Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Everyday Grace:
Add romance to your marriage

by Mary Cronk Farrell

(From the Feb. 8, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

Mary Cronk Farrell Want to put some romance into your marriage for Valentine’s Day? Try praying together. Before you scoff at the idea of prayer and romance going hand in hand, remember this. Anything that enhances a couple’s intimacy and trust will improve their sex life.

Praying together may be awkward, even in the best marriages. In prayer we encounter ourselves with no pretenses in the presence of God’s absolute acceptance. It is risky to be so naked in front of another person.

Early in our marriage, I blundered by criticizing the way my husband prayed. I shake my head remembering how unthinking I was, how lacking in loving acceptance and with such an attitude of superiority. My husband likes to say, “human beings are the strangest animals.” Our insecurities certainly do come out in strange ways.

Kathleen Finley counsels engaged couples, teaches a class on marriage, and has been married for over 30 years. (Editor’s note: Her husband, Mitch, is staff writer for the Inland Register.) She says married couples do not have to pray together to have a strong and holy marriage. But she has written a book to help them if they choose to. Prayers for the Newly Married, recently published by ACTA publications, includes prayers for newlyweds, those celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and many situations in-between.

“I saw so many areas within marriage that were 'fertile ground' for prayer, and I saw very few resources available to help couples pray with those occasions,” says Kathleen. “I find that praying together is a tricky area for many couples. They know that God is clearly at work in their relationship, but they may find it tough to put that awareness into words or action when it comes to their prayer lives.”

Though it may be a challenge to share your inner spiritual life, she says don’t be afraid to try to overcome the challenges. “Even if we have grown up in the same tradition, or share that tradition now, our unique spiritualities will differ, just as our personalities do.” Kathleen says, “It’s a matter of trying some possibilities and seeing what works – and then being honest with each other from there, without being too critical, which can hinder the prayer experience.” (I can vouch this last part is true. Don’t try it at home.)

Marriage can be so filled with daily humdrum; couples may not readily see the holiness of their life together. Prayers for the Newly Married offers a new look at the ordinary stuff of life, for example: doing the bills, in-laws, being a parent, sharing tasks around the house, jobs and career, and sharing faith. Other prayers touch on more difficult times in marriage like when your spouse has annoying habits, you have a fight or face infertility.

A good start to praying with your spouse might be to remember that your relationship with each other is intertwined with your relationship with God. Kathleen’s husband, Mitch Finley, says this is clear in the New Testament when Jesus links love of neighbor with love of God. “If your spouse isn’t your neighbor, I don’t know who is,” says Mitch. “The time you spend praying by yourself nourishes your relationship with your spouse, and the time you spend with your spouse nourishes your relationship with God, even if it’s not explicitly prayer.”

Which brings us back to romance. Loving our spouse as fully as possible, treating him or her with generosity in all things large and small and with a sense of joy and wonder is truly showing love to the Creator as well.

Kathleen’s book includes prayer “On Waking up Next to You, For the Gift of Our Bodies, After Making Love and Talking about Sex.” Each prayer includes a paragraph or two of reflection and a Scripture verse. The book provides a framework to get a couple through what might be awkward moments, and the words to say if they don’t come easily for you.

Whether you say “I love you” on Valentine’s Day with chocolate, flowers or dinner out, Prayers for the Newly Married might be the perfect accompaniment.

© 2007, Mary Cronk Farrell

(Mary Cronk Farrell is a Spokane free-lance and children’s writer. Her latest book, Celebrating Faith: Year-Round Activities for Catholic Families, has been published by St. Anthony Messenger Press. Contact her at

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