Leave Your Father and Mother

CARISSA PLUTA

 
PHOTOGRAPHY:   MEL WATSON PHOTOGRAPHY

The semester leading up to my wedding came with many challenges, but by far, the aspect I struggled with the most was preparing to, as the Scriptures say, “leave your father and mother.”

With my husband’s job as a missionary, I knew we would have very little say in where we would be sent after the wedding day, and no one could guarantee we would end up near our parents or other relatives. 

Moving away from home to start your new life with your husband, especially if you move out of state or even out of the country, can cause feelings of anxiety and even guilt in the heart of a young bride.

Should I feel like I am abandoning my family to start my own?


In the Book of Genesis where this verse initially appears, it comes after Adam, upon first encountering Eve, says: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;This one shall be called ‘woman,’for out of man this one has been taken.”

It then continues: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother...” Leaving isn’t just a pointless command, an unnecessarily painful sacrifice. 

It means leaving something good for something even better. 

By entrusting something so valuable to the Lord, you allow Him to do something even greater in your life, your marriage, and your heart. 

And personally, even though this separation both physically and emotionally challenges me at times, I found that my relationship with my parents was actually strengthened by the grace I received in this sacrament of marriage. 

The relationship I was worried about abandoning took on a new life. 


I witnessed my parents step into new roles, that of in-laws and grandparents, and saw how these new relationships brought a certain joy to our family that wouldn’t have existed before. 

When I see my mom and dad laughing with my husband or embracing my little girl, I can see all the ways how following God’s call has enriched our whole family. 

Not only that, but in navigating the ups and downs of marriage and family life, I’ve learned to relate to my parents in an entirely new way--a way that has made me a more compassionate and loving daughter. 

So, if you’re worried about this aspect of married life, if you are afraid of the change that will come after you say I do or move the last box of stuff from your childhood room, that’s okay. 

But know that “leaving” your father and mother, “leaving” your sister and brother, will not only help you and your establish your married identity, but it can also allow your family to unlock a profound piece of their own identities. 


About the Author: Carissa Pluta is Spoken Bride’s Editor at Large. She is the author of the blog The Myth Retold. Read more

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How to Stay Connected to your Spouse after Children

CARISSA PLUTA

 

Raising young children may cause you to feel like you’re living your life (and your marriage) in survival mode, waiting until the kids are old enough to start allowing for more romance in your relationship.

However, prioritizing your relationship with your spouse benefits the whole family.

So how do you stay connected with your spouse during the season of having young children?

Create Daily Rituals

Connect with your spouse in the small moments throughout your day by creating daily rituals.

You can make many aspects of your day intentional time with your partner by making the choice to spend that time together; you can eat meals without your phones, exercise together, enjoy your morning coffee or afternoon cup of tea while cuddled on the couch, or going to bed or waking at the same time.

Establish a Date Night

Spending time with your spouse without the kids reminds you of the importance of your marriage during this busy season of life. Find a babysitter or ask a family member to watch your little ones for an evening so you can.

If the budget doesn’t allow for dinner or a movie, don’t be afraid to get creative. There might be a free museum you want to check out, or a nearby park perfect for a picnic. Inexpensive date nights are possible and offer the perfect opportunity to connect.

If a night out isn’t possible for your family, you can even carve out some intentional time with one another at home after the kids have gone to bed. You could play a board game while eating dessert, or watch a movie from a blanket fort.

A meaningful.date doesn’t have to be an elaborate one.

Leave Love Notes

You and your spouse may text one another throughout the day photos of something funny the kids did or reminders to pick up milk, but consider switching it up a bit by leaving little love notes for your beloved.

You can sneak a little affirmation into their lunchbox or leave a sticky note on the bathroom mirror as a reminder of your love. It doesn’t take long to do, but taking the time and expending the effort to handwrite a message communicates to your spouse that they are important to you.

Make Bedtime Intimate

Bedtime is an important part of any day, but can also provide another opportunity to connect with your partner.

