Lent is a time for 40 days of fasting, prayer, and penitence and marriages are for a lifetime and into eternity. Lent and marriage have a lot in common.
You do not have to be Catholic to practice Lent. It is a good practice for all. As I have been thinking about my own marriage of 25 years I began asking myself questions about how I could be a better wife and bring more romance into our marriage. These series of questions came about after a large fight my husband and I had one month ago. Now being married for 25 years is no small thing. If you are newlyweds or celebrating 25 or 50 years you know marriage is a job and very rewarding job! I mean marriage takes work, patience, and love. So this brings me to Lent. So as Lent began with Ash Wednesday which was on Valentine’s day this year, I really thought more about the LOVE aspect about Lent.
First Corinthians 13: 4-8 “Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude or seeks its own advantage, it does not take offense or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in truth. It’s always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. Love never comes to an end.” Wow, that scripture is convicting as well as hopeful as well as encouraging. Just as what Jesus did for us 40 days and nights in the desert to prepare himself for the ultimate sacrifice on the cross pales in comparison to my fight 1 month ago. However, disagreements and fights will cause change either in a good way or negative way. The good will bring about productive change in your marriage but the negative can leave us with seeking revenge or holding onto offenses.
I decided to take Lent as a time to reflect and pray and fast for myself and my husband and our marriage. Remember marriage takes work. Everyday life with a lot of children and so many different ages can be difficult at times in finding the right balance for a husband and wife to find time for romance!! I know I am constantly being pulled in a lot of directions, that’s why I have to know my priorities because I quickly become so distracted with life activities that are good. After the fight, I knew in my heart change had to happen because I was beginning to have offenses settle in my heart which then came out of my mouth in not so nice ways.
Lent is a time set aside to help us grow in our faith and marriage is a sacrament which is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. I began to ask some questions of how I could grow closer to the Lord through my marriage. The questions I asked:
- What fears did I have every day relating to our marriage?
- How could I overcome those fears during Lent?
- What type of fasting, prayer, and penance did I need to work on?
For me, it came down to fears of finances and all the what if questions that plagued me. Most of the time I can pinpoint fights with my husband and they are generally related to fears.
So for the rest of Lent I am focusing on my husband and my relationship and how to bring romance amid the chaos of large family living. I also am getting scripture to pray over him and learning to love and let those offenses go! When the children are all grown up it will still be me and my hubby:)
I hope this has been helpful. Please leave me a comment to let me know what other ways you practice lent. I would love to hear from you.