Grieving Together

This is not a sponsored post. We did receive a free copy of the book but all opinions are our own!

There have been many surprises in our last 9+ years of marriage, but the biggest was losing our first baby boy. We didn’t see it coming, and we didn’t know if we would get through it.

I read books on pregnancy loss during the weeks and months to follow, but none of them talked about how it would affect our relationship with God and with each other. There were no Catholic resources on pregnancy loss back then, much less resources about grieving together as a married couple.

Thankfully, times have changed and resources are more available. I was thrilled to learn that Laura Kelly Fanucci (blogger at Mothering Spirit) was coming out with a book co-written with her husband. It’s called Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage. This is the book we’ve been missing! This is the book that we needed almost 9 years ago.

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Even though the focus is miscarriage, any couple experiencing any other loss (stillbirth, infant loss) will benefit from this book. They really do cover everything, including:

  • The physical experience of miscarriage
  • What the Catholic Church says about miscarried babies
  • How we can remember our babies
  • How we each grieve as mother and father
  • Prayers and quotes from the saints

Plus so much more. I’d recommend anyone to read this book, whether you’ve experienced a loss or not. There are personal stories woven throughout that give the reader so many different perspectives.

One of my favorite chapters is the one titled “Your Marriage after Miscarriage.” It didn’t hit us until years later how our loss affected our marriage. We got married in June, found out we were pregnant in August, and lost our baby in December. Those first few months of marriage happened so fast! We didn’t know what hit us, and we definitely didn’t know how to cope.

But Laura and Franco address how we each grieve as mother and father and how we grieve as a couple. It really would have been so helpful to have those insights when we were in the thick of it.

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Even though it’s been almost 9 years, and we have three more boys with us now, sometimes I feel a little silly that I can still get emotional about our loss. You would think we wouldn’t still need a resource about pregnancy loss. But grief is unpredictable.

It was only this past May that Logan and I both ended up crying over our sweet baby boy while on a marriage retreat. Grief can hit you years later! We often think about what our family would look like with another boy added to the mix.

We also think more about our baby, Levi, during the fall because that’s when I carried him. I still remember the ultrasound dates, the first time I felt him kick, and the day we found out he was a boy. The closer it gets to December 29, the more we think about the baby who really did change everything for us.

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So whether you just miscarried or your loss was several years ago, read this book! Gift it to a couple in need. It makes a valuable resource for any couple, church parish, or ministry. It’s available at Our Sunday Visitor, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Free resources available include:

For anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss, know that we are praying for you!

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Advent & Marriage: Ways to keep Advent sacred together

When we really think about it, Advent and marriage have so many connections.

In marriage, our goal is to get each other to heaven. Plus our relationship with our spouse is supposed to be a foretaste of heaven!

In Advent, we’re preparing not only for the birth of Jesus, we’re preparing for when he comes again. It’s a reminder that we need to be ready! We want to be with him in heaven.

So it makes sense that we should want to keep Advent sacred as a married couple. Here are ways you can do that:

1. Commit to a spiritual practice together.

  • Been wanting to start praying a daily Rosary as a couple? Advent is a great time to start.
  • Attend an extra Mass together during the week.
  • Pray an hour from the Liturgy of the Hours each day.

2. Read a book together.

  • Devotionals are big during Advent, and I helped write an Advent devotional for Catholic couples! Read more details here.
  • A book of the Bible counts as a book! Reading through one of the Gospels together leading up to Christmas is a simple but beautiful way to connect in a faithful way.

3. Limit screen time.

  • Normally watch Netflix every night together? Try to limit it to once or twice a week.
  • Put your phones aside when you’re together for a designated time each day.

Doing both of those will give you plenty of time to do any of the previous suggestions!


4. Don’t feel like you have to attend every party.

Seriously. It’s okay to politely decline an invitation! Especially if you’re already feeling overwhelmed. December is a crazy time, and if saying yes to every single event will leave you frazzled and forgetful of what Advent is all about…just say no. Keep each other accountable to this!


5. Go to confession.

We try to go every month, and that’s especially important during Advent and Lent! Make this a priority. Receiving this sacrament regularly has literally changed our marriage! (And if things start spiraling, it’s usually because one of us hasn’t been recently.)


6. Decide on which traditions to do this year, and shelf the rest.

Really, it’s okay. Last year, Logan suggested we not take out our Jesse Tree (after struggling with it the previous two years), so I realized that he was right. Not every tradition will be right for your family every year – especially if you’re in a difficult phase with pregnancy, a baby, illness, or any other number of scenarios. Do what what works best for your family this year. But make sure you decide on that together!

The important thing is that you keep Advent in Advent. Let’s keep Jesus at the center of this season. Christmas will come, and then you can celebrate!

What else would you add to list?

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Ways to enrich relationships this Advent

This post contains affiliate links. If a sale is made through an affiliate link, we receive a commission. Read our privacy policy for more info.

Did you want to buy our marriage challenge cards and never got around to it? Are you looking for ways to celebrate Advent? Ways to enrich your relationships with God, your husband, and your kids?

If your answer to those questions is yes, then you will love the Catholic Mom Bundle! (Okay, any men reading? This would make a great surprise gift for your wife…)

I’ve already had a sneak preview, so I’m trying to figure out my favorite part. Is it the…

  • Grace Grows in the Trenches: 5 Minute Meditations for the Weary Catholic Mom (Plus an Advent Bonus Bundle), $24
  • The Question Jar: Cultivating Connections in Catholic Families, $5
  • An At Home Nativity Play, $6 (things like this are REALLY fun with Logan, ha…and our boys will love it)

I don’t know if I can pick a favorite, but I am also really excited about the Mass Journal for Moms that comes as a bonus with Grace Grows in the Trenches. Logan and I have been using a Mass journal together and I need something to replace it once Advent and the new liturgical year starts.

