A Catholic Woman’s Insight Into Marriage With A Non-Catholic

Hello lovely reader,

Today I am going to breach upon a subject very dear and ever present in my own personal life – marriage to a non-catholic. Before I dive deep into my personal experience, struggles, successes, and tips, I want to let you know that this article purely represents my personal opinions and experiences and the directions I have been lead towards through my own personal spiritual training.

The beginning of us…

I am extremely blessed and proud to say that I have been married to my husband for a little over three years. These last three years have been full of much joy, spoiling, and happiness, but like any marriage, they have also been full of struggles, hardships, negative emotions, and heated arguments. When my husband and I first were married, I entered the marriage with my faith present in my life, however, it was not something that I fully embraced each day. In other words, I was worshipping and going through the motions (well, at least sometimes I was), but I hadn’t undergone a full convergence with my faith and I hadn’t been seeking a relationship with God.

My husband entered our marriage as an Episcopalian, one who was very supportive of my beliefs and agreed before we were married to raise our children Catholic and to always aid me in my own spiritual training. For the first year and a half of our marriage, my husband and I rarely attended church. At the time, I felt almost estranged from my church community and was fearful of returning. Our lives were filled with very little utterances of faith, God, prayer, or the Bible.

The great divide…

But, during this time, our relationship felt to me as if it were hollow. It felt empty and wobbly as if it had no legs or foundation to stand on. I love my husband more than any thing on this Earth, he comes second to God in my heart. However, it felt as if our marriage was struggling and I knew it was because of me in some way. It was something I was feeling and experiencing that he was oblivious too and that he, understandably, did not understand. After months of arguments and little tiffs that continued to build up to a point of almost no return, I realized that we were divided in our marriage; something greater than petty squabbles had come between us – my faith.

My lonely convergence back to my faith…

Into the end of our second year of marriage, something altered my life forever. A convergence. A convergence back to my faith. God had been working on me for months, through college religious classes, biblical study, and faith inquiry He lead me back to the Church. For the first time in my life, I actually understood the meaning of creation, the meaning of God being our Father, the meaning of all the things I had been taught by the Church and had just soaked up as educational information. I had listened and retained what I had been taught, yet, I had not understood.

Beginning with a class on the New Testament, I underwent a painful and extremely tear-jerking struggle for two months. At the time, I wanted so desperately to go to my husband for support and to cry into his shoulder, however, I was frightened to. He had never been one to be outward about religious discussion and I felt as if he would think me a fool for crying over things I was going through spiritually. Eventually, the crying and great despair retreated and left behind a resolve to build a relationship with God no matter the cost. I began to realize the great love God has for each of us and I truly felt it in my heart and soul. It was an amazing feeling. Again, I wanted desperately to run to my husband and tell him of this great joy and spiritual peace I had found and to describe to him my resolve. But, yet again I let my fear prohibit me.

A change was coming…

In the weeks after I had made my resolve, I began being more active in the Church again. I even helped my mother start a weekly Bible study because I yearned to read and understand the word of God. My daily schedule was completely changed and everything was put second to my morning and evening prayers and meditations. My life was truly changing and my husband, soon, could see it.

Finally, I came forward to my husband and told him of the long journey I had struggled with on the road to convergence. I opened up my heart to him and explained my feelings and desires going forward and how I wanted to change my life. Understandably, my husband did not know how to react. He had never grown up in an open and religious family. Though he did not turn away from me as I had feared he would, he did not run in open arms to embrace me and try to communicate about the past and coming trials and joys.

Enter the beginning hardship of marriage between people of different faiths…

Once my heart was opened to my husband, I felt greatly saddened by his response. At first, he tried to participate in my morning prayers, however, I soon asked him to stop because his attention was elsewhere and his actions were continuously distracting to me. At times, I struggled, because it felt as if he was frustrated or tired of my faith and the way I enacted it on a day to day basis. However, as I later discovered, he was struggling with his own spiritual convictions and his own faith.

As I began attending our Bible study sessions, I was provided with insight into other people’s Catholic marriages. I was able to see how the husbands and wives would take part in deep spiritual reflections and discussions and would ultimately build a greater bond with each other. Now, I know the marriages of these couples are not perfect, however, they did show me something that I desired greatly – a marriage that was centered in God. A spiritually open marriage, free from fear or reservations of spiritual discussion. With time, my husband and I have been able to greatly work toward that.

