We read a book for almost-divorced Christians. Here’s why you should too

Even in an age when couples live together before marriage, the first year of married life is the hardest. This was the case before life dealt us the curveball of Covid-19 already. It’s shocking, then, what little preparation you get before you embark on the hardest thing you’ll ever do with another person. Due to some circumstances beyond our control, we were stuck with the one-day diocesan preparation that was the biggest waste of time for us, except maybe for providing us with an opportunity to get down to some hard conversations without distractions.

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My relationship with dyspraxia

When I was a teenager, I met a slightly older guy in a wheelchair. At the time, I had no idea that asexuality was a thing, but sex was something pushed on me by others that could have just as easily not had for the rest of my life if it wasn’t expected of me by the person I was with. When he suggested I would obviously break up with him if we couldn’t have sex so there was no point in even trying to be together, I was hurt. Even as a staunch atheist, I was deeply a humanist, and my pro-life ethos was the same as it is now. It would be years before I would experience living with a disability for myself, so it wasn’t out of sympathy or the fact that if I gave up on someone what right would I have to expect others not to give up on me? It was simply that I liked him, we had a lot in common, we were of a perfectly legal age difference and it made no difference whatsoever to me that he couldn’t walk. 

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Why respect is vital to a relationship

Before getting married (heck, before getting engaged, I like to cover my bases and be prepared…) I have read everything I could find on having a successful relationship. I know all about the way to handle conflict respectfully, but it just wouldn’t work. I am feisty and fiery and can scream a building down. It’s when I give the silent treatment that one should begin to worry. I really struggled to put into practice what seemed to be the consensus. Don’t use “you” sentences, but tell the other person how their actions make you feel etc. I was at the point of just packing up my tent and give up on the prospect of ever succeeding at maintaining a relationship when I read Dr Gottman’s “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work“.

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We’re not a couple, we’re a family

Due to circumstances beyond our control, I saw more of the priest who witnessed my marriage in Rome than I did the Oratory House for marriage preparation. It’s an unusual modus operandi for him, but he was satisfied that just topping up our (it turns out abysmal) diocesan marriage preparation would suffice (anyone who has known me for 5 minutes knows I’m a bookworm). To our surprise, he addressed a subject that to me felt like it was the Holy Spirit speaking through him: the possibility of not having children of our own. 

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When acceptance doesn’t come easily…

There is a risk, when being online and not completely anonymous, that someone might read something you wrote that they’re not going to like. That is, something that may be even hurtful for them. I hesitated a lot about this prompt and then cleared it with my husband. If someone else who is related to what I am about to say will find this, it may be a blessing in disguise: it’s something that needs saying, but I don’t feel I could say to their face for reasons related to the issue in the first instance.

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