Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once observed that every marriage goes through moments of crisis, moments transforming newly wedded bliss into a deeper, more satisfying kind of love. For some couples, including Craig and me, these moments of crisis involved a death or prolonged illness. For others, it’s another kind of family crisis. At one point in our marriage, Craig and I faced a chasm so deep that it ultimately drove us to seek help, a weekend retreat called Retrouvaille. (If you ever find your marriage floundering, please consider looking into this unique marriage support resource.)
During that awful year, more than once I would wake up in the night and hear a familiar old Simon and Garfunkle classic playing in my head:
When you’re weary, feeling small.
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all.
I’m on your side when times get rough and pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.
In Art Garfunkle’s pure, high tenor, I heard the voice of God.
Of course, in all likelihood, this wouldn’t work for you. When trouble strikes at the heart, the Great Physician proffers a uniquely healing balm to those who reach out for it: A Bible verse. A soothing cup of tea in a favorite porcelain teacup. The embrace of a loved one — which, in an ideal world, would be one’s husband. But it could also be a sibling, a parent, or a trusted friend who is praying for you both, and for your marriage to succeed.
I recently heard Kitty Cleveland’s album “God Will Provide,” which includes her testimony of her father’s wrongful imprisonment, and how her family struggled to accept the awful circumstances. You can purchase the album here. Her testimony reminded me that a crisis need not be the beginning of the end of love, so long as you both hold on, trusting that it is not the end of the story, but only a chapter in the book of your lives.
Talk about it: How do each of you most often respond to crisis? What kinds of support do you find most helpful?