Give yourselves an hour to be together before bed, without the distractions of the day. Power down the tech, and use that quiet time to talk or cuddle. You might choose to switch things up with a massage or making love.

Doing this will provide you with much-needed quality time at the end of each day and will help refresh and prepare you for what the morning may bring.


About the Author: Carissa Pluta is Spoken Bride’s Editor at Large. She is the author of the blog The Myth Retold. Read more

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Vacationing with Family This Summer? Tips for Engaged + Newlywed Couples

Will you and your beloved be traveling with extended family this summer?

It’s normal if you anticipate that among extended family, there are numerous—and varied—routines, diets, habits, and budgets. Truly, the family is a crucible wherein “families, which are far from considering themselves perfect, live in love, fulfill their calling and keep moving forward, even if they fall many times along the way.”

Many hours together in a limited space, perhaps more than you’ve all spent with one another in the past, can lead individual temperaments to bump against each other. And yet, family vacations are a gift of quality time. The experience can be rich with meaning, community, and relationship, when you choose to embrace the good with the challenging.

The occasion of knowing your beloved’s family members (or him knowing yours) more deeply is a school of love and opportunity for encounter.

Here, if you and your fiancé or spouse are vacationing with siblings, parents or other relatives, our tips for peaceful and fulfilling travels.

Find a daily ritual with your beloved.

Time spent in groups, rather than individual couples, naturally flows from the rhythm of most extended-family vacations. Resist any temptation to treat a family vacation more as a trip for the two of you--that is, more time spent on your own than with everyone present.

Instead, devote time and attention to your relationship by communicating with your fiancé or spouse about one or two rituals you can adopt for just yourselves in this different setting. You might consider going for a walk or run together each day, attending daily Mass, or, if you’re married, agreeing to go to bed at the same time each night.

Know yourself, while humbling yourself.

Depending on the degree to which you know one another’s families, and depending whether your individual temperament is more introverted or extroverted, time together might leave you energized, or it might leave you craving quiet.

Either reaction is equally valid. Consider ways to nurture personal needs while balancing and respecting the expectations of the group. Extroverts might pack board games and cards for spontaneous social time or suggest a movie or show for the group to share in, while introverts might carve out daily time to read, work out, or run an errand on their own.

Keep in mind, all the while, the value of being perceptive to others’ needs and not taking things personally: vacation isn’t about one particular person, but determining what best serves everyone. Parents of young children, for instance, might not be able to stay up late for marathon game nights, and those who prefer to recharge alone might opt out of certain activities. Allowing everyone freedom with their time is a gesture of goodwill that helps them be their best selves.

Serve.

Joy is a fruit of service. Take initiative with chores; put sunscreen on your nieces and nephews and offer to babysit them or take them out so their parents can have time together; take short showers; engage in conversation with family members you haven’t yet spent extensive time with.

Be honest and flexible with money.

Choosing activities and restaurants can be challenging when those in your group have different spending habits and financial situations. If a proposed meal or trip would be prohibitive, it’s alright to honestly and charitably communicate this.

If, however, choices are more a matter of preference, it’s worth making an effort to go with the flow--seek to invest in experiences and memories. Consider treating someone else if you’re able to, and if they treat you, accept with sincerity and graciousness.

Let yourself be stretched and sharpened.

Struggling with space, boundaries, and personalities with family members is normal and okay. Human natures clash sometimes, like rocks banging against each other in the tide.

Consider, though, that by developing a disposition of service and thanksgiving, that image of rocks jostled together can be replaced by one of iron sharpening iron: an opportunity to live out the will to love, sacrifice, and give of yourself.  

What have your family vacation experiences been like as an engaged couple or as newlyweds? Share the fruits of your travels with family in the comments and on Spoken Bride’s social media.

Developing Relationships with Your In-Laws

What’s your relationship like with your spouse-to-be’s family?