Normally, Grace Grows in the Trenches (plus the Advent bundle) sells for $24, but with the Catholic Mom Bundle (on sale just this week!), you can get a lot more products too….for just $1 more.

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For $25, you can a total of 20 products (valued at $246). Some of the resources include printables, workbooks, eBooks, and email courses. We have products for spiritual growth, marriage, mom’s faith, and family life.

As a contributor, I had early access to the bundle, and I found a bunch of other things I’m excited about too!

Just to name a few:

  • Wall Calendar for Everyday Catholics, $15 (our 6-year old loves this, seriously…it has all the feast days for him to keep track of)
  • 12 Days of Mercy, $48
  • A Month for Your Marriage challenge cards (I mean, our product has to be one of my faves, right?)

Seriously, there are so many great products, all of which can enrich all of the relationships in your life. And although several would be great for Advent, many can be used whenever! Including our marriage challenge cards. (Although they would be perfect to do during the month of December!)

I know our kids are so excited about a couple of the products already! Check out the full list in the Catholic Mom Bundle (our affiliate link!) —–> here!

 But don’t wait too long. It’s only on sale until Friday!

Two marriage lessons from the Wedding at Cana

This post contains an affiliate link.  If a sale is made through an affiliate link, we may be compensated. See our privacy policy for more information.

Logan and I recently had the opportunity to attend a marriage enrichment event hosted by a local church parish (thanks to the generosity of friends!). There was a delicious 5-course meal, a different wine served with each course, and a different speaker at the end of each course. Most of the speakers were married couples, but the parish priest spoke at the end of the main entree. The topic he talked about? The Wedding at Cana. (I did mention this briefly on Instagram).

The Gospel reading at our wedding was the Wedding at Cana, and I pray the Rosary every day, so I’m not stranger to the story. In fact, it’s one of my favorite mysteries. How awesome is it that Jesus (because of Mary) chose to perform his first miracle at a wedding? What does that say about the importance of marriage?

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the priest said in his brief talk. He made two points:

1. Do the work so God can do the miracle.

The servers had the difficult task of filling those six stone water jars (each twenty to thirty gallons!) with water. Can you imagine how long that took? How much work that was? But they did the work so Jesus could turn the water into wine. They were able to see the miracle because of the effort they put forth.

The same goes in marriage! I know that Logan and I did not see God working in big ways until we did the work necessary. God wants to do great things…but he also wants us to do our part. Think about how many miracles in the Bible happened because of the effort put forth by that person!

The woman with a hemorrhage knew she just needed to touch Jesus’s cloak, the Syropheoenician woman insisted on Jesus driving the demon out of her daughter, the leper prostrated himself before Jesus because he knew that Jesus could make him clean. The list goes on and on.

2. God saves the best wine for last.

On our wedding day, we think that’s the best it’s going to get. We’re so happy and we love each other more than ever! How could it get any better? But it does. We’re only 9 years in, and we’ve seen the growth in our relationship through all of the highs and lows. Our marriage is definitely better than it was on our wedding day! Can you imagine what it will be like in another thirty years? Just like Jesus saved the best wine for last at the Wedding at Cana, he saves the best wine for last in our marriage.

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All of that to say, those two points go hand-in-hand. Just like we have to do the work so God can do the miracle, we won’t get to taste that best wine by staying stagnant. Anyone who’s been married knows that it’s not easy! It takes constant effort. And just when you think you and your spouse are doing well, something happens to make you realize that there’s still work to be done. We have to constantly fill each other up!

It’s important to remember, though, that we can’t do it without God’s help. We have to seek God first and foremost. He will give us the grace we need to live our married vocation. Just take it from Fulton J. Sheen in his book, Three to Get Married:

“Two glasses that are empty cannot fill up one another. There must be a fountain of water outside the glasses, in order that they may have communion with one another. It takes three to make love.”

So make sure you’re inviting God into your marriage. Pray together, have those difficult conversations together, share everything with each other, and support each other. Keep doing the work by filling each other’s glasses, trusting that in time, God will provide that best wine.

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Waiting Together – An Advent Devotional for Couples

There are so many Advent devotionals out there! And it’s great, really. Advent is the perfect time to spend dedicated time each day praying and meditating on Scripture.

But a couple of blogging friends and I realized there’s not much out there specifically for Catholic married couples. So we decided to write a devotional together!

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Do you want a simple way for your and your spouse to prepare for Christmas together? Waiting Together is an Advent devotional specifically for Catholic couples! Each day in Advent, we give you the Gospel reading for the day, a reflection, questions to discuss together, and a prayer. That’s it! It will take you less than 10 minutes each day. (Most days will probably only take 5 minutes. Easy peasy, right?)

There are a few challenges scattered throughout, and all are simple things that you and your spouse can do together to help keep the Advent season sacred.

We centered the devotional around marriage (obviously) and each week has a different theme. For example, I wrote the first week of the devotional, which is all about hope. I share experiences and insights from my own marriage and tie them into Advent.

A brief overview:

  • Week 1, Hope – written by myself, Jen, of Surprised By Marriage
  • Week 2, Faith – written by Kristi Denoy of Hail Marry
  • Week 3, Joy – written by Hilary Thompson of Messy Buns and Latin Chant
  • Week 4, Peace – written by Rachel Washington of Hail Marry

You can print it out yourself or read it on any device. (I’m a big fan of emailing PDFs to my Kindle – here are instructions on how to do that.)

We are so passionate about encouraging couples to pray together and foster a spiritual life together, so we’re very excited about this project! We hope it blesses you and your marriage this Advent. Click below to purchase. (Note: it’s a digital download!)

 

 

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