Starting Your Christmas Shopping? 5 Gifts Perfect for Newlyweds

ADA PIMENTEL

 

One of the options for the blessing at the conclusion of the wedding Mass reads, May you… have solace in your friends and enjoy true peace with everyone.

 As friends and family of a newlywed couple it is our job to help them throughout their marriage and on their way to salvation. Of course, the majority of the work is up to them, but there are still many ways we can offer support-- one of the most tangible being through gifts.

The purpose behind wedding gifts is to provide the newlyweds the things they need to start their life together, and while everyone does need sheets and towels and dishes, these don’t necessarily support your friends in their actual marriage. Here, a few ideas for meaningful gifts to help them along the way.

A date night in

Common wisdom says, “Never stop dating.” Give your friends some treats to enjoy at home, while they relax in each other’s company. A two player game or a book of Mad-Libs, some snacks, a nice bottle of wine, and voila! The perfect date night in.

A date night out

After planning a wedding, budgets are often tight, which means luxuries often get cut out for a few months. A gift card to a nice restaurant or tickets to a concert or movie can be a great excuse for a night out without breaking the bank. Consider planning with several friends to splurge on an event the couple would really enjoy, but which may not be in their budget. Of course, you may have to ask ahead of time whether their calendar is open!

 Practical religious items

When I got married a friend sent an Advent wreath. I had never had one before, but it set the tone for a prayerful first Advent together. A small nativity scene, family Bible, or some holy salt for blessing their home are all good options. Consider including a small booklet of prayers or a note about how you celebrate different occasions throughout the liturgical year.

Words of wisdom

The best gift my husband and I received was a simple note that read, Welcome to marriage (or as we call it, The Eternal Sleepover). Don’t forget to get cocktails together. Our friends’ humor and advice were exactly what we needed during our jittery period of anticipation before the wedding. Consider passing on the best wedding advice you ever received or a book that had a major impact on your marriage.

 A Polaroid camera

After all the wedding hubbub has died down, and all the photos have been posted to social media, people often forget to document the silly, happy, or even mundane moments of their lives. A Polaroid (or a few disposable cameras) is a great way to remind newly married couples that the adventures are just beginning, and that these new memories deserve to be cherished.

Over the years married couples rely on friends for many things: solace in hardship, companionship in good times, and a support network through all the little highs and lows. A small token of your friendship on their wedding day lets your friends know you care for them and that they are assured of your friendship in the years to come.


About the Author: Ada Pimentel studied English at the University of Dallas and currently teaches elementary school. She married her college best friend in November 2017. When she is not teaching, Ada can be found contemplating classical education, redecorating her apartment for the hundredth time, and reading British novels.

BLOG | INSTAGRAM

How He Asked | Ana + Sam

The Father can flood even the darkest, most hidden corners of the human heart with light.

Ana and Sam met at the University of Wisconsin in Madison; he was the new intern at the Newman Center on campus, and she was the student joining his retreat-planning team. The desire they both felt to serve the Church led them to one another.

After a few months of emails, Sam asked Ana out. Their first date was to a botanical garden on Easter Sunday. Many dates followed over the next few weeks as the clock ticked down: Sam’s internship would be over in a month, and he was preparing to move back home.

In Ana’s words: We talked about deciding at the end of those weeks if we could do a long-distance relationship, but it quickly became a no-brainer. We dated from a distance for six months, where we both used the time apart to seriously discern our relationship. I was incredibly happy—the summer was full of adventure and young love, though also shadowed by a period of extreme darkness in my own spiritual life.

We both realized around three months of dating that the other was, hopefully, the person God had planned for us. I knew in my heart and gut that if given the opportunity, I would marry Sam. Sam was a gift from God I truly could not believe I had received.

Strangely enough, this realization threw me into a torrent of worry and anxiety for months, as I began believing this gift was too good to be true. Even more devastating, I started doubting that God loves to bless us with beautiful things.

Hear me out. There was nothing wrong with our relationship. It was pure, good, and holy; at least, we were striving for that. The devil had taken control of my head and heart, trying to convince me I didn’t deserve the Lord’s goodness; that God was somehow tricking me, and his will was impossible to figure out, let alone follow.

