Couple’s purity in dating becomes fruitfulness in marriage

| Susan Klemond for The Catholic Spirit | May 21, 2015 | 0 Comments
Sexual purity in dating helped Dan and Sarah Driver, pictured here on their wedding day in June 2014, to make God the center of their married life and be open to children, they said. Courtesy Dan Driver

Sexual purity in dating helped Dan and Sarah Driver, pictured here on their wedding day in June 2014, to make God the center of their married life and be open to children, they said. Courtesy Dan Driver

Dan and Sarah Driver come from polar opposite backgrounds: She grew up in a strong Catholic family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and never left the faith, while he received less Catholic formation in Reading, England, and then adopted a hedonistic lifestyle until his conversion.

“Dan’s conversion was pretty radical,” Sarah said. “Mine was ‘I still love Jesus and now I love him more.’”

When the couple started dating in 2013, they didn’t meet in the middle but in the Church, each bringing insights from their past to their understanding of Catholic teaching on marriage.

Now married, they say Christ is at the center of their sacramental union giving them the grace to be faithful to each other and open to life. Practicing natural family planning has helped them grow in intimacy, communicate better and gain greater knowledge of their bodies.

Parishioners of All Saints in Minneapolis, the Drivers also see the recent birth of their first child, Athanasius, representing a beautiful new part of a great adventure of living with the Lord.

The Drivers met while working at West St. Paul based-NET Ministries. Because of the organization’s dating policy, they waited a year and a half to date and then set clear boundaries for intimacy in their relationship.

Setting boundaries “was really key to maintaining the values we knew intellectually and living them out,” said Dan, 29.

As the relationship progressed from dating to engagement, they entrusted more to each other. Dan had received grace since his conversion more than seven years ago, he said, but still needed healing for past sexual relationships.

“There’s a great intimacy there that is based on my woundedness,” he said. “Because of that, communication is free around everything else, because everything else pales in significance to her bearing a cross with me, and carrying me when I’m carrying my cross.”

Carrying that cross is a privilege, said Sarah, 25, quoting from the nuptial blessing in the wedding Mass: “May her husband entrust his heart to her.”

Sarah said she gave Dan the purity promise card she’d carried in her wallet since she was 14 on their wedding day, but learned about purity from him because he hadn’t tested her. By upholding each other’s dignity they were called on to greater purity and love, Sarah said.

Taking natural family planning classes during their engagement represented a milestone in their relationship as they gained more knowledge of Sarah’s reproductive physiology.

“[NFP] gives me a way that I can love her in times of fertility and non-fertility,” Dan said.

Sarah said openness in an intimate part of their lives makes her feel comfortable talking about other important — but potentially contentious — topics, such as finances, their dreams, failings and how to love in other ways. They pray for guidance on what to bring to each other, she added.

They experience Christ in the sacramental element of their marriage and find stability and truth, Dan said. If they’re not living their wedding vows and frequenting the sacraments, the relationship suffers, Sarah added.

God is first in their relationship, followed by each other, their son and then the world, Dan said. God wasn’t at the center of his previous relationships, Dan said, but he believes he was still guided by love, even if he didn’t see birth control as a destruction of life.

Now, their life as a couple and parents is the most convincing witness for living the Church’s teaching, he said.

“Now we have this child that has shifted the paradigm of our whole experience of life in a most beautiful way,” Dan said. “Being able to give yourself fully to another is a beautiful thing that you kind of pass up a little bit when you’re practicing contraception. The richness of a relationship where you’re entrusting your heart and your bodies fully to each other is like no other.”

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The meaning of human sexuality

In partnership with the publications of all Minnesota dioceses, The Catholic Spirit is launching an 11-part series on families based on the meeting’s 10 themes.




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Category: World Meeting of Families