It hasn’t been a walk in the park marriage-wise to adjust to our fourth little Franco. Growing seasons are never easy, though, are they?:) This growing season is stewing over a sink of dirty dishes late after a long, long day. It’s trying to find time for one another when we’re both exhausted. It’s spending three hours passing the squalling colicky baby back and forth after the kids go to bed. It’s trying to feed and clean and put to bed three wild children arguing over toothpaste one minute, trying to eat a Tide pod the next (true story), dropping the pickle jar (again), or using my good forks to dig for “golden treasures” in the backyard.
Add the Great Flood of 2016, the start of the homeschool year, long hours for Michael at work, and a baby momma with raging postpartum emotions, and things have felt a little more on the roller coaster side than usual, if I’m being honest.
So, the postpartum craziness is (almost) nothing new or surprising, but how we’re dealing with it all is new–and so helpful. Roman has been the first baby we’ve taken home since joining Domestic Church.
Domestic Church is the marriage movement within the Catholic Church that we joined almost three years ago. (If you’re new to the blog or haven’t heard of Domestic Church before, check out this post. It has been a game-changer for my marriage.)
Daily couple prayer is one of the prayer promises you make in Domestic Church, and it has been incredibly helpful lately (but hard, so hard, sometimes!). But it’s been our commitment to what Domestic Church calls Couple Dialogue that has been a wonder-worker practice for us in this postpartum season. Couple Dialogue is basically a prayerful, intentional conversation about your marriage, done once a month “under God’s eye and with His help.”
Couple Dialogue is actually my favorite commitment in Domestic Church, hands down. (There are actually seven promises or “gifts” in Domestic Church; you can read about them here.) When Michael and I come together for a Couple Dialogue, I feel more connected to him, more at peace about decisions we make, and more at peace about my marriage overall. I know that Michael feels the same way.
I have a friend who texted me recently after she and her husband completed their first couple dialogue. She confessed that she had never really believed me when I said that there was a difference between a Couple Dialogue and just a really good talk. “I know what you were talking about now:)”, she wrote. The very fact that you prepare for a couple dialogue gives the actual conversation a different feel. You know you’re there to work. And it makes a difference. A difference in the mutual respect you have for one another. A difference in your approach, your tone of voice, your own self-awareness. A difference in the peace you feel that you are doing your best to make good, Godly decisions for your family. I for one feel like I go into a couple dialogue with more humility than if I hadn’t prepared my heart and my thoughts. And I think that we both go in feeling less defensive and “cornered” if there’s something tough we need to discuss.
I think that making Domestic Church a part of our marriage has made Michael and I proactive, rather than reactive, about our problems. We’ve always prayed together and we’ve always brought God into our decisions, but these days we don’t wait until our heads are both about to explode before we have much-needed conversations. And we’ve learned recently that sometimes we need to add in another Couple Dialogue between monthly ones.:)
I’m going on and on about Couple Dialogue because the two we’ve had over the past couple of months have been so helpful for us. There are many paths to a holy, happy marriage, and Domestic Church is not God’s will for everyone. But you don’t have to “be in” Domestic Church to take away some of the wisdom of Couple Dialogue for your marriage. I want to share what has been helpful for me in hopes that it will be helpful for some of you.
For me, it means so much that my husband chooses to invite God into our marriage in a unified, proactive, consistent way with me. I know that Michael does all of this Domestic Church stuff because he knows the fruit. He does it because he loves me. He does it because he loves God. And he does it because he’s really trying to be a good husband and father.
What peace there is in that for his wife.
May God bless your marriage!