“Life After The Wedding”

by Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes

Over the last several months, if not years, you have been focused entirely on planning your special day. Catering decisions, wedding party selections, venue choices, and decisions about flowers, bridesmaids dresses, and tuxedoes have finally all been made. Hopefully, the Bride even got to say “yes” to her perfect dress. So, there literally has been no detail too small that you and the love of your life have not anguished over and spent countless hours reviewing, and tailoring to make them absolutely, wedding fabulous!

Mistianna:​   It seems a lot of newlyweds, like Derrick and I were years ago, get really caught up in the excitement of an elaborate proposal, the fabulous wedding, and a hot, happening honeymoon in the fantasy suite. The problem with that is when we do this, get so “wedding crazy” as my Daddy calls it, we fail to nurture the reality of what truly sustains our relationship with one another and instead focus all of our time and energy on our Wedding day, and not, on growing our relationship, or on learning what really makes each other tick, or understanding the expectations we each have for the other in this lifetime commitment we’re about to make through the Sacrament of Marriage. Unfortunately, this reality often catches couples by surprise once they return from there honeymoon and have time to really sit back and discuss life after the wedding.

Derrick:​       There can be a letdown after the wedding and at the beginning of your life together.  That’s exactly what happened to Mistianna and I once we returned from our honeymoon. Once we started talking, we realized that when we were engaged, we lost sight of the reason we wanted to marry each other in the first place. We were so focused on planning our wedding and dealing with all the wedding stress that we forgot for a bit what originally attracted us to each other.There is really so much we do to get ready for that one, big, special day. The question that we had to ask ourselves and that we now ask you is – do we pour ourselves into our marriages in the same way that we did planning for our wedding day? After all, our marriages should be filled with thousands of special days. After having that discussion, Mistianna and I realized that celebrating the small things in our marriage, like committing to 30 minutes of uninterrupted “Couch Time” each day (communication time and face to face talking), having regularly scheduled Date Nights, calling each other during the day to say “I Love You”, sending romantic and “hot” love texts during the day to one another, meeting for lunch for a quick unscheduled date, having regular budget meeting and making sure we go to church together and sit together when I am not needed or scheduled to serve as Deacon of the Mass are really as important as celebrating our Wedding Day.

Mistianna:​  While a Wedding Day is a very important and a very special day, it should be the beginning, and not the end, of a couple pouring their lives and love into one another. So, now that the wedding has been celebrated, and the honeymoon is over, do something to ensure that your marriage will last a lifetime. Actively pursue knowledge of your spouse now that you’re married. Ask questions, tell stories, and get to know the cast of characters in each other’s world. Practice empathy. Make it a habit to learn one new thing about each other, each day. Find out how you each receive care, compliments, and even correction. And don’t take this work for granted: It’s the foundation of intimacy in your marriage, and that is “HOT STUFF”.

Derrick:​       Finally, we’d like to recommend an awesome book that will really help you each discover your love language or the way you receive love and give love, and how your partner also responds to receiving and giving love. The book is by Gary Chapman, and it’s called “The Five Love Languages”. Falling in love is easy, we all know that; but, staying in love, well that’s the challenge. How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing after the honeymoon is over, amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life? In “The 5 Love Languages”, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner. The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful and it will definitely help create and develop the intimacy, you newlyweds are looking for as you work to build a marriage that WILL last a lifetime.

Good luck and God Bless!

Deacon Derrick Barnes and his wife Mistianna serve the parish of St. Margaret Mary in the Archdiocese of Louisville as well as the Louisville Engaged Encounter program.

“Building Your Financial Foundation Workshop For Newly Married Couples” – October 7th and 28th, 2017

The Family Ministries Office is proud to announce the first of its many upcoming programs designed to assist and accompany couples in the critical first few years of marriage!

Did you know that many of the critical issues facing newly married couples today have their roots in financial areas? 

Come and join other couples in their first 5 years of marriage as we spend two intensive and personalized days with certified financial planner Jerry Zimmerer from D. Scott Neal, Inc. as we dive deeply into proven financial practices and planning and explore how such critical tools and techniques can support, enrich and strengthen Catholic marriages!

Jerry has been a presenter with our Foundation For Marriage program for several years, giving a broad overview of financial management to engaged couples, and as such is proud to offer this new intensive program where couples use their own personal data, desires and situations to come up with plans specifically designed to help them grow and succeed financially as they begin their married lives together.

The program runs over two different Saturdays. The first session – where concepts are introduced and initial planning is made – will be held on October 7, 2017. The second session – where the couples come back with their personal plans for coaching and personalized advice – will be held on October 28, 2017.  (Attendance at BOTH sessions is necessary.)

Both sessions will be held at St Gabriel Parish, 5505 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY, 40291 in Loft 1 from 9:00 AM until 3:30 PM each day.

Pre-registration is required and the cost for attending is at the SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY PRICE  of $110 per couple which includes all materials and personalized content as well as lunch on both days.