During this time, Sam and I did a nine-day novena to St. Joseph for our relationship and for my anxiety, where we agreed to no contact at all. It was one of the hardest things we’ve ever done.

It was during this time that I realized just how much love I had accumulated in my little, broken heart for this incredible man. I told God that if he blessed me with the opportunity to marry Sam, I would.

I prayed that God would be pleased with that decision. Looking back, I now realize that God wants to hear our raw, broken prayers. Believing a situation is “too good to be true” is like believing God is too good to be true. And that, I now know, is a lie.

Sam, being the sure and steady man he is, kept me focused on trusting Christ and myself during my period of darkness. In my desolation, I experienced the kind of man that Sam is. I am most grateful for his steadiness and faith. We were fortunate that Sam landed a job that brought him back to Madison, where he has been ever since. This allowed us to grow much closer than we otherwise could have apart.

Nine months after our first date, Sam proposed in the campus chapel, St. Paul’s, on New Years Eve, the Feast of the Holy Family! St. Paul’s is the community that had brought us together, and it is where we will be married next July. God is so good, and he loves to give us good things! Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Trusting in him doesn’t mean putting a blindfold on while turning the boat in the opposite direction—it means staying the course of truth, eyes wide open, enjoying the views, all the while knowing and trusting that Christ is steering the boat. He leads us beside still waters, and he blesses us abundantly there. Let him.

In Sam’s words: I am not exaggerating when I say Ana was everything I was looking for in a girl: Catholic, faithful, pretty, funny, and more. I finally got the nerve to ask her out after almost four months. Although I still didn't know her well--our interactions had been pretty limited--I was incredibly excited to become friends. And we did become friends, fast.

After the whirlwind four weeks leading to the end of my temporary job, the decision to make a long-distance relationship work was the easiest decision. We were four hours away, so we were only able to see each other every so often. Despite our distance, we grew very close that summer. The time we spent together was obviously precious to each of us. By the end of that summer I knew I could--and wanted to--marry this girl, if that's what God wanted of me.

I was fortunate to land a job in the fall that brought me right back to Ana. I knew it was only a matter of time before we got engaged at this point. We were beginning to rely on each other and care for each other in ways that really only made sense within an engaged relationship. I got a ring in late November. Both of us had a strong connection to this chapel where I asked her, and I felt there was no better place. Ana has continued to be the greatest joy in my life, and I thank God every day she said yes!

Photography: Pete Creamer (family)

Just Engaged? Tips + Considerations for Setting a Wedding Date

It’s a predictable pattern: once friends and family receive the news of your engagement, their responses, in quick succession, are typically How did he propose? followed by, So when’s the wedding?

  Photography:    Shea Castricone

Photography: Shea Castricone

It’s hard to fault your loved ones for their interest and excitement on your behalf. Yet it’s alright to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing a wedding date, let alone planning for it. If you’re newly engaged and wondering where to begin, start by arranging a meeting with the priest at the parish or chapel where you plan to enter into marriage.

At your first meeting, your priest will discuss practical matters like if and when you and your fiancé have received the sacraments, give an overview of the marriage prep process, and will likely send you home with an interview or inventory like FOCCUS to illuminate areas of your relationship that could benefit from deeper examination.

Sometimes when setting the date, the process is as simple as choosing from a list of available days and times. It can be overwhelming, however, to see endless calendar blocks open to you. Here, to aid in your discernment and decision-making, considerations for choosing your date.

The liturgical year

If a particular saint or feast has been significant in your relationship, consider bringing that significance into your wedding date, by way of a saint’s feast day or a solemnity. Spoken Bride’s Business Director, Andi Compton, was married on September 8, the birth of Our Lady, and Creative Director Jiza Zito was married August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption.

Bear in mind that most dioceses do not permit celebratory sacraments, like matrimony and baptism, during Lent. On the other hand, weddings held during the Christmas and Easter seasons convey a beautiful image of new, fruitful, glorious life.

