If October’s Featured Married Couple doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, well, you may need to see a doctor. Lindsay and Vinnie just celebrated their one year anniversary on September 5th, but their marriage has the wisdom and beauty of a veteran couple. Reading through their answers gave me a renewed hope in the future of marriage–there are those that get what it’s all about. Lindsay and Vinnie have a unique marriage in that Vinnie is away much of the time serving as a merchant mariner in the Mediterranean Sea. While Vinnie is away, Lindsay holds down the fort at their home in Connecticut. She owns a business called JustLovePrints where she makes beautiful works of art using religious quotes. I have several of her things in my home, which is how we came to know one another. You’re gonna fall in love with this couple and may we all learn from them the sheer joy of selfless love.
How long have you been married?
Lindsay — We recently celebrated our first anniversary on September 5!
Vinnie — It feels as if the day before yesterday we were just dating, yesterday we were engaged and planning our wedding, and today we are one year married! For me, the year absolutely flew by but for Lindsay it felt like the longest year (in a good way), because we were blessed to be able to go on so many adventures across the country together.
What did you do for your first date?
Vinnie — We went on a double date with my roommate and Lindsay’s best friend who had initially introduced us to each other. We ended up walking through NYC and going to a little Italian place I knew of for dinner. Being around Lindsay was uncannily easy. Where I had previously been calculating and constantly trying to work out what to say next or how to act cool next, I was simply able to be myself and immensely enjoyed it. This caused my interactions with Lindsay to flow so easily and enjoyably. Definitely not my doing, but the Holy Spirit’s.
Lindsay, what initially attracted you to Vinnie?
What attracted me to Vinnie is that he really took his time getting to know me. We did not jump into a relationship. We took our sweet time forming a solid friendship. I liked that during our Skype calls he would ask me lots of questions to get to know me…and he would really listen and take everything in. He appreciated me for who I was – all of the weird, complicated, happy, sad, funny things that make me who I am. I didn’t have to pretend around him.
Vinnie, what initially attracted you to Lindsay?
Definitely her laugh and the fact she was always making me genuinely laugh. What really glued me to Lindsay though, was how readily she professed being Catholic. I confess, growing up I was a Catholic kid in a Baptist elementary school and then Catholic High School. I figured everyone was pretty much Catholic or some form of Christian and I would be able to pretty easily find a partner who wanted to continue living their lives on the rock. But college exposed me to an incredibly turbulent world in which I could not find a young woman who wanted Catholicism, let alone the faith in Jesus. So I was shown a diamond in the rough with Lindsay. Also, I don’t remember a specific time, but I want to say shortly after just meeting, we started praying together over Skype and I have to say this was a most special and bonding interaction. I had not ever experienced that with any other girlfriend before.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage?
Lindsay — I think the most surprising thing for me has been how easily we’ve gotten along since moving into our apartment after our honeymoon. Society tries to warn you that if you don’t “play house” prior to marriage, you’re in for a rude awakening. That definitely has not been the case for us. Though we each have had to make some small adjustments, every day has been a huge blessing and an adventure together.
Vinnie — Grace. They say marriage is a sacrament; that it brings grace and all. But, truly I never quite knew what that was supposed to mean until I received God’s grace in so many moments when the worst of me would have come out and hurt our marriage. Instead, God’s grace was able to make it so much more loving, caring, and selfless. I really do receive life when I choose to lose life. Or rather, when I give up (by grace) what I want, how I want, and “My way!” (which is all I did as a child), I received a strange sense of fulfillment and real happiness. This compounds itself and things turn out better every time than if I try forcing “my way.” So these little graces have really turned my life upside down, but Jesus has a habit of doing that.
You two have a unique set of circumstances, talk a little about how you deal with the time apart.
Lindsay — Vinnie is a Marine Engineer and is currently stationed on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea. We spend 28 days apart, and then 28 days together. Although we’ve been dealing with distance since we met in college (we went to different schools, and he went home to California on his breaks – while I stayed in New York) it’s still heartbreaking when it comes time for him to leave for work. When he’s away, I try to keep busy with my two businesses and visiting my family on weekends. I also try to think of and pray for military wives and husbands who sacrifice so much more than we do!
Vinnie — Well, Lindsay has been living this routine with me since we met in 2010. One of the reasons I tried drawing out keeping it at “just friends” for over half a year of our knowing each other was because I knew at the time I met her, that in four months, I would be going out to sea for a minimum of four months and would not be able to see her. But in that four months at sea we emailed each other every day and Lindsay’s emails were a source of life for me. They still are today.
