This edition features David Calavitta, a graphic designer for Life Teen and a Catholic speaker who has worked in youth ministry since the year 2000, when he was 19.
David is a “good ol’ fashioned, clean-cut, tattooed, Catholic” who loves Christ and His Church, and his wife, Brittany. They met in the Life Teen ministry at their parish while they were teens in the program. They dated on and off until David was in his early 20s, and “God made it mercifully clear that we were supposed to be together. (Huge thanks to Him for that! And to my wife for being ok with that.)”
David is gracious to share three lessons and two tips with us today:
AS: When did you get married?
DC: We got married on April 29, 2006. Brittany was (and is, and will be) beautiful.
AS: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in marriage?
DC: Forgiveness. To extend it, but also to receive it (especially in my case.) Early in our dating relationship, I was a stupid dude who did stupid things, ultimately hurting Brittany. As time went on and I was able to come to know her mercy towards me, it was life changing. I was able to experience her love in a way that I never would have been able to. Her mercy towards me is a very unique and rich aspect of her love. Only in the mystery of God could my stupid faults lead to such a great experience of tangible love through her mercy. It’s an “O, Happy Fault” kind of love. Forgive each other. It frees you and it brings about a life-changing love.
AS: And a second lesson?
DC: Assume no malice. I learned this phrase from a co-worker. It changes the perspective on circumstances. It’s so easy when you live with someone to be defensive, to misinterpret situations and messages. It’s also very easy to react to those misinterpretations and ultimately make things worse by letting the devil and his fiery arrows into your relationship. Trying to filter the circumstance and my thoughts through the realization that “Hey, this is my wife. She loves me more than I know. You both want the same goal. Breath and talk this out.” helps me to ease into the conversation or conflict without letting my temper get the best of me. Hopefully.
AS: And a third lesson?
DC: Aim for experiences, not possessions. This one my wife taught me. Whenever it comes to holidays and birthdays, my wife always avoids the “What do you want for (insert holiday)…?” question by saying she doesn’t want stuff, she just wants experiences. (This makes me work twice as hard at coming up with something creative.) In reality, though, she really does just want an experience with me rather than another “thing” on the shelf. So, instead of putting our money towards a new TV, or in my case the latest Apple product, we try to use it for a trip or an outing of some sort. Usually it’s not something big — maybe even just a trip to the movies, or to the local vintage store. Sometimes, it’s very intentionally saved for vacation. (We love Disney World!) Whatever it is, we save the money we would have used on “stuff” and instead use it to make an outing happen. This way, the expense becomes more of an investment into us and our relationship rather than a piece of plastic plugged into the wall or a really nice, big monthly payment in the driveway. At the end of the day, we walk away with memories and experiences that bond us far beyond any possession could ever and will last way longer than a TV could anyways. It’s great. Try it!
AS: What’s one tip for single readers?
DC: Love yourself. Ask God to reveal to you exactly what it is about you that fascinates Him. Relish in what He shows you. Thank Him for what makes you you. He created you for Him, and your vocation will flow from that. It will fulfill who you are, even the odd little things about you. He loves the you He created.
AS: And a second tip for single readers?
DC: Know that God is for you. He is not out to condemn you. Quite the opposite. He wants to give you the fullness of life. This perspective will help to make much need patience and discernment a tolerable, and more so, a joyful process. Discernment can be rough. For me, it was filled with a lot of scrupulous and condemning thoughts and spiritual warfare. Only once I started to accept and claim that God was for me, for my heart, and for my joy did I begin to have freedom and growth in the process of discernment.