How many of you enjoy being with your spouse? I know I cherish the moments I can do anything from the extravagant to the mundane with my wife. There’s something that can be said for just being in the same physical proximity to your spouse when you’re doing a task. Maybe we want a partner at the grocery store for no reason. Maybe we want someone to talk to when we’re cooking in the kitchen. Maybe it’s that our connected souls, joined through marriage, enjoy it when our bodies are close too.
What about when the two souls want more than just physical closeness (as described above) or intimacy (you know what I’m talking about **winks**)? What about spiritual closeness? We all know it’s good to pray for your spouse. But how many of you pray with your spouse?
“Family prayer has its own characteristic qualities. It is prayer offered in common, husband and wife together, parents and children together. Communion in prayer is both a consequence of and a requirement for the communion bestowed by the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony.”
-Pope Saint John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio
Praying with your spouse is one of the most intimate acts we can engage in. Not only do you open up and make vulnerable your connected souls to each other, you are inviting God into the intimate conversation. Just as we “collaborate freely and responsibly” (Humanae Vitae) with God through sexual intimacy with our spouse, we “collaborate” and converse with God through spousal prayer. Think of it this way: God was the third party when you made your marriage vows (marriage is a covenant–an exchange of lives, people–between you, your spouse, and God) and when you and your spouse are united in prayer, you guys are having a kind of group conversation (and for millennials, think “group text”). When you come to the Lord with joint prayer, your petitions, intentions, sorrows, and joys are stronger than ever because it’s the only way your soul can wholly express itself since it is forever connected to another. Does that make any sense?
Prayer with another person can feel awkward or bashful at first. It’s not easy to do this incredibly intimate act with another person for the first time–it’s like being naked in front of another person. Fortunately this is easy to get over. After praying together the first couple times, you realize it’s really not awkward at all. It’s liberating!
The Rosary is great for married couples (and families), it is structured so, depending on how you choose to recite it, each person knows ahead of time who is doing what. Alternating readings of the Stations of the Cross can be a touching spiritual endeavor, especially during Lent. My favorite is to do a scriptural rosary, alternating each decade’s readings and intentions. And while this can be done very casually, it’s fun to spice it up with dim lights, a statue of Mary, candles, and Gregorian Chant on in the background (Spotify has a great selection).
“The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.”
– Pope Saint Pius X
Aside from the powerful connection to God that you’re sure to make, you will make a powerful connection with your spouse. After getting on your knees (my favorite way), side-by-side, with your spouse and opening up your souls before Christ at the same time, you will have a new respect and love for the person you married. You will want to embrace afterwards. It’s an intimacy that can only be compared to the re-consummation for your wedding vows (that’s a nice way of saying sex, okay?). The last time I prayed with my wife at home, I could literally feel our marriage become stronger. When you and your spouse open up and make vulnerable your souls, Christ is free to go in and fortify them to one another even stronger than they were before.
Some people will respond by saying that they already pray with their entire family before meals or before bed, with both spouses present. It’s not the same. Time needs to be set aside just for the parents, even if it’s just two minutes and it’s in the car! Your marriage is the most important thing you are part of! Also, when children stumble upon their parents praying, think of the example it sets. Children need to know that prayer isn’t only something they have to do, it’s something mom and dad do too. Children need to see that mom and dad answer to someone as well.
“The concrete example and living witness of parents is fundamental and irreplaceable in educating their children to pray.”
-Pope Saint John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio
We all know that we should be mentally intimate with our spouses, sharing our histories, questions, and opinions with each other. We all know that we should be physically intimate with our spouses, sharing our life-giving capabilities and sealing our love in a unifying act. It’s time that we realize we should be spiritually intimate with our spouses too.
To my loving and devoted wife, the only living person with full access to my soul, please continue to pray for me.
To Pope St. John Paul II, patron of our family, please pray for my wife and our marriage.
And to The Most Blessed Virgin, please intercede for my beautiful and loving family, that we may be consecrated to the perfect Will of Jesus through your Immaculate Heart.
Thanks to Love the Harringtons for the header image.