marriage

Stories relating to our own marriage, as well as other themes and topics having to do with marriage as seen from a Catholic worldview in society. Natalie and I were married in St. Louis, MO, in October 2010. You can see more about our engagement and wedding on our wedding website, geerlingguyandgirl.com.

Pater Nobis (Our Father)

Note: When migrating my blog over from Lifeisaprayer.com, I dug up a number of unpublished posts that I had completely forgotten about; this was one such post that I had written just prior to the birth of our first child (who is now three, and reminds us of the fact at least twice per hour—me: "How did you know how to do [some incredible new skill]?" - him: "Becawse I'm thWEEEE!"). I originally wrote this post in November of 2012, but am finally publishing it in 2016!

In the past few months, I've had much occasion to think over the words of the Our Father. Specifically, I've been thinking a lot about the relationship of a father and his children, and the love of a father.

In the Our Father, we hear of some of the traits of fatherly love:

The Meaning of Life

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:13)

Yesterday my wife and I experienced the birth of our first child, who was born just one day prior to his due date, and is as beautiful as any child I've ever known. But even more so because he's mine!

Labor is an emotional roller coaster, and I was incredibly privileged to be with Natalie throughout the entire process: from the early stages at home to the final push in the hospital. Especially in the last moments, my ability to love and experience God's love was radically altered.

Seeing mommy's radiant face moments after the birth, hearing the first gargling cries of our new child, and experiencing all the beautiful moments of agony and ecstasy involved in bringing the baby into our world has given me a new perspective on love.

Il bambino / La bambina and retrospective

This is old news to some, but my wife and I are expecting a baby early in this new year. Please say a prayer that everything goes well! (No, we don't know the gender; and no, we will not be sharing pictures or other info publicly at this time, Mr. Zuckerberg's thoughts on privacy notwithstanding!)

On another note, I have at least five large bits of writing that I'm still working on—a photography book, a few articles and tutorials for this site, and some other things. Hopefully I'll be able to find some time to get thoughts on paperscreen soon!

For now, check out some of these popular bits from 2012 you may have missed:

Routines and Marriage - Keeping it Together

My wife and I have crossed the one-year threshold; after achieving this milestone, she told me, "Once we get past a year, we're set for life, right?"

Jeff and Natalie - Christmas 2011
Christmas 2011: I'm trying to look normal, I think. Didn't work.

While it's not true that strengthening the marriage bond gets easier over time (it's always a challenge—but in the best possible way!), it is true that seemingly-insignificant things (like doing the dishes, emptying the trash, and saying daily prayers) we do in our marriage help a lot.

Our faith, for instance, needs constant attention and care. We have already had periods in our married life where we've fallen short of our committment to pray the Rosary daily, or to attend daily Mass more often. We continually struggle to make faith a priority in our relationship. But we push through, and keep on getting back into good habits of prayer—together as often as possible.

Keeping up with chores is another area where routine is important, but often done haphazardly. We have a wonderful chore spreadsheet, and we often go on 'cleaning rampages' where we complete a bunch of chores in a day (well, that's more me than my wife... she usually does her chores regularly), but we also skip chores some weeks due to a busy schedule. We're not living in a dump, and nothing is unsanitary, but things tend to go downhill quickly once you let the routines slip away too far.

Routines may sound boring, but they are important for a strong relationship.

Two from the Review - Sunday Obligation + Marriage in a Church

This week's St. Louis Review has a few excellent articles that I thought I should share here for the benefit of those reading this blog who may not be from St. Louis.

First is a column from Archbishop Carlson, in which he stresses the importance, and individual responsibility, of the Sunday Obligation. He definitely doesn't sugarcoat things—we need more of this from our leaders!

There is simply no excuse for missing Mass on the Lord's Day. If through your own fault you miss Mass on Sunday, you are committing a serious sin. You should not receive holy Communion until you have gone to confession. (Continued...).

Next up is a 'Dear Father' response from Fr. John Mayo, a friend of mine, concerning the need to celebrate Wedding ceremonies inside physical Church buildings (rather than having 'destination weddings' on beaches, or at otherwise secular locations):

Chai-ed the Knot - Making 500 servings of Chai Tea Mix for Wedding Favors

Often, someone comes up with a brilliant idea, and later, upon realizing how much work the idea will take to come to fruition, the person gives up on the idea. However, when the idea is good enough, one might sacrifice quite a bit to make the idea reality.

Such was the case when, about six months ago, my then-fiancée and I decided we loved Chai Tea Latte. In fact, we became somewhat addicted to the substance. It didn't help that my sister and her husband encouraged the addiction :)

Chai Tea Latté
Stock photo... didn't have time to snap a shot of my own, as I happily drank it immediately!

After being introduced to some great-tasting homemade chai mix in Christmas 2009, Natalie and I decided we wanted to make enough chai mix to give two servings' worth to each guest at our wedding reception. Little did we know how much time and effort it would take to make this wedding favor.

Not only did we want the mix for each guest; we also wanted to put the mix into 'cute' little baby food jars with cloth-covered lids and custom labels. Cue step 1 - gathering supplies! Click through to continue reading...

Married... Time-Lapse Video of Our Wedding

Below is a time-lapse video of my wedding, generously recorded/posted by my Aunt (I didn't even know she did it!). I will hopefully have some pictures to post to Facebook sooner or later, and will also be posting a few of those previously-promised posts about our wedding preparations to this site, and to my and my wife's wedding website.

Here's the video (the techno beat adds something... I just don't know what ;-):

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