One thing that the 2018 Marriage Survey of our readers showed us was that we all want to pray with our husbands, but going about that isn’t exactly our strong suit. So, we decided to come at this from our own experience, hoping to share some of the journey with you. This is Part I in our Praying with Your Husband 2018 Series, featuring Rachel’s tips on identifying your prayer languages. Check back each remaining week in February for more insights and tips from Rachel, Kristi, and Bridgette and here’s a bonus from the archives: a guest post from Old-Fashioned Girl’s Chloe Langr.
Three years into this journey with The Scientist, we’ve come a long way in our prayer life together. When we first got married our prayer life was all over the place. We did not have set times or a place to come together to pray, and we weren’t even on the same page when it came to how to pray. Having come from different praying backgrounds, getting on the same page was difficult.
Praying the Same Language
Having two different prayer languages and fusing them into one is an ongoing journey. Growing up, praying was a part of everyday life; not only in formal form, but also with everyday, free-form language.
The Scientist grew up with more of formal prayer and a strict schedule. Coming together to pray for the first time was all over the place.
We decided to learn our “prayer language,” which we based on the 5 Love Languages. I have no idea if that is a thing in the Catholic World, but it is definitely the way we learned to pray together in our home.
Our “Prayer Languages” are: Acts of Service, Touch, Adoration, Love Letters to God, and Giving Gifts. They’ve really helped us to connect with God.
Acts of Service
Volunteering or doing acts of charity with your spouse as a prayer makes you intentional about said prayer. It’s that feeling that you are communicating clearly with God while working for others and, if this is your prayer launguage, can make your prayer life feel fulfilled.
Holding hands with your spouse or embracing one other while praying can improve your focus on communicating with God. With your spouse giving you that physical support, that you may not realize you need, when praying can promote peace and calmness in your everyday life.
We based this one on Quality Time. This is our main language in praying. We feel that spending time with God in his real presence brings us closer together. Spending that quality time (whether in Adoration, daily Mass, in bed together, at the kitchen table) with one another to pray also has us, as a couple, together with God, which is, after all, how this covenant began.
This one is based on Words of Affirmation. Journaling is an effective way to converse with God, whether solo or as a couple. Creating a Prayer Journal that both you and your spouse can write prayers in can bring better communication with your prayer life and your marriage in general.
Spending money as a couple in order to help others and pray for others strengthens our foundation. Through almsgiving, donating to charities, adopting a family, donating to a shelter, or any other kind of outreach, we feel connected to not only those we help, but one another and God.
What’s Your Prayer Language?
Think about your love language (and your hubby’s), and how that applies to your prayer preferences. What’s your prayer language?
For more ways to utilize love languages in your marriage, check out this post.
Last year we hit 2017 running with a list of our personal resolutions. We saw some of them come to fruition and some of them gather dust. Well…resolutions for 2018 are due, so to speak, and there we both were, clueless.
Clueless & Overwhelmed
The last month of 2017 was crazy (did you notice with our lack of posts and podcasts?!). From “how to spend the holiday” squabbles to recurrent sickness, our heads weren’t in the game.
We knew that this post deadline was looming, but we had zero energy. No headspace for it, either. We tend to, as a society, take on more than we can handle and then scratch our heads in utter confusion that we dropped a ball somewhere. We, as individuals, are no different.
Then it hit us.
A crazy, totally out-there idea: pick only ONE thing.
I want my prayer life to change radically.
This past Advent, my dear husband and I did an online retreat organized by Annie and John-Paul of PrayMoreNovenas. Side bar, they do a Lenten one, too, and…yes. Just go ahead and plan on it as a part of Lent 2018.
One video, “Back to Basics, Part One,” really spoke to me. The speaker was John Leonetti and he was so on fire for the Lord. His topic was how to get everlasting happiness that is based on God. Many of his examples were of the saints, and he mainly focused on their prayer life.He went on to say that our purpose is to strive to be holy amd saintlike. From his research on the lives of the saints, he came up with four ways to pray, intentionally with God
My resolution this year is to make time for God and use it in the best way I can; striving to be holy and live my life according to the Lord’s will rather than my own.
I want to slow down and be intentional. No, that’s not it. I need to slow down and be intentional. My family needs it.
Since my first solo post on this blog about being intentional for Advent, I’ve sought this goal. Thus far, it’s been somewhat unattainable.
I cannot be the wife and mother (soon to two beautiful girls!) God is calling me to be if I have no energy because we’re being run ragged any more than I can drive my car somewhere on an empty tank.
With all things in 2018, from extracurricular activities to hanging out with family and friends to volunteer commitments, I will discern and say no if that is the answer that best serves my family. And I will not feel guilty.
This will leave more space for prayer, for the domestic church, and for family time.
This week will feature a series of posts from Rachel on her losses in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
I remember the day that I lost Frances. It was very still. When I woke up that morning I knew something was going to happen. The worry seemed to overcome me, I was asking everyone for prayers and trying to discern what to do. Now, looking back, the whole day’s gray to me.
My craving for a Steak N’ Shake Frisco Melt and chili cheese fries was really strong. It seemed my body was in constant pain and that was all I wanted to eat. After discerning, I decided to wait until The Scientist got home to go into the hospital. The pain seemed to be coming in waves; little did I know I was in labor.
When I got to the hospital, I made sure to keep in contact with my mom and Kristi, keeping them updated so they could update everyone else. Frances was born. She was beautiful and looked exactly like me, freckles and all.
My heart still aches for all of my children.
That day I was filled with anxiety and today I realized that my faith at that moment wasn’t strong. I was trying to control the situation.
Emotions, in my experience, are intense and they suck.