Your personal responsibilities

While, like many major transitions in life, there’s never an ideal, conflict-free time to dive in--and the joy of entering into marriage drowns out those small matters--it is worth considering if any major obligations on the horizon could add stress to your wedding plans. Busy seasons at work in the finance, education, and retail fields, for instance,can be difficult to leave at the office, and if one or both of you is serving on mission, wherein you’re expected to prioritize your work and apostolate, setting your wedding date for a relatively calm time of year can minimize burnout.

Family obligations

If anyone in your immediate family or prospective wedding party will be traveling abroad, on a military deployment, giving birth, or undergoing major surgery or medical procedures in the upcoming months, understand the strain these circumstances might place on their ability to attend your wedding. Of course, it’s impossible to set a date where no guests have prior obligations, but for those closest to you, it’s a gesture of consideration, and a gift to you as a couple, to set a date they’ll be able to attend.

Circumstances and needs at this time in your lives

A short engagement can work well if neither you nor your fiancé will be relocating to a new city or state after your wedding, if one of you is already living in the home you’ll eventually share, or if you’re both well into your post-college lives and careers. A slightly longer time of preparation might be practical if you’re still in school, will need to make arrangements for your living situation, or have concerns that could benefit from pre-marital counseling.

All that said, every divinely ordained relationship, and every unrepeatable person within it, has unique needs, strengths, and challenges. It’s alright to move forward in faith even without all the answers, to get married while going to therapy, or to celebrate your marriage in the midst of professional or family-related whirlwinds. When we step out into the deep, Peter-like, Christ is present and won’t leave us to flounder.

More on discerning the length of your engagement and choosing a wedding date:

Christina Dehan Jaloway’s reflections on a short engagement and on being an “older” Catholic bride | Elise Crawford Gallagher’s tips for thriving during a long engagement | Holiday weddings

How did you and your beloved go about setting your wedding date? Share your thought process with other brides in the comments and on our social media.

Readers Share | The Saints Who've Shaped Your Relationships

This week as the Church celebrates the dead, the communion of saints, and all souls in Purgatory on All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, respectively, we invited you to share the holy men and women who’ve interceded in your spiritual lives and relationships on our social media.

For inviting us and others into your deep joy, for fostering hope in God’s faithfulness in women still awaiting their love story, for witnessing to abandon and reckless trust in the Father, thank you. Your responses were too many to list in a single post--let alone to list every woman who cited Our Lady, Saints Therese, John Paul II, or Louis and Zelie Martin as favorite patrons! We read every single one and find each so uniquely, personally beautiful.

Here, a selection of your stories of saintly intercession:

St Gemma - for many reasons! My husband is a pharmacist, I was seeking employment when we were first married and we both recently lost our fathers. She’s the patron saint of: Pharmacists, children who have lost parents and those seeking employment! - Danielle

Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria and his wife, Servant of God, Empress Zita. They were a beautiful Catholic married couple and have been a great role model for our marriage. - @danielleduet

St. Michael the Archangel. His battle courage was inspiring to me, and helped me in my own spiritual warfare. Like St. Michael, I was able to cast my own demons out. - @_desirita_

St. Therese and St. Zelie Martin. I’ve struggled with finding and being content in my vocation, and through their intercession have received many graces. - @thebrownebunch

St. Raphael. I met my soon-to-be fiancé through Catholic Match and Raphael's intercession throughout our relationship has been so influential. He's the patron saint of their website and the hero of our relationship. - @violetsheabee

St. Therese has had (and continues to have) a profound impact on how myself in relationship with my fiancé. Long distance has required a lot of humility and trust on both of our parts, and I've leaned on her Little Way to help me do small things that benefit our relationship with each other and with God. - @meganboes

St. Joseph! The St. Joseph novena played a big role in both our individual discernment journeys. As a couple, any time we have a difficult situation and don't know what to pray for, we say his novena, and always receive exactly what we need, and then some! Plus, all the men in my family have Joseph as their middle name, and so does my husband! - @acrgripshover

Our Lady of Angels. - @i.marie.daly

St. Anthony. - @vegan_wannabe_81

I got engaged on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, by the grace of God and through the intercession of St. Joseph, Mama Mary, and St. Anne. - @meganaosborn

