My dreamer of a high school self would frequently lie awake at night counting the qualities I wished to find in my future husband. I hoped he’d be, in no particular order, funny, creative, musical, a reader, from a big family, and--naturally--handsome.
As time passed and my spiritual life developed in college, I found my desires evolving. Meeting, and marrying, a man of deep faith started to push qualities like “good cook and dancer” from the top of my unofficial list. Specifically, I prayed that my husband would have a relationship with Our Lady.
I am blessed beyond measure to have found all these qualities, and more, in my husband Andrew. When we started dating, he told me how taking up the practice of a daily rosary the previous summer had brought order and peace to his life during a time he knew he’d wandered from the path of virtue he so deeply strove for. Starlit rosary walks around our college campus quickly became a ritual we loved.
The clarity I sensed through our prayer was like a thinning of the veil between the earthly life and the divine one. Total wonder and trust in the Father’s goodness. We talked often about our shared sense of healing from past relationships and such a certainty and purity in the start of our relationship. Months later, it was after a rosary walk, before a statue of Our Lady, that Andrew proposed. We chose a line from the Memorare, "before thee we kneel"--a reflection of the utter abandon to her care found in the prayer--for the inscription in our wedding rings.
To me, there is nothing more attractive, more admirable, and more masculine than a man in love with the Blessed Mother.
She is so alive, truly showing a man how to love his bride.
She herself is the embodiment of a bride--humble and small, yet a pillar of strength; pure beauty; sexual integrity; a magnification of the Lord’s goodness. I imagine she lived a rich emotional and spiritual life that models the love spouses are called to: ardent and pure-hearted devotion to her husband, abiding tenderness for her son, an emptying to the depths of her being at the foot of the Cross.
St. Louis de Montfort described devotion to Mary as being "Our Lady's slave," an image that's understandably uncomfortable across four centuries and an entirely different culture. To be honest, I was unsettled when I was introduced to the term--at the time, I was just learning more about the Catholic faith and was considering Marian consecration, and the thought of slavery made me skittish. To discover that Our Lady wanted to chain me to her for eternity didn't exactly seem loving, let alone pleasant.
I'm glad I heard out the context and explanation of the language, and am grateful for the grace of developing a devotion to her and making a consecration with my husband. Now, when I think of being chained to Our Lady, I no longer envision a burden or a literal ball and chain.
Instead, it brings me deep comfort to know my husband and I are forever tethered to her. It's impossible for her to let us go, even if we try. By grace alone, she's always pulling us back to her and into a deeper love for her son.
Our Marian devotions have absolutely deepened our prayer lives, yet I suspect the graces flow most abundantly when we fall short.
The daily opportunities to serve and sacrifice in marriage, the arguments, all the moments my husband and I aren’t just sitting there, holding hands in prayer--she keeps us close, and intercedes for us still.
How can you, as a couple, cultivate your own deeper devotion to Mary? Whether you’ve never had a relationship with her or whether you made a consecration years ago, she invites us from wherever we are. Consider habitually praying a decade or more of the rosary with your fiancé or husband, hanging an image or icon in your home, celebrating Marian feast days with Mass and a date night or gathering, and discerning Marian consecration.
In all her perfection, it might seem difficult to relate to Our Lady on a human level, but when I feel down on myself, knowing I could work harder at living out my vocation to marriage, I try to remember that she was and is entirely human. Alongside her, and with her prayers, we ourselves become fully alive.
We love hearing your own experiences of saintly intercession. Share your experiences with inviting Our Lady into your relationship! Do you have any Marian traditions? Any stories of how she's shaped your love story?