As we near the middle of the Lenten season, couples may find themselves in a variety of positions. Some have experienced greater connection as they practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting together, some may be experiencing conflict if one partner has proved to be more devoted than the other, and some may feel that they haven’t made many changes at all – the Lenten season may just be business as usual.
Regardless of where you find yourselves, it’s never too late to recommit yourself to prayer, fasting, and charity. Here are some simple tips for practicing the three basic principles of Lent as a couple.
Praying together as a couple requires trust and vulnerability. If this is an area that you and your spouse have achieved intimacy, then setting aside time to pray during Lent is important. This is also a great time to create a prayer calendar or prayer list, so you can be more intentional about this time.
The USCCB has a downloadable prayer calendar HERE that can help you focus and inspire your prayers.
If praying together is new for you, or only one of you is comfortable praying, a great way to get started is by using the Hallow app. This app includes directed daily prayers for Lent along with multiple options for praying through scripture, praying the rosary, or meditating on the writings of the saints. This is a wonderful way for couples to quietly come together in prayer while being led by fellow Catholics.
One of the beautiful benefits of fasting is the way it creates space for spiritual growth. Setting aside earthly pleasures in the form of food, entertainment, and activity can open your heart and your schedule to God. Couples can fast together by refraining from the same things or by supporting one another in their chosen fasts. They can also make time for solitude so they each have time alone with God.
Fasting isn’t just about abstaining from something; it is also about using the absence of something we find pleasure in to create a longing for God. Prayer goes hand-in-hand with fasting because it is the perfect place to find refuge when your desire for comfort isn’t being met by your favorite food, game, or app. Couples can support each other by acknowledging the challenges they may face while fasting and encouraging one another to persevere.
There are so many wonderful ways to give during the Lenten season. Lent may also be the perfect time to reflect on what you do to make giving a permanent part of your life. While fasting, you may discover a surplus in your budget because you’re spending patterns have changed, and in prayer, you may have felt a pull to a specific cause or group of people in your community.
Giving that’s inspired by prayer and fasting feels different from obligatory offerings, and couples who make a plan for giving can experience a lot of joy when they give of their time and/or money together. Lent is the perfect time for couples to reflect on what their response will be to God’s amazing grace.
A Time for Renewal
Whether this is your first Lent together as a couple or one of many, we pray it’s a time of renewal for each of you as individuals and also as a family. We also pray that through prayer, fasting, and giving, you are drawn nearer to your parish community and given a fresh desire to celebrate the sacraments.