Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Combining lives

Today is Ash Wednesday, and the start of Lent. Which is beginning of the 40 day period leading up to Easter that represents, according to the Bible, the time that Jesus spent in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry (if you didn't know what it represented exactly before, don't worry...I didn't either until I did some research to find the exact meaning of Lent). It used to be widely recognized by all Christians until the Protestant Reformation (15 and 1600s), but many Protestant churches still recognize it, such as Lutherans and Methodists. SO anyway, you didn't read this post I'm sure to get a historical background on Lent....but I felt as if that background was necessary for the remainder. Now to the point....

Jimmy is Catholic. Grew up in a wonderful Catholic home all his life with devout parents and family, attended Catholic grade school and high school and regularly attended mass and participated in parish activities.

Brittany (me) is Methodist. Grew up in a wonderful Methodist home all her life with devout parents and family. Her grandfather is a Methodist minister. Her family regularly attended church and participated in church activities.

So do you see the similarities? Both of us are very strong in our own denominations along with our families and feel that faith and church and God are very important in our personal lives and our soon to be life together as a married couple. We dated for about 4 years before getting engaged and while the question of "what church will WE attend" was always in the back of our minds, we never really brought it up and forced ourselves to discuss the topic until we were thinking about getting engaged...because who really wants to talk about something so personal unless you know you NEED to talk about it? We did always go to our respective churches together when we were back in Kansas City when we were in college, but when we were both finally living in Kansas City was when the conversations began. And the thing about the conversations that was always there, a true respect for each other's faith's and personal beliefs. That was the best thing about them. Neither of us expected the other to convert, only go to the others church, or only follow the others traditions. At the beginning of 2009, we signed up for a 10 week Alpha course at my church, but it is nondenominational and focuses on the basics of Christian faith. While that might not sound like a huge deal, it was a BIG commitment because it was 2.5 hours every week for 10 weeks + a weekend retreat, and we did stick to it. We heard a lot of things we already knew from our respective Christian upbringing, but we also learned a lot, especially in terms of how we want to be a Christian couple together. All in all, it was worth the time and something that I think we both needed before we took the plunge into getting married.

Now you're saying "that's great, Brittany, but you still haven't gotten to the point of what church you will attend as a married couple". Yeah, yeah, I know. But the answer to that question is....both. We are not going to make ourselves decide. Some weeks we go to my church together, while other weeks we go to mass at Jimmy's church. We enjoy both of them and appreciate their differences. We realize that our respective faiths are important to both of us, so that is our solution for now. With kids, I realize, this is another story. We have had numerous discussions about this (sorry, a little too personal to share on the blog world), but we do know for sure that we will attend church all together as a family each that's a good start. We are just finishing up our Catholic marriage prep courses that we have to take prior to getting married in a Catholic church and they have been wonderful and sparked great conversations about all kinds of fun things you get to discuss as you merge your lives. We know that it's important to continue to respect each other's faith practices and beliefs........which brings me to the overall point of this blog post.........yes it took me that long to get to the overall point........sorry I tend to include LOTS of details.

Point (yeah! you made it this far): I will be partaking in the Catholic practices this Lenten period and give up something that I love for 40 days and not eat meat from mammals and fowls on Fridays. I will not be partaking in the practice of fasting on Ash Wednesday though, I can only go so far and I'm really grouchy when I don't eat :) The reason I will be partaking in them is because it's something that is important to Jimmy and he'll be partaking in it as well, so it will be something that we can do together and hold each other accountable. (hence the blog post title: Combining Lives aka doing things together that are important to one another aka realizing what is important to the other person and doing it with them aka getting married and being in love)

I will be giving up: CANDY/SWEETS- for 40 days. I will not cheat on Sundays either. However, I will cheat during wedding related activities (showers, etc.). Because I do know for a fact that there are going to be some delicious sweet treats at the Carter shower in a few weeks that I won't be able to resist...but if you know me and my habits, I eat candy all the time. So this is going to be hard. But good. I know that this topic has been a tough one for us and I know for many others that are dating/married/getting married....but it's so so important!! One of my favorite times in marriage class is when we meet up to share our answers and they are the same because we've already talked about that! Now when we have one totally different (such as, I believe Jimmy needs to take out the trash....and he said we should share that........), that's another story!! So good luck with those personal and important conversations with your significant other, but worth it in the end. And overall what we have learned: respect and love for each other can take you through just about anything.

1 comment:

  1. We just went through the Engaged Encounter weekend, and although we had already decided to combine our faiths it was an interesting exercise in WHY we were doing it, and what our convictions as a couple were. Being the only Lutheran at the retreat was tricky, especially noting my skeptical nature, but it was a good experience for the two of us and we have more questions that sparked from it. Like you and Jimmy, it is important that we live our lives as a Christian couple.

    It is so great that you guys spent so much time really examining what faith you would decide upon and it is really admirable that you will be sticking with your individual churches but committing to meet halfway by participating in both!