Depending on the factors of distance and personal dynamics, how close you feel to your in-laws-to-be might range from remote to already feeling like family. If the merging of your parents and siblings is on your mind as you and your beloved prepare to become your own distinct family, consider ways to cultivate closeness and peace within your circumstances. Here, suggestions for developing relationships with your in-laws.

Introduce (or re-introduce) everyone.

Even if your parents have met in the past, inviting them to celebrate your engagement and discuss wedding plans with you and your fiancé is both practically and relationally fruitful. Treat them to a dinner out, where they can chat and--if you’re newly engaged--speak about each other’s expectations and financial contributions for your wedding.

For siblings, a meetup before the big day can forge friendships and, if any are members of your wedding party, facilitate plans. Inviting them to a more active or project-centered activity like a hike, painting class, tasting, or sports event can help conversation flow more easily.

If distance makes face-to-face time unfeasible, a gesture as simple as a group text can keep everyone in communication. Planning a pre-wedding event like a happy hour, bonfire, or hour of Adoration for out of town guests also conveys good will and a spirit of hospitality during your wedding week.

Delegate.

Family and friends are so often eager to help with your preparations. Specific projects that acknowledge their strengths are great for minimizing your personal to-do list and, more importantly, honoring your future in-laws with the gift of inclusion and attention to who they are.

If you’re the bride, you and your family are likely to have more responsibilities and appointments, yet the family of the groom--particularly his mom!--frequently desire to be sure they’re also contributing and a part of the anticipation. If members of your fiancé’s family are skilled in party-planning, cooking, calligraphy, or otherwise, and have offered their assistance, consider asking them to take on some of these duties for events leading to your big day.

See these principles of delegation and DIY brought to life in Katherine + Ian’s rustic wedding, with handmade statement florals and a reception catered by family.

Affirm them.

A toast at your rehearsal dinner or reception, thank you notes or letters of appreciation, and a time with each other’s parents on the dance floor (whether informally or as a request that your DJ include an in-laws dance in the timeline) are all meaningful gestures of love and of gratitude to your in-laws for raising your beloved into the person he is.

What if one--or both--of you struggles with family relationships?

Life’s milestones can emphasize the pain of tense relationships in a way that makes you wish your situation was otherwise. While not every sensitive matter can or will be resolved by the day you approach the altar, know this: your nuptial Mass, regardless of circumstances, will afford every one of your guests a glimpse of the heavenly wedding feast; a banquet free from brokenness and sin.

Pray for peaceful discussion as you plan your wedding, and for reconciliation to transpire according to the Father’s will. Communicate with your fiancé about healthy boundaries regarding relationships and planning decisions, and find consolation in knowing your family’s wounds and struggles have a purpose--even if that purpose is revealed only in eternity.

What actions and gestures have you made to develop a relationship with your in-laws? Families vary, and through honest community we can strengthen one another as sisters. Share your stories in the comments and on Spoken Bride’s social media.

Read more about bringing your loved ones together for your wedding: How to Involve Non-Catholic Family in Your Wedding | Fostering Relationships Among Your Bridesmaids | Family Photo Tips from a Spoken Bride photographer

Struggling to Balance Work, Vocation, and New Motherhood? You Aren't Alone.

EILEEN MARINO

 

On my wedding day, it was easy for me to look at the man I loved, excited to create a home and family with him. To shepherd him to heaven and let him do that for me. When I looked at our friends joining the priesthood or struggling in single life, I was even more overcome with gratitude. How lucky was I to have found my vocation so young, and to have a partner who would help make things easy and joyful!

I was right in how blessed I was, but easy is now the last word I would use to describe my vocation.

john-looy-755994-unsplash.jpg

I hear love is a verb. It’s much easier to choose sacrifice when you’re on a honeymoon high and want only to dote than it is to let your spouse sleep in the middle of the night when your baby starts screaming.

I knew marriage--and the Catholic faith at its core--is to lay down your entire life and will for Christ. Doing it joyfully has been the most humbling lesson of my life, one I could only learn through the throes of marriage.

