“Family prayer has its own characteristic qualities. It is prayer offered in common, husband and wife together, parents and children together…by reason of their dignity and mission, Christian parents have the specific responsibility of educating their children in prayer, introducing them to gradual discovery of the mystery of God and to personal dialogue with Him…” – Pope St. JPII
My fiance, David and I, have been engaged since the end of June and have started the exciting (and sometimes hectic!) time of wedding preparation and planning. It is such a beautiful time to prepare, wait and experience little tastes of married life.
What do I mean by “little tastes”?
Oftentimes, when I’ve mentioned “little tastes of married life” to friends, I receive quizzical smiles in return, wondering what on earth I am trying to say! But, I quickly clarify with 3 beautiful ways in which David and I have the opportunity to grow together in holiness and to prepare our hearts & souls to readily accept our invitation to the vocation of marriage. These 3 aspects of our relationship have been an anchor and foundation amidst the planning, preparation meetings and daily busyness of life.
- Pray daily. David initiated daily prayer into our relationship a few months into our engagement. We had often prayed together at the end of our dates throughout our relationship, but we had never committed to a set time to pray together consistently. This is one of the best ways for David and I to connect, to unwind together and to enter into prayer before the end of the day. We call at 10 p.m. every evening to say a set of prayers together: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, a meditation from the book,Jesus Calling, and 2 prayers, one to Our Lady Undoer of Knots and another for Engaged Couples. This set time every evening is a beautiful way for us both to come together and to offer up the daily difficulties and joys of our lives to the Lord, recognizing that a relationship takes 3: God, husband & wife.
- Attend Mass together. When we began our fall semesters, David and I knew that our time together would be much more difficult. Throughout the summer, we both had greater flexibility with our jobs and living situations that allowed us to see each other with greater frequency. We often attended Mass on Sundays together, but we didn’t think too much about it. As we entered into September, David and I sat down and went through our planners to consciously commit to times of worship together as a couple. We decided that, as we figure out our jobs for next year and where we would live, it would be a perfect time to explore churches in our area to best determine where we would like to start and to build a community as a couple & family. We attend Mass together on Sundays (as cars permit) and have found deep joy in being able to worship together. It’s a huge blessing! If you are able to, go to Mass together. If you can go to daily Mass together – even better! The gift of the Mass is a beautiful way to come together as one before the Lord to recognize the beauty and the humility involved in the vocation of marriage. It is truly a gift and invitation!
- Participate in community together. David and I have both been involved in St. Paul’s Outreach through the University of Minnesota during our undergraduate experiences. David is currently living in the men’s house on-campus during his senior year and participates in fellowship, meals and prayers together as a community of men. It’s an awesome opportunity to grow with other Catholics and to continue to learn and participate in mission & outreach on a college campus. As David and I continue to look at parishes and communities, we have recognized the beauty in having a strong Catholic community to not only grow together in, but to be held accountable to and to experience the beauty of fellowship and importance of mission. There are many ways to get involved in a Catholic community, in-person or online! I highly recommend looking into your local parish and inquiring about opportunities to get involved through volunteering, bible studies, small groups or events. Online communities are another great opportunity to become connected with other Catholics to share in the joys and struggles of life together! It’s a powerful experience that has been impactful in our relationship and it can be for you, too!
As we continue to navigate the waters, the Lord is with us and guiding us on our journey of preparation as we open our hearts to Him and prepare ourselves to come together as one in the beautiful sacrament of marriage. To experience the “little tastes” of married life is to experience the beauty in the wait, the gift and the sacrifice of marriage and all that it entails. Don’t be afraid of the challenge and don’t forget to recognize and revel in the joy of such a beautiful and wonderful vocation!
St. Louis & St. Zelie Martin, pray for us!