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Give your Valentine more than flowers and chocolate

So everyone is talking about romance and love as Valentine’s Day approaches, but what about the other 364 days a year? Are we making time for romance — or at least the occasional night out without the kids — in our marriage on a regular basis? In honor of this holiday (which I don’t particularly like, by the way), here’s a column I wrote in the spring (obvious by the fact that there is no picnicking in Albany at this time of year!). It seemed like a good day to share it again. Here you go. And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Prescription for a better marriage? Start dating.

About eight or nine years ago, my aunt gave me a lovely picnic basket backpack, complete with cloth napkins, plastic wine glasses, everything you’d need for a romantic al fresco meal in a park or on a beach. And every year since then I have considered donating it to a school garage sale because, quite frankly, romantic picnics just weren’t on our “to do” list.

But something stopped me from throwing that backpack into the Hefty bags along with old puzzles and board games bound for the bargain bin. I had a tiny glimmer of hope that some day we would dust off that backpack and take it for a spin. Read more

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Day one of a virtual retreat for couples. Join us!

It’s not too late! If you start right now, you and your spouse can participate in a virtual seven-day marriage retreat that will take you right up to Valentine’s Day. Well, technically it will take you to Friday the 13th, but let’s not go there. Read more

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Music Monday: When You’ve Got Trouble

My new favorite song, discovered on The Coffee House on Sirius/XM, for your Music Monday listening pleasure. Simple, beautiful, spot on. This one goes out to Dennis, my sweetheart. “When You’ve Got Trouble” by Liz Longley:

“All my heart is tangled all around you
When you’ve got trouble I’ve got trouble, too
All my life is arm in arm with you
When you’ve got trouble I’ve got trouble, too” Read more

champagne glasses

Marriage: It’s hard work, if it’s done right

In honor of Sister Anne Bryan Smollin, CSJ, who died last week, I thought I would run this Life Lines column from last July. It was sparked by the marriage workshop she offered in the Albany Diocese. The column also ties in nicely with my chat this morning on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio. I was talking about marriage and faith. At the end of this column is a link to a follow-up piece I wrote called “Prescription for a Better Marriage: Start dating.” Read more

The Song

The Song: An honest, soulful look at this beautiful, messy thing called marriage

Marriage is hard, even under the best of circumstances. Add in some problems, and marriage can feel beyond hard, maybe impossible, as evidenced by the soaring divorce rate. But marriage is also beautiful, a calling to go beyond yourself, if it’s done right. Read more

Picnic backpack
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Prescription for a better marriage: Start dating

About eight or nine years ago, my aunt gave me a lovely picnic basket backpack, complete with cloth napkins, plastic wine glasses, everything you’d need for a romantic al fresco meal in a park or on a beach. And every year since then I have considered donating it to a school garage sale because, quite frankly, romantic picnics just weren’t on our “to do” list.

But something stopped me from throwing that backpack into the Hefty bags along with old puzzles and board games bound for the bargain bin. I had a tiny glimmer of hope that some day we would dust off that backpack and take it for a spin. Read more

Mary on piano
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A romantic getaway 10 minutes from home

Dennis and I decided we wanted a romantic night away from home, but with three kids and busy schedules, we didn’t see how that was going to happen any time soon. And then we had an Aha! moment. We didn’t have to go far to get away. Maybe romance was right around the corner. And so we set out to give ourselves a 16-hour escape only 10 minutes from home. Read more

anniversary roses
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Happy 19th anniversary, amore mio.

Happy anniversary to us, Dennis Poust, even if we have to celebrate apart for the first time in our 19 years of marriage. We’ll make up for it when you get back from Roma.

For the NSS readers out there, I did not toast our anniversary by myself, as the photo to the left might imply. Dennis bought me a dozen roses and we popped a bottle of Prosecco before he left for Italy. The benefit of being apart for our anniversary? We get to have a pre-anniversary celebration and a post-anniversary celebration. We spent the before celebration at The Merry Monk pub in Albany, and we plan to spend our post-celebration at the slinky, sexy Speakeasy, also in downtown Albany.  Read more

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This was our wedding day first

Happy anniversary to us. Sixteen years ago today, Dennis and I were married at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in the Bronx. And what a lovely day it was. Windy, but lovely. Seems like yesterday. Then I look at our three beautiful children and remember it’s been quite a few years since that photo above was taken at our reception.

We went for unconventional. Because we are unconventional. I remember, as I walked across the street from my apartment to the church, an old lady pointing toward me and saying, “That’s the bride?!?” She assumed I was a bridesmaid because I was in a wine-colored velvet dress. Like I said, unconventional.

The Mass was truly the centerpiece of our wedding day. We walked each other down the aisle, and carefully chose every reading, wrote every prayer of the faithful, picked every song. It was everything we wanted it to be. And then we followed it up with a kick-butt Italian dinner at Spoto’s, a Throggs Neck restaurant. The royal wedding’s got nothing on us. I’ll put our day up to theirs any time.

So I look back with so many fond memories, but I look forward, too — to everything that’s still ahead. I married my best friend, who also happened to be my colleague in the Catholic press. What a combo. I have been blessed.

Happy 16th anniversary, Dennis. I love you. As the plaque in our entry says, “Grow old with me. The best is yet to be.” Here’s our wedding song, “Emotionally Yours,” by Bob Dylan: