This summer marks the 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s prophetic encyclical that reaffirmed Church teaching on marriage and the family. This week we’re bringing you several personal perspectives from families who live out the teachings of the Church, especially as outlined in Humanae Vitae.
Today’s featured family: Jeremy and Brittani Boucher met in middle school and married soon after college graduation. They moved to Gallup, NM in 2007. Jeremy works for the Southwest Indian Foundation and Brittani runs a fitness consulting business on the side, on top of homeschooling the family’s children.
Voice of the Southwest: How did you both meet?
Jeremy Boucher (JB): I moved to Montana when I was 12. We met in middle school. Her friend thought I was cute. And we started hanging out.
Brittani Boucher (BB): Everybody goes to the same school.
JB: I was the new kid from California. Long hair.
BB: No Fear shirts! But then we became really good friends.
JB: We pretty much grew up together. We were off and on throughout high school and college.
When you were married, did you think about having a big Catholic family?
BB: Oh yeah.
JB: I’m the oldest of 8. We were inspired by seeing large families.
BB: I was totally inspired, like “this is possible! You can totally do this!”
VoSW: Some may express a negative reaction to large families. How would you answer that?
JB: We hear that all the time.
BB: I tell people, in some ways it’s easier with more. They play together. There’s always something going on – a sports event, a birthday party, there’s really no boredom.
JB: I think a lot of people are thinking about the chaos. Because I hear it all the time, like “oh my gosh, I have my hands full with just two.” We’ve tried to just make our focus the raising of children. Everyone pitches in – they all have their responsibilities. It’s a lot of work, but you kind of spread that out, and the kids are amazingly helpful, and they learn that they’re not the only person in the world.
And you both have hobbies.
BB: Yeah, you just have to make the effort.
Something we have to make a concerted effort about is making our relationship #1. So when you have all this going on, it’s easy to forget –
JB: This is the whole engine driving the whole thing.
BB: And if we’re not good, then nothing is gonna be good. So we have to really make that effort, like date night and not going to bed at 8:00 when you want to.
VoSW: What would you say to people who think the Church’s teaching is stuck in the 50s?
BB: Birth control…is an easy “quick fix” for a “problem”. But the whole being open to life – there’s the unitive and the openness to life and they are tied together.
JB: I get it – I understand how you get stuck in that mindset. But you have to take a few steps back – what are your priorities in life? What are your assumptions about what life is all about? We’ve been blessed with a formation that enabled us to take a step back and say “life is not about having the right stuff”. Catholicism calls you to a radical self-giving. I try to gently challenge people and say “this is what we’ve been called to” and this lifestyle fulfills that essential Christian mission of being radically generous with our lives.
Really, parenthood is what God has called married people to.
BB: You just gotta trust. It’s pretty much day to day, a far as planning for college, or retirement.
VoSW: Since we are in a Diocese that is so poor, what would you say to people who are worried about how they’ll provide?
JB: It doesn’t always work out how we want it to, but it always works out. I think there are cases where it would be imprudent. But that’s what I really love about Humanae Vitae – instead of laying the responsibility on the Church, with a top-down command of “you must have children” – it really shifted the focus to say that married couples have a responsibility to have a spiritual life so that they can actually have a relationship with God and say “looking at our life right now, it’s not God’s will that we prevent pregnancy” or “looking at our life right now, yeah, the Lord understands and it’s part of His will for us to prevent it for a time.” You have to have that spiritual life and recognize that God is in control of the whole thing.
But it’s always worked out. We’ve been continually blessed. We do fine and don’t have many fancy things, but we have what we need, and the kids are comfortable and healthy and happy – more than we could have asked for.
Any final advice?
BB: Have a prayer life.
JB: Get on the same page when it comes to virtue. You as parents have to be working on living more virtuously, and if you do that, it’s naturally going to flow into your children.