When I got pregnant earlier than I anticipated, I didn’t expect my joy to mingle with sadness. We had talked about children and thought my staying at home with them would be best for our family. Yet my career was such a huge piece of my vocation that leaving it earlier than expected felt a lot like dying.

So here I was at twenty four, trying not to blame my husband for this position while feeling like it was his fault, trying to put on a good face through an incredibly painful pregnancy, and trying desperately to let go of the sadness I felt to be having a child. I felt like a terrible person for sharing love with guilt.

And then our son was born. My world exploded and our marriage crashed into an entirely new dimension. We had just learned how to live together, communicate, and give things up to make the other happy, only to make room for another even needier human. The baby needed so much attention we literally had no time for our relationship as husband and wife.

I worked for seven months more, thinking if I worked while my baby was young, I could still have that time to chip away at this non-mother piece of me before my son got too big. In every moment I wasn’t caring for my son, I was struggling: to hit deadlines, to make us food, to clean the house. To take a shower once every few days. Ultimately, I realized it wasn’t possible anymore and drove to work sobbing as I prepared to give my notice.

It’s a story I’ve hashed out many times in the months since. And I’m home now, which makes me both terribly sad and indescribably happy. It’s only recently that I’ve had enough perspective to reflect on what this all has done to me--to the three of us--and the what now? piece I had been desperately searching for.

Why is this admittedly self-centered tangent even relevant to marriage? Because marriage, as I’m learning, is not about me. And it is not easy.

Being a wife, a mother, a Catholic--and hopefully someday, a saint--means taking on a cross and laying down my life. I’m not trying to be heroic about this, and it is not something I do only with grace every day.

But in the months since letting go of my job, my son has grown so much more full, happy, and joyful. He is leaping across the expectations we had for him; bringing joy to everyone we see, everywhere we go; he is flourishing, in large part, because of the new attention I’ve been able to love him with. He needed me.

My husband and I have, for the first time since I gave birth, had time together. Because I’ve had some time to get chores done I no longer need to work until midnight, I’ve been able to get our son down for bed at the same time every night. We have our nights back to heal, take time together, talk about where we are struggling, and date each other again.

My husband saw how sad and scared I was and has been able to love and comfort me; I was finally able to be vulnerable with him. And I was able to see how I was stretching us all too thin, and in making a decision to give something up for him, he is flourishing too now. There is a peace and a calm in our house that had been missing when everything felt desperate and urgent.

Being a partner--being in it this deep with my husband--is the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I don’t have all the answers yet, and I may never have them.

I am not advocating that women give their identities up for their families. That’s not a vocation.

But seeing the fruits of my particular call in this season have reminded me my life is bigger than me, for more than me. And so is marriage. Leaving my job, for this season, was a decision best for my particular family, and maybe not for yours, which is alright and good. Perhaps I will find a more flexible job outside of nine to five that lets me work again in the future. For now, I will grow a little boy’s soul and be a balm to his father’s. Being a Catholic, being a Christian, being a spouse, means dying every day for something greater. And eventually, it will mean wanting to.

When we were dating, my husband and I frequently read the writings of John of the Cross--He read to me from The Living Flame of Love a few minutes before proposing! I’ll leave you with a piece of these words. This is marriage, and this is our joy:

O sweet cautery, O delightful wound! O gentle hand! O delicate touch that tastes of eternal life and pays every debt! In killing you changed death to life.


Merry Christmas from Spoken Bride

As we join our families and loved ones on this Christmas Day, we receive the gift of most Holy Family; the most perfect mother, the most chaste spouse, and the most obedient child.

PHOTOGRAPHY:    An Endless Pursuit

PHOTOGRAPHY: An Endless Pursuit

“Only through family does life escape exhaustion and weariness by discovering its duality to be trinity, by seeing its love continually reborn and re-known, by having its mutual self-giving transformed into receiving. Love thus defeats death, as it defeats exhaustion. It achieves a kind of immortality as self-renewal becomes self-preservation.