Registration is strictly limited to the first 20 couples to assure the proper individualized attention and can be done online HERE.

For further details, or if you have any questions, please contact Deacon Stephen Bowling at the Family Ministries Office at sbowling@archlou.org.

Please don’t miss out on this special opportunity to get personal financial advice from a certified financial planner at a fraction of the normal cost with special attention to the unique gifts and treasures we find in married life!

“Saving Your Best for Your Spouse”

by Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes

Mistianna and I have been together in our lives, between dating and marriage, more than we have been apart.  And I would love to tell you that we are the perfect couple, never fighting, always in perfect harmony and lock step in the way we see that things need to happen, but I can’t.  Like all great successful marriages, we both have our own views on topics and have had to learn the hard way how to have a great, loving, and successful marriage.

In the following article we hope to be able to share with you some hard learned lessons that if you read carefully you may not have to make in your marriage.

Being a Deacon couple, we are blessed to work with a lot of engaged couples as they prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage. And, since we’ve been married almost 23 years, ourselves, we have a lot of loving, a lot of living, and a lot of life lessons to offer them and the newly married on what it’s really like to be happily married and to have a love affair for a lifetime.

Five weeks before our wedding, when we should have been awash with words of wisdom, the only advice I can recall getting is what my Great Aunt Ruby told us half a lifetime ago:

“Darlings,” she said, “be interesting people, each of you on your own. Follow your own dreams, have your own hobbies, and use your own gifts to better our world. But always be your best and save your best for your sweetheart .”

Mistianna: At first, Aunt Ruby’s advice didn’t have much of an impact on how we interacted as a newly married couple. After all, we were young and in love and couldn’t keep our hands off each other; we were truly passionate about being together. It was only after our first year of marriage had come and gone that Aunt Ruby’s advice really started to hit home with me. You see, I am a very social and very chatty person and I not only needed face to face communication with Derrick, I missed talking intimately with him on a daily basis. So, it became very clear that I not only needed Derrick’s best in the area of communication, when we both came home from work, but I craved it. I needed the same love and attention he had given me while we were dating and engaged now that we were newlyweds.

Derrick: Sure while dating I had all the time in the world to sit and chat and lavish attention on my beautiful fiancée but when life settled in things had to change.  Graduation from college, work and a social life left little time for hours of exploring each other through conversation.

I needed Mistianna to appreciate how hard I worked for our family and tell me about it a lot.  I know that it seems that this is the cliché sensitive male ego at work here.  After all in all the fairy tales there was always a Knight in shining armor, and I wanted my princess to recognize this.  It made getting up and working hard all worth it when my princess wife told me how much she appreciated my hard work.

But what I have come to learn is that I really like words of affirmation and acknowledgment.  What I was failing to see was that like me Mistianna needed acknowledgment of her needs as well.

Mistianna: Saving your best for your spouse, isn’t always easy. Especially, in our fast paced, technology swamped and “it’s all about me” culture. Society encourages us to be all we can be, even at the expense of the one we love and cherish the most, our spouse. I believe it’s this selfish type of thinking that pulls newlyweds away from each other instead of closer together and ultimately has a negative impact on their new marriage. My Aunt Ruby encouraged Derrick and I to be different than society, to break the norm and require more of ourselves than what society required of us together. In her infinite wisdom, she knew that if we each saved our best self for each other, every aspect of our marriage would become a priority in our life together. Saving the best version of ourselves for the other after a long day at the office, or after being up all night with a sick child, or after each of our mothers passed away or even after I lost my job and became disabled, wasn’t easy. Sometimes it was beyond difficult, it was tough as hell. But, it was the best piece of advice we ever received about being married. It was the advice that allowed us to put each other and our marriage first. It helped us each be vulnerable with one another, and cling to each other during the hard times and “worser” times in our marriage.

Earlier I told you what it was that I needed Mistianna to recognize in order for me to feel love.  It only took a few “animated discussions” for me to figure out how to get the best out of my spouse.  The secret is to give them what they need and in return they give you what you need.  Saving your best self for your spouse is really the easiest way for your sweetheart to know that you love them in a way that they can appreciate and usually in return they want to give you what you need.

So, in short, I learned that when I actively and fully talk to Mistianna about her day and share with her what happened in my day; she totally reciprocated by telling me how proud of me she was.  So by giving her my best, she gave me her best as well.

Saving your best self for your sweetheart isn’t a guarantee for a happily ever after marriage, but it’s definitely a great practice to start doing as you start your new life together. We believe saving your best self for your spouse says to your beloved “You are important to me,” “You are my top priority,” and, “I value you above all others.” If you remember back to when you were dating and when you got engaged, hopefully you’ll remember how passionate you felt about hanging out together, and just sharing your life with one another. If you look at being married as dating for a lifetime, you will always save the best part of yourself for your spouse. You will covet your time together, crave conversations with one another, forgive more freely, and love more passionately. If you save your best self for your sweetheart, we hope, you will have what we have found, a love affair of a lifetime.

