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Archives Dynamic duo with the help of God

March 24, 2021

By Angelo and Suzanne Pietropaoli
Contributing Writer

Michael and Grace Leader Bobak
“We got engaged In October 2019 on top of a mountain, during a fall hike in the Adirondacks,” explain Michael and Grace Leader Bobak, “and we planned our wedding throughout a global pandemic. We were married, July 31, 2020, at St. Mary’s Church in Potsdam. We were able to have a beautiful and safe Mass and reception with friends and family. It was a day we will always cherish.”

But the path to that day began long before, when Grace and Michael met as 7-year-olds at Guggenheim Family Camp. Despite living 4 hours apart (the Leaders in Gouverneur and the Bobaks in Buffalo), the families remained close. As teenagers, Grace and Michael returned to Guggenheim as campers, and later as camp counselors when both were students at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Today the couple lives in the Buffalo area and are parishioners of St. Stephen Church, Grand Island; they are expecting their first baby in July. Michael is in his first year at University of Buffalo Dental School; Grace is Director of Youth Ministry at Queen of Heaven Parish in West Seneca, NY.

Reality sets in
“Much of what we imagined about marriage has differed from the reality. However, this is mostly because we have matured, our relationship has matured, and we have been open to God’s will shaping our lives,” Grace told us. “In a way, we have even been blessed through Covid: with virtual classes and working from home, we are often able to eat lunch together and see each other throughout the day, which has helped our relationship.”

According to Michael, “Living as a married couple is vastly different from living as a single person. It takes some time to get used to the other person’s habits, quirks, and things that drive you crazy! Everyone has these quirks that make them unique, and it is challenging to get used to them. Yet those quirks are nothing in comparison to the love, help and support that we give each other. We are like a dynamic duo that has each other’s backs and can tackle anything life throws at us with the help of God. This underlying love and support are the greatest part about being married. You have someone trying to get you to heaven!”

Married less than a year, Grace can already see changes in their relationship. “We can see now that life will look different throughout the stages of our marriage. Life is already different now than it was before I was pregnant, and we know that it will be different once the baby is born, and every year after. We understand that life is unexpected, and God’s plans are always greater than our own.”

Sometimes the ways of God can be hard to understand. Grace said, “The greatest challenge we have faced as a couple was the unexpected death of Michael’s father this past fall. As we continue to grieve and support one another, we have realized more and more the importance of communicating with one another, being honest, and keeping prayer even more central to our relationship than it already was. Every day we continue to support one another and be patient as we strive to deal with this new reality. It takes great patience, and the grace of God, as well as mutual love and support.”

Marriage is our Vocation
Michael and Grace are as confident of God as they are of each other. “It is beautiful to see how God has worked in our lives over the years, and how we were taught by our families to discern our vocations.” Both considered religious life but recognized a different calling.

“From a young age,” says Grace, “I desired to be a wife and mother, raising children in the faith. Michael felt the same passion towards being a father.” Michael said, “Our faith was an important part of our upbringing, and of our personal growth. While our lives are much busier now, we continue to make time for prayer. Each night after dinner we read a daily reflection from The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional and join family for a nightly Rosary virtually. We plan to continue structured family prayer when we have children.”

Their first child is due July 3rd. The two “have always seen children as a beautiful gift from God,” explains Grace. “While we were open to children, we were planning to wait until Michael was further along in dental school. But we are so thankful for God’s plan and timing in blessing us with our first child. We anxiously await our new son or daughter.”

“We are so thankful for this blessing and challenge we have been given. We have seen our relationship grow, change, and mature during Grace’s pregnancy, and are excited to see how life will change moving forward. Becoming parents has strengthened our vocation. It has already allowed us to step outside ourselves, to be more selfless and serve the needs of each other and of our growing baby,” Michael said.

“We are so thankful to be living out our vocation to married life,” Grace continues. “It is more beautiful than we imagined, and we are confident that the love of Christ can help overcome any challenges. We are so excited and blessed to bring our first baby into the world, raise the child in the faith, and lovingly accept any other children God gifts to us.”

Michael agrees, “It is very important that we continue to strengthen our relationship with God for our own sakes, our marriage, and the sake of our children. We know that a life centered on Christ differs greatly from one that is not. We continue to ask God what He wants of us, and plan on doing that.”

What would Michael and Grace like other young couples to know? “Keeping God central to your marriage is the most important thing you could do. It is a beautiful responsibility to love unconditionally for your whole life, and it is a challenge that should not be taken lightly. Trust that God is leading you, and that his plan is always greater than your own.”

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