Choose Love: Extraordinary Love Stories

Madeline + Markus | Natural Family Planning

August 23, 2019 Choose Love Season 1
Choose Love: Extraordinary Love Stories
Madeline + Markus | Natural Family Planning
Show Notes Transcript

Marcus and Madeline did long distance for years before ever getting married. Right after getting married, they moved across the country and had to restart their lives. Madeline is an entrepreneur and the couple is Catholic. A huge part of their marriage is Natural Family Planning. Madeline is apart of a group of young women who advocate and share their experiences with NFP about the most intimate and sometimes the toughest parts of marriage – sex, fertility and creating families. The couple was interviewed by Ekanem.

You can find Madeline on Instagram @madelinemontee and follow her blog https://www.themonicaministry.com/

Follow us on Instagram for updates at https://www.instagram.com/chooselovepodcast

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to the choose love podcast, a show that Chronicles the extraordinary love of ordinary people. Our hope is that the show will inspire us all to hashtag choose love. The show is presented by Elena Dera , your digital bridesmaid. We're here to take your squad moments to the next level and help curate your bridal style so that you can focus on love. Marcus and Madeline first met in high school and their relationship went from high school to college to married life, but it wasn't all fun and games along the way. One theme held them all the way through and that was their Catholic faith. It stayed tuned to find out what else helped them make it.

Speaker 2:

So I'm Marcus Monte

Speaker 3:

and I'm Madeline Monte and we started dating back in high school. So I guess like officially since 2011 we've been together

Speaker 2:

October 21st, 2011

Speaker 3:

and then we got married in July of 2017 on July 1st

Speaker 2:

yup . Seven one one seven. So where are you guys from? Yeah, so we suppose started off in Jasper, Indiana, which is just a really tiny German town in Southern Indiana. It's like an hour and a half West of Louisville, Kentucky. Um, so we both started off there and then I went to college a year ahead of Madeline . So I went to the university of Kentucky. Um, and a year later Madeline followed Sue . She went to a Marion university, which is a Franciscan school up in Indianapolis. I'm curious about how you first met. The first day we met , um , this is gonna sound super weird. So we were obviously in high school together and I remember the eighth graders would come , um, when they graduated from middle school, they would come to the high school and do like a first band practice with the high school team. So I was actually a freshman going into my sophomore year. She was an eighth grader going into her freshman year. And that's like the first time I remember seeing her. Um, and I actually, one of the buddies, one of my buddies , um, I'd kinda hit him in the shoulder. I'm like, who is this person? And at the time I had no like idea that we would date or anything like that. And I even think about it now and kind of laugh cause Maddie hasn't changed at all. She like , she kind of bounces, like her personality is bouncy. Like when she walks she's very bouncy, she floats is kind of like a princess different enough to like catch my attention, you know.

Speaker 3:

So I honestly remember that day, but I don't remember that day being like a pivotal day in our relationship. One of my favorite memories is, and I love telling this story because for me this is kind of where all started. Um, so Marcus, we were both in band, but he was also in football. And like the cool thing to do was for the guy to ask a girl to wear his Jersey on game day. And so after some band practice, Marcus came over to me and he was like, Hey, you know, would you want to wear my Jersey tomorrow? And I was like, Hey, I , I don't , I did not like know what this meant though. I was very much caught off guard cause I just thought we were good friends. You know, we had just been talking more. Um, just more inside jokes. But then my younger Luke, who was also in band, I, once I got back to the car, I was like, Luke, you know, what does this mean? And Luke was like, Mattie , uh , it means he likes you. And I was just like, not expecting that, but that's kind of where it started. And you know, we started going on some dates from there and the rest is history,

Speaker 2:

you know, it kind of weeks pass , days pass , you know. And I just kinda like, you just went back to living my life and I was dating someone else at the time. And um, basically I think I ended up dating like two or three girls in between , um , before Maddie and I could date. And part of that was , uh , she wasn't allowed to date until she was 16, which honestly, I wasn't either, but I think I kind of broke that rule. But

Speaker 3:

