In Which We Need Your Help, Because Prayer In Marriage is HARD.

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The hardest thing about marriage, as far as I’m concerned, is praying together. My husband is deeply uncomfortable with extemporaneous vocal prayer, and over time I’ve come, not only to understand, but to agree. Praying aloud, I almost always become too self-aware, drift too close to showing off, as long as there is another person around to hear me. I remember a friend talking about “bouncing prayers off Heaven”–Lord, please help so-and-so do such-and-such, because I know s/he is capable of fill-in-the-blank.

So we’ve really struggled. Formula prayers, for us, run toward distraction, and rattling them off actually accomplishes very little prayer at all. Scripture reading leaves us frustrated because we want to be able to pull apart what it means and we are deeply unsatisfied with every resource we’ve tried so far.

More recently, we’ve read books. And God Said What? was a rare bright spot in our shared spiritual life, but although we understood the Scripture examples she laid out in the book, we don’t know how to go about systematically applying the lessons to other passages. The last couple of weeks we started watching a video series called Symbolon which our parish made available, but as much as I want to like it, mostly our mutual reaction has been to feel underwhelmed.

We are pretty well educated in our faith. But we want to go deeper. We want to know why: the historical context, the reasons behind the traditions and teachings–the rational basis, not the because-I-said-so. But it seems that everything we find is either dry and academic*, devoid of a real-life faith connection, or it’s aimed at people whose faith formation was cut off at the level of multiple choice tests. In other words, it’s basic stuff we already know and/or touchy-feely me-n-Jesus. Both of those are great and necessary things in the world, but it’s not what we need.

This is where you come in, my lovely readers.

Surely, among all my Catholic friends, someone has encountered the very thing we need. How do you pray in your marriages? What books or resources–daily reflections, online resources, Scripture commentaries–actually draw the connection between the historical context, the tradition, and real life? Writings of the saints that you’ve found worthwhile reading?

Please share!

*Dry and academic will work for me, personally, because I’m kind of geeky that way, but not for us communally.