Catholic, Marriage, Parenting

Life isn’t a slow cooker, it is war

My favorite kitchen appliance is the crockpot. I can do all my dinner prep at noon, just open the lid at 6pm and voila! A pleasant and flavorful meal! (I hear the instant-pot is even better. Husband, if you are reading, take this as a hint.) Set it and forget it, man. Not having to spend the hour leading up to dinner in what often becomes a mad rush is a welcome break from the magnificent insanity that is family life.

This past year, I have also done some early prep for my marriage. I’ve run across some exceptional marriage blogs (Sheila Gregorie’s is my favorite) and speakers (Dr. Laura, hey hey!) and I figured that I would get all the harsh realities out of the way here at the beginning. I think my unconscious goal was to be a low-key marriage expert by the time 2018 rolled around, so I could just slow cook all my wealth of wisdom until the next crisis hit. Don’t laugh, I’m a millenial. I’m allowed to be ridiculous every now and then, right?

I’ve read some great posts and books, heard some great tips, and used an awful lot of them. But guess what? I still don’t know jack squat, and I have to keep doing “marriage prep” every single day, no matter what amount of reading I’ve done the day before. Every day of the three beautiful years I’ve spent with my husband have brought their own challenges, and every day of the seventy-two plus years left will have their own too.
When I “set and forget” my marriage, one or the other of us inevitably ends up feeling unheard, unimportant, and insignificant. Its the same with my boys. When I think I can just coast as a mom, since I have it all figured for whatever stage my boys are at, they act up and end up demanding even more attention. At work, when I put the Mass on auto pilot, the music comes across very flat and uninspiring, even though I could literally do it all with my eyes shut (Ah, there’s the famous Long modesty).
G. K. Chesterton says that, “Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.”

He’s 100% right. A husband and wife fight together (hopefully on the same side!) against myriads of forces bent on pulling them apart and destroying the life they build together. The reading and listening is good strategizing, but it is just that. It won’t win you the war. Only the choices you make and the actions you take every single day will do that for you.

Photo by Devanath (2017) via Pixabay

I would argue that every vocation is like war. I’ll never be able to have all the hard work done. People are constantly changing and growing. Each day brings with it a unique cocktail of circumstances unlike the day before. And if we are doing things right, we will always be fighting against those who would keep us from getting ourselves and loved ones to heaven.

Ephesians 6:12
Copyright Hilary Thompson (2017) All rights reserved.

We can’t all be St. George, or St. Joan of Arc. But we all can pray and fight for the courage and strength to win every day’s battles. So for now, I’ll save the life hacks for the kitchen and stop trying to take shortcuts with the things that truly matter.


september 9, 2019 - 2-00 pm - findlay residence (12)


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