Whenever a relative asks why I’m not married, my stock answer is that I can’t fathom ever sharing my remote control. There’d have to be two TV rooms in any home I share with someone. But that doesn’t mean I don’t admire other marriages. I look in awe at my parents’ marriage, those of my friends, and other family members. It can’t be easy.
Another marriage I admire from afar is the union between Greg and Jennifer Willits. Listeners of SiriusXM’s The Catholic Channel know full well that the Willitses, hosts of “The Catholics Next Door,” aren’t at all shy about displaying/celebrating their family’s highs and lows. Greg and Jennifer, who have been married since 1995, are the proud parents of four sons (Sam, Walter, Ben, and Tommy) and one daughter (Lily). They are also the authors of The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living (Servant Books).
Imperfect is right. Longtime fans of the couple know their platform of marriage, child-rearing, and finding time for God in between can be inspiring, funny, and very real. It’s a balancing act to which many couples relate.
“We feel we’ve nailed down the imperfections perfectly,” Jennifer says with a laugh. “We struggle. And then as soon as we find the balance, something will change in the dynamic of the family that we’ll have to create a new balance.”
Jennifer, in particular, finds comfort in reaching out to other mothers who wrestle daily with the messes of everyday life.
“We can grow together, we can confide in each other, lift each other up, and pray with each other. And all of this occurs in between Mass. You don’t stop being a Catholic when you leave the parking lot on that Sunday afternoon. You’re a Catholic 24/7.” That desire to lead Catholic lives and deepen their understanding of the faith is a bond Jennifer and Greg share. It’s also a de-sire they hope to pass on to their children.
“As we’ve started having children, as we’ve started to take on new careers we began to realize the importance of our faith. We want to know more about it. And if we’re going to live it, we’re living it out to the fullest,” Greg says.
What the Willitses embrace is that they are a work in progress. As they say in their book, “We’re not the best, but we want to get there.” And so they continue to try. Because as Greg says, “Striving for holiness: that’s the whole purpose of being Catholic—to be a saint here on this earth.”