In 2013, I wrote a post entitled '7 reasons NOT to marry your Byzantine Catholic seminarian boyfriend,' I was informed recently that this post betrayed my bitter and resentful heart, the ranting of a priest's wife who perhaps does not want to be one. As you might surmise, I disagree 100% with my critic and stand by my realistic view of married clergy life. I did feel inspired, however, to write a positive post with no qualifications or cautionary tales. Read my 'don't marry him' post for the other side if you like!
"Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline." G.K. Chesterton
1. Why marry a seminarian? He is bound to be the spiritual head of the household- your own Saint Joseph, protector and provider for your family.
2. You will build character. You will be challenged. You will work on virtue.
3. You can be assured that your husband is constantly praying for grace in marriage and for your salvation. Lots of husbands are like this, but a priest-husband is the best of them all when it comes to prayer for family. He sees the 'wages of sin' up close every day, so a holy priest-husband is alert to attacks from the evil one and prays and uses the sacraments to ward them off.
4. You will build a strong family culture- father, mother and children. Besides confession and financial council meetings, the family will do just about everything with father, helping the church ministry. Your clergy family culture will mean that you all depend on each other because not many other people will understand your life with its triumphs and challenges. You will develop plenty of family culture inside jokes and 'auto-pilot' ways of getting through the week. Family traditions will come about- very different than other families, but good for you! Perhaps Saint Nicholas does not come until the afternoon; this was true for us for about 12 years. We are also blessed to have extended family comprised of devout Catholics because it really is we plus the extended family 'against the world.'
5. You really will be the reason why he is able to minister to people on the saddest, most tragic, worst days of their lives. Knowing that there is a family at home depending on him will motivate him to work hard for the kingdom of God- and for you. Knowing that there is a wife waiting at home with a cup of chamomile tea might make it easier to make a sick call in the middle of the night!
6. You will be honored by being close to God is His sacraments. You will most likely need to be at every marriage, baptism and funeral to support your husband in his ministry. You will probably help at the house blessings as well, seeing families in their natural setting and getting to know them better. Because we borrow space from a Roman-rite parish, we have to reserve the Eucharist in our home for the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy on weekdays during the Great Fast. There is a lot of grace waiting for you and the children there in the little tabernacle.
7. When he is dismissed, discounted, disrespected because of his marital status, you and the children will make it worth it. You, wife of a Byzantine Catholic or Orthodox seminarian, will have a front-row seat to seeing God's grace in action! The sacraments of marriage and holy orders really do work if we let them!