unable to go on a honeymoon immediately after your wedding?

Whether due to work, financial, or other limitations, if a getaway isn’t in the cards for you right away, the first days of your marriage can still be an elevated experience and sacred time. Consider planning a honeymoon staycation over a three-day weekend or, if possible, a longer period off from work. Here, our suggestions for making your staycation distinctive from the everyday.

Allow yourselves leisure.

When you’re staying at home, particularly right after your marriage, there are temptations everywhere to do: open gifts, organize belongings, clean, write thank you notes. Don’t forget, however, to be: this is a vacation, after all! Consider designating a time of day to end working on projects and chores, spending the remainder in a state of carefree timelessness.

Make specific plans.

A staycation is ideal for exploring areas of your city you might not otherwise prioritize: plan a day trip, make brunch and dinner reservations at new and special spot, visit the natural or cultural sites you love or have dreamed of seeing. Creating an informal itinerary cultivates the getaway feel and brings structure to your time.

Consider a local overnight.

If your budget allows, spending a night--or two--in a nearby hotel or Airbnb feels distinctively special and set apart from your everyday.

Dream together.

If your “actual” honeymoon is months away, enjoy the anticipation! Page through travel books for your destination, dive into Yelp, and begin planning your forthcoming trip.

Add a spiritual component.

Take advantage of time off from work with daily Mass, Adoration, and a self-planned retreat or pilgrimage. Find more here on planning a spiritually significant honeymoon.

We love hearing the stories, insights, and surprises of your newlywed lives. If you and your beloved had an abbreviated or local honeymoon, or are planning to, share your own tips and experiences in the comments and on our social media. See the Spoken Bride team’s handpicked honeymoon essentials here.

Just Engaged? Tips + Considerations for Setting a Wedding Date

It’s a predictable pattern: once friends and family receive the news of your engagement, their responses, in quick succession, are typically How did he propose? followed by, So when’s the wedding?

  Photography:    Shea Castricone

Photography: Shea Castricone

It’s hard to fault your loved ones for their interest and excitement on your behalf. Yet it’s alright to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing a wedding date, let alone planning for it. If you’re newly engaged and wondering where to begin, start by arranging a meeting with the priest at the parish or chapel where you plan to enter into marriage.

At your first meeting, your priest will discuss practical matters like if and when you and your fiancé have received the sacraments, give an overview of the marriage prep process, and will likely send you home with an interview or inventory like FOCCUS to illuminate areas of your relationship that could benefit from deeper examination.

Sometimes when setting the date, the process is as simple as choosing from a list of available days and times. It can be overwhelming, however, to see endless calendar blocks open to you. Here, to aid in your discernment and decision-making, considerations for choosing your date.

The liturgical year

If a particular saint or feast has been significant in your relationship, consider bringing that significance into your wedding date, by way of a saint’s feast day or a solemnity. Spoken Bride’s Business Director, Andi Compton, was married on September 8, the birth of Our Lady, and Creative Director Jiza Zito was married August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption.

Bear in mind that most dioceses do not permit celebratory sacraments, like matrimony and baptism, during Lent. On the other hand, weddings held during the Christmas and Easter seasons convey a beautiful image of new, fruitful, glorious life.

Your personal responsibilities

While, like many major transitions in life, there’s never an ideal, conflict-free time to dive in--and the joy of entering into marriage drowns out those small matters--it is worth considering if any major obligations on the horizon could add stress to your wedding plans. Busy seasons at work in the finance, education, and retail fields, for instance,can be difficult to leave at the office, and if one or both of you is serving on mission, wherein you’re expected to prioritize your work and apostolate, setting your wedding date for a relatively calm time of year can minimize burnout.

Family obligations

If anyone in your immediate family or prospective wedding party will be traveling abroad, on a military deployment, giving birth, or undergoing major surgery or medical procedures in the upcoming months, understand the strain these circumstances might place on their ability to attend your wedding. Of course, it’s impossible to set a date where no guests have prior obligations, but for those closest to you, it’s a gesture of consideration, and a gift to you as a couple, to set a date they’ll be able to attend.

Circumstances and needs at this time in your lives

A short engagement can work well if neither you nor your fiancé will be relocating to a new city or state after your wedding, if one of you is already living in the home you’ll eventually share, or if you’re both well into your post-college lives and careers. A slightly longer time of preparation might be practical if you’re still in school, will need to make arrangements for your living situation, or have concerns that could benefit from pre-marital counseling.

All that said, every divinely ordained relationship, and every unrepeatable person within it, has unique needs, strengths, and challenges. It’s alright to move forward in faith even without all the answers, to get married while going to therapy, or to celebrate your marriage in the midst of professional or family-related whirlwinds. When we step out into the deep, Peter-like, Christ is present and won’t leave us to flounder.

More on discerning the length of your engagement and choosing a wedding date:

Christina Dehan Jaloway’s reflections on a short engagement and on being an “older” Catholic bride | Elise Crawford Gallagher’s tips for thriving during a long engagement | Holiday weddings

How did you and your beloved go about setting your wedding date? Share your thought process with other brides in the comments and on our social media.

Readers Share | The Saints Who've Shaped Your Relationships

This week as the Church celebrates the dead, the communion of saints, and all souls in Purgatory on All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, respectively, we invited you to share the holy men and women who’ve interceded in your spiritual lives and relationships on our social media.