St. Thomas More, Mother Mary and St. Joseph. - @marie_xavier_felix

St. Maria Goretti. - @paigealexandrahussey

St. Therese, St. Faustina, and the Holy Family! -@becca_from_texas

St. Josemaria Escriva. - @akeeshers

St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Cecilia! My senior year of college, while my husband and I were still dating, I felt a call to a religious vocation. I was so confused about it so I prayed countless novenas to Therese--I didn’t hear an immediate response, but I eventually did. That spring break, some girlfriends and I drove to Nashville for a retreat with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (Cecilia is one of my faves because I’m a musician). While I loved it there, I felt a peace within my heart that I was called to marriage. Two years later, my husband proposed. - @josieweisenberger

St. Gianna Molla and her husband, Pietro! We named our first born after her! - @thetinymangia

Our Lady and St. Louis de Montfort. - @maddy__anne__

St. Joseph! My parents did a novena to St Joseph to pray for a husband for me and weeks into the novena, [my future spouse] came along! And we got engaged on May 1, the Feast of St Joseph the Worker. - @rachelgmz

St. Therese of Lisieux! Ever since I was a young girl, I have been praying novenas to her in the hopes of finding my future husband. She is my patron saint, and my fiancé's favorite. We asked her special intercession for our relationship on a recent trip to the National Shrine in DC, and he proposed on her feast day this year, along with a beautiful white rose! - @whateverisgracious

Our guardian angels! - @ann.elissa

St. Ignatius of Loyola. My husband and I would pray his Prayer for Generosity while we were dating and it was a constant reminder to serve the other person. - @jessie.dupre

St. Elia. - @soulachreim

St. Monica, St. Anne, and St.  Michael...mother Mary above all. - @scenescerity.images

St. Jude. I began his novena and on the last day saw [my future husband] Wesley, and knew I should see where things went with him. After that we have prayed to him every night and I began seeing St. Jude everywhere. Now, Wesley and I are getting married [this fall] (2 years after I began my novena)! - @rach_whalen

Our Lady Undoer of Knots, Saint Joseph, Saint Anne, Saint Anthony, Saint Michael, Saint Jude Thaddeus, Saint Raphael, and Saint Dymphna. I keep adding them! - @edna_songz

Saint Veronica. She has inspired me to wipe my husband’s face as he carries his crosses. She reminded me what we are called to do as brothers and sisters in Christ and had a profound role in shaping our relationship. - @brittbritt_ottens

Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, St. Therese’s parents. The man who is courting me and I had to go two months without seeing each other when we began our relationship. He sent me a talk about sanctification in marriage, which focused on their lives; since then, we have continuously asked for their intercession as we discern marriage! They have become a major influence for me and we are thankful to have another beautiful couple to look up to! - @alynacampero

Saint Therese of Lisieux; she is always reminding us to give ourselves fully to each other and to never seek anything in return. She teaches us how (in Story of a Soul) to live life in a way that strives for selfless love and complete humility. And her parents guide us in how we will want to raise our kids someday. - @maddie7548

To each of you who responded to or have been moved by this question and its answers, we are grateful. If you have suggestions for future reader-sourced topics, be sure to share them with us for consideration!

Images by Lionhearted Photography, seen in Amy + Jake | Midwinter Mountain Wedding

Liz + Grant | Classic Northern California Wedding

Liz and Grant were good friends in high school but went their separate ways. It wasn’ until their sophomore year of college, at different universities, that they reconnected, and with the potential for more.

After a year of renewing their friendship, it became clear to both of them that they desired more.

“Once we started dating,” says Liz, “I could see how Grant and I complemented each other in the light of faith. We were both raised Catholic, but our differences allowed us to point out the beauty of the faith in new ways to one another. “

“His appreciation for tradition is the perfect complement to my evangelical spirit and thus we are able to remind one another of the beauty of our faith in different ways.”

They began attending a weekly Bible study together with Father Sam, the priest who’d eventually celebrate their marriage, solidifying their individual faith lives and pursuit of each other. College meant several years of long-distance dating--including a full school year abroad--followed by Liz and Grant both returning to their hometown and beginning their respective careers. At the San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey, California, Grant proposed.

From the Bride: The day Grant asked me to be his bride, the Bishop happened to be at the cathedral for the evening Mass, which we attended right after the proposal. We were honored that he blessed our engagement after Mass, right in front of the beautiful cathedral.