When I got home, I was filled with emotions of failure, guilt, anger, sadness, happiness, and the feeling of being judged. Lots of unhelpful advice came regarding waiting, not trying again, adopting, and just being content with it being me and my husband. These emotions and advice lead my thoughts away from the path they were on.
Sometimes people don’t really understand that words, and sometimes actions, can help a person think a certain way. Emotions are tough because they are charged by the moment.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it.” Jeremiah 17:9
Hearts can be deceived, and my heart was definitely being led astray. And it was hurt. In my mind, I know that everyone who said and did judgmental, inappropriate, hurtful things to me; they didn’t intentionally mean to hurt my heart.
The truth is your heart after losing a child is going to be sad, sensitive, and it will not be true.
How does one heal and lead their heart and emotions back to the truth?
For me, the first thing I had to do was to give up all of my anxiety, hurt feelings, feelings of guilt, sadness, and anger to God. I sat and prayed and then I kept on repeating this process until I felt lighter. When God is in control of your mind and your mouth, it seems that your heart will follow. God showed me in his time and wisdom what he has planned for me every step of the way.
Through all of these traumatic situations, I have come to rely on God more. He showed me through my pain that my vocation is important to my own household.
Another thing I have learned is patience; with people and myself.
Learning to control my own thoughts and words has really strengthened my relationships.
The only advice I can give is to pray and to wait in the stillness for God’s answers. He will always provide and he will always answer.
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” ~ John 11:33-36
You might recognize these words from the Gospel of John or maybe these verses get overshadowed by the verses that precede and follow. I know for a long time I didn’t think much of these words, until I needed them.
I don’t know that I ever really grieved the death of my mother. It’s a pain that lingers and fades and occasionally causes me to raise a fist at God in anger that my boys will never know her this side of Heaven. That she wasn’t there to talk me through my first pregnancy or childbirth when I thought I would need her the most. That I can’t call her when I have no clue what to do and need advise or just to chat about the day and the exciting things going on.
It’s easy to think God did this on purpose. It’s easy to think God doesn’t care or isn’t concerned with our pain and struggle when we are in the midst of hardship. Maybe yours isn’t the death of a loved one, maybe it’s a class at school. Maybe it’s a relationship gone wrong or a job that doesn’t fulfill your needs financially, professionally, or personally. It’s easy to lash out and get mad at God for not providing for us the way we would like.
Get mad at God. He can take it. He gave you your emotions and they are good. But while you are angry at Him for His silence think about why He might be silent.
Perhaps you’re not listening or not ready to hear what He has to say about the situation. Perhaps He is holding you or carrying the yoke alongside you. Perhaps He knows the beautiful outcome that awaits you on the other end, but also deeply understands the pain in this moment. Perhaps you are in the fire for your own purification.
Perhaps God is weeping, too.
We are going to suffer in this life. We just are. We live in a fallen world surrounded by sin and free will. Our God is good and faithful, and He is always there when we need Him. Sometimes He will act like a mighty wind and defeat our enemies for us. Sometimes He will be a good Father and know that He shouldn’t. God knows when to act and when to be silent and when He is there is always love in the silence.
Patriot Day. Did you know that today has been celebrated as such since 2002, on the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001? Did you realize it’s been sixteen years?!
I remember this day so vividly. I was a junior in high school, heading from my Pre-AP Physics fifth period class to my APAl US History class. My friend, Kristen, met me to walk together to class and said, with an almost chuckle, “An airplane hit one of the buildings in New York.”
I was still trying to process her statement when I walked into the classroom. The TV was on, displaying billowing smoke from one of the towers and a plane sticking out of it. Our eyes were glued to the screen. Just as the bell rang, we watched is disbelief as the second plane crashed into the second tower.
The classes were 90 minutes long. This one will always stick out in my mind as the longest class. We opened our textbooks, attempting to determine why today, not realizing the significance of 911. Then we kept hearing about Dulles Airport on the news, but we heard Dallas and began to freak out in that teenage way, because many of our families were employed at DFW International Airport.
We were learning about the American Revolution, and our teacher silently typed an outline, printed them, turned them into transparencies, and asked that we copy them down. It was surreal.
In 2007, I became a teacher. At that time, my students still remembered the day. We had excellent conversations and created a mural on the board as a memorial; something I continued to do until 2011, on the 10th anniversary, when I taught fifth grade social studies.
At that point, the students no longer remembered it, and many weren’t yet born.
As a Parent
Little Miss loves museums. One that we frequent had a piece of one tower on display and she stared at it, eyes aghast at the thought that it once looked like a normal piece of building steel. I should say that I now work in the steel industry, so she is aware of what beams and columns are meant to look like. Immediately, Superman and I were inundated with questions about the day. I recounted my memories, as above.
Superman said, instead, “You know, honey, I actually went on a date that night.” Little Miss asked if he was scared. He replied, “Not really. I mean, it was horrible and tragic, don’t get me wrong, but I know that God is in control of this world, so there was no sense in being fearful.”
Out of the mouth of my wise husband, ladies and gents.
He’s SO right.
I’ve been thinking lately about how I struggle to feel like I have everything under control.
It isn’t my world to control.
Yesterday in the homily, Fr. Eugene spoke of natural disasters and how it is our practical Christian life to reach out and help these evacuees. He also added, however, that we cannot live in fear of it happening to us as well. He said, “Don’t worry about it. Just make sure that you’re with Jesus and living the life you’re called to as a Christian.”
Amen to that!
So are you worried? Anxious? Already freaking out about the holidays?
Listen to Fr. Eugene.
Don’t worry about it. Just make sure that you’re with Jesus and living the life you’re called to as a Christian.
P.S. We’d love to hear your memories on this day, as well as your tips for weaning control from yourself and living the Christian life.