November 7th, 2013 was a cold night, and I was street performing at an art gallery when a REALLY cute girl with a camera approached me, and asked if I would like to be in one of her films. Later that week Zoe and I met at a cafe to discuss the film but instead ended up talking about Theology of the Body. A year and a half later, we are engaged and will be married in three months! Here are three ways TOB has better prepared us for marriage:
1. Understanding God’s Vision for marriage
Have you ever seen a highly acclaimed piece of art-such as Jackson Pollock’s Number 31- and thought to yourself “what’s so great about that?” How about listening to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5? After all it’s just “dun dun dun DUNNNNN!” right? Without coming to an understanding of these artists’ visions, it’s hard for us to appreciate these profound pieces of art. In regards to our bodies and marriage, I believe there is a lack of understanding when it comes to God’s vision.
TOB has opened the door to God’s vision for our bodies and marriage. Pope Saint John Paul II says that “The body, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus be a sign of it.” In marriage, the one-flesh union of a couples’ body and soul will be a visible sign of what we are anticipating and ultimately longing for: all of humanity (body and soul) united in God’s eternal love, also known as HEAVEN! Therefore, mine and Zoe’s marriage on earth will not be our ultimate fulfillment, but a sign that points us to our ultimate fulfillment with God.
2. Co-Creators with God
Zoe is a filmmaker and I am a composer. As artists, our favorite thing to do is create! In both of our fields it is absolutely vital that we collaborate with other artists in order to create successful projects. When we are married, we will have the opportunity to collaborate with a universally renowned artist named God. Some of his most famous works include the earth, the ocean, the sky, and most importantly, Man and Woman. We are inherently creative because we are made in the image of God, and God is creative. When Zoe and I collaborate with God and unite all of our love for each other, we will potentially be able to create new life. THAT IS AWESOME! TOB has helped me not take for granted the creative ability of my body and soul.
3. Embracing Natural Family Planning
Zoe was welcomed into the Catholic Church this past Easter, receiving her first communion and confirmation. Little did she or I know what God had in store for us. A few months into dating, Zoe had told me that she wanted to marry me. At the time our faith journeys were in two different places and marriage meant two different things for us.
For her, I think it was simple. She loved me and wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. For me, it meant asking myself some tough questions: “Can I vow to be open to life? Are we ready to learn Natural Family Planning? Will she still want to marry me after I tell her about NFP?” I explained to Zoe, that in a Catholic marriage you vow to give yourself to each other freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully. I told her that this reflects Christs love for us in His Passion. He offered himself for us on the cross in a way that was free, total, faithful, and fruitful and our union is supposed to reflect this love. I told her that I wasn’t ready to get married because when I get married, I want to give myself totally without reservation, I want to remain faithful to her and my vows, and that I want to be fruitful and open to the children that God could give us. At that time, I wasn’t ready to be open to children which meant I couldn’t give myself totally, and therefore wouldn’t be remaining faithful to her and my vows. She agreed and said that she didn’t want to be open to children at that point either. Luckily Natural Family Planning didn’t completely scare her away (thank God for my NFP-using mom and two sisters!) Five months later we talked again and asked each other more about these vows, two months later I proposed to her and a month later we started learning the Creighton model of NFP.
Zoe and I aren’t even married and we already think NFP is SO COOL! It’s amazing how in tune Zoe has become with her body. A whole new level of intimacy has opened up between us through her learning and understand her body through NFP. I’m excited to have NFP in our marriage because it gets us in touch with our abilities as creative artists and allows us to never reject our creative abilities.
Micah Byers resides in Northridge, CA and attends CSU Northridge as a Media Composition student. He is a film composer and filmmaker currently working on starting a Catholic media production company with his fiance Zoe. He also presents talks to youth on TOB related topics and Catholic teaching. Street performing, talking about TOB, and driving along Highway 1 are his favorite things to do. He is pursuing Certification through the Institute and has attended TOB I & TOB II.