Catholic at Home: Ways to Pray as a Couple
Last month we covered why praying as a couple is essential to every Christian marriage. Husband and wife are each made in the image and likeness of God, and together form a new creation in Christ. The relationship is inherently lifegiving and imitates God in its own particular way. When my best friend got married, the celebrating priest preached that married couples are the face of Christ to the world. If we’re going to shoot for bearing any kind of divine resemblance as husbands and wives, the way to do it is to be in touch with the Lord–and that means prayer.
Though it may not come naturally or easily to both spouses, a steady, charitable invitation is the first step. Praying together doesn’t have to be long or eloquent to be beautiful–just real. St. Therese said that prayer is “a launching out of the heart toward God.” And there are a myriad of ways we couples can give our hearts when speaking to the Lord.
Rote prayers draw our attention to the everlasting truths of our Catholic faith and have a deep impact on our hearts. A favorite prayer of mine is the “Glory Be.” Thoughtfully prayed by spouses, the “Glory Be” humbly acknowledges that our lives and relationships are in God’s hands, and that He alone is God and we are not. It compels us to set our sights on heaven as the focus of our thoughts and actions. For such a succinct prayer, it packs a punch.
Ask any veteran husband or wife and they’ll tell you that spending your whole life bound together, though beautiful, is a challenge. Over the years, my husband and I have seen the depths of each other’s flaws and personal wounds. We’ve nearly been torn apart, then stitched back together through the power of prayer. Every couple needs spiritual protection in order to thrive and love each other as we are. It’s important to be aware, though not fearful, that Satan will work for the downfall of a relationship that imitates God; and so we need to arm ourselves. The prayer to St. Michael the Archangel calls for a heavenly guard. Additionally, St. Padre Pio called the Rosary “the weapon of our times,” inviting Christians to reflect on the life of Jesus with His Holy Mother. A Rosary offered together, invoking the names of Jesus and Mary, drives away evil and fortifies our souls.
Still, to dive deeper into the joint spiritual life, praying spontaneously together is an awesome experience. Take turns speaking right to Jesus, baring your soul while your beloved listens. Tell the Lord how you’ve noticed His presence and blessings, then listen to your spouse do the same. Repeat with your heartfelt intentions. We offer thanksgiving and requests, then my husband and I ask each other if we did anything hurtful that day. If feelings were hurt, we bring them to the surface in the context of our prayer. We receive each other, forgive if necessary, and re-devote ourselves to Jesus and each other tomorrow. This type of couple prayer yields a kind of spiritual and emotional intimacy that I never thought possible for my husband and me. With spontaneous couple prayer, we’ve gotten to know and love each other more deeply than any other time in our marriage.
The family, the domestic church, is the foundational unit of society. What happens between us at home makes its way into the world one way or another, and we know the best service we can offer is to be the face of Jesus to others. Prayer unites us as spouses when we come together and approach the throne of God. Praying together confesses that there is something beyond the life right in front of us -something that gives significance to our words and deeds during the day. Through it we will live and love as Christ.
This article originally appeared in the July Edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.