We spent our engagement prepping for not only our wedding--which was so fun!--but our marriage, which was and continues to be refining in the best ways. After a 13-month engagement, we were married on July 1, 2017. What a blessing it is to have fostered a solid friendship before growing in our faith together as a couple, and eventually getting married.

You never know God's plan, and this rings true for us, as he was writing our story long before we even knew it! At the risk of sounding cliché, our wedding day could not have been more beautiful.

We had two primary goals for the day: first, to have a beautiful, sacred, holy Mass. And second, to host a joyful reception with our favorite people in the world, including a packed dance floor.

We always talked about getting married out of town--somewhere along the California coast or a quaint town in the wine country. When it came down to it, however, the most important thing to us was not to be in a beautiful city requiring our guests to travel. Being from the same place, we decided that our hometown was the best location for our wedding day. It was convenient for everyone and so special to get ready in my childhood home, while Grant spent the morning of the wedding in the home where we now live.

Summer days in California’s Central Valley can be well over 100 degrees, but our wedding day came after a big heat wave and was a perfect low-90s day with blue skies and a light breeze.

I wanted my sweet bridesmaids to all wear the same dress, but also wanted to somehow match my Maid of Honor and sister--we constantly match unintentionally! So, we wore the same pair of earrings, which I loved. I also gave matching bracelets to my bridesmaids, my sister, and my. It’s fun to see my favorite women wearing that jewelry now, after the wedding.

After going to different bridal salons to try on the same dress three times (I’m a little indecisive…thanks for your patience, mom!) I finally decided to go for it. My dress was totally different than what I originally envisioned myself wearing, but I loved its classic silhouette and open back detail. It felt simple, yet distinctive. Also, it had pockets--not only super fun, but convenient! Above all, my gown felt timeless.

Past brides had advised me to choose a new perfume for my wedding day, because the scent would always remind me of the day. I highly recommend doing this; now, a year after our wedding, I love wearing my perfume and it always takes me back to July 1.

I worked on the invitations with a co-worker who designed a beautiful suite for us, which we printed at a local shop. One of my bridesmaids and college roommates, Erika, calligraphed all of our envelopes and signage for the seating chart, ceremony welcome, aisle markers, and a Saint John Chrysostom quote.

Lauren Santos, the artist behind When Beauty Met Truth—whom I met while studying abroad together in London—drew a beautiful crest we used on our stationery and details. The crest inspired the aesthetic for the entire day. My favorite element is the dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

We wanted our Mass to exude the beauty of the Catholic Church and of sacramental marriage, yet be engaging for non-Catholic friends and family members. Father Sam did a wonderful job upholding the sacredness of the Mass, while explaining things along the way for those not familiar.

For the Mass readings, we chose Tobit 8:4-8,Romans 12: 1-2, 9-18, and Matthew 5:13-16. We chose these readings in order to share their messages with our family and friends, and also because they serve as reminders for ways we strive to live our own lives. Particularly the salt of the earth and light of the world message in the Gospel reading—we believe living a holy marriage allows us to be a light to others in this world.

Family and friends did the readings and Prayers of the Faithful, and our parents brought up the gifts.

One of my favorite parts of the Mass was signing "How He Loves" during communion with my brand new husband, knowing all of our supportive and loving family and friends were receiving the Eucharist alongside us. It was a really special moment I'll remember forever.

We were elated that our family and friends--Catholic and non-Catholic alike--commented on the joy and beauty of the Mass. All too often we hear of people saying that Mass is boring or confusing, and we truly wanted our nuptial Mass to be a beautiful expression of our faith and marriage.

At the reception, we set a table with family member's wedding photos and a framed quote from Saint John Chrysostom: "The love of a husband and wife is the force the welds society together.” It was a fun way to honor our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles as well as the beauty of marriage and the impact it can have on so many.

We enjoyed a delicious meal incorporating some of our favorite foods: local peaches—my favorite fruit—in the green salad, and gnocchi—Grant’s favorite pasta—as a second course. After the most heartfelt toasts from my Maid of Honor, Grant’s Best Man, and my dad, and following a surprise disco style father-daughter dance and a Mambo-Italiano mother-son dance, we spent the rest of the night on the dance floor with our favorite people! We opted for a traditional tiered wedding cake—funfetti with raspberry filling—and my mom sewed the tablecloth for our cake table.

