Why it’s still worth saving sex during engagement.

[callout]This is a guest post by Stephanie Calis, the author of Invited: The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner (Pauline, 2016) and the Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Spoken Bride, a ministry and lifestyle blog for Catholic brides and newlyweds.[/callout]

Something is up with me. Whenever I consciously make a choice in my work, my relationships, or my parenting that’s out of the mainstream, I want to hide it. I avoid talking about it.

Yet a part of me also wants others to find out, so I can talk about it. What is it that makes me a living, breathing contradiction?

To stand for something, to let your voice be heard and in doing so, to reveal who you are, satisfies the part of us that longs to be known, seen, and understood. Name a political or social matter, and you’ll most likely find a contingent speaking out against it.

And rightly so. Freedom is a gift; our voices are a gift, and the desire to make our opinions known is rooted in a good desire that speaks to how we’re created. Yet going against general opinion means something different than it did a generation ago. What was once considered progressive is now perceived as normal, and what was once considered traditional is now perceived as uptight and reactionary, particularly with regard to sexuality. Continue reading “Why it’s still worth saving sex during engagement.”

How delighted the devil would be to see us do this.

In a recent blog post, Tommy McGrady wrote that “marriage isn’t just hard. It’s sneaky hard.” But a friend of mine read it, and then she responded.

“When you learn to communicate, love your spouse more than yourself, learn to compromise and accept that not everything in life is going to be the way you want, marriage is not hard at all,” she wrote.

So which is it?

Is marriage hard, or not hard? If it is hard, should it be? And what about dating? If that’s hard, should we call it quits? Continue reading “How delighted the devil would be to see us do this.”

When dating is hard.

As a Catholic, I believe that dating is for discerning marriage — for discovering the truth about each other. For deciding whether to choose to love each other until death.

Sometimes, dating is fun. You can go to aquariums together and stuff. There are otters at aquariums. Need I say more? Dating is good. If you pay attention, you learn about God and each other and yourself. Sometimes dating is easy — when you’re laughing, or at Adoration, or noticing a new reason to appreciate him or her.

But sometimes, dating is hard, like when there is conflict. Miscommunication. Insecurity. Distance (all the kinds). Inconsiderate decisions. Resistance to vulnerability. Continue reading “When dating is hard.”

Why love will not sustain your marriage.

Love, as it turns out, will not sustain your marriage. It isn’t even supposed to. In fact, just the opposite is true. Marriage is supposed to sustain your love.

This is one of several of lessons I learned in a brilliant little book called Marriage: The Mystery of Faithful Love, by Dietrich von Hildebrand. It is short (77 pages) but important.

I wrote about it for yesterday’s post on the Catholic Match Institute blog.

Marriage, I wrote, “is an environment provided to us in which we can maintain (and when necessary, fight for) the love that brought us together.” Then I elaborated: Continue reading “Why love will not sustain your marriage.”

What every human needs to know about love, marriage, and sex.

The best book I ever have read is Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla, a.k.a. St. John Paul II before he was pope. It is hundreds of pages of exactly what all of us need to know. But it is tragic, because it is hundreds of pages that most of us haven’t read.

Richard Spinello, author of Understanding Love and Responsibility, agrees: The “neglect of this extraordinary book is unfortunate,” he writes, about Wojtyla’s book. “Those who do take up the challenge of carefully reading Love and Responsibility will be amply rewarded.”

Believe me when I say he kids you not. Continue reading “What every human needs to know about love, marriage, and sex.”