February 14th is a day when love is celebrated by couples. We want to take this Valentine’s Day to honor “the icon of God’s love for us,” (Pope Francis) sacramental marriages! To display the beauty of a sacramental marriage, we are aiming to post one love story a day from our married brothers and sisters until we reach Valentine’s Day. May their stories draw you closer to the Source of their love. Happy reading!
Jeremy: We first met while playing frisbee on my college campus. Although Autumn doesn’t remember meeting me, I certainly remember her. We got to know each other over the next few years while serving with St Paul’s Outreach at the University of St Thomas and to many of our friends, we may as well have been dating long before our actual first date. One Lent, I even gave up going to night prayer at the seminary because I recognized that my intentions were not very pure, considering that I mostly went as an excuse to run into Autumn. Our friendship was light and easy and we felt free to speak our minds and our frustrations.
Autumn: Yes. It’s true. I do not recall our first encounter. However, a couple months later I did spot him in a crowd at a retreat. I remember thinking he was attractive… and that his shirt was kind of ugly. I did not think much about him though because I was not looking to date anyone. Jeremy and I got to know each other over time while serving together in ministry. He was steady and intentional about his faith and his relationships. I admired that. While we were very different in personality, (Jer is very organized and methodical while I am artistic and all over the place) we seemed to balance each other out and provide a sort of framework for the other to be themselves. We discovered these things within the context of our friendship. I will be honest. I was not sure he would ever consider me more than a friend because I was kind of a wild child and he seemed so straight laced. After agonizing over feelings for him for almost three years, he asked me out on our first date.
Jeremy: We started dating officially after I graduated from the University of Saint Thomas. My first job out of college was what I will charitably refer to as a “challenging situation” and it was during this time that we began to understand what a committed relationship could entail for us. Autumn found my first grey hairs during the first few months after beginning the job. She was there to support and encourage me in my tough moments. Meanwhile, she began an ongoing journey to work towards some healing of deep wounds from her past. Through this process, I began to understand that marriage is based on sacrifice and self-gift. Our contributions to marriage will not look the same and will not often be equal and it’s comforting to understand that a tit-for-tat perspective is not and has never been the foundation of Sacramental Marriage.
Autumn: Jeremy was one of the first people (beyond family) that I allowed into the wounds and struggles from my past. It was difficult to let him in. I feared that he would look at me differently or I would scare him away. His response was the opposite. Not only did he receive what I shared without judgement but he vehemently reaffirmed his desire to walk with me in these things as I sought healing. His faithfulness to this desire during the year we dated was transformative.
Jeremy: In many ways, our time of engagement and some of the practicals of preparing for marriage was our first eye-opening experience where we recognized just how different we were, in our upbringing and in our personality. We often have to remind ourselves that we are to be like iron sharpening iron, serving as a compliment to each other’s weaknesses.. At one point, Autumn was overwhelmed with the process of healing and facing her own demons. She handed back the engagement ring to me, telling me that she did not want me to have to bear the burden with her. I firmly told her that I loved her, to put the ring back on, and that I was in it for the long haul. (This is actually a bit more eloquent than my actual response. I’d be happy to share the real deal over a glass of whiskey). It has not always been easy, but I have found strength in times that I have needed it. I have discovered how vital humility is (God is working slowly with me on this as humility is maybe not my greatest virtue) by seeing how limited and helpless I am.
Both: We will be married 9 years in April. We chose each other and we go on choosing with God’s grace. Our marriage has not been a fairy tale, but we have had many joyful moments. We have been blessed with three children and a fourth on the way in July. Jeremy completed an MBA in the first few years of marriage, we bought our first home together, and Autumn has begun to pursue the gift of music God has given her. We are working working towards recording her first short album that reflects her life experiences and the ways that God has revealed his love in the midst of great brokenness. It has been a tremendous gift to discern within the Emmanuel Community the last couple of years. It has deepened the conviction that holiness cannot be accomplished alone and we have seen tremendous growth within our own marriage through our time walking with the community. We made our first major vacation in August to Paris with a visit to Paray-le-Monial. We continue to persevere in learning more about each other and about the Father’s love for us.
Love and Prayers,
Jeremy and Autumn (MN)