It’s been a few
days weeks now since the glow of All the Lovely Family Time has worn off a bit for Michael and me. How about you?
But honestly, we’ve had a lot going on over here.
A few weeks before quarantine hit our area, Michael broke his arm in a freak accident at home. He ended up having to have the arm rebroken weeks later and five screws put in. Right around that time, we started experiencing some financial difficulties. All the stress contributed to a mixup with my hormone medication that made me a little extra edgy (among other things). And, of course, the education of my children–just like millions of other parents–changed overnight to the less-than-ideal. My whole homeschooling model this school year depended on my three- and two-year-old sons being in Mother’s Day Out three mornings a week. For everyone who has ever wondered what homeschooling moms do with the Littles while trying to supervise older children in their schoolwork, I have next-to-zero advice, except for this mantra I picked up from my precious three-year-old niece Adelynn:
Count to ten, take a break, make a plan, do your best.
Oh, the wisdom from the mouth of babes.
So, yeah, we’ve been scrambling a little over here. I’ll be honest. But our faith life as a couple has been a huge gift and help lately.
Meeting in the middle
I thank God for the Domestic Church movement helping Michael and me learn how to pray together, especially because we are so different in how we approach our spiritual lives. (And by different, I mean the polar opposite that you can be while both being the same religion.)
I’m the spontaneous-out-loud-oversharing-kinda-rambly-steals-everything-you-were-gonna-say pray-er of the two of us. Michael is most comfortable praying silently and alone.
But you know what? Over the past six years of being in Domestic Church, we’ve plugged away as best we could to meet in the middle with couple prayer. I’ve tried to tone down, and Michael has never failed to show up. We both respect the heck out of each other for it.
Michael still doesn’t absolutely love praying out loud with me (or anyone else). He gave me permission to share that. But he’s a lot more comfortable than he used to be. He’s also much stronger at spontaneous prayer these days than he thinks he is.:)
Praying together as a couple is so powerful because it’s two spouses both believing in God enough to invite Him into their sacrament, over and over again. It’s an act of faith, together. It’s not about being fancy, or long-winded, or having all the right words.
During the craziness of the past several months, it’s hard to explain the peace that comes with knowing Michael and I are consistently inviting God into this, together. The way God is showing up big time in our marriage right now is even harder to express.
The most intimate act of your marriage?
Praying as a couple is just about the most intimate thing you can do with your spouse. Honestly, I’d argue that it’s more intimate in many ways than physical intimacy.
That’s why it’s so hard sometimes.
I’ve spoken about marriage and couple prayer many times in my work with Domestic Church movement. I have met tons of strong Christian couples who have shared how much they struggle with couple prayer.
Again–this is intimate stuff. And it’s still feels that way often for Michael and me. Sometimes, we’re so mad that we have to practically pray through gritted teeth. Sometimes, we’re so exhausted that we only manage an Our Father in the dark as we’re falling asleep (which is more than fine!). But if you haven’t had prayer together be a part of your marriage before, I encourage you to try it.
Need just a little more encouragement? Learning to pray as a couple brings more emotional and spiritual intimacy to your marriage, which is a tremendous help to physical intimacy.
10 ideas to begin, boost, or bless praying with your spouse
In this time of pandemic, when extraordinary stresses are attacking marriages everywhere, it’s been on my heart to put together this list of 10 ideas to begin, boost, or bless prayer with your spouse. Michael and I have personally used all of these ideas at one time or another in our marriage. And as we have had to deal with each new stressor that’s come at us during quarantine, we’ve needed to change things up and even go back to things we’ve tried before.
My goal is that every couple will be able to find at least one or two helpful new ideas on this list that speak to them right where they are. And in case you need to hear this–don’t we all?!–right where you are is a holy place.
We all talk about wanting to have a holy marriage and family like it’s something we aspire to be someday, but every time you pray with your spouse in any way, you are holy. Every time you pray for your spouse, you are holy. Every time you get out of bed and show up to your marriage and family with your loaves and your fishes, you are holy.
So take heart. Be bold. Because your marriage has as much potential as God has power. And in this strange time for our world and even for my own family, I say that to myself. God is present. He is moving in this time.
Marriages are being attacked for so many as never before. Let’s fight for our marriages and families by getting on our knees both alone and together.
As St. John Paul II said, “So goes the family, so goes the world.”