Jennifer Fulwiler is a writer and speaker who converted to Catholicism after a life of atheism. She’s a contributor to the books The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion, and is writing a book based on her personal blog, ConversionDiary.com. She and her husband live in Austin, TX with their five young children, and were featured in the nationally televised reality show Minor Revisions. You can follow her on Twitter at @conversiondiary.
I recently had the pleasure of getting to know Lori Mazzurana, the marketing consultant for the John Paul II Life Center here in Austin. As part of a conversation discussing the many benefits of NaPro Technology for treating infertility, Lori mentioned that she was interested in this technology because she got married when she was over 40 and hoped to have a family. I had a great discussion with her about her experience being single longer than she'd hoped to be, as well as the benefits of marrying later in life. When my single friends caught wind of this they wanted to hear all of her insights, so I suggested that we do an interview for me to post (one of the many dangers of starting up a conversation with a blogger). Our correspondence is below:
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1. Tell us a bit about your life before you were married. What did you do? Did you always know you were called to the married life?
I was a marketing and advertising professional within the U.S. Hispanic market and tourism fields, the later one which involved quite a bit of traveling. In my 20s I overvalued having a career and probably missed out on potential relationships. I always felt called to be married and having children, having grown up in a Catholic family with four other siblings and being around many other large Catholic families.
2. How did you and your husband meet?
Paul and I met through the Catholic church. I was hosting a share group at my home and some mutual friends of ours encouraged Paul, an introverted guy, who was attending another Catholic church, to join our group. I was thirty six and he was thirty one years old. We were friends for years before I realized that Paul was a "prince" -- a devoted, upright and strong faith-filled man and our relationship was becoming more than friends. It also took many years for me to whittle down the "list of requirements for a husband" to realize that Paul was the one. God was pruning me.
3. What was your experience as a single woman in your 30s?
In my thirties, I had reevaluated the importance of my career and God brought me to a Catholic church in Austin, Texas with a very vibrant and faith-seeking young adult group. Of course, I was looking for a husband like all the other single women in the group. It was a wholesome environment where I made long-life friends, but finding the right one within the church group was not happening. During all my thirties I prayed constantly for a husband, and dated a guy who was not a Christian believer for a couple of years. We had to end that relationship because my heart so deeply wanted a faith partner in life.
4. You mentioned that you benefited from NaPro technology when you were trying to have children. Tell us about that.
Paul and I started doing NFP as soon as we got married in 2000; I had just turned forty-one. I had warned him before we got married that I may not be able to conceive children and that we needed to start trying right away since my biological clock was ticking. We went to many OB/GYNs who offered to start me on fertility drugs and treatments, but dismissed seeing my NFP chart. We finally found a wonderful OB/GYN who practiced NaPro Technology. We had one early miscarriage and between him and our NFP counselor, they determined that I needed extra progesterone to help with the implantation of the embryo. This was what helped our pregnancies along and we now have two beautiful boys that are ages 10 and 8.
5. What are some of the benefits to getting married later in life?
The benefits to getting married later in life are numerous. The first one is realizing that my vocation as a wife involves doing everything I can to help Paul get to Heaven which may not be in sync with the priorities of the world. Secondly, is being more mature to know what relationships are important to cultivate as friends for ourselves, the family and children; and which relationships to stay away from. Thirdly, having more wisdom and conviction to raise children with orthodox Catholic beliefs in this world of relativism.
6. What would you say to women in their 30s, 40s, and beyond who feel called to the married life but who haven't met their spouse yet?
Persevere in steadfast prayer. And open yourself to where God may be calling you to changing your requirements in a mate. Some of these requirements were based on worldly values, for example having a husband who was taller than myself and who enjoyed an active social life. I had to let go of some of these and as our marriage has progressed I have seen how fleeting these worldly requirements were in the first place.
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A big thanks to Lori for taking the time to chat with me! You can follow the great work that she and everyone else are doing at the John Paul II Life Center by visiting their website here.