A more bonded and spiritually centered relationship prospers…

Over the last several months, through many trials and struggles of our own, my husband and I have communicated greatly on the topic of our marriage and how our faiths play a role in the union. There have been times when I felt alone in our marriage due to our disagreements on important points. We both, for a long time, had trouble communicating with each other our true beliefs on certain topics and what we desired in life.

Though these hardships were ever present in our marriage, I continued my personal spiritual changes and continued my daily prayer and meditation schedules. I prayed and begged God everyday to bless our marriage with peace and connection. And in time…he did. Eventually, we were both able to communicate more comfortably with each other (mostly because we had discussed the topic so much in our arguments), and we realized truly how we each felt about certain things. Soon (and still) we were partaking in regular spiritual discussions about not only my faith, but his and how we both felt about certain points. These conversations were (and are) such a blessing to me that I actually cried with joy the first time. Though we often left the conversations without certain beliefs altered or changed, the conversations helped us understand each other better. My husband soon understood where I was coming from, how hard it had been for me to live life almost separately from him. I soon understood his reservations and why it was hard for him to open up about certain topics. It was as if we could see into each other and know each others hearts.

Looking towards an imperfect, but growing future…

I know this story so far portrays a fairytale style vibe in which there is always a perfect ending. However, we have not reached the ending. Our marriage is young, and as we move towards the future, there will certainly be more struggles, hardships, and disagreements for us to encounter. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because my experience has taught me that these struggles and hardships, though painful and often torturous, help my husband and I grow closer together. These experiences are helping to build our relationship and help it to grow closer towards the marriage I yearn for – a marriage in which God is ever present.

Marriage between people of two different faiths is always going to be trying, unless the people do not practice their beliefs. Each faith, no matter how close on the surface, produces different opinions, beliefs, and practices which will eventually conflict with each other at some point. However, as long as God is in your marriage, these conflicts can be used to instill a closer bond and build your relationship. I have found that the marriage I have continues to strengthen my beliefs, because I am standing up for them each day and I am continually explaining them to my husband to help him understand my soul.

Some tips to those who may be struggling in their own marriage…

  • Explain to your spouse how important your faith and connection to God is to you. Back up your words with your actions. Do not be afraid to SHOW them how important your faith is by making the time to pray and meditate. Do not be afraid to bring faith-based pieces into your home or to attend Bible studies or church services. By doing these things, you are showing your spouse how dedicated you are to your faith and to building a relationship with God.
  • Ask your spouse to be apart of your spiritual journey. Ask your spouse to attend church or bible study with you. Ask them to participate in your morning prayer. Just offering them the chance to be included in your spiritual journey shows them that you desire them to be apart of it and also helps them see how you act and reflect during these times. Do not give up. Even if they decline you the first or fourth time, continue to ask them to be involved and embrace each of their declines with a smile and an ‘ Ok’. Overtime, they will realize how important it is to you that they participate.
  • Develop a plan for your Sunday services. Communicating with each other and developing a plan for how you will each spend your Sundays will help relieve a lot of pressure and negative feelings towards church going. Staying true to your faith and attending services each Sunday, whether your spouse comes with you or not, will show your conviction to your faith. However, as we have done in our marriage, think about attending Mass and your spouse’s service each Sunday. At first, I didn’t want to do this, however, I realized that having my spouse attend Mass with me and not attending the services he asked me to go to with him, was unfair and unsupportive. I know this arrangement does not work for everyone, however, it has worked for us so far. Overall, developing a plan for each Sunday will help both you and your spouse understand your Sunday priorities.
  • As a wife, pray daily for the Lord to bless your marriage with understanding and for Him to help you through the times when there is conflict. Prayer is a powerful tool and I truly believe it helps in every situation. Bringing our fears and desires to the Lord, especially those regarding marriage, help open the doors to welcoming God into your marriage and will help Him guide you through struggling times with your spouse.
  • Above all, it is essential to be open to one another and to feel comfortable discussing your faiths. Be open to discussing your husband’s faith with him. Not being open with each other can lead to resentment towards not only each other, but to your religions and beliefs as well.

