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Love, marriage, faith, and family

July 5, 2023

By Suzanne Pietropaoli
Co-Director, Diocesan Natural Family Planning Office

In 2016, the couple met on a blind date. One year later they married with their eyes wide open.

Tyler and Megan Bourgeois were introduced by mutual friends who convinced each that the other “would be a good match because we were Catholic.” And in fact, the matchmakers got that exactly right, the couple explains as they reflect on their relationship.

From the beginning, “We just connected well. It was good to know we were both Catholic, and that faith would not be an obstacle,” they observe. “We both agreed that faith is the most important aspect of a strong marriage. We were excited to start a relationship, to have a partner, someone on your team – who, yes, is a different person, but has the same worldview and values.”

Tyler and Megan were married October 13, 2017, at Megan’s home parish of St. Stephen’s in Croghan. Their common commitment to faith and teamwork has strengthened their relationship and deepened their love. It has also proved foundational for appreciating the joys and surviving the sorrows that have come their way as they settled into marriage and started a family.

“Marriage,” they offer, “has been what it is supposed to be. We have had some really beautiful and exciting times. The births of our children – Meredith 4 ½; Elizabeth 2 ½; and Ambrose 3 months – of course stand out for us! It’s been a great blessing to have our little kids; they’re fun, energetic, and funny to watch! The innocent joy that children have is such a beautiful thing to witness. Of course, it can be challenging, three kids under five, when they’re all having a bad day, or are mad, or crying, or pestering each other – no fun. We’re working on growing in virtue, especially in patience. But we see the great blessing that a family is.”

“Sometimes it’s really great, others not so much. But at the end of the day, we are on the same page with the important things; we are a team. Whatever we are going through, we’re not going through it alone. It really is a blessing to know that you have a solid teammate to face those challenges with. If we simply put first things first – the Church, living our faith well with our family, and embracing Catholic traditions all week and all year long – then we don’t have to feel alone. And of course we think that is what marriage is supposed to be: the struggles are supposed to make you better!”

The couple speaks openly about their toughest struggle.

“The biggest challenge we have faced is losing two babies through miscarriage. We lost both Emmanuel René and Gabriel Frances in the same year. Of course, there is no resolution to something like that, but we just generally leaned into our faith and all the beautiful wisdom of the Church. She really is an expert in humanity, and there is so much she can help you with if you know it is there and seek it out.”

But this is not a merely theoretical approach to grieving the loss of beloved children.

“From the practical perspective, we keep their memories alive. During the summer, when the cemetery is open, we often visit Emmanuel after church on Sunday. The girls talk to him at his grave, tell him about their week, and then get ice cream. We also ask both Emmanuel and Gabriel to pray for us at the end of Grace before meals and at the end of night prayers.”

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