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For Your Marriage

Several years after Troy and Kathleen were paired up for a dance performance, they fell in love and got married. They live in a rural western suburb of Chicago with their 5 children, ages baby to college bound, and have 3 little souls in Heaven.

The Power of a Couple Holy Hour

When Troy and I were first married, we made a decision to attend a Holy Hour together every week. For the first several years of our marriage, Tuesday was our night – from 9 to 10 PM we would spend time together alone with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. We affectionately called it our date night with Jesus. Our date night with Jesus has evolved over the years as children have come along and business travel has intensified. Our ever changing, “full-of-life” family calendar has definitely made it challenging to keep our date night every week. We have been showered with so many marital graces over the years though, from this 1 hour investment of time each week, that our couple Holy Hour has remained a top priority on our family calendar. We have not always been able to go together as a couple, but we strive to at least make sure we do a Holy Hour every week. When Troy travels for work, he googles the closest adoration chapel, and, if possible, he does his Holy Hour in whatever town he happens to be in that week. A few times we have timed it together, where he is in front of Our Lord in one state and I am in front of Our Lord in another at the same time – physically apart, but our hearts united together in Christ as one.

A few years ago, I heard a priest compare spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament to spending time outside sunbathing. Instead of getting a sun tan, you are getting a “son”tan – from the Son of God Himself. Instead of the rays of the sun penetrating your skin, the rays of God’s love penetrate your heart. I love this analogy!

When Troy proposed to me 12 years ago, it was in the presence of Our Lord in a perpetual adoration chapel. Although he thought it would be nice to be alone with Jesus for this monumental moment as he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him united in the Sacrament of Marriage, the nature of perpetual adoration is that someone has to be with Jesus 24/7 –so people sign up to take shifts. During that season of our lives, we did not have our own personal shifts so we just went during someone else’s shift. Shortly after we arrived that evening, the person signed up for that particular time, got up and left, leaving as all alone with Our Lord for one of the most special moments of our lives. Troy got down on one knee and with God as our witness, he asked me for my hand in marriage.

Fast forward 11 years from that day to our anniversary a few weeks ago. Troy and I went to dinner to celebrate and then afterwards we went to adoration to thank God for the gift of our marriage. A few minutes after we arrived late that night, the gentleman who was in the chapel for his “shift” left leaving us once again all alone with Jesus for the next hour. It was the best gift to receive on our anniversary!

Pope Francis said, “The Eucharist is the spiritual life-blood of the Christian because in receiving it we consume the glorified Body of the Risen Lord, whose life transforms us, elevates and empowers us to become like Him.” The more Christ-like we become, the better spouse we become. Receiving our Lord in the Eucharist and spending time adoring him in the Blessed Sacrament enables our hearts to be molded into the person God desires us to be and gives us the grace to fully live out the vocation of marriage.

For Troy and me, placing our Eucharistic Lord at the center of our marriage has given us the strength to love when love was difficult to put in action, the ability to forgive when our hearts were hardened, the gumption to say “I am sorry” when pride would have had us do otherwise, and the power to practice selflessness when selfishness was the easy road to take.

Having a strong, godly marriage takes work, but God gives us all the grace we need to live out this beautiful vocation. Take advantage of it! Spend time with your spouse in adoration of Him who brought you together, in front of Him who unites your hearts, in front of Him who lavishes His love upon you so you may lavish it on one another. If your spouse is unwilling to join you, then go alone on behalf of the both of you and receive grace for your marriage. Visiting our Lord, present in the Eucharist, is an open invitation 24/7 – 365 days a year. Make a date!