Marcus you should tell him about , um, so Marcus was like my first official date and my dad, you know, this is something that he did with my sister's boyfriend that, you know, and then it's kind of this tradition that my dad needs to like interview the guy before you like take his daughter on a date. And so Marcus, he should tell her about your first encounter with my dad.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I mean it was, it was good. I mean , um, I think you could probably tell him too , cause I'm pretty sure you were listening in the other room pretty intently. Uh , but no, I mean it's just like what Maddie said, you know, we had the kind of this just mano a mano man on man kind of talk or I guess I wasn't a man at the time, but um, anyways, yeah. So he's just like asking me, you know, what are my religious beliefs, what is my GPA? Like, what are my political leanings? And , and I just remember like all these, like just a really deep interview style questions and I would just answer them and I think hopefully I checked all the boxes. I think looking back, I have so, but , um, the interesting thing that sticks out to me in that, in that interview process, if you will , um, so her dad's name's Mark. So Mark asked me , uh, you know, so what is one thing that you know , you really treasure? Um , and I said, so , okay , so I guess I'll choose my truck just because it, you know , represents freedom so I can drive to work, I can drive to school. It allows me to, you know, play football and be in the band. And he said, Oh, that's a good choice. That's a good choice. And kind of pause. And then he says, so mine would be my family. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, I have like, I'm literally like 17 years old, so I'm like not even near , um , grasping like this was more than just a material item question. Right. Um , but he's like monitoring my family and he's like [inaudible] and Madeline is part of that family and she's, and she's so special to me and you know, you need to take care of her and , and you know, just, he just goes on and , um, and it wasn't out of like , uh , an authoritarian type of position. It was out of genuine love and I really respect that , um , because he, he was mad enough to tell me like, Hey, look, I really treasure my daughter and I really want you to take care of her and I expect that from you if you want to date her. So I mean, just level setting from the get go in that relationship was pretty cool. Um , I know a lot of people would be like, no , he's being super controlling and all that, but that's not really how it was at all. I mean, I don't see it like that, so.

Speaker 3:

Okay. So you finally got permission. So then what was your first date like?

Speaker 2:

To be honest. Like I said, I mean, I was just, we were just high school kids, so we went to the local Mexican restaurant. Like that's it. It was nothing glamorous. Um , go ahead.

Speaker 3:

It's definitely still a favorite restaurant today when we're back home. It's, it's the best.

Speaker 2:

Yep . So , uh, honestly I think, I think I just asked her out probably at school. I don't even remember. Um, I don't think she does either. But yeah, I just asked her out and came to pick her up, had the interview, then we rolled over to the Mexican restaurant and I'm pretty certain I ran out of gas. Um , was that the same date or , I think that might've been a different , might've been a different date. But anyways, her back to the Mexican restaurant was like literally five minutes from my house. So anyways. Yeah, no , that was it. I mean there was nothing spectacular. Um, I think I, the funny thing is though is like there's , we had gone back to that restaurant a couple of times after and she liked that she orders the same thing. And to this day she gets the same thing in Mexican restaurants, no matter where we are. But she always used to be a beef burrito with like a dr pepper. And then she always bends the straw. And it's so funny,

Speaker 1:

Marcus and Madeline went from high school love to college love, but there was a problem.

Speaker 3:

So not long after we started dating, Marcus went off to college. And actually that same summer I went to Spain to study abroad for that summer. So we became, you know, a long distance couple. Very shortly after started dating after Marcus went off to college, I went off to college the year after and we went to universities in different States. So during that time, you know, we'd only get to see each other maybe once a month where we go visit each other for a day, you know, either I'd drive to Kentucky or if he'd come to Indiana. And , um, but always having like our faith to really hold us together and just getting to grow in that over time and just through all of life's lessons, you know, always being able to come back to that. And, you know, having our marriage in , you know, now be , be centered on that. Um, I think that really helps us as we, you know, since getting married have moved across the country to South Carolina and you know, have , um , really started to move up in our careers and get our first town . So just, you know, a lot of change and transition. But like through all of that, you know, I think, you know, at the center of our relationship is our love for each other, but it's a love rooted in Christ, which I think it makes all the difference. Correct.

Speaker 1:

So the long distance challenge was partially met by the fact that the two of them had a shared faith. And of course their love. Marcus communicated that there was a special challenge, which is that the two of them had very different love languages. Maddie needs time and words of affirmation and Marcus needs acts of service. So I asked him how he was able to learn to communicate to bridge the gap daily call

Speaker 2:

also . I mean I think we literally talked once a day for like 15 half an hour. Um, texting , uh , Skyping, like trying to do like Skype dates, but it's just the stuff that everyone does. I even think Madeline went as far as writing letters. Um, so I probably did enough to return the letters. But other than that, I don't think I was super special. Um, she was always really good about writing letters. Um, but yeah, I mean it , it's nothing glamorous. It's sexy. It was just the phone calls and occasional text messages and just , um, you know , just doing our part to check in with each other and just share our day. And I'm learning how to share my day cause I never had that or never really knew what that meant. Right. But that was important for her to like know , like what am I learning? And just trying to walk the life with me. Like, even though we're in separate situations and separate geographical locations, like just learning how to include her even though she's not physically present with me, like so that she can also like kind of grow with me.

