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For Your Marriage

Meet Sara and Justin. They married in June 2011, they welcomed their first child in August 2012.

Discerning the Call, Part 2

Throughout this time, we really just took everything one step at a time. The hardest portion of our courtship up to this point had to be when Justin led a mission trip to Peru through the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). I knew I couldn’t ask him not to go, but I couldn’t tell him how worried I was for his safety. Each time he spoke about how excited he was to go on the trip, I felt like he was saying how excited he was to leave me for three weeks. I didn’t know how to tell him this, or how much I was going to miss him. My father didn’t help matters either when he said Justin might find a pretty chica in Peru!

However, the time passed quickly. Justin got back into the country, and still needed to come to terms with the poverty and the life-changing experience. He was more withdrawn, and I thought there was something wrong with me. Eventually, we realized that I had felt left out of the trip. Since I’m more of a romantic than Justin is, I was expecting some grand gesture either before or after the trip. When this didn’t come, I became frustrated and withdrawn. After a lot of individual prayer on both sides, we were finally able to openly discuss our frustrations.

Around this time I think I knew we were eventually going to get married. I didn’t know how, when or why, but I felt through my prayer and time with Justin we were called to it. It was especially hard because I always felt like we were 2-3 months away from a proposal. We had been dating for over a year, and I felt like it was time to make a commitment. We both started talking a bit more about our future together. However, there is a big difference from thinking you are called to marry a person, and being ready to get married. Just loving each other wasn’t enough; both Justin and I needed to choose each other.

Around the spring of 2010, things really started to get out of control for me. Each time a friend became engaged (and with Facebook, that information was readily available), I felt left out. I wanted to be engaged to Justin, and I wanted to begin to prepare for our new life together. I felt like I was in no-man’s land. I wasn’t just beginning to date someone or dreaming about the boy I might meet, but I wasn’t engaged and totally preparing for marriage either. And around this time, many of my friends starting asking me (not Justin – just me!) when/if we were going to get engaged. Since I didn’t have any answers for myself personally, it was very difficult to know how to respond. “Mind your own business” seemed a little harsh.

Looking back, I really feel sorry for Justin, and I love him for his patience even more. I was not any easy person to date at that time. In September, once our two-year anniversary hit, I was certain a proposal was coming. For nearly a month, every weekend I ended up in tears when I realized this weekend was not going to be THE weekend.

Around the first part of October, I started bugging him more. I wanted him to make a decision. I told him it wasn’t fair to keep stringing me along because if he didn’t want to marry me, he should let me find someone who did want to marry me.

Little did I know he was planning on proposing, but was having trouble finding the perfect ring.

Justin: A note from me. There was a period of time when I felt that I was going to marry Sara, but I wasn’t ready. In early September I shared this with a priest friend. He said that to be fair to myself and to Sara I had to choose either to move forward or move backward. He asked me, “Is there any reason you shouldn’t marry her? If not, why wait? Don’t be afraid to make a choice!” We decided that day that I would make a decision by Advent. I already knew the answers to his questions and by the next day I had begun to shop for a ring. As soon as I firmly committed to moving forward all of my fears fell away. There is great freedom in committing your heart. (By the way, I asked Sara to marry me on October 16th, a few weeks before Advent.)

To be continued…..