I was thinking about how people grow closer spiritually, emotionally and physically. I’m unsure but would think out of all these, that spirtual exchanges through prayer together could be the strongest union and most beautiful. In a relationship that may move toward marriage in the future, should the couple pray alone together (spiritual intimacy) for an extended period of time or is this a gift to be salvaged in the bonds of marriage?
that’s great as long as they do it in an appropriate time and place–not in a bedroom, with all their clothes on, no physical intimacy except perhaps holding hands. I can think of no better prepartion for marriage than a habit of praying together that continues throughout their life. They must however avoid the temptation that arises to make the prayer a dialogue between them, rather than a dialogue with God.
Kimberly Hahn says to avoid it.
Thats interesting. I’m curious to know more about what spiritual intimacy is between two people in a relationship. Further, id love to hear Kimberly Hahn’s reasoning… Thank you for your comments
It is to be avoided for the same reason cohabitation is bad. It isn’t just about the sex. It is the intimacy as has been mentioned. We are to only give to our spouse that type of closeness and “knowledge” of our selves. This window into our own relationship with God should become apparent only when joined together when spouses form the triune relationship that occurs in the Sacrament of Marriage. When you give this part to someone and then break up with them you aren’t always able to detach completely causing problems in later relationships. You are not able to gift this unique gift to your spouse then either. It’s kind of spiritual adultery.
Does anyone have any reading materials or resources so that I could find out more of what spiritual intimacy is regarding such a relationship and the importance of the above comments? Thanks
Of course you can pray together, what a wonderful way to become even closer and learn more about each other with Gods help before marriage. Personally I think praying the rosary together would be very lovely. I think when we pray it keeps us focused on God’s plan not our own. It should help you to lead a chaste life with your love until after marriage.
You mentioned how cohabitation is bad, and I agree with you. Then you make a giant leap to say that intimacy in prayer is bad for the same reasons. What reasons are those? As an argument, this is hardly convincing. These are legitimate concerns though, but perhaps you could elaborate, because others as well as I seem to have a hard time understanding how your argument against “premarital prayer” stands.
I think you’d agree that there is much legitimate premarital intimacy that exists between a man and a woman (and should). This intimacy must be allowed to manifest itself in the form of prayer; however, both should conduct themselves properly and be of one mind as well as one heart. That is, they ought to both know what prayer is and why they are praying before they pray. Also, I think they should pray in a Church setting.
I can see myself praying the rosary with my future-spouse (before being married) for example, without it ending up in what you called “spiritual adultery.” I can also see us sharing with each other our dreams, loves, likes and dislikes with out having to resort to idle chit-chat for fear of cheating on possible future spouses.
Respectfully, I have to disagree with the logic. Using this model, a couple would only be allowed to engage in small talk as not to allow any peeking into said window into one’s relationship with God. It seems to be a big stretch of the term “spiritual adultery.” I did a quick Google search and only found only Protestant websites talking about it, and they didn’t imply what the OP described as a circumstance that would be considered this kind of offense. Perhaps you could provide a better source of material for me to read. IMHO, I believe it would be beautiful if a couple prayed together before they got married. As long as they were not creating scandal for themselves by doing it in inappropriate places, I’m not seeing the harm. A dear friend of mine proposed to his bride in the adoration chapel. He said he wanted Christ as a witness to the event. I didn’t seen any adultery in that, and I would tend to believe that Christ smiled.
There is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Yes you can pray the rosary in groups and pray with each other.Yes you can pray for your marriage and discuss it at length.Otherwise how else would you be sure this is the person you want to marry. However , prayer can lead to a very deep intimacy. Even engaged couples should be limiting the amount of time they spend alone together and they shouldn’t be doing the same things that a husband does for a wife and vice-versa. You wait until the sacramental vow has been contracted and then under the mantle of that grace you begin that type of intimiate and emotional closeness , dependency and reliance on each other. We’ve allowed society to blur the lines of intimacy for us. The joy and wonder of “knowing” your spouse should take place after marriage and not before.
My friends who have cohabitated and now don’t because of a breakup often suffer from the loss of the little intimate things that a couple share and do for each other, not the sex.I’ve seen similiar pain amongst my divorced friends and family. Sometimes it’s the little jobs that you do for each other that make the biggest intimate impact.Boyfriends and girlfriends as well as engageds need to put limits on the relationship. I must know about six engaged in one form or another couples that have already bought a house and are in effect “playing house”. Doing all the chores together etc making decisions as a couple they have no right to be making until the marriage has taken place. One of my girlfriends had that experience . She was a virgin, waiting for her wedding night. She is suffering from the loss of that intimate marital relationship that she was involved in now that they are broken up. Plus she had to go through the craziness of selling a house , furniture etc. I’ve had several friends who have done all that and then gotten married. They tell me marriage didn’t do anything to change their relationship. Of course it didn’t . They were already living married.
Sorry , can’t come up with better theological description but that’s the sentiment I’m going for.There’s a line of intimacy that shouldn’t be crossed and prayer being what it is an intimate experience sets up a couple for crossing that line.
I only vaugely remember Kimberly Hahn being against it but I do remember hearing someone on Chrisitian radio recommending against it; I don’t rembember who.
