3 Lessons and 2 Tips is a series of interviews in which some of my favorite people (and probably some of yours) share three lessons they’ve learned by being married, plus two tips for single people.
This edition features Bill Donaghy, the curriculum specialist at the Theology of the Body Institute whose son once called me “G-ma.” (which is definitely short for grandma. Long story.)
Bill also was the instructor of the Theology of the Body I: Head and Heart Immersion Course I took in the summer of 2013. The course, which is an introduction to St. JP2’s Theology of the Body, is a.k.a. one of the best weeks of my entire life.
I’m grateful for the growth experience he and his course helped facilitate and for his willingness to share three lessons and two tips with us:
AS: How did you meet your wife?
BD: I met my beloved Rebecca in the summer of 2000 through a chainlink fence by a dumpster at a soup kitchen, as she was throwing out garbage! She was serving in an impoverished section of north Philadelphia as a Franciscan lay missionary for two years after college. I was doing mission education for the Pontifical Mission Societies.
AS: When did you get married?
BD: We were married in the summer of 2003 and danced to the theme song from the movie Shrek, “It is You I Have Loved All Along.”
AS: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in marriage?
BD: Really listening to my wife is the key to a joy-filled marriage. My opinion is lovely, but not essential to every conversation.
AS: And a second lesson?
BD: I am not as important as I thought previously. She is more. My children are more!
AS: And a third lesson?
BD: A blessed life is when one has been broken of one’s self-centeredness and becomes other-centered. For me, marriage and family is where I get “schooled” in holiness.
AS: What’s one tip for single readers?
BD: Beware of mental gymnastics, of overthinking and overanalyzing things. Is this the “One”? There are always Two, otherwise where’s the freedom? Choose wisely what has been chosen for you. When you ask God what He wants He usually replies “What do YOU want?”. So pray to find the desires of your heart, freed of selfishness.
AS: And a second tip for single readers?
BD: Don’t wait for your vocation to start loving and giving of yourself. Every human person’s vocation is to be broken so that we may love. Get busy!