When my wife and I were going through marriage preparation our mentor couple said something to us that we have never forgotten, “your primary role in marriage is to help one another to heaven.” It was a striking comment that seems so obvious now, but at that time, it was a completely new thought.
It’s a funny thing – I think it’s common for responsible God-loving adults to have this thought about their kids. We instinctively know that God has placed these souls specifically and purposefully in our care. Even with a “Theology of the Body” informed understanding that marriage is fundamentally an act of the complete giving of oneself to another – this idea of specifically bearing responsibility for one another’s spiritual growth and destiny was captivating to both of us.
The good news for us is that we started our relationship out on the right foot. When we entered into the discernment process for marriage we purposed to pray with one another daily. Though we both instinctively committed to do this, the idea was daunting because of the level of intimacy it required – the level of unique exposure that only prayer with someone whom you care about causes. Regardless of the initial discomfort, we set out on the course and have maintained it unwaveringly (yes, even after arguments). Our mutual spiritual commitments are in fact, the most powerful source of the strength in our marriage. It has carried us through a few very difficult periods and has resulted in Christ remaining at the center of our relationship even when he was not always in the center of our own hearts.
So, we leave you with this question. Are you specifically, purposefully, and regularly helping your spouse to heaven?
Yours in Christ,
Dan and Stephanie
- Part 2 of 4 – Daughter of the King
- Part 3 of 4 – Marital Conscience Exam
- Part 4 of 4 – Praying with Your Spouse
Art for this post on marriage spirituality: St Valentine baptizing St. Lucilla, Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo da Ponte), 1500s, PD-US author’s life plus 70 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.