Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 25, 2008
‘We love being married,’ says couple
After 22 years and five children, Kieftenbelds are having a great time
By RAMON GONZALEZ
“The best thing parents can do for their kids is really love each other.”
- Perry Kieftenbeld
Perry is pastoral assistant and youth minister for four parishes in the Sturgeon Region: St. Peter’s in Villenueve and the missions of Calahoo, Mearns and Riviere Qui Barre.
“If you want your kids to have a great relationship or treat their spouses well be that example,” she told the couples. “During our baptism course we always said, ‘the best thing parents can do for their kids is really love each other. It gives (the children) security.”
The Kieftenbelds believe married couples need to show youth that their married life is fun and exciting. The couple is constantly looking for new adventures to keep things exciting and they always make a point of showing that they care for each other.
“Harv and I give each other a kiss when we meet or say goodbye no matter where we are or who we are in front of,” Perry told her audience. “It’s great; it usually grosses the youth out and they tell us to get a room but they get the idea and see that we care for each other.”
Serving the Church and the community as a couple is a good example for young people because it illustrates the strength of the marriage, said the Kieftenbelds, who have led youth delegations to World Youth Day, taken young people to Jamaica to serve the poor and on hiking expeditions to the mountains.
At each youth event, the couple shares the joy of being together and with their young charges. When the Kieftenbelds returned from World Youth Day in Germany, one young pilgrim told them she really admired their relationship and wanted to have a relationship just like theirs when she got married.
“We have to show our youth that we are having fun together and that we like being together,” Perry said. “See, I consider Harv to be a gift to me from God and any of the youth that do things with us see that too.”
The Kieftenbelds said they have had several youth from the community approach them to see if they would consider leading them during World Youth Day in Australia. Why? “Not because we are so cool and wear long hair and earrings but because we accept them where they are; because we are in relationship with them.”
When you present anything to the youth you don’t have to be cool or grow your hair long, the Kieftenbelds said. “We believe that you just have to be present for them; be in relationship with them, accept them.”
Often young people think marriage is boring, but the Kieftenbelds beg to differ and their lifestyle shows this. “After following Harv up and down the mountains, travelling, skiing, canoeing, driving and camping in the Yukon, dragging canoes with us I haven’t been bored one day of my married life,” Perry bragged.
Some of the best advice Perry was ever given came from a priest, who told her to drop the kids and kiss the husband when he returns from work. “The kids will be gone when they reach 18 and if you don’t know who each other is because you gave everything to your kids then you are lost, living with a stranger.”
The priest also recommended the couple date and they still do. “Our kids tells us when we are grouchy we need a date,” Perry laughed. “The date format has changed a bit but we still make a priority to take time for each other.”
Lastly, the priest recommended the Kieftenbelds to never fight in public.
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