 

Question for you dear reader: How do you bring God into your marriage? If you are in a bi-religion marriage, how do you work through the struggles and hardships caused by differing beliefs?

As always, I want to thank you for visiting my little slice of the net and I welcome you to like my blog on Facebook for my inspiration and encouragement!

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5 Faith-Based Inspirational Quotes For July

Hello lovely reader,

For this month, I have compiled a set of five quotes, taken from saints and other influential religious figures, that will hopefully provide you with as much love and encouragement in your life like it has for me.

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” – Saint Pio of Petrelcina

This quote instills a calm deep in my heart that no matter what I am going through in life, through prayer, all my worries can be relieved.

“What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.” – Hans Mrs von Balthasar

How powerful those words seem to me in times when I feel as if I am a waste of space! However, every human is precious, because God created us each for a reason. If we become the people He desires and asks us to be, we become the greatest gift to Him. I remember this quote daily, in order to continually remind myself to strive for the path the God has placed before me.

“Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Saint Francis of Assisi

Everybody needs to be reminded that the impossible is truly possible and through God, anything can happen.

” Dont say: ‘ That person gets on my nerves,’ think: ‘That person sanctifies me.’ ” – Saint Josemaria Escriva

Every time we enact the values that God asks us to have, we are collecting mercies and blessings from Him. Therefore, each person that brings out negative emotions in us, brings a chance to achieve sanctification through Christ.

“O soul steeped in darkness, Do not despair. All is not yet lost. Come and confide in your God, who is love and mercy.”  – Saint Faustina

I wanted to end this quote list with a quote that truly gives encouragement and releases love to all those who are suffering. ‘Do not despair’! Confide in God and you will feel His love and mercy.

QUESTION FOR YOU READER:   What quotes inspire you in your day to day life? I’m excited to read your comments!

As always thank you for visiting my little slice of the net. Feel free to like us on Facebook for more inspiration and encouragement.

 

20+ Cross Country Roadtrip Essentials

Hello lovely reader,

This post contains affiliate links.

Since we are preparing for our own road trip, I thought it would be great and helpful to all you summer vacationers to compose a list of road trip essentials.
The key to any painless road trip is supplies! Whether you are traveling by yourself, with a partner, or with a whole car full of adventurers, it is important to be prepared for your trip, journey, and any potential situations that may come up along the way.

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For our journey, we are going to be traveling cross country with over forty hours of drive time one way. Whether your traveling this far or only driving for a few hours, it is great to pack your car with some regular necessities:

  • A Cooler. Or at least an insulated bag. Having something that you can keep drinks and food cold in is invaluable to your traveling food budget! When we roadtrip, we are usually driving to a destination where we plan to vacation and then driving back, therefore, we like to save our food money for our destination and pack sandwich supplies for the trip.
    • Keep drinks cold. We mainly take water and just a few specialty drinks.
    • Sandwich supplies are really easy and will be a light meal.
    • Cheese for crackers.
    • Humus and some carrot or celery sticks are a great snack as well.
  • A Snack Bag. Packing a tote or a box with some snacks will save you not only money, but time as well. In the past we have forgotten to bring along little tid bits and ended up stopping multiple times to grab little munchies! If you are traveling with children, snacks, as you probably know, are crucial to making a trip painless! So, take it from us and save yourself some time and money! Here are some of our favorite road trip snacks:
    • Jerky, Chips, Protein Bars, Nuts, Trail Mix, and Gummy Worms (I know, we are so healthy, right?!)
  • A Trash Bag or Can. Keep the clutter of wrappers and napkins at bay by placing a trash can behind the driver’s side seat or tied to the back of the driver’s seat.
  •  Blanket. If you are traveling with a family, bring multiple blankets or at least one for the front seats and one for the back. I usually pack two, because my hubby freezes me!
  •  Travel Pillow. You can share one pillow if you only have two people traveling, but remember to bring extras if there are multiple travelers (stops pillow fights!).
  • Hotel Bag with a change of clothes and basic toiletries.
  •  Tote with Shared Pastimes. My hubby and I usually keep a tote in the front floorboard with our laptops and other things we use to keep us entertained. Here are some pastime ideas:
    • Books, Laptop, Tablet, Notepad w. pens, Coloring books, etc.
  • Paper towels / tissues.
  • USB Chargers for Electronic Devices.

