Andrew and Angie Bull share something of their journey travelled and lessons learned...
Angie: I was brought up in Dublin, Ireland and from the age of 7 my parents became involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Andrew was brought up in The Hague, The Netherlands and ever since he can remember his parents were involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal as well. Our paths crossed when we both moved to London (Andrew for university and me with my family).
Andrew: Yes, that’s right – I remember meeting Angie for the first time as she wafted into a prayer meeting at the University of London Union building. I was immediately smitten, although it probably took Angie a little longer to get used to the idea of me! Angie went away for a gap year of service and discernment in the USA whilst I completed my Teacher Training degree and lived with a lay monastic order (or ‘urban monks’ as they have been described in the press!) Upon her return we promptly got engaged and in the summer of 2000 the wedding bells tolled.
Angie: Our wedding day was fantastic! Andrew's Uncle (who is a priest) conducted the marriage and we even had a priest friend turn up unexpectedly at the altar who had been able to return from New Zealand early to be there. Many of our friends participated in different ways in the celebration and the musicians who gathered from around the globe were amazing. My father joked about our reception being the first one to be held in a sauna (the hall had no air-conditioning!) since it was stiflingly hot! We couldn't wipe the smiles off of our faces all day long, our cheeks were sore when we got to the hotel. We remember having a glass of wine and talking for ages about the day to make sure that we didn't forget any bits.
Andrew: As all young couples do we spoke about children, how many we might have, names and when we would plan on having them. After two years of marriage Angie became pregnant and we were so excited. Little did we know the emotional roller coaster that awaited us over the coming months with the birth and death of our first son, Peter Andrew. Peter Andrew was diagnosed with Trisomy-13 and Dandy Walker Syndrome whilst in the womb which meant that his chances of survival were very slim. We welcomed him into the world on the 19th October, 2002 and gave him back to our Lord two days later. God blessed us during the build up to his birth and in the days, weeks and months that followed with a tremendous gift of faith and unity. We rejoiced that we were able to hold and care for him and were saddened that we would be unable to see him grow and develop. Now 10 years later we have a mad household with 5 very lively children. God is good!
Angie: Being married is more than just sharing a home together. We laugh together (a lot), we cry together (less often), and we argue (rarely). We are a part of a Covenant Christian Community, Antioch, which means we share our lives with other Christian families and friends. We do this through prayer, serving each other and supporting each others’ faith. We are also very blessed that we have many of Andrew's family who live around us. We spend a lot of time together. We are also active members in our local parish community which means our daily life is filled with people of faith! It is so important to have this amazing community around us for their support, friendship and prayers.
Andrew: Our faith has been deepened greatly by the many challenges that have been thrown our way. God continues to provide the grace that is needed for us as a couple and a family to remain strong and focused on Him. Matthew 7:7 states "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." In our experience God has always provided the grace needed when we needed it most - we only had to ask! When we got married Uncle David spoke about our married journey being akin to two climbers climbing up a mountain and being 'inextricably linked to each other by a strong cord', this being God. We wouldn't be here 12 ½ years later without God's blessing on our lives and that of our children.
Our Top Tips for Marriage.
1. Key phrases: "You were right. I was wrong. I'm sorry. Please forgive me."
2. Laugh (a lot)
3. Don't forget to actually say, "I Love You"
4. Stop an argument before it escalates
5. Be open, listen to each other.
6. Pray together.
7. Serve each other / serve together.
8. Don't keep score.
9. Spend time together.
10. Share your life with others.
Andrew and Angie Bull