In her book, Rebuilding a Marriage Better then New, Cindy Beall notes there are three things husbands and wives need to do together build a healthy marriage: pray, talk, and do.
Many Catholic couples find it difficult to pray together. For many prayer means reciting rote prayers such as the Our Father or the rosary. Outside of grace before meals, many don’t pray together at all. Much of this is due to Catholic culture. Unless you are familiar with charismatic prayer, the thought of praying with or over someone may seem foreign. However, praying is one of the most intimate things a couple can do together. When a husband and wife turn to God together to praise Him, thank Him, present their needs to Him, and ask Him for forgiveness, their relationship with God and each other will grow. My advice to couples is to take time each day to pray together. This can be done in the evening before bed or in the morning before work. It doesn’t have to take more than five minutes. Simply take time to praise God, thank God for all his blessings (including your wife), and present the needs of the day. This is a great time to ask God to help you become the man, husband, and father he wants you to be. I guarantee that when you and your wife pray together daily, you will grow in marital intimacy!
In order to have a healthy relationship, you need to talk. Taking time daily to talk about the big and small things of life will draw you closer together. Often once the kids are in bed, my wife and I will sit down and enjoy a glass of wine together. This is our time to unwind and reconnect after a long day. On weekends, before the kids get up, we spend time on our porch enjoying a cup of tea together. Sometimes we talk about deep issues, but often our conversation is about light topics – kids’ schedules, the garden, a movie we watched, etc. These times are like “dates” for us as they are special times carved out just for us. It’s important to find those special times and places where you can take time just to talk and enjoy each other’s company.
As a couple it’s important to enjoy doing things together. They can be hobbies, such as gardening or tennis, home projects, cooking, travel, etc. These are also times where you can enjoy each other’s company while relaxing, being creative, and deepening your relationship. My wife and I enjoy cooking and gardening. These activities allow us to be creative, spend quality time together, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Friends of ours are avid golfers. Every weekend they are out on the golf course. For them it’s also a great time to talk. I recommend activities that allow spouses to interact, as opposed to spectator activities, such as watching television or a movie. These time together can also be like “dates” where your relationship can be nurtured and renewed.
Taking time to pray, talk, and do is also a great witness to your children. By observing you, they will learn what it takes to build and maintain a healthy marital relationship. My advice is to schedule time this weekend to sit down with your wife to discuss how you can pray, talk and do more together in your marriage!
Beall, Cindy (2016). Rebuilding a marriage better than new. Eugene, OR: Harvest House