In these unsettled times, we would like to present these prayers for an institution that has seen more than its share of turbulence these days: marriage! When so many “I do’s” turn into “I don't’s”, and so many people don’t even think it worthy or desirable to enter into Holy Matrimony, we hope these prayers can be of some help and guidance.
The first of our marriage prayers is for those trying to find a suitable spouse:
Dear Lord, help me to find someone I can truly love who will love me as well. Someone with whom I can gladly share my thoughts, my feelings, indeed my life! Someone with whom I may raise a family in accordance with your will to share your love and give you Glory. May he [or she] be a vessel of joy in good times and a firm pillar of prudent support in bad. Let neither of us forget that you are there to help us in all cases with your help, guidance, and grace. Let me be discerning and not seek someone solely out of loneliness, but out of love for you and my potential spouse. May this be someone I like as well as love, and may we share a deep bond of trust in each other throughout our married lives, until death do us part. Don’t let carnal or other purely worldly desires cloud my judgment about getting married. Help me to listen to the voice of your Holy Spirit instead in this important matter. Heavenly Father, I ask all these things through Christ our Lord, amen.
This prayer is for those couples facing financial, health, employment, or other such issues that threaten their marriages:
Dear Lord, in this time of great trial in our marriage, let my husband/wife and I not succumb to those forces that would weaken or perhaps even break our bond of love in Holy Matrimony, and our vows to You and each other as well. In this troubled time, let us not forget our vows to be there for each other for worse, as well as better; and in sickness, as well as in health. Be a friend and confidant to keep us attuned to Your wishes and desires for us. Keep me and my spouse from nourishing grudges over disagreements, or becoming irritable with each other in our stressful situation. Help us to remember St. Paul’s important advice in his letter to the Ephesians not to let the sun go down with us angry at each other. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
And, finally, these marriage prayers are for those facing the deadly threats and temptations involving the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. The first is about the poison of infidelity, the second about pornography.
Dear Lord, let me put on your armor and your shield against the temptations to cheat on my spouse. Even just one such dalliance, however innocuous or justified it may seem, is like a dagger thrust straight into the heart of my marriage and family. Let me be conscious not only of its grave sin as a violation of your law of love, but also of the guilt and shame it entails as well. Let me not risk destroying my spouse’s trust in me, ripping apart my family, and possibly losing You forever from mortal sin. Give me strength and wisdom to turn away from evil inclinations against marital fidelity immediately when temptation strikes. Let me have the good sense not to put myself in harm’s way through occasions of sin. Blessed Mother Mary, I ask for your help and grace in these matters as well, in the name of Your Beloved Son, Christ our Lord. Amen.
And this one on pornography, which is a destructive force contributing to divorce in countless marriages nowadays:
Dear Lord, give me the strength and sense to keep from visiting internet sites or otherwise looking at salacious materials that will only entice me further into a slime pit of sin and shame. Let me remember that such sites and magazines, however appealing at first, can become dangerously addictive with images that cloud my mind and turn me away from the true value of sexuality in loving my spouse. Shield me from wishing to partake of the poison of pornography, whether soft or hard, remembering that however sweet it may taste at first, it can all too quickly turn quite bitter, leaving me obsessing over base desires and my spouse feeling threatened and abandoned. Blessed Mother Mary, I ask for your help and grace in these matters as well, in the name of Your Beloved Son, Christ our Lord. Amen.
Nowadays marriage is more under assault than ever, with over 50% of marriages ending in divorce. Our Lord spoke out about this rather forcefully in the Gospels when he spoke of the indissolubility of marriage. He went onto affirm that those who had been divorced and remarried were themselves guilty of adultery (Matt 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18).
The church, in trying nonetheless to show compassion in special circumstances has allowed for marriages to be dissolved by way of annulments as described here. These involve a lengthy investigation by clergy and marriage tribunals. Marriages being annulled are those in which it is determined that one of the parties were coerced into the sacrament or otherwise acted without sincere consent to the union. Marriages that have not been consummated can also be declared null and void under these precepts.
Although annulments have often been called Catholic divorces, they have purposefully been harder to get than divorces, especially in the no-fault divorce era we live in currently.
