(Still) A Party of Two

thetwoofusattopOur second wedding anniversary is just a few days away, and I can’t believe how quickly time has passed us by!

I remember celebrating our first wedding anniversary just like it was yesterday — talking about all the things that had happened in the past year, and discussing what we thought might come in the next…

Like children, for instance.

Which, if you know us, you know that it’s still just the two of us.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I can personally be a witness of being open to life  when I don’t have children… yet.

I’ve struggled with the notion of whether I’m any less than the women – the mothers – who have been welcoming new life into their families since the day they were married.

I’ve wondered where I can fit in, in the pro-life movement, as a wife — but not (yet) a mom?

I have to admit that I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that having children early in our marriage, and often, would be the only testimonial we could offer about the blessings of being open to life, to children, and to God being present in our marriage.

I now know that’s one way, but it’s not the only way.

Although it has taken some time & discernment, I’m growing more confident each day that God is using our family — our two-person family — in ways that perhaps we didn’t think of ourselves, in ways which we didn’t plan.

With this in mind, one of my favorite lines from the Catechism has been on my heart lately.

“The fundamental task of marriage and family is to be at the service of life.”

Like I said, I’ve struggled, asking myself, can I do that as a married woman without children?

The more I pray & think about this, the louder & more persistent this answer has become:

Absolutely.

Between my husband, our family, our friends, especially those who have children — there is no shortage of people I can serve. Even the people, the strangers, I may come in contact with everyday — I can serve them, too.

Children may not be the fruit of our marriage right now, but we can still radiate the fruitfulness of charity, hospitality and sacrifice.

Considering the amount of time I have, the resources and – quite frankly, a whole lot of myself to give — I have been so happy to discover the ways I can give – the ways I am called to give.

I’ve asked that God would put opportunities in my path that would allow me to, sort of, make up for the fact that we don’t have children right now… And I’ve learned that there’s nothing to make up for. There’s just plenty more to give right now, and in a different direction.

 

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  • Sandy

    I’ll be honest, I don’t always have the time to read your posts but I very much enjoyed this one…and you are absolutely correct. You have so much more give time right now and it’s always refreshing to see younger people do it vs. the retired community 🙂
    ….And thanks for letting us receive some of that giving to our little family when you watch my kids for an hour or so

  • Girl, I hear you! We just celebrated our 8th anniversary and are still just the two of us. Yes, our 8th!! And let me tell you, we are strong as ever and BFFs to the max I guess. 🙂 Anyway, we will figure out what it is we are supposed to be doing…and so will you! And in the meantime, help someone everyday just by being you in your “situation”. It means a lot to many!!!!!

  • Beautiful post, Annie. There are many ways to serve and build the Culture of Life! Your trust in God is a witness in and of itself.

  • Amen. Great post Annie! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

  • Alicia Cerrato

    Thank you for this post! It is so good to read! We are in the same boat, coming up on our two year anniversary and no kids yet…doing NFP and TTA for a few more months for financial reasons..
    .everyone around us has kids though except for us! Thank your for the encouragement! <3 love your blog!

    • catholicwifecatholiclife

      Thank you, Alicia!! 🙂

  • This is awesome! My husband and I just celebrated our 2-year anniversary, and we don’t have kids either. But I’m realizing more and more how even though it can be tough when tons of our friends are having kids, God has given us a beautiful gift to show people what the Sacrament of Marriage is about. I think that a lot of times, people tend to focus on a couple’s kids, and not actually on the marriage itself. I’ve actually heard people say comments like (paraphrasing)-“that couple loves each other so much that they just have tons and tons of kids.” But just because a couple doesn’t have children doesn’t mean that their love is any less at all. Also, Karol Wojtyla wrote some awesomeness in “Love and Responsibility” about this type of thing, which I’ll blog about eventually, and I would quote right now, except that I can’t remember where he wrote it in the book 🙂

    • catholicwifecatholiclife

      You’re absolutely right 🙂

    • catholicwifecatholiclife

      p.s. I’m really grateful for you and your comments!

      • p.s. I’m grateful for you, too, and for your awesome blog, your awesome marriage, and your wonderful insights about Catholicism and married life! 🙂

        • catholicwifecatholiclife

          hahaha. You’re toooo kind!!

  • Liz

    I saw your link to this blog on Facebook today. I somehow completely missed the fact that you are the couple who runs Pray More Novenas until reading some of the comments. After realizing that, I have to let you know that my husband and I were childless for almost the first 4 years of our marriage (my fertility struggles are due to PCOS), so I completely understand everything you’re saying. During those years, we tried to volunteer and give ourselves in other ways – music ministry at church, Knights of Columbus, altar server training, Bible study, attending and helping chaperone teens to pro-life events…anything we had time and ability for. It was all very fulfilling, though it didn’t diminish our desire for children. So then a couple of years ago, I signed up to receive the novena e-mails, and I have really loved being able to get them and do so many novenas. Last September, I prayed the St. Therese novena along with you all for the intention of having a baby. At the end of the novena, I received two roses, one on her feast day and the other the day after. Less than two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant, and by looking at my charts was able to discern that the conception most probably occurred on her feast day. Our baby boy was born in June, and I completely attribute that to St. Therese’s intercession and the novena I was able to pray thanks to your ministry. Just wanted to share this as a story that there is definitely hope and God is good! This year’s St. Therese novena is coming right up, and I will definitely keep you all in my prayers – thank you for your writing, and God bless!

    • catholicwifecatholiclife

      That is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with me, Liz! And thank you very much for keeping us in your prayers as well. It means so much to me — I am so grateful.

