PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF MARRIAGE
When we were first married we came across ‘Marriage Encounter’ and one of the things they told us which was a huge revelation was that love is a decision. You can decide to love. It’s not just about fuzzy feelings. What they taught us was the fact that love can be hard at times and you have to make the decision to be loving or not. We are not victims of the love that we have for each other. We are motivators and instigators of it and therefore its something dynamic that changes me, changes us and also can change society and change the world. But you’ve got to keep working on it every single day, to make it life giving for each other, not just for me.
Paola commented, “it was interesting because I knew I didn’t want a marriage like my parents, I didn’t want a mediocre marriage and that was one of the first things we discussed and neither of us wanted that. We didn’t want to fall into marriage, fall into having children. As we got to know each other we realized we were more on the same wavelength. On the ‘Marriage Encounter’ weekend they actually said don’t accept meritocracy. It was like all the lights going on and thinking ‘this is really where I want to be’ and by this stage God in our marriage was beginning to be quite visible”.
Eamon added, “It didn’t quite connect for me that you could also find God through being a husband and a father. That was a big thing for us. We didn’t want to just go on a journey, we wanted an adventure. We never wanted to go through life as tourists, always observing. We really wanted to go into it and live it. The most dynamic way for us to do that was to be in a fully alive relationship together.
When we were married we moved to Northampton and we didn’t know a soul so we felt really lost for a long time. I had just got a new job, house and the following year we had our first baby and he just would not stop crying! We had all these huge dreams but as life got more challenging - reality kicked in and found ourselves asking; ‘What are we doing here?’ Thankfully, we were adopted by two lovely families, who already had several kids. They would send babysitters and send us out for an evening, or visit us. We knew them through the church and the school. God was helping us through these people.
Paola pointed out that “looking back we can say ‘that’s got a God touch to it’, like the footprints poem, but it hasn’t been easy. Sometimes people live alongside each other looking outwards on the world, whereas we want our life together to look inward and develop trust and then look outwards together holding hands looking in the same direction.
It’s about what works for you as a couple. It’s about who you are to each other, accepting each other for who we are and then moving forward together in that knowledge. Our marriage has made me realise my full potential and each day I become more of the person that God created me to be.