A post about things I believed
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I grieve everything I gave up because I believed in the Catholic model of marriage, including my authenticity and my sense of self.
A friend asked me: “Do you think the Catholic marriage truly doesn’t let you be your authentic self? Or could it be Paul’s vision of what a Catholic marriage “should be”?
She is not the first person asking me a variation of this theme.
Answering the second question first, I think that there were elements and teachings about Catholic marriage that supported Paul’s personal beliefs about relationships and dovetailed nicely with his own personal hopes and expectations of what marriage should be. Paul was raised in a traditional Catholic family and came to our marriage with a stronger cultural identification to what the Church believed. My struggle with finding authenticity in Catholic marriage came from not being raised in a community and culture where complementarism was the norm.
That said, there were also aspects of Catholic marriage that gave comfort to my fears and insecurities, fuelled by spiritual guidance that ratcheted up my codependent tendencies. As a young mother, I soothed deep anxieties by conforming to an ideal that promised peace and fulfillment. In other words, I came by my beliefs about Catholic marriage honestly and I cannot blame my husband or his family for any of them.
I also believe that Catholic marriage truly doesn’t let me be my authentic self, and it’s not for lack of trying.
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