Religious practice is often a point of difference for couples, especially if they each come from a different religious tradition.
Regrettably, couples frequently respond by making spirituality a taboo topic. Even for couples of the same faith, sharing their spiritual life is a challenge. In our marriage, one of us expresses their spirituality in a traditional, private manner, while the other is more charismatic and community focussed. Neither is better than the other, simply different.
Spiritual difference need not be a point of division or a reason to avoid spiritual matters. Developing our spiritual intimacy is a rich and valuable practice for a couple. It is built on a foundation of deep respect – when couples trust each other with their spiritual thoughts and feelings, it is a truly sacred encounter.
It requires both spouses to embrace a value of reverence for the other’s spirituality.
Prayer is powerful! Studies have demonstrated that those who pray daily for their marriage enjoy greater marital satisfaction, a higher inclination to forgive and lower incidence of destructive behaviours like alcohol or drug abuse. So start praying for your marriage and enjoy the benefits!
1. Prayer for my spouse.
This simple prayer said each day can transform even the hardest of hearts:
I praise you for the gift of my spouse
and I thank you for the blessings
I have had through him/her.
Forgive me for the times I have failed
to love my spouse the way I should,
and help me to do better in bringing
your love and acceptance to him/her.
2. Prayer for Grace.
Grace is simply help from God. Through the Sacrament of Matrimony, God promises to provide us with all the grace required to accomplish our ‘mission to love’. So ask God for the grace you need to love more effectively. We find ourselves praying for the graces of passion, self-restraint, generosity and compassion regularly.
3. Praying together.
When you are ready to try praying together, take it slowly and begin with something simple, like holding hands while you pray the Lord’s Prayer.
Questions for Spiritual Intimacy with your Spouse
1. What is your image of God?
- a father figure a benign force
- a mother figure a judge a friend
- an authority figure nothing a ‘rock’
- a passionate lover a suffering redeemer
- a confessor a guide
2. What is your fondest memory of your faith from your childhood?
3. Share a negative memory about religion from your childhood. How does it affect you now?
- It has no impact
- I have forgiven and forgotten
- It’s an open wound
- It hurts a little
- I will never forgive
- I’ve moved on
4. What hopes do you have for your children’s religious experience?
5. When do you pray? How do you pray? Why do you pray?
6. How do you feel about praying for your marriage?
- I like the idea
- I’m not interested
- I’m curious
- I’m skeptical
- I’m not sure how
- It’s a waste of time
7. How open are you to praying together as a couple?
Totally against Would love it
What would make it easier for or of more interest to you?