If you want to discern celibacy (priesthood, religious life, consecrated single life), there are a myriad of paths you can take. You can attend a Diocesan sponsored supper with seminarians, go on a come-and-see weekend, discern with an order for a week, or you can request permission to spend a few months getting to know a community more intimately. If you feel a strong call, you can even enter seminary or novitiate for more focused discernment. The possibilities are varied and plentiful. The formal framework provides assistance and encouragement for people who want more information about what a celibate life is actually like.
On the other hand, discernment for the vocation of marriage doesn't have anything nearly as structured or formal to aid a person who may be considering married life. Many people don't consciously discern marriage...they date someone for awhile and eventually end up marrying them without giving much thought to it. Even if they did want to more purposefully discern marriage, they basically do the same thing (date a little) with intentionality and some focused prayer. Marriage is such a rich, beautiful Sacrament and there's so much formation and growth that can happen as you discern this path. We at Discerning Marriage think that some structure and support to *ahem* discern marriage could be incredibly beneficial for people who think this vocation might be for them.
The process of marriage discernment varies depending on which stage of life a person is in, so we have different resources for each one. We offer tools for single people who simply want to consider marriage as a vocational option alongside celibacy, dating couples who want drama-free relationships, couples who are more deliberately trying to figure out if they should get engaged, and engaged couples who want to supplement their diocesan requirements for marriage preparation. We also minister to the brokenhearted with tips and tools for people going through breaks and breakups.
May the peace of Christ be with you on your discernment journey. We are honored to walk with you.
We're here to provide you with
structure and support for discerning marriage.
Meet Our Team!
Elizabeth Busby, MTS, MS, LMFT
Elizabeth Busby is a passionate lover of Jesus, wife to a handsome bearded engineer, and mom to two sweet children who are named for some of their favorite saints! She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University (whoop!), and she earned a Master's degree in Theological Studies from Ave Maria University, where she wrote her thesis on how St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body can aid in the discernment of a vocation to marriage. Additionally, she holds a Master's degree in Counseling with a focus on marriage and family therapy from SMU, and she works as a Marriage and Family Therapist. She has a passion for helping people fall in love with Jesus and helping people discern and live God’s joyful plan for holy marriages and family life. Elizabeth is the ambitious visionary-extraordinaire behind Discerning Marriage, and she relies on her dear friends and fellow team members to help ground her dreams in reality. She and her husband are currently Co-Directors of Programs for the Theology of the Body Institute, which is truly a dream come true. Elizabeth loves living the liturgical year with her family, the fact that the leaves change color in autumn, watching the Aggies BTHO everybody (ha!), and traveling.
Amy Northrop, MTS
Amy and her husband Daniel have been involved in marriage ministries since not long after they got married in 1999. With six children, including one who attended Next Step before marrying her highschool sweetheart in 2022, Amy somehow finds time to write curriculum, give talks, and head up the mentor training program for Next Step. Amy is also the local Director of Next Step at Discerning Marriage’s flagship parish, St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas, TX. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in Medieval Studies at the University of Chicago and a Masters in Theological Studies from Ave Maria University, Amy has been pursuing her dream of sharing the Theology of the Body with dating and married couples ever since. Amy loves taking hiking trips with her husband, baking and cooking gluten free, and playing games, especially Catan (Cities and Knights!) with her family.
Monica Lafitte, MS
Monica is proud to be Catholic, Texan, and an Aggie. She married her best friend, Matthew, at the beginning of 2016 and loves adventuring through life with him. While earning a B.S. and M.S. at Texas A&M University, Monica was involved in multiple organizations at St. Mary’s Catholic Center, most notably serving as the coordinator of a Theology of the Body ministry. Monica takes the Discerning Marriage team’s big dreams and figures out how to practically make them a reality; she’s the one who organizes and plans everything. Monica loves baking cookies, spending quality time loving and serving others, exploring new places, and anything bright and colorful.
Amanda Long, RN, FCP
Amanda has had the privilege of being married to her sweet husband since the summer of 2016. She has a degree in English Literature from Texas A&M University, as well as a degree in Nursing from Texas Woman’s University. She also spent a year as a Theology of the Body (TOB) missionary, helping universities to develop and implement Pope Saint John Paul II’s remarkable teaching in their own ministries. She is a certified Creighton Fertility Care Practitioner and our resident expert on NFP. Amanda uses her love of reading and language to research and write for the Discerning Marriage Ministries. Amanda has a love for TOB and desires to share this beautiful teaching as well as the beauty and dignity of marriage with the world! Obviously, Amanda has a love for reading and writing. She and her husband share a love for all things Disney, the outdoors, and coffee.