For inviting us and others into your deep joy, for fostering hope in God’s faithfulness in women still awaiting their love story, for witnessing to abandon and reckless trust in the Father, thank you. Your responses were too many to list in a single post--let alone to list every woman who cited Our Lady, Saints Therese, John Paul II, or Louis and Zelie Martin as favorite patrons! We read every single one and find each so uniquely, personally beautiful.

Here, a selection of your stories of saintly intercession:

St Gemma - for many reasons! My husband is a pharmacist, I was seeking employment when we were first married and we both recently lost our fathers. She’s the patron saint of: Pharmacists, children who have lost parents and those seeking employment! - Danielle

Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria and his wife, Servant of God, Empress Zita. They were a beautiful Catholic married couple and have been a great role model for our marriage. - @danielleduet

St. Michael the Archangel. His battle courage was inspiring to me, and helped me in my own spiritual warfare. Like St. Michael, I was able to cast my own demons out. - @_desirita_

St. Therese and St. Zelie Martin. I’ve struggled with finding and being content in my vocation, and through their intercession have received many graces. - @thebrownebunch

St. Raphael. I met my soon-to-be fiancé through Catholic Match and Raphael's intercession throughout our relationship has been so influential. He's the patron saint of their website and the hero of our relationship. - @violetsheabee

St. Therese has had (and continues to have) a profound impact on how myself in relationship with my fiancé. Long distance has required a lot of humility and trust on both of our parts, and I've leaned on her Little Way to help me do small things that benefit our relationship with each other and with God. - @meganboes

St. Joseph! The St. Joseph novena played a big role in both our individual discernment journeys. As a couple, any time we have a difficult situation and don't know what to pray for, we say his novena, and always receive exactly what we need, and then some! Plus, all the men in my family have Joseph as their middle name, and so does my husband! - @acrgripshover

Our Lady of Angels. - @i.marie.daly

St. Anthony. - @vegan_wannabe_81

I got engaged on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, by the grace of God and through the intercession of St. Joseph, Mama Mary, and St. Anne. - @meganaosborn

St. Thomas More, Mother Mary and St. Joseph. - @marie_xavier_felix

St. Maria Goretti. - @paigealexandrahussey

St. Therese, St. Faustina, and the Holy Family! -@becca_from_texas

St. Josemaria Escriva. - @akeeshers

St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Cecilia! My senior year of college, while my husband and I were still dating, I felt a call to a religious vocation. I was so confused about it so I prayed countless novenas to Therese--I didn’t hear an immediate response, but I eventually did. That spring break, some girlfriends and I drove to Nashville for a retreat with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (Cecilia is one of my faves because I’m a musician). While I loved it there, I felt a peace within my heart that I was called to marriage. Two years later, my husband proposed. - @josieweisenberger

St. Gianna Molla and her husband, Pietro! We named our first born after her! - @thetinymangia

Our Lady and St. Louis de Montfort. - @maddy__anne__

St. Joseph! My parents did a novena to St Joseph to pray for a husband for me and weeks into the novena, [my future spouse] came along! And we got engaged on May 1, the Feast of St Joseph the Worker. - @rachelgmz

St. Therese of Lisieux! Ever since I was a young girl, I have been praying novenas to her in the hopes of finding my future husband. She is my patron saint, and my fiancé's favorite. We asked her special intercession for our relationship on a recent trip to the National Shrine in DC, and he proposed on her feast day this year, along with a beautiful white rose! - @whateverisgracious

Our guardian angels! - @ann.elissa

St. Ignatius of Loyola. My husband and I would pray his Prayer for Generosity while we were dating and it was a constant reminder to serve the other person. - @jessie.dupre

St. Elia. - @soulachreim

St. Monica, St. Anne, and St.  Michael...mother Mary above all. - @scenescerity.images

St. Jude. I began his novena and on the last day saw [my future husband] Wesley, and knew I should see where things went with him. After that we have prayed to him every night and I began seeing St. Jude everywhere. Now, Wesley and I are getting married [this fall] (2 years after I began my novena)! - @rach_whalen

Our Lady Undoer of Knots, Saint Joseph, Saint Anne, Saint Anthony, Saint Michael, Saint Jude Thaddeus, Saint Raphael, and Saint Dymphna. I keep adding them! - @edna_songz

Saint Veronica. She has inspired me to wipe my husband’s face as he carries his crosses. She reminded me what we are called to do as brothers and sisters in Christ and had a profound role in shaping our relationship. - @brittbritt_ottens

Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, St. Therese’s parents. The man who is courting me and I had to go two months without seeing each other when we began our relationship. He sent me a talk about sanctification in marriage, which focused on their lives; since then, we have continuously asked for their intercession as we discern marriage! They have become a major influence for me and we are thankful to have another beautiful couple to look up to! - @alynacampero

Saint Therese of Lisieux; she is always reminding us to give ourselves fully to each other and to never seek anything in return. She teaches us how (in Story of a Soul) to live life in a way that strives for selfless love and complete humility. And her parents guide us in how we will want to raise our kids someday. - @maddie7548

To each of you who responded to or have been moved by this question and its answers, we are grateful. If you have suggestions for future reader-sourced topics, be sure to share them with us for consideration!

Images by Lionhearted Photography, seen in Amy + Jake | Midwinter Mountain Wedding