T his fall, Finn is starting his second year of preschool. His moving-up ceremony was in June, and it was a pretty emotional experience for my wife and me. Nicole and I can’t get over how crazy it is that our son is growing up so fast. It’s amazing to watch your child start a new school year. Sure, Finn is only in preschool now, but I am excited for all the awesome things he’s going to learn this coming year. I enjoyed school for the most part, which was a good thing, because being a lawyer meant I had to be in school for a long time. Fortunately, I had the pleasure of taking a number of really valuable, interesting classes over the years. You might be surprised to hear my favorite class had nothing to do with law. One of the best classes I ever took was Theology of Marriage at Santa Clara University. This is a Jesuit school in Silicon Valley, and students need to take three levels of religious courses, covering whatever religion or topic they’re interested in. I was 20 years old at the time, so marriage wasn’t seriously on my radar, but Theology of Marriage was an advanced-level class that I needed and I figured it might be interesting. It ended up being one of the most amazing classes I ever took. I look at marriage in a new light ever since I took that class, and I think that’s a good thing. It made me evaluate the marriages I saw around me and taught me things I try to keep in mind with regard to my own marriage. The three most important things I learned in that course were about selflessness, communication, and commitment. A lot of people say you have to be selfless in a marriage, and they’re right. In order to have a truly happy, beautiful marriage, both parties need to be willing to put the other person’s needs above their own. Additionally, no one is surprised to hear good marriages are built on good communication. A marriage is two very different people with different backgrounds coming together to try to create one family. This means spouses have to do more than talk; they have to try to understand what the other person is saying. REMEMBERING MY FAVORITE CLASS A LESSON IN MARRIAGE
When it comes to commitment, I don’t just mean a person needs to be committed to their spouse as a person, though they certainly do. Having a successful marriage means being committed to the idea of the relationship too. It’s not enough to just dip your toe in the water; you need to be willing to dive in with all your heart. Commitment can be the hardest thing in a marriage. It’s scary to give your whole self over to something, but when you have a partner who is willing to do the same thing, then you don’t have to worry about a thing. One of the most beautiful things about Nicole is how open she is to love and our relationship and our family. She didn’t need a theology of marriage class to teach her the importance of throwing herself into her marriage; that’s how she lives her whole life! Nicole is always teaching me something new about life and marriage, and I never cease to be amazed at how lucky I am to have such a wonderful person in my life. Not every class I took stuck with me like Theology of Marriage — don’t ask me anything about calculus — but there were courses that surprised me just as much. In a way, school can be a bit like marriage. When you go in with an open mind and you’re willing to take some risks, it can be really awesome.
Here’s to all the students and teachers starting a new school year. May you learn something that sticks with you your whole life. –Case Barnett
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