Though most of us have these items in our house, here are some great travel accessories:

Preparing for emergencies – it’s great to have a shower caddy or a box with some essentials for emergency situations.

  • Flashlights, Car Fluids, Basic Tool Kit, First Aid Kit, Rain Coats, Matches, MREs (just in case), Jumper Cables, Duct Tape (because it really fixes everything), and WD-40.

Traveling with pets?

  • Large ziplock with dry food.
  • Small ziplock with treats. This is great for in between stops.
  • Large bottle of water. 
  • Water bowl. There are some great foldable travel pet bowls, but if you don’t want to spend the money, just bring their regular water bowl and put it in the floorboard of the backseat.
  • Leash. These leashes are great! They allow them to have more room to walk about when your letting them out to use the restroom, and you can easily set the leash length.
  • Blanket or pet bed. This will give them something to snuggle with and will keep your car scratch and fur free.

Traveling with kids?

  • Have each one pack a small backpack or tote to keep at their feet full of pastimes like books, tablets, MP3 players, travel games, notepads, and coloring books.
  • Lap desks are great investments for the back of cars as well. They give them a flat space to do puzzles, color, and, most especially, eat without making a mess.
  • Kids sometimes get a little car sick, so keeping some extra trash bags and some medicine close by isn’t a bad idea.

Looking for ways to organize your car?

Both my hubby and I have a Kia Soul and we usually use mine for road trips. In the very back (trunk area) we neatly pack our suitcases or duffle bags, and our overnight hotel bags. Sometimes we like to camp instead of staying in hotels along the way so we pack our compact tent and sleeping bags towards the top for quick access. When traveling with our dogs, the back seat area is where they travel and the floorboards are used for their supplies. When not traveling with the pups, I neatly fold two blankets and place one each over the head rests of the backseats. The tote with our pastime supplies and my purse go in the passenger side backseat along with the travel pillow. Since the passenger is usually the one to throw things away, we keep a little trash bin behind the driver seat. Our cooler and snack bag go on the seat behind the driver and our coats and sweatshirts go in the middle of the back seat.

Here are some great items for organizing your car and obtaining quick and easy access to your necessities:

As always, thank you for visiting my little slice of the net! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook for more inspiration, encouragement, and reviews. Please let me know what your road trip must haves are!

The Importance of Meditative Prayer &a an Example of My Personal 15-20min Sessions

Hello lovely reader,

Being a person of faith and belief of God, prayer is an essential part of my day to day life. As I have grown closer to my faith and have met with many other catholics and christians, I have discovered that most of us believers fall short in the prayer department. Of course, we are all human! These things happen. Sometimes it’s hard to explain, but we feel separated from our faith and separated from God. Our hectic lives get in the way and before we know it another day has gone by and we haven’t communicated with the one who makes each day possible.

I’m ashamed to say there are many days that I wake up with the intention to pray and then get swept away by other activities. Or nights when I try to remind myself to pray before bed and then when my head hits the pillow, I feel too tired. Some days, I feel as though I cannot communicate at all, purely because I do not want to bring forth any unwanted emotions or feelings that have been created by the week’s trials and pains.

I, like you dear reader, am human. We all struggle with our faith and beliefs at certain times and our connection with God often suffers. But, there is something that we seem to forget….God FORGIVES! God is our father who wants a connection with us no matter how many times we run in the opposite direction. He always forgives us when we forget to talk to Him and He understands those deepest emotions that are bubbling inside us when we cannot create the right words or thoughts. He knows and He understands. For us women, He is the one man who will ALWAYS understand you! How amazing is that?

However, we must realize that prayer is not meant just for times of crisis. Prayer is something that we are called to do daily in order to grow our relationship with God and to give Him the thanks and praise He is due for His wondrous deeds. When I start and end the day in prayer, it feels as if my day goes by much smoother. It sounds silly, but everything truly seems brighter. I am able to notice the little things God orchestrates for us!

I have found that separating a short time out of each day to devote purely to prayer provides the most  spiritual benefits. Setting a certain amount of time, whether 5 minutes or an hour, just to meditate on your thoughts and feelings and relay them to God through prayer, can make a huge difference in your day to day life and will certainly begin building the bridge to a fuller and more complete relationship with Him.