Deacon Derrick is assigned to Saint Margaret Mary Parish in Louisville, KY where he and Mistiana are parishioners.

“Marriage Matters: Our Search for Right Relationship”

735by Deacon Stephen Bowling

It’s that time of year when again Ordinary Time makes a short appearance in our lives . . . and I always love it when we hear Matthew’s gospel like we are doing this cycle.

The Beatitudes are always one of the very first readings we hear; fitting since they are the beginning of the famous “Sermon on the Mount” to which Matthew devotes three whole Chapters.  Every time I get to proclaim that Gospel I find myself hardly looking at the text, I know it so well, as I think many of us do.

To me, one of the most powerful aspects of the well-known words of the Beatitudes is the fact that every one of them is, at their heart, a call to “right relationship;” every one tells us how we are to live, both in relation to God as well as with each other.  Each one is a promise from God to us . . . if we can only let ourselves “be right” with others, we will ultimately be rewarded by Him.  God very much wishes us to be in “right relationship” in all that we do, and he gave us these eight beautiful roadmaps on how we can make it a reality.

Nowhere is “right relationship” better encapsulated than in the marital relationship.

As the Church teaches, marriage is the life-affirming, permanent and indissoluble bonding of a man and a woman together for life.  Indeed, the dignity and sanctity of marriage flows inexorably from that same inherent dignity and sanctity that human life itself possesses . . . which should be no surprise as both were lovingly created by God himself at the very beginning.

While everyday married life may not feel quite so “lofty” as this teaching makes it sound, there is no doubt that goodness and holiness is the intended outcome of such a union . . . just ask anyone married for very many years and they will tell you such.  Right relationship may be hard work – most things that are worthwhile generally are – but in order to form our marriages as God intends, it is certainly worth every effort, even through those many tough times that we all face. romance-and-marriage-showing-love-2

By living for the good of the other in the marital relationship, the salvation and betterment of both people is made attainable . . . rather like our  relationship with God himself.

It is no accident that marriage reflects the divine life in us; God gave us this marvelous gift so we may better understand and experience him as well as our beloved.  In this wonderful month where we so especially celebrate the joys of married love, let us always remember to witness its joys wherever possible to our friends, neighbors and everyone we encounter.

God’s great gift of married love deserves nothing less!

Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend – February 11-12, 2017

Marriage Encounter has a way of making sure that marriage is raised to the dignity it deserves.” – Archbishop Joseph Kurtz

968fecba-819d-4675-af62-e8bc212ef037Do you want to make your marriage stronger? Would you like to spend an uninterrupted weekend with your spouse delving deeply into the wonderful commitment you made with each other in marriage?

Worldwide Marriage Encounter is seen as one of the preeminent ways available today of strengthening and enriching marriages . . . no matter how long you have been together!

Please consider joining the Marriage Encounter team as they host our next weekend event on February 10-12, 2017 (just before Valentine’s Day) at the Mount St Francis Center for Spirituality just across the river in New Albany, IN.

In support of this powerful marriage enrichment opportunity, the Family Ministries Office is offering upcoming information sessions about the weekend, where you can come and talk with the team and learn more about just how great Marriage Encounter can be for your marriage!

Please come out and learn more about just how rich your marriage can become!

To register, or for further information, please visit www.wwme.org or contact the Family Ministries office at family@archlou.org.

wwmelogo “This Weekend was the most joyous and most stimulating time of our lives.  We have had the chance to see how each of us needs to be loved and to give love.” – Quote from a couple who made a Marriage Encounter Weekend

“The Hardest Thing About Not Having Sex Before Marriage Wasn’t What I Expected”

hardest thing-page-001Thanks as always to the ever wise brother-deacon Greg Kandra on putting us on to an enlightening, frank and ultimately beautiful testimony which I think is actually far more common that most folks believe – waiting until after marriage to have sex.

While society tends to be “puzzled” by such behavior (and I’m being very kind in using that word) more and more couples are actually far more “reserved” with taking the full plunge into sexual intimacy before marriage.

I can say as one who works in marriage preparation as the significant part of my diaconal calling, of those engaged couples who ARE sexually active, they are generally waiting until they are with that “one, true love of their lives” working towards that already-scheduled “full commitment” rather than having it as a standard “hold-over” part of the “dating scene”.

I for one am full of hope and joy for the next generation of married couples . . . deep down inside of us, we do instinctively understand in some small way the beauty and joy of God’s plan for us in marriage . . .

Read the full story HERE.

“Sex Is Kind Of Like The Nourishing Food of Marriage”

untitledRyan Williams has an excellent article over at Aleteia.org which discusses in a beautiful, Catholic manner, what we really believe about sex and marital intimacy. His premise, he states, is:

Marriage counselors routinely encourage couples to focus on what they do out of the bedroom in order to strengthen what they do in the bedroom.  

I’ll argue that the truth is quite the opposite, that sex is the food of marriage, and the principle source of energy and direction for all of the rest of it. Sex does not come as the result of other acts of charity within a marriage, it is the cause of them.

Read the entire article HERE.