Speaker 3:

When Marcus mentioned that I wrote letters, I remember that summer that I went to Spain, I actually before I left I wrote Marcus a letter for every single day that I would be gone that summer and I had my mom like deliver them to his mailbox. But I just wanted him to know that I loved him. You know, for me communication is something that maybe just comes more naturally or I just have more of a natural desire for that communication. But I also think we learned how to set good boundaries. I think we had great memories, you know, with our friends and our given you know, situations. But we could still be growing in our relationship at the same time. And I think that was a blessing for sure.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And something about long distance to that on the positive side of long distance, like in addition to increasing your ability to communicate in addition to increasing your, I guess really your empathy for each other. Um , and then situations that you're in remotely. Um, one other really neat thing is it really teaches you to value your time with the other person. You know, we were both working in school and you know, I was a resident advisor, she was resident advisor, so we really couldn't leave campus on the weekends, at least not every weekend. So we might get to see each other like once every six weeks. And even though it was just for like a day, once every six weeks, we made the most out of that day. You know, like we, we like had the whole thing planned and like we just would go do so many different things. We jammed so much into that just single day, you know.

Speaker 3:

Wow. So years of jam pack , two dates and long distance communication, how did you guys get engaged?

Speaker 2:

Uh, the day that we got engaged was actually like one of those days, right? It was one of those days that, you know, it was my senior year of high , uh, excuse me, senior year of college is junior year for her. And you know , um, it was the spring, so I don't know . So I went to the school at the university of Kentucky. I studied engineering there and um, there was this kind of in the springtime, they'd always start the horse races , um , at Kingman, which is one of the, like the premier thoroughbred race tracks, you know , in the world. Um, so my, like growing up with a lot of my family involved with horse racing and all that kind of thing , um, you know, I always tried to make an attempt at least to go and see some of the , the opening day races, whatnot. So anyways , so Madeline comes down and you know, we've got this whole day planned and you know, first we're going to go , uh, we're going to , we're going to go get lunch at this really like neat little hole in the wall restaurant, like out in the country. And then we're gonna co go over to Kean land and , and watch the horse races. And um , then we're going to go to, you know, Woodford reserve and do a bourbon distillery tour. So later that night, like Madeline always wanted to um, go to like a nice restaurant and like dress up, which if you know me at all, I hate dressing up anyway . So we get this reservation at a really nice like steak house in downtown Lexington and you know , I had all this planned. She, she's just kinda along for the ride this day. Like she , I didn't let her help me plan anything cause obviously we're going to , I'm going to propose leadership and I know that. So after the steakhouse I kind of like do an impromptu or what she thinks is an impromptu thing and I'm like, Hey, do you want to go over to like the adoration chapel and you know, just pray. I mean it's, you only have a couple of hours left for you have to leave because she was going to op , of course she was going to leave at like midnight and then get back to her dorm room probably at like three 30 in the morning, which is the usual on these kind of days . But anyways, so I'm like, yeah. She's like, yeah, sure, let's do it. We haven't , we haven't done anything like spiritual today or whatever. We haven't really , um , had the opportunity I guess. So let's, let's make the most of it. Let's go. So on the way. So we walked to the car and you know, I said, Hey, let's, let's pay the rosary that way when we get there, you know, we're kind of already in the mindset and we're already kind of ready to keep praying. So we get in the car and I kind of like had to strategically like map out , um, like ahead of time, like how long, how long it would take to pray the first four decades of the rosary. So that by the time we got to the chapel, we were ready for the fifth and final decade, which for those of you that don't know, a decade of the rosary is just 10 home areas. Um, you know, started by an our father ended by a glory be. So anyways, once we arrived to the chapel , um , she didn't know this, but I had , uh , a couple of friends, really, really good friends , um, kind of prepare the chapel. So they had put like, I don't know, hundreds of like little tea light candles that were lit up. So this whole chapel is like , um , first of all, we wouldn't even normally we wouldn't even able been able to get inside. So they unlocked the door, like with the priest permission and everything. Right. And we have all these two , two lit candles, like all the way up to, you know , the tabernacle where the Eucharist is captain. Uh , basically like when we went inside, like she obviously knew something was going on. Right. So she's, what did you say?