To keep things alive while I am away, I find great enjoyment in hiding treats around the house and leaving Lindsay hints here and there so she can find them. Or I will think of something I know she would love and have it sent to the house without telling her so she randomly receives a cool package. Lindsay is the most patient woman in the world because being apart hurts, badly. Every time I leave I strongly detest leaving her embrace and want to jump out of the taxi and sprint back to her to hug just one more time. Being frustrated at being apart moves me to try and give to her however I can.
I also deal with it by working out. Tearing myself up the gym leaves me feeling calmed and ready to go to work for that day. As I sort of mentioned earlier, after my shift I have only a short window of time to do what I need to before falling asleep, and of all the things listed prior, prayer is the greatest strengthening and assistance in our being apart. Though my prayer may be less than a minute sometimes, because I am so tired, God always props me up and answers my prayers in such great ways.
Did you receive any good advice before you got married?
Lindsay — Marriage is not 50-50. It’s 100-100. You have to give all that you can to your spouse, even when you don’t feel like it. It’s about sacrifice and putting the needs of the other before your own. This is definitely easier said than done!
Also, when Vinnie and I got engaged, my dad told me that if a couple could get through the engagement period, they could get through anything. I didn’t really know what he meant by that until the wedding planning actually began and Vinnie and I were faced with a ton of decisions that we had to make together (from the invitation style, to the food menu, to the Mass readings, and everything in between). It was stressful for me, because I was doing a majority of the planning – the phone calls, the researching vendors, etc – because he was out to sea.
Vinnie — First, my father told me at a very young age, “You need to marry your best friend.” Second, one of my best friends shared with me what his dad told him regarding marriage: “Marriage is sacrifice.”
How do you incorporate God into your marriage?
Vinnie — First in prayer: Prayer in the morning, prayer in the evening, prayer at supper time! Prayer together and then prayer apart. My favorite prayer is asking God our Father to bring us close to Him, that we may grow closer to each other. Really, I struggle, stumble, and fall in being disciplined and giving adequate time to prayer with God. But, I have only been pushing and increasing my limits since being married to Lindsay. I find when I neglect it I am dry and unable to love Lindsay the way I want to, so I turn back to prayer as much as I can. We consecrated our marriage to Mother Mary and I love hearing and sharing the revelations of Mary moving in our lives together. It’s really freaky at times, because the signs are unmistakable when she answers our prayers, but I turn to Mother Mary more and more and fight those parts of myself which I find holding me back from giving all of myself to her servitude. Mother Mary blesses way beyond expectations.
What do you love the most about marriage?
Lindsay — I love knowing that I have a teammate who always has my back. It’s such a cool feeling. And after 4+ years of dating and saving ourselves, it’s so nice to finally wake up next to my best friend!
Vinnie — I have to say ditto on Lindsay’s point, and I will throw in that I love serving Lindsay. From the small to the large acts, this giving of myself brings about incredible fulfillment in life. She really is the light in my darkness, a great motivation, and teammate who supports me in all I am and do. And let’s make the record clear, I throw some hard curveballs at Lindsay that I know she wants nothing to do with, but she always puts herself aside and looks to help support me. I have asked her to go camping (to Lindsay, the idea of camping is to me like walking on a very high tight rope!) at the last minute clear across the country, to cook intricate meals instead of simple ones, to avidly greet and share our lives with complete strangers (this is a difficult thing to ask an introvert), and so many more wild things I ask her to participate in with me.
If you had to write one word to describe your spouse what would that be?
Lindsay — GIVING. Vinnie gives to everyone – spiritually, emotionally, physically. He has this strong desire to be Christ to others – in big and small ways.
Vinnie — FIERCE. Her love and devotion are fierce, her competitive spirit is fierce, and (just the same as mine) her struggle within is fierce. She saved me many times from my self-destructive ways with her love and woe to the person who attempts to harm mama bear’s cubs when we start a family some day.
You just celebrated your 1st anniversary. What did you do to celebrate?
Lindsay — We had an epic weekend filled with tennis, hiking, and eating our 1 year old wedding cake that we had saved in the freezer. The cake was okay….
Vinnie — Slight correction, the cake was surprisingly good for being an entire year old and sitting in a freezer just for us. The roots of family are the meaning of life, so while we definitely had time to ourselves walking through town holding hands and eating delicious fresh made jumbo shrimp for dinner, we also spent time celebrating with family. It’s been a great year!