The reasoning Seatuck gave was pretty close to what I remember; it’s about intimacy.
Before I go on let me clarify that I don’t believe anyone here or Mrs. Hahn are saying no praying, ever. It’s interesting that the OP used the phrase “in depth” - that’s key.
So praying a rosary or going to adoration or Mass together I do think is good as long as the prayer is balanced with other activies: time with family and friends, service projects and time doing something that has nothing to do with the other person, including praying about that other person.
I don’t know how to explain when and how it becomes inappropriate. One reason is that it can be misleading as far as compatibility if the couple is on a perpetual spiritual high; that ecstasy, if you will, can blur the couples vision (using MaryBeth Bonacci’s phrase) to other matters. I can see a couple spending a lot of time in prayer with each other, having a great prayer life but little else.
I guess I would save the in-depth prayer for marriage.
I’m sorry I don’t have any resources for this. What the woman on Chrisitian radio said resonated with me. I think it would be interesting to find out Kimberly Hahn’s ideas on this. She seems very invested in dating and marriage and discerment and has probably observed a lot in her ministry with college-aged women going through these things.
I don’t think spiritual intimacy and sexual intimacy are giant leaps. Who we are sexually is very closely connected to who we are spiritually. Everyone can see I am female; it is the physical manifestation that I’m called to be a wife and mother. What about spiritually (and emotionally too, but we’re not talking about that)? What did Gos mean for me to be? The answer is there in my body for all to see but it is also in my soul, that which designates me as made for God. Without my soul I am a well-groomed ape.
Also, have you all seen Bernini’s statue of St. Teresa? I’m just sayin’…
This makes me curious to pose an example to understand better. Lets say a courting couple goes to a prayer group- here the typical situation is where one person would pray, then another, then another like popcorn. Lets suppose that one person from the couple prays back and forth- (person from the couple prays, opposite gender person prays(not other person in couple), person from the couple prays, same opposite gender person prays(not other person in couple)) with another in the group during the session. What would one make of this morally?
I have prayed in depth with several boyfriends, and never had a hard time in doing so again after a break up. My biggest issue was with sex, when I was sexully intimate I had many many problems with it, due to connections made previously.
In my own experiance, prayer together is WAY different(and better) than sex. I understand the reasonings people may have for not doing it, but in my experiance its amazing. Many times me and my boyfriend will pray the rosary together(we do this everyday) and then look up at eachother in wonder as we have gotten the same answer on a topic we might have been struggling with. Its wonderful and it works wonders for maintaining a chaste life.
Personally, I think going to Mass together is fine. So is being in a prayer or Rosary group together.
Praying alone, in depth, IMHO, can lead to intimacy that is inappropriate before marriage. Not just physical intimacy, but emotional imtimacy. I think even emotional intimacy can cloud your judgement. —KCT
My wife and I frequently had dates that meant going to church together…not only for mass, but also adoration.
I not only think that it is appropriate, but I also heartily recommend it to my own sons when they are dating.
It gave my spouse and I a center…a focal point for our relationship. I drew strength from our common need to pray together. We still do it after 25 years of marriage.
To me, I think praying in groups or in a chapel together or short structured prayers is alright. I was just concerned that because our spiritual being is the most beautiful part of ourselves, if entering into deep back and forth type prayer prior to marriage is morally permissible with a person one is courting with?
Hmm… First of all let me say I won’t be quoting anything official or talking from any experience with anything official in the matter. Whatever I say is just my reflections, pondering the question now that you ask.
The question in my view suggests a preset requirement that the prayer be deep. Or in other words it’s about deep prayer, not just prayer per se. One would have to ask himself the question why deep prayer, not just prayer. What the “deep” word is doing there and why. In my own case, I would question myself why I wanted to prayer to be deep.
Another concern is intimacy. Deep prayer together is intimate. A dating relationship is not. It may in some cases be “normal” with friends, but dating isn’t just about friendship, if at all. Again, I would question myself why I wanted to pray with that person.
Another thing is who would lead it? Taking turns maybe? I certainly wouldn’t like to become a newly met girl’s director in prayer and I doubt I’d like to be directed by her. Traditionally, in those old family structures, perhaps the husband would lead prayer - but certainly not a boyfriend, probably not even a fiance. Taking turns maybe, as I said, but wouldn’t that be making a two person prayer circle?
My yet another concern is the compatibility of the prayer idea with the concept of non-exclusive dating. Non-exclusivity suggests potentiality rather than actuality. In other words, the person is being considered for something rather than in an actual relationship (an actual romantic relationship with multiple partners is called polyamory and I cannot reconcile it with Christian doctrine and morality no matter how chaste people would make it). A prayer for good discernment could perhaps be in order, but would one really talk about marriage with a person introduced a month ago and currently going through a fifth cafeteria visit together?
Yet another problem of prayer partnership and non-exclusive dating is the premise that all the people minus one will be dumped at some point. Getting over someone who’s a prayer partner may be quite hard. Besides, there can be some messing feelings with religion. One doesn’t want to start hearing voices and all. At any rate, you won’t be holding hands and praying with those people anymore after you choose one of them (another reason not to do non-exclusive stuff if you want my opