We’ve learned to pray together. Franciscan Father Mike Bertram, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi in Milwaukee, feels that part of his responsibility as a priest preparing a couple for marriage is to help them feel comfortable praying together. He has noticed that on the Catholic pre-marriage inventory, most couples say they are uncomfortable praying together. “It is my belief that prayer is the most intimate activity of our lives,” Bertram says. “Many couples agree with me that they’ll tell God something that they wouldn’t tell their spouse. If that could be shared with a spouse, think how it might strengthen a couple’s relationship.”
One couple whose wedding Bertram celebrated now takes time at the end of each day to light a candle and mention someone or something from their day for whom or for which they’d like to pray. They then together say an Our Father and Hail Mary for each of their intentions.
We still talk about our hopes and dreams. For some couples, the heartfelt discussions of dating and early marriage become distant memories as the daily grind of work and family takes over. A husband or wife may become afraid to even ask a spouse if he or she is happy with a career or an aspect of marriage or family life, for fear that the answer will be no—and then what? But couples who regularly discuss important issues find that they are more nimble and able to navigate their marriage. Problems are less likely to become a full-blown crisis.
Arthur and Denise find that two to three long car rides each year provide the perfect venue for these discussions. “We may spend most of a five to seven-hour trip talking about where we are and where we want to be. We do it so often, most of the discussions just lead us to readjust our path or refocus a bit,” Denise says.
When Jim and Pam, parents of two teen girls, found that their weekends were becoming consumed by the girls’ activities, the two decided on a Thursday date night to reconnect. “When we have taken that time, we always find out something that the other person was feeling or thinking,” Jim says. “The discussions definitely help us to understand each other and our wants and dreams for our family better, which I think makes us a stronger couple and family.”
Here is part one of this article.
—by Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2013 Best in Class award from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for the past three years running. Here’s a sample issue.
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