Last night Joy and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful dinner together with Adoration at Cistercian Abbey afterward.
We met on a blind date in December of 1999 – arranged by my friend Nathaniel (Joy’s cousin). We went to a Christmas concerto at Baylor University. We were seniors in college. She was finishing at Baylor. I was at Texas A&M (whoop!). She was off to become a high school English teacher. I was off to Protestant seminary in Philadelphia.
On our second date, we had a conversation about Apostolic Succession – that was a good sign to me!
On my knees, I asked her to marry me in December of 2000.
We were married at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Fort Worth on June 9, 2001. We went on honeymoon to England and Scotland. We “lucked” out and went to Stonehenge on the summer solstice (New Age weirdness going on there on that day) and “lucked” out to be in Edinburgh on the city’s gay pride day. I think we had our first marriage fight in Edinburgh (it was over where we sat in church!).
We were just kids. We knew nothing. When we got back, we moved into a one bedroom apartment, we made less than $28,000 a year and life was wonderful! Honeymoon bliss. We were so innocent and happy. Joy worked while I finished seminary and we cooked little meals and ate cheap pizza.
She was pregnant with baby #1 (Gabriel) soon after and we were scared when 9/11/01 happened. “What kind of world are we bringing a baby into?”
When I was an Episcopalian priest, we struggled with converting to the Catholic Church. We entered the Church together in May of 2006 when Joy was pregnant with baby #4 (Jude). The Catholic Church judged our marriage to be sacramental. But 2006-2007 was one of the hardest year of my life. I struggled with not being a pastor/preacher anymore. So Joy encouraged me to pursue my doctorate and start writing blogs and books.
Joy has been the constant rock in my life and I probably be a big loser if I had never married her. She has encouraged me and inspired me to pursue every major success in my life (writing, PhD, teaching, books, podcasts, New Saint Thomas Institute). I love you Joy! (I know she’ll be reading this!)
We have been blessed with seven beautiful children: Gabriel, Mary Claire, Rose, Jude, Becket, Blaise, and Elizabeth. She gave birth to the last three in our home. As you can see in the photo above, she still looks absolutely gorgeous after seven children.
During last night’s anniversary dinner, we talked about the “high water marks” of our marriage and we both agreed that the high points centered on our seven children. Although having a big family is the hardest thing we’ve done, it’s the most rewarding. The greatest happiness has come from these children with which God has graced us.
God has always been good to us and although we have had a few hard years, He has provided for every single thing we ever needed. “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall lack.”
Sometimes people read this blog or listen to the podcast and they [wrongly] think that I have life figured out. That I’m productive. Super happy, healthy, and just batting .1000 all the time. Not true. I struggle like everyone else and I’ve been trying to talk more about persevering through tough times in the podcasts. I really think that most of my constancy and happiness is due to my marriage to Joy. It’s God’s gift.
Thanks be to God for this wonderful gift of Holy Matrimony.
Let me give a “Tip of the Week”: to be happily married, you must be “kind” to each other. Just try to assume the best intentions of the other person.
You must also value sleep. Every fight that we’ve ever had was in the wake of one or both of us being short on sleep and very tired. Fatigue brings out the worst in people.
Well those are my thoughts on being married to an amazing woman. As we discussed last night, we’ll probably be married another 40 years – so this is just the beginning!
Question: How long have you been married? Would you agree that there are good years and bad years? What are your secrets to having happiness in marriage? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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