We decided to do a sparkler exit; what better way to close out the most joyful day ever? After Grant and I buckled up in the car and started to pull away, I unexpectedly burst into joyful tears. We both felt overwhelmed with love and gratitude for our day. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

A faith-filled and joyful marriage can have a positive impact on so many people in our broken world, especially those whom we might not ever know we touched.

Photography: Cori Delgado Photography | Church: Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church - Turlock, CA | Reception: Del Rio Country Club - Modesto, CA | Videographer - Devad Weddings (https://devadweddings.com/) | Flowers - Farmington Flowers (https://www.facebook.com/Farmington-Flowers-Flowers-by-Megan-Dyk-172434006154428/) | Brides Dress - | Maggie Sottero via Miosa Bride (http://www.miosabride.com/) | Brides Shoes - Kate Spade (https://www.katespade.com/) | Brides Earrings - J. Crew (https://www.jcrew.com/) | Bridesmaids Attire - Alfred Sung via Brideside (https://brideside.com/) | Grooms Suit - Suit Supply (https://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/home) | Groomsmen Attire - Black Tux (https://theblacktux.com/) | Make Up Artist - Aneesa Smith (alwaysaneesa.com) | Wedding Crest - When Beauty Met Truth (https://www.etsy.com/shop/WhenBeautyMetTruth) | Calligraphy - The Love Letterer (https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheLoveLetterer)

Balancing Materialism and Majesty in Your Wedding Plans

SINIKKA ROHRER

 

If there’s one thing I remember from my engagement, it’s the difficulty of balancing the majesty and materialism a wedding involves.

Quite a few friends and family offered well-meaning advice about what a wedding day should look like. After every conversation, I'd look at my fiancée with fear-filled eyes:

“Do we really need to have a cocktail hour?”

“Is anyone going to care if we have favors?”

“Will anyone notice if we have faux flowers?”

The amount of material concerns pressed upon us was overwhelming. In the midst of these decisions, I remember wishing I had a way out from it all. I want to help give that to you.

Here is permission: you do not need to have a cocktail hour. No one will care if you have favors or not, and even if someone notices that you have faux flowers, it doesn’t diminish the beauty of your day.

Your wedding day is about more than pretty dresses, perfect centerpieces, and prime cuts of meat. It’s about uniting with your beloved, under the mantle of Christ.

Here are a few ways to feel balanced as you navigate material and spiritual concerns:

Set a budget and prioritize.

Your mother, sister, or aunt may be telling you you should get the dress you love, book the venue you’ve always wanted, and have the open bar everyone would love. The perfect dress, venue, and cocktails are all great things to include in your plans, but keep in mind what the bill will look like at the end of the day.

To help financial conversations go smoothly, make sure you (and whomever is helping foot the bill) set--  and stick to--a specific wedding budget. Identify what you’re willing to splurge on and list each of your top vendor priorities with your groom. In our case, for instance, I cared most about the photographer, and my husband about the DJ.

For all other details and costs, we made sure they fit our budget. That means our centerpieces, favors, and appetizers were not the fanciest, yet still offerings we could be proud of. It felt good knowing the bill was not crippling to ourselves or our parents after the day was done.

Respectfully say no.

Many times during my wedding photography career, I have run into the situation where an opinionated family member has a specific plan for how a wedding day will run and what it will look like.

If you have someone explicitly stating your day will not be good if it doesn’t have large floral centerpieces, an open bar, or any other item, this piece of advice is for you:

You are allowed to say no.

It might feel uncomfortable, but it’s healthy to respectfully decline ideas and put your foot down in order to help your day stay focused on what matters most.  

Despite the chorus of outside voices, remember this day is not about others, but about you and your groom--and ultimately, about Christ shining through the whole day.

Remind us all: it's the sacrament that matters.

Your attitude and choices can communicate to friends and family what’s most important to you: the sacrament of marriage itself. This is the reason why the details honestly don’t matter and the timeline is just a sheet of paper. Your sacrament will be beautiful and unifying. You can set an example of moderation, embodying the balance between your own experience and others' expectations.

