by Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes
Deacon Derrick: Marriages, like seasons, are always changing; and my marriage is no different. Mistianna and I have gone through all the seasons in our marriage, many times. We’ve found hope in the newness and rebuilding that Spring brings; we’ve relaxed in the peacefulness and tranquility of the Summer; we’ve found ourselves becoming reflective and even stagnate in the barrenness of the Fall; and we’ve survived many stormy and cold Winters.
Mistianna: During the Springs in our marriage, Derrick and I feel full of life, passionate and excited about our future. The many Springs in our marriage represent times of new beginnings in our life together. From being newlyweds; to the birth of our daughter; to Derrick being ordained a Deacon; to our daughter graduating from high school and going off to college, the Springs in our marriage continue to bring new dynamics and feelings of optimism and vitality about each other, our marriage and our future together.
Deacon Derrick: Through most of our marriage, Mistianna and I have been in the peacefulness and tranquility of Summer. Married life for us is passionate and unified in Summer, because Mistianna and I are connected, happy and working as a team. Summer is FUN, exciting, and for us means shared activities, shared ministries and great communication. In Summer, Mistianna and are constructive, and encouraging when we talk with each other; we openly embrace each other’s differences; and are able to grow together as a couple.
Mistianna: Even though Summer means being connected to each other, Derrick and I have to work each day to keep our marriage watered and weed free. It’s so easy to get complacent in Summer and to allow the messiness of our everyday life to wither down and strangle our marriage. If we don’t constantly maintain our marriage and pull up all the unruly weeds in our garden of love, our marriage starts to deteriorate and moves quickly into the season of Fall.
Deacon Derrick: The beauty about Fall is that it can be a season of reflection, a sort of fork in the road for Mistianna and myself. If we allow our marriage to drift in a negative direction and stop openly communicating with each other; allow ourselves to argue all the time; and constantly tear each other down then our marriage becomes barren. This is the sign that WINTER IS COMING! However, if Mistianna and I can reestablish positive and open communication; start focusing on the “we” instead of the “me”; and cling to each other instead of pushing each other away then we can avoid Winter altogether. Which means we can head directly into Spring and a new season of rebirth and rebuilding for our marriage.
Mistianna: Unfortunately for us, most of our Falls seem to go directly into Winter. This happened for the first time when we were in our early thirties. Over a period of one year, I was involved in a horrific car wreck and lost my job; both our mothers passed away; we were sued and almost had to declare bankruptcy; and Derrick took a second job delivering newspapers to pay off all our debts. Whenever, Derrick and I find ourselves suddenly in Winter, we feel alone, completely overwhelmed, stressed out and anxious over the welfare of our family, our finances, and our future. We both feel like we’re never going to see “the light at the end of the tunnel” or make it out of the darkness and storminess that is Winter.
Deacon Derrick: When we finally are able to make it out of Winter and can actually see the “light at the end of the tunnel”, Mistianna and I are mentally and physically exhausted. Over the past 24 years of our married life together, Mistianna and I have survived numerous miscarriages, job changes, buying and selling homes, overcoming depression, surviving our daughter ‘s teenage years, and dealing with serious illnesses. Each time we emerged from the darkness we emerged stronger and more unified as a couple and more committed to each other as spouses.
Mistianna: Just knowing what season our marriage was in really helped Derrick and I to get on the same marital page. It encouraged us to change what needed to be fixed in our marriage, so that we could reunite as a couple and rebuild everything that Winter had destroyed. That’s the same reason you and your spouse need to know what season your marriage is in! Knowing your season can help you understand the changes the two of you need to make; so, you can move out of the survival mode of Winter and into the thriving seasons of Spring and Summer.
Deacon Derrick Barnes and his wife Mistianna were married in 1995 and were college sweethearts. They have one daughter, Kailee, who is in college at UK, and two fur babies Elvis and Presley Anne. They have been involved in a variety of Marriage Prep Programs in the Archdiocese of Louisville for more than 18 years, as a sponsor couple, speakers at Foundations of Marriage and presenters for the Engaged Encounter.
In, 2012, Derrick was ordained a deacon and is assigned to Saint Margaret Mary Parish in Louisville, KY where he and Mistianna are parishioners and founders of SMM’s Marriage Ministry. Deacon Derrick and Mistianna are passionate about the Sacrament of Marriage and feel called to help others have happy and holy marriages.
They are currently on the Leadership Team for the Louisville Engaged Encounter and speak and conduct workshops on a variety of marriage prep and marriage topics across the Archdiocese of Louisville.