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For Your Marriage

Meet Sara and Justin. They married in June 2011, they welcomed their first child in August 2012.

Housekeeping and Prayers

Sara: Even though Justin has lived in our apartment since mid-May, it feels like it’s taken until now until we finally feel “settled” in our apartment. Most things finally seem to have a place, including in our small kitchen.

Most of our boxes are either unpacked, or have a home in storage. Our pictures are finally hung, and there’s no longer any items we feel we need for our home.

Justin: For now, at least.

Sara: Since we’re in a two bedroom apartment, most of our space has to be multi-functional. This includes our extra bedroom that also serves as storage space.

One of the places I’m most excited about is our prayer corner in our living room. We have a statue of the holy family, a crucifix that was actually blessed by Blessed John Paul II during a general audience during Justin’s pilgrimage to Rome, several rosaries, and a candle on a small end table. These are all placed on a green cloth napkin since green is the liturgical color for ordinary time. We also have the option of using white and purple depending on the liturgical season. We can use the statue and crucifix to help us meditate as we pray together each night. On the bottom of the table, we have several spiritual books we use often, including our Bible and the spiritual reading we’re pondering together. Several of these items were given to me during my parish’s faith formation activities.

After we first got married, we had difficulty getting our prayer time in together. When we were engaged, we prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy when we talked on the phone right before bed. After we were married, we discovered it was difficult to concentrate on prayer after we had relaxed together. We decided to pray together each night following cleaning up the kitchen after supper.

Justin: We have decided to make it a point to do our prayer for the evening before we turn on the TV after dinner and for us it has made all the difference in the world. And this is one piece of advice I would give to any other couple. It makes prayer a priority and since we never watch TV while eating it builds on the sense of quiet and contemplation established throughout our dinner conversation. In addition, we do not have a television in the bedroom.

Sara: We also decided to make our prayer corner in the living room instead of our second bedroom because we tended to pray in the living room. Although we haven’t truly determined the best way for each of us to get in our personal prayer time each day, it’s been good to have the foundation in our prayer life together.

Justin: For me it is very important that we establish a set of routine spiritual acts that can serve as an extension of the church in our home.

Sara: I continue to be inspired by one of my colleagues, who has discussed with me the traditions of her household to create a “church of the home.” Her family had specific traditions concerning how they celebrated the year based on the liturgical calendar, including their Advent wreath, celebrating patron saints’ feast days, and more. Justin and I are working on what family faith traditions we want to incorporate into our household.

One such tradition we celebrated this weekend, when we had one of our dear priest friends join us for dinner. We were blessed to have him join us for our nuptial Mass. Father told us once again how beautiful our wedding Mass was, and we really appreciated the opportunity to visit with him. Because Father is a monk at a local monastery, there are many things in our life that he was curious about – including how one “shops” for a home. It occurred to me that because of his work in the monastery, Father probably doesn’t spend so much time with married couples as one might think. It was neat to hear more about his life, and his views on life.

Following dinner, we asked Father if he’d bless our apartment. He blessed some holy water (which now has a home on our prayer table), prayed the prayers in the rite with us, and then sprinkled holy water throughout our home. Then he left to head back to the monastery. We look forward to the next time we’ll have our home blessed, which will perhaps be our first house.