Speaker 3:

I honestly was very caught off guard. I did , I thought it was just like always like that. I was like, wow, this is like really a beautiful.

Speaker 2:

Um, so we walk in and we go to the chapel and , um, we like going for the tabernacle and she's kinda like, just star struck at this point I think. And then I get down on one knee and I proposed her in front of the Eucharist, in front of the tabernacle. And you know, I think you can even say yes. You said, of course.

Speaker 3:

So now fast forward and tell me about your wedding day. Yeah. So Marcus and I got married on July 1st in 2017 and you know, the most important part of this wedding , um, wasn't like the wedding day necessarily. It was the marriage that was to follow. And so , um, you know, wedding planning was really fun and it wasn't a crazy stressful process. You know, we just wanted to make sure the mass, like the wedding mass was really special. And , um, you know, we got to pick out the readings that was read in the songs and we got to ask, you know, our family to be a part of the mass and a father Christian presided at the mass who we have a really close relationship with. So, you know, we really wanted just that, that special time to start our marriage, you know, in Christ, in mass and with all of our family and friends. Yeah. And um, you know, then we had a reception at one of the local venues in our small town in Southern Indiana and um , it was just a beautiful day. Okay. So another fast forward after you guys got married, what was your next big talent? So Marcus and I moved to Charleston, South Carolina almost two years ago now, which is kind of crazy how quick time goes. But , um , you know, we loaded down my car and his old Ford ranger with all of our stuff and we headed East and we lived in an apartment for our first year here. And you know, I think just like journey and across the country of Marcus had this idea that , um, we could have walkie talkies, like be able to like keep in touch that way. Cause Marcus his truck was like maybe a little bit overloaded and like I almost needed to be like a set of eyes. Um , so we, that journey was kind of fun and crazy. But then , um, once we got to Charleston , uh, you know, just learning how to live together and , um, like share a space and, you know , um , Marcus has a very particular way that he likes the dishes done. And so like ,

Speaker 2:

well, just to , just to clarify on that, have a very particular way because it's the right. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

Oh, okay. Okay. Uh, so, you know, just learning each other's like little quirks and like, and preferences and also just as a , as newlyweds, just learning , um, like how to create our own family traditions. You know, now that we're in a whole new place and on our own and how to find our home parish here in Charleston and how to meet new people and make friends. Um, you know, all those things, you know, it's definitely been a learning experience , uh , just adulting. Um, but getting to do that together and um, I think it's created a lot of opportunity for growth for us because we're, you know, initially we were in this whole new place where we didn't know anyone and everything was new. And so , um, you know, just learning how to be on our own in a sense away from family. Um, you know, that really just helped us to grow in our independence and just get to really make this art home and start, you know, kind of forge our own class .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And to see , to kind of continue that story on a little bit. So after we, after we had, you know , rented an apartment for a year, then we actually bought a house and we bought a house to be remodeled. And I'm going to always say this for the rest of my life, the people that, you know, two young people that by themselves plan to renovate a house together are either really, really brave or really stupid because it so much. It's so, it's so many ways remodeling a house together and like living in the midst of the construction together for like a year, which some things are still not done. I still haven't put blinds up, so like that's kinda weird. But um, but like living in that state of construction for a year and Oh my gosh, like that will bring you close together as we both work full time. But , um , she works from home. So like, she actually had to, you know, live in the midst of the construction like 24, seven or Mark has got to like escape to work where he didn't have to think about like all the saw this on the floor or like, you know, the fact that we don't have a lighting fixtures up or the fact that like, whatever, you know, like she , so she really had to be patient because she was in the midst of it. 24, seven. So I'm an, I'm a manufacturing engineer. I work for a company that makes diesel engines. I'm actually here in Charleston. They make turbochargers. Um , and Madeline you want to say?