  • Brian McCullough

    Thank you for your post. My wife and I have been a party of two now for over four years. Novenas, countless nights of prayer, and what seems like countless times of getting up and dusting ourselves off after another negative pregnancy test. We find hope in God and His plan for us as individuals and as a couple. We realize he has done and will do great things in our lives. But I can appreciate the groaning that other couples go through who pray that they may receive child from God. It is great being an uncle or aunt and we are excited to hear about new pregnancies and safe deliveries, but that does not cover those groans and desires. Not many people realize that feeling, but in outlets like this a collection of fellow practicing Catholics can find solace and peace knowing we are not the only couple. God bless you, your ministry and your family of two.

    • catholicwifecatholiclife

      Thank you for your kind words, Brian. It sounds like we have had similar experiences! 🙂 God bless you and your wife as well!

  • So much yes. LOVE this beautiful post. My husband and I were “just the two of us” until our 6th anniversary and it was tough. But along our journey of infertility, I came to realize the same sorts of things. As much as I wanted children according to MY timing, I wouldn’t trade the other blessings we had throughout those years like getting to devote so much time to youth ministry. Know that you and your husband will be in my prayers and Happy Anniversary!!

    • catholicwifecatholiclife

      Thank you so much, Becky!!

  • Emily

    I feel the same way (and we have been married about the same amount of time!) It’s hard to be a witness just as a Catholic wife, but there are so many ways to live our current vocation. Whether that be volunteering at church, volunteering with kids, or just being a good Catholic example.
    I have PCOS and that has been a struggle with us and in our marriage. I will keep praying for you!

  • Melody (MelodysHarmonies.com)

    So so much yes! I have also felt so torn on how I am going to be a witness to openess to life in marriage: I’m so afraid of what people think of us, that maybe they think we aren’t open to life. I think that’s part of the reason I’ve been open about our infertility, as a way to say “hey, we really are open to this! We’re just waiting on our miracle!”.

  • Justine Rauch

    This is such a great post. It’s a great reminder that we can teach the truth without HAVING to live it out just like everyone else on the same timeline as everyone else. No one should think you are a hypocrite on “openness to life” because you still have a family of two. What matters is that you are doing what is right by God and YOUR family, and your actions and teachings will reach the most hearts that way. So awesome.

    And can I add that you and your hubby are the cutest? 😀

  • Mónica María

    Thank you for wrote this! this was exactly I need to read these days! My husband and I have been married for a little bit more that 3 years and still have no kids. We are NFP promoters and also teachers at our Diocese. Sometimes I wonder if we would be a good example of NFP if we haven’t have any kids yet… (we are waiting for that blessing) maybe people would think it does not work as we haven’t achieved pregnancy but I was sure there was something more about oru mission with this and I have confirmed it with this article. Thank you for sharing! my prayers with you, best regards from Mexico!

  • Mary

    Have you thought of adoption? It’s very pro-life (what better way to celebrate a woman who chose not to abort?!) and it’s probably one of the most faithful acts you can do (putting your trust in God fully for the right child)?

  • Ellen Karagoulis Sellstrom

    Thank you for being willing to write about this very difficult and sometimes painful topic. My husband and I are not Catholic, but we decided when we were saying that we wanted to follow the Church’s teaching on birth control and use NFP to help us start our family. We will celebrate our 5th anniversary in May and still have not been blessed with children. like you we have realized that God’s call to marriage goes beyond the call to raise children and we are finding so many rich ways to love and serve Him. We are still hoping and praying for a miracle, as adoption or foster care will not work with our present circumstances, but we have found peace knowing that even if we never have children we will have had a fruitful marriage and family life.

  • Sarah

    Hello! You’re blog is so encouraging, and especially this post! I can really relate. This is where I’m at right now, and I have a few questions:

    My husband and I are at 1 1/2 years of marriage and still no children. After 2 miscarriages, we decided to avoid a pregnancy and focus on health for a while (charting with the Creighton Method, seeing a NaPro doctor and a nutritional doctor, etc). Unfortunately, this has stretched out a LOT longer than I imagined. It’s been almost 11 months since the last miscarriage! I am getting a lot closer to health, and hopefully I will have the courage to try to conceive again. I have a few really close friends who got married around the same time as me, and its been really hard seeing them have babies – even pregnant with their second! Ok, ok I’m struggling with comparisons 😉 I’ve considered avoiding all my friends, but that couldn’t be a good thing – I don’t want to lose touch. One friend recently came to me and told me how inspired she was that I still hangout with everyone, she knows how hard it is, and that I have a lot more to offer than a baby. That really touched me. So it’s hard – every time – but I keep going. I’m trying to stay positive and hopeful, sometimes its easy to think God doesn’t want us to have children, but that can’t be true, since at the wedding we promised to be open to children…anyway do you have any advice for making it through this tough time?

    Also, I find myself wondering what my purpose is. I never really wondered that before getting marred, I just thought I was to love and serve God all my life – that’s it. When I got married, I realized that there are a lot of little choices that make up life – those that my parents always made for me – I have a lot of control over how I live my daily life, everything from making time for family and friends and husband to how well I keep my house clean (clean house = low stress = happier life lol). At the moment, this is my life: spending lots of time with hubby (I’m very grateful for that!) practicing NFP (not easy, but lots of grace!), eating a super healthy diet, wishing for a baby almost everyday, and working a job I’m not always very good at and not totally happy with. I also LOVE homemaking, but have very little time for it, because I work full time. Very frustrating. So I find myself discontent and asking these questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What am I doing all this for? Obviously, I know you don’t have all the answers (only God does) but did you ever struggle with these questions before you had kids? Sorry this is SO long 🙂