Praying Together, Praying as Newlyweds
by Walter Galvez
On a Saturday in late October, Anna and I went on a half day retreat for Catholic married couples at St. Mary’s Church in Rockville, MD. To be honest, we were originally looking to take a weekend trip to get a little “away time” from the world. But, in the end, we thought it would be a good idea to go on the retreat instead. Anna and I had never been on a retreat together before, and we hoped it would help us address our prayer life.
Although we have been praying together as a couple for quite some time now, we didn’t have a routine or schedule, and the irregularity of it got worse by my demanding work projects since our honeymoon. Lately, we’ve committed to a daily prayer time, but that was just the first step, and this retreat sounded like a good place to see what other Catholic couples are doing.
After morning Mass and a keynote talk, we listened to a couple whose talk was titled, “The Blessings and Graces that Flow from the Sacrament of Marriage.” The husband and wife team, Hall and Laura Miller, gave some great practical advice for everyday married couples:
- Couples and families need to have prayer lives to “fan the flames” with our connection to God.
- Prayer should have a time and location. Twenty minutes a day is a good amount of time to aim for.
- There is a ton of content on YouTube and podcasts to help guide prayer.
- Marriage is like a bank account with deposits (acts of love) and withdrawals (acts of hurt). There should always be more deposits than withdrawals. Small acts of kindness make for large deposits.
- Don’t speak in absolutes, saying things like “You never ____” or “You always ___.”
- Avoid accusations.
- Outdo each other in kindness.
- Add prayer time to dinner together. For example, Hall and Laura ask their family members to pray for one thing each and then pray a decade of the rosary together.
After lunch, there was eucharistic adoration in the chapel. Adoration was a good way to end the retreat, as it gave us time to pray and reflect on the talks and apply them to our lives.
We felt affirmed in our decision to schedule daily prayer at a specific time. Our approach is to read from “The Glenstal Book of Daily Prayer.” It has been an excellent way to close the day and reflect on a short and digestible reading before bed, while giving thanks to God. Some days we start out with an examination of conscience as part of the prayer. On busy days, we try to do at least a decade of the rosary, which is an easy way to get into prayer.
While a lot of this still feels like taking first steps, we are going to keep working at it every day. In the future, we plan to try other methods in our search for whatever helps draw us closer to God.