The family is human society; mutual self-giving, which ends in self-perfection.” - Three to Get Married

May the Nativity of Christ fill your hearts with a fulfillment of joy and a light to guide your path through the coming year. Know of the blessing you are to this community and of our prayers for you and yours.

How to Create, and Live By, a Family Mission + Motto

BRIDGET BUSACKER

 

My husband David and I recently celebrated our second anniversary. In just over two years, we have experienced the joys and challenges of married life and grown closer together in this shared adventure and vocation. 

A priest friend of ours reminded us that marriage is like two stones hitting each other to create a fine and beautiful sand. We will challenge and sharpen each other in this process. And, God-willing and with His abundant graces, be stronger together as long as we seek to view each other as partners and teammates on the journey to our final destination: heaven.

When my husband and I were engaged, we discussed a family mission and motto we could live by. This idea was sparked by our intensive desire to be well-prepared for our marriage and to look beyond our wedding day--although we quickly learned we can only do so much planning, reading, and discussing until we have to live out the reality of marriage. It’s when the rubber meets the road that we truly learn what it means to live out our vocation and choose to love in the big and (mostly) little ways of everyday life.

Our family mission and motto has helped us live out the ordinary days of married life and to refocus us when we’ve started to feel overly worked, busy, or the inkling that if we’re not careful, we may turn into ships in the night.

It is not perfect, and sometimes we can forget about our mission. But it’s through recollection, prayer, and redirection that we remember who we are living for and why it’s so important to stay on track.

The Busacker Family Mission

The Busacker Household is a pilgrim family bold in spirit and secure in faith in Christ. We defend and rely upon His universal Church for our daily life in God. As a thousand years is but a day to the Lord, we revere the commands of Saint Peter, humble heir to the keys of God’s Church made divine in the New Covenant.

We strive therefore to be “holy in all [our] conduct since it is written, ‘You shall holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16) We strive therefore to be hopeful, and to “be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls [us] to account for the hope that is in us, yet [to] do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)

We strive therefore to be “ungrudgingly” hospitable, for “as [we] have received a gift, [we shall] employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:9,10) We strive therefore to be as humble as Christ and to clothe ourselves “with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” (1 Peter 5:5)

We implore the Sacred Heart of Jesus to grant us holiness, hope, hospitality, and humility in our journey towards Him.

The Busacker Family Motto

Verso l’alto.  

We purposefully picked this motto because of David’s patron saint, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, and his intense witness and love for adventure. Bl. Pier always went above and beyond for Christ, encouraging those around him to aim high.

David and I decided to take this on as our family motto, so that when life is challenging and there are valleys we are experiencing together, we remember that--no matter what--we can offer all for Christ, and can always lift our eyes to aim higher. We want our home to be one that pursues Christ and heaven above all else; to strip away the attachments of this life that keep us from going to the heights in order to hear Him more clearly.

A book that offered insight for us into mission and its importance for family life is Katie Warner’s Head & Heart: Becoming Spiritual Leaders for Your Family. We found it a wonderfully helpful tool to better understand what it means to be spiritual leaders, offering great points of discussion that are tangible and applicable for your marriage.

I encourage you, whether you are newly engaged or married for many years, to consider reframing your marriage with heaven at the forefront, creating a mission you can live by—and look to—amidst the joys and challenges of your vocation.

The most successful companies live by a mission in order to create change, make goals, and succeed, so why not create a mission for your marriage and family life? It is the most important job you will ever have and the most important organization you will ever be a part of on this earth. Our goal is heaven--let’s be sure to encourage our spouse, family members, and other couples to join us on the journey.


 About the Author: Bridget Busacker is founder of Managing Your Fertility, a one-stop shop for NFP resources serving women & couples. With her husband, she is also co-founder of The Beautiful Wounds, a collection of curated stories devoted to revealing and appreciating beauty in our everyday lives. In her free time, Bridget enjoys adventuring with her husband, fixing up their new home together, and actively participating in their parish life and lay movement, Catholic Advance, through Pro Ecclesia Sancta.

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