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So, what is this daunting thing called meditative prayer? Really, it’s simple and easy. There are so many options out there for everyone. Here are some tips for getting started based on time and creativeness:

Only have a few minutes?

  • Make a quick list and pray it. Use a bullet journal or a piece of paper (even a napkin or post-it will do) and write down 3 things you would like to thank God for and 3 things you would like to pray to Him for. Then compose a prayer around these listed items.
  • Use a prayer book. Prayer books are a collection of already composed prayers that are usually separated by need. For example, my prayer book contains sections for morning prayer, midday prayers, prayers for sickness, health, pregnancy, etc. If your someone who would rather have a single prayer to use each day or if you are having trouble putting the words together, prayer books are a beneficial resource and can really help you begin quickly. There are so many prayer book options out there for all faiths and they even have ones for people of different genders and occupations. The photo above shows my personal prayer book that is targeted to Catholics. Stop by your local christian store or look online to find one that suits your needs.
  • Use an app. There are hundreds of apps that are easily accessible on phones, tablet, and computers that can replace prayer books. I find apps to be incredibly useful because I can use them anywhere at anytime. Often times my hubby will read a prayer out loud from my phone while we are driving.
    • My favorite catholic apps:
      • Laudate & Magnificat

Have a little more time to meditate?

  • Use an app with a meditative prayer outline.  I know this tip was previously mentioned, however, some apps provide a longer prayer sequence that includes a hymn, reflection, bible verse, and a succession of various other prayers. These types of prayer outlines allow you to meditate on God’s word and your prayers towards him.
  • Use a devotional. There are many devotional books and apps that give a 1 to 5 minute reflection on a bible verse. These reflections usually imply embracing a certain action, quality, or characteristic in your life. These are great to read and meditate on while praying, because they give you a chance to reflect on your own life and ask God for guidance or thank Him for certain works.
  • Pray the Rosary.  Though the Rosary is usually considered a Catholic prayer, anyone can partake in its benefits. There are booklets, apps, and web articles that give the outline for the prayer. It is extremely easy and repetitive in order to allow you the chance to meditate on a certain wish, need, want, or desire. As a Catholic, I find the Rosary to be extremely empowering and reverent. It gives me a chance to pray to my Father and the Holy Mother. The Rosary usually takes about 20-30 minutes, however, it is a great source of meditative prayer that I usually try to work into my schedule.

An Example of My Personal 15-20 Minute Sessions:

I usually set aside 15 – 20mins in the morning and in the evening for meditative prayer.

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As I mentioned before, I am not perfect and I do not always pray as often as I should, however, I have made a point to make prayer an important part of my day.

  • Sign of the cross.  I start by completing the sign of the cross and saying a short prayer of blessing for the session. Usually the short prayer is:
    “Lord, I ask you to bless this prayer session and to help me to open my mind and my heart to you.”
  • Magnificat. Next, I open my magnificat app or book and complete the prayer for the morning, midday, or evening, depending on the time of day.
    • I love the Magnificat because it provides a short hymn, a Psalm, a verse reading, a canticle, intercessions, an our father, and a closing prayer.
  • One-minute Devotional. In the picture above you can see my One-Minute Devotional Book for Women. This book provides a verse and a reflection of the verse for each day. I read this and reflect briefly on its contents and then ask God to help me achieve such action in my own life.
  • Read a passage of the Bible.  If I have time or if I make time, I read a section of the Bible, usually only a few verses, and reflect on them in my Bible study journal.
  • Closing Prayer.  I usually use a blessing or guidance prayer from my prayer book to close the session.
  • Sign of the cross. Lastly, I close the session with the sign of the cross.

 

Make it your own…

Prayer is something that is very personal and every individual puts their unique twist on the exercise. It’s important to just open up your mind and heart and to feel comfortable talking to God. As always, my thoughts and reflections through this article are completely my own and everyone is different. Please do not embrace my example session for your own prayer session if you are not comfortable with it. Also, I intend all of my material to be open to people of all faiths, though I am Catholic, so feel free to customize certain parts to fit your own faith.

Question: What prayer methods work best for you? How do you fit prayer into your day to day life? Leave me a comment!

I want to thank you for visiting my little slice of the net and invite you to join us on Facebook for more inspiration and encouragement.