You are Christ’s advocate for your wedding day.

You are your advocate for your wedding day.

There is no one else who will stand up to say enough is enough when orchids are overpriced and decisions start to overwhelm you.

You have the agency to stand up, step back from decision-making, and recall what’s most important.

The materials of this world are insignificant in comparison to the heavenly majesty of your wedding. I challenge you remember this daily, balancing any necessary cares of this world with the cares of the next.


About the Author: Sinikka Rohrer is a Christian wedding photographer and Spoken Bride vendor on mission to encourage brides with practical and spiritual encouragement on the way to the aisle. She is a lover of all things healthy, early morning spiritual reads, and anything outdoors.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

Our Perspectives on Learning to Pray with Your Beloved

We’ve been asked recently to share tips for establishing a prayer routine with your spouse--intimacy and time together both change from engagement to marriage, and the desire to establish dedicated spiritual habits in your life together is a worthy one. But where to begin? Or what if the habits you set out to establish don’t feel like they’re working?

Like any language, like any habit, prayer is learned. Give yourselves permission to try different times and methods of shared prayer time and to change your routine if necessary--if, for instance, tiredness makes bedtime prayer more an obligation than a grace, try a week of praying over morning coffee or when you and your spouse come home from work, instead.

Know yourselves, and the means of worship and dialogue with the Lord unique to each of you, and how you might join your voices together--through Theology or Scripture, spontaneous prayer, the divine office, Praise and Worship, the Rosary, or otherwise. Be open to your spouse’s spiritual inclinations, even if they’re new or different from your own--love for each other, and for the Father, goes beyond feelings and even beyond comfort. Our call to step outside the comfortable doesn’t end in discomfort--it ends in communion.

Here, honesty and reflections from our team on establishing and growing a prayer life alongside your beloved.

Jiza

My husband and I do well with the occasional novena, seasonal prayers, or fasting together. But as for praying regularly, his frequent travel for work means we are often in different places, literally. Routine isn’t feasible, and once we do get comfortable in one, God uproots us. I realize we aren’t called to be comfortable, so it’s probably edifying in itself.

Andi

Just do it. I often feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit at bedtime but because my husband and I are so tired, most nights we just pass out, forgetting to pray together. Lately I’ve been trying to reach out and say, “hey, do you want to pray?” He always responds, “Sure,” and leads us.

Stephanie

In our current season of raising young children, it’s easy for me to compare the prayer life my husband and I shared in the past (Bible studies, holy hours, day trips to cathedrals and holy sites, frequent Rosaries) to the one we have now, involving far less freedom with social events and uninterrupted time. While the demands of family life don’t mean we’re less responsible for our spiritual lives, we have had to cultivate peace with the opportunities we do have, and to recognize that even if our prayer is less community-centered and more rooted in our home, this is the mode in which the Lord calls us to live out our vocation in the here and now. We are definitely a work in progress in this area! I’d also encourage couples to continue calling each other on in their personal spiritual lives, as well. I find it such an act of generosity and good will when my husband encourages me to go on my own to Adoration or confession.

Looking for more practical tips on praying together? From the archives, our favorite past posts on the subject:

The learning curve of combining your spirituality with your beloved’s | 4 Tips for creating a prayer space in your home | Working through spiritual differences when you feel “unequally yoked” | Suggested patrons for your relationship and a selection of the most beautiful novenas and prayers to the saints | A guided meditation on praying with your wedding vows using lectio divina | How to plan a personal retreat for you and your beloved | How learning to communicate as a married couple is like learning to pray together, and why it’s okay to struggle | Spiritual book recommendations for brides | Our tips for a bathing your honeymoon in a spirit of prayer | How and why to consider bringing examen prayer into your relationship

We share our imperfections hoping within them, you find freedom. Constantly we are striving for accountability, vulnerability, and--above all--a deeper relationship with the Lord, offering ourselves and our spouses to him. If a lie has crept in that every other couple but you has it together, with a perfectly dedicated prayer life to match, know we are there beside you, always chasing holiness by way of our call to marriage.