by Lisa Tramontana
Faith Drew This Couple Together
Mauree Harris and Steven Brooksher saw something special in each other when they first met … an inner glow of sorts. It turned out to be a strong faith, something they had in common, something that grew along with their relationship. Both were active in their church, St. Aloysius, and after less than a year of dating, they became engaged. Mauree and Steven are now the parents of three children and recently celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary. They talk about how faith brought them together and keeps them committed to the family they are raising, the love they share, and the life they are building.
Q: What qualities drew you to each other when you first met?
M: I was drawn to Steven the first time I was introduced to him. Aside from his beautiful smile, I was drawn to his confidence, his genuineness and faith. His faith was the most important thing to him, so I knew he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
S: I was drawn to Mauree’s simple beauty. Her faith was very important to her, and she was also passionate about serving those in need. She was very close with the Missionaries of Charity here in Baton Rouge, and I found that really neat. She had a strong sense of her values and beliefs, and I respected that deeply.
Q: Was there a moment that confirmed you had found the right partner/soulmate?
M: After our first date, I went home and told my roommate, ‘If I don’t marry this boy, I don’t know what I’ll do.’ I just knew! He supported my faith, and I never felt ashamed to share my faith with him.
S: I spent a lot of time praying about our relationship as we got more serious. I asked God for a sign that she was or wasn’t the one for me. We traveled on a mission trip to Honduras together, and that was a big confirmation — seeing her servant heart and the love she had for God’s people. After much prayer, I woke up one morning and knew she was the one. Once I knew, there was no need to wait any longer!
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about your marriage?
M: Knowing that I’m never alone. It’s such a blessing to know that around 6 p.m., he will walk through the door and I will no longer be mothering three babies alone. It’s a blessing to be able to go out to dinner with my best friend whenever I need it, to celebrate the joys of life together, to tread through the valleys of life together. I can ALWAYS count on him to find the positive in every situation. I often take this for granted, but Steven is always there for our family.
S: The deep companionship that we share. We are very different in the way we feel and think about situations, but we always are committed to communicating through any challenges, and that helps us grow stronger. Also, I think the opportunity for two to become one is powerful. It can be very challenging to accomplish that, but it is a real blessing.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of marriage?
M: Agreeing to disagree sometimes. We have pretty opposite personalities and ways of doing things. At times it’s a beautiful blend, but other times, it can be difficult.
S: The “dying to self” part. Everyone at some point thinks they’re entitled to take a break, enjoy themselves, do what they want to do. But to be a truly good husband and father, I know that I have to be willing to serve my wife and children, not expecting anything in return. I have to make sacrifices. I have to let go of parts of my personality, parts of myself, so the two (husband and wife) can become one.
Q: You both have careers. How do you keep your life balanced?
M: We hold each other accountable. There are times when one of us has to encourage the other to step away, put work aside, and focus on our marriage and family. It’s not easy, but we know if we put our faith and family first, we will be more fruitful in our workplaces.
S: We have to constantly keep things in perspective. If we place God first, our relationship second, our kids third, and our lives fourth, we can keep that balance.
Q: How do you keep your marriage strong/happy?
M: We take time to be together — just the two of us. We schedule date nights and trips away. These times are good for our souls and for our marriage. We are blessed with parents and good babysitters!
S: Healthy communication, sacrifice and prayer.
Q: What part does your faith play in your marriage?
M: It is our everything. Marriage and parenthood brings us to our knees at times. We are so thankful for the gift our faith. We know where to turn the minute our feet hit the floor and our heads hit our pillows. Our faith is the bond that holds our marriage and family together. It allows us to experience the joy of one another, to forgive one another when we fall short, and to offer encouragement to one another.
S: Faith is the center of our lives. Everything we strive to do comes from our relationship with Christ. We strive to make sure He is at the center of our family.
Q: As parents and Christians, what are your hopes/dreams for your children?
M: I pray that their faith directs their paths, and that they live a fruitful and prudent life. I pray that they are able to experience the joys of life daily, that they are always optimistic and positive leaders among others — that their lights will always shine. I hope they are blessed with dear friends and amazing opportunities throughout their precious lives.
S: I hope they will grow up knowing how wonderful and special they are. That they will come to know Christ in a personal way, and that our love and care for them will help them to feel that.
Q: What advice do you have for couples who may be struggling?
M: Make your faith your first priority. Listen to what the Lord says in prayer, not what the world says.
S: I would say, “Be willing to fight for your family and your marriage.” Place it in God’s hands and remember what Scripture says. The church is the bride of Christ and look what Christ was willing to do. He was willing to die. Couples who are struggling should be willing to fight for the gift of marriage.