Ed and I were married at St. John of Rochester. We attended Mass and prayed regularly. During a marriage enrichment, the idea of couple prayer was introduced. We realized that we did not pray as a couple. We each knew the other prayed, but aside from saying grace before meals, we did not pray together. We prayed quietly. We did not pray out loud, letting the other hear what we were saying. Our prayer was private between each of us alone and God. We were curious to try and pray together.
I went to a Catholic elementary school with nuns that taught me Catholic prayers and church etiquette. My prayer style was formal. I first said memorized prayers to prepare to speak to God.
Ed went to a special public elementary school and then to a Jesuit high school. His prayer style was relaxed and conversational.
When we started praying out loud as a couple, I wanted to start with a rosary. Ed wanted to start by saying, “Hey Bud.” I was shocked by how casually Ed spoke to God. He was surprised at how stiff and nervous I was talking to God. It was a challenge to figure out how to blend our two very different styles. In the process, we learned to appreciate the beauty of each of our styles. Learning to pray as a couple brought us closer to each other and to God.
The morning Ed left for heaven, we snuggled and prayed one last Couple Prayer. Now I wake up and say, “Hi Jesus. Hi Ed”. Sometimes I follow with a favorite comforting prayer. Sometimes I just speak to God. I let my heart and Ed lead me to the heart of Our Father who loves me and listens to me no matter how I pray.
Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a genetic heart defect on Aug. 1, 2020.
The 2023 Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekends are April 14-16, Sept. 15-17 and Nov. 10-12. All weekends take place at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua.
To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.Tags: Catholic Marriage