By Peter Baugher
Brian and Courtney Kissinger kicked off the second Gift of Human Sexuality Symposium on marriage and family life Sept. 3 in the Gentile Gallery at 9 p.m.
Courtney, a self-described “lawyer-turned-teacher-turned-mom”, and Brian, director of presidential relations at Franciscan, were married in 2012 and have five children.
Brian spoke on his life starting in high school, discussing his relationships with various women and emphasizing the lack of peace he found in them.
Also beginning with her high school years, Courtney said that before getting married, she dated several men and failed to find the fulfillment she was looking for.
After graduating from law school, Courtney said she started dating a guy and moved to Washington D.C. to live near him while Brian was living close by in Northern Virginia as a youth minister.
After breaking up with her boyfriend, Courtney said that she began teaching math at a Catholic grade school, which happened to be the school attended by Brian’s nephew.
The future Kissingers said they officially met at a retreat led by the Rev. Dave Pivonka, TOR, and began dating soon afterward. The couple stated that they felt at peace from the beginning of the relationship.
While marriage has been a gift for them both, Brian added, it does not come without sacrifice and suffering.
“My biggest problems are God’s biggest blessing,” said Brian, adding that the blessings God gives, such as children, are greater than the challenges they bring.
The couple also said that many of the struggles in marriage originate from the flaws of the people in the relationship, as marriage is a daily reminder of these flaws.
The Symposium, according to the Rev. Jonathan St. Andre, TOR, grew out of the effort by Franciscan University professors, friars and other leaders to publish the
Compendium on Human Sexuality.
The idea, according to St. Andre, is for speakers to help students attending the Symposium to gain a better understanding of the gift of human sexuality.