Speaker 3:

Yeah . So I'm a sales director with Mary Kay. All right. So what are your plans for your family? So we are, I feel like we're in this stage right now where we're really excited to start our family, but just praying you never just the right time. Um , kind of a fun fact. We are going on this Bahamas cruise in the fall and I'm like, well maybe we should like wait until after the cruise cause I'm pretty sure you can't be pregnant and go to The Bahamas. So it's kind of just a matter of time now because we have been married for a little over two years now and just feel really ready now that our feet are a little bit more , um , on the ground and we feel a little bit more settled. Um , I think we're really excited for that next chapter and I know Marcus is going to be an incredible dad. Um, but yeah, just kind of a matter of time, but it's definitely something we talk more and more about. Tell me a little bit more about that. That sounds like it might be an even bigger challenge than moving house. That is a really good question. So I think part of our story that is important to share is that we practice natural family planning , um, which is just a , um, a way for you to monitor your health and fertility as a woman. And , um, you know, not using any birth control or , um, contraceptive, but just really , um, you know, tracking your cycle. And, you know, this is something that my friend reached out to me about , um, when Marcus and I got engaged and you know, she was like, Hey, you know, Maddie , have you heard of NFP? Is that something you'd like more information about? And I really didn't know a lot about it until, you know, having my first intro session with her and I was so grateful to start tracking my fertility and health leading up to our marriage. So that way I, you know, really had a good understanding, you know, for when Marcus and I were married and you know, we're either trying to achieve or avoid a pregnancy. Um , but what people might not know is that natural family planning is not just for married people that are , um, you know, trying to discern when to start their family. You know, for me as a woman, it really gave me great insight into my health and even some health challenges. Um, the I've, you know , really discovered and been diagnosed with in the last year or so. And one of those is that I have low progesterone and , um, that is something that there were different biomarkers, you know, from charting my cycle that I was like, I'm pretty sure I'm low in progesterone just from seeing this. And I'm observing that. And when meeting with my OB here in , um, in Charleston for the first time, she's like, well, let's, let's get your some blood work done to figure out what your progesterone levels actually are. And , um, the blood work came back and the nurse was saying how a healthy progesterone level is between eight and 12. And mine came in at two. And to me like this was simultaneously like hope giving, but also like really, really frustrating. Because what I was chatting with my OB about before getting this blood work done was that about six months prior I was diagnosed with depression and was on an antidepressant. And that kind of came out of nowhere. But I really saw the effects of that just, you know, personally, you know, just the low mood and low energy and any know . Marcus was definitely aware of that going on as well. But um, in between that diagnosis and that first meeting with my OB, my friend Catherine , who is actually a natural family planning at practitioner , uh , we were chatting and she was saying how she actually , um , suffers from a depression and it is actually in large part due to her low progesterone. And for me it was like red flags were going off because I was like, wait, like, I'm pretty sure I'm low in progesterone and I know that I've got, you know, low serotonin. I know that, you know, I'm suffering from depression, but you know, I actually, after getting that blood work back and talking with my OB, I was diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which is essentially PMs. So severe a leading up to your period that it causes a major depressive event. And so , um, she then put me on a progesterone supplement and we've just been working on getting those dosages right. Um, ever since. But I'm just like so grateful for natural family planning and how, you know, that's been wonderful for Marcus and I, you know, as we been newlyweds and just kind of getting settled and our new life in South Carolina and kind of wanting to wait a little bit before getting pregnant. But you know, for me and uncovering those health issues, you know, that really, you know, it has been a challenge in our marriage in a sense because of low mood and energy and just how that impacts me on a daily basis. I just had no idea, you know, how essential progesterone was, you know, for my day to day life. I mean, I knew it was essential for sustaining a pregnancy, but I mean, just to , to understand why things are happening the way that they are and just how connected everything is, you know, that and just the journey of healing, you know, total and complete healing. Um, and that's just one of, of several health challenges that I've been kind of working through. But just, you know, how Marcus has been there with me through that and been so patient and understanding. Um, I've been so grateful for that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And one thing I'd like to add , um, just in the, in our relationship overall, I mean, it's been years now and I know it's really easy to see , you know , paint a picture that like everything's super positive and rainbows and whatever butterflies. But , um, I mean we've really, it's been real life, you know, like we both had trials and tribulations. I mean, it's been , um, there've been, even in our courtship, there've been so many difficulties , um, that we've just overcome together. And I guess over these past few years, and the biggest lesson that it's taught, you know, me and Madeline, Madeline and I , um, is that no matter what, like I love conquers all.

Speaker 1:

Marcus and Madeline have built such a beautiful foundation for their family, their commitment to learning each other's love languages, communicating in the right way, long distance and listening to each other when they were facing challenges like moving across the country and have made them stronger than ever. We can only wish them all the best. You can follow Madeline on Instagram at Madeline Monte and her blog, the Monica ministry.com which is dedicated to sharing Christian Love, hope and knowledge with newlyweds, experienced wives, and single lady like the podcast. Make sure to share it with your friends. It's available on all major podcast providers. Just search for the choose love podcast. I'm Mechanica Bina and thanks for listening.