Granted, married life can and does have its ups and downs. That wonderful honeyed honeymoon sheen enjoyed by newlyweds can and often does develop tarnish and even rust over time, especially given life’s responsibilities for jobs and families. Spouses may find themselves developing romantic, or just plain lustful, feelings for co-workers or others and break their marriage vows. Fidelity goes out the window.
Or perhaps one or another party feels “trapped” in the marriage. “He/she and I just don’t see eye to eye on anything anymore.” Or “I’ve fallen out of love with him/her.” Or perhaps it’s some mid-life crisis and one of the parties finds someone else who makes them feel young and desirable again! That other man or woman understands me better! They may think “Don’t I have a right to be happy?” or “The heart wants what it wants, after all.”
Our mass-media, mass-market culture doesn’t help things in these matters, offering as it does an impossible standard of happiness that can only be found when you use your Visa or Mastercard. This leaves some spouses feeling deprived if they or their loved ones can’t bring home the latest and greatest whatever!
Some deep thinkers in academia have even suggested that we’re just not suited for monogamy, as if we should change marriage vows from “Till death do us part” to “Till someone better comes along.” Needless to say, this sort of thinking is very destructive towards families, especially children, who, contrary to modern “wisdom” tend to at best be depressed, if not outright devastated, when mom and dad split up.
Granted, there are situations in which this may be necessary, yet one gets the feeling that our no-fault divorce (or no-marriage-necessary) culture has had a damaging effect on society at large. While this is not the place to go into detail, the breakdown of the traditional family has had a particularly devastating effect on kids in the inner cities of this country.
Where there’s no stable family or fathers to give them purpose, structure, and love, many young men there find themselves gravitating towards gangs which give them that sense of belonging being part of a “family”, albeit one that is quite destructive and lethal in a world of crime and violence.
Even those born in affluence can often find themselves losing themselves in drugs and mindless hedonism to fill the void left in their hearts when mom or dad left.
Keep in mind that our Lord values marriage so much as a bedrock for the family that in the Gospel passages cited earlier he insisted on closing the “loopholes” that had developed allowing for divorce.
Clearly Jesus prizes the permanency of marriage! Indeed, it is one of the seven sacraments that are a foundation of our faith. The Church often speaks of Christ as bridegroom and we who comprise His church both religious and laity as His bride as discussed here!
Again, this is not to stigmatize those who feel compelled to leave marriages where physical abuse is taking place, for example, or some other grave disorder. That’s why the Catholic church has an annulment process, for those kinds of situations. But clearly something is dreadfully wrong when so many marriages are failing.
And co-habitation doesn’t solve the problem either! Besides the fact that co-habiting couples are “living in sin” as people used to say (and are indeed living in a state of mortal sin in any case!), such living arrangements often become tenuous loving arrangements. Those who have been living before “getting hitched” have quite a high failure rate of marriage, all things considered, as mentioned here.
We here at Our Catholic Prayers are very much aware of those struggling with marriages that are not working or indeed are in danger of falling apart completely. On our prayer request page we get many entries where one spouse asks for prayers for their mate to stop cheating on them and return home to their family, for example. And yet…we hope, and not in a Pollyannish sort of way for God’s grace to emerge in these and all such similar situations, even if it’s like a seedling breaking through concrete.
Remember it takes three to get married and stay married, you, your fian-cé(e)/spouse and Jesus! Christ wants a place in your married life, as in your hearts in general and needs to be there! While praying to Him for help in stressful situations with your spouse isn’t a magic bullet that will make all your problems go away, it can and does help many couples.
Remember that spouses aren’t computers that one tosses away when a newer shinier model comes along! Too many people focus only on being the center of attention on their wedding day. Yet, that’s only one day! What follows is what counts, in having someone you can really love and support who will be there for you as well.
Marriage is not about two parties seeking to dominate but rather to support each other, particularly in the raising of children, which is a daunting if loving task, especially today, with all the economic and social challenges facing the family.
And remember as well, there is something truly loving about cherishing some-one enough to see them through bad times as well as good, for a marriage built on a foundation of solid rock rather than sand (Matt 7:24-27). We at Our Catholic Prayers will keep all of you who are married, or hoping to be married, in our thoughts and prayers. Feel free to ask for prayers for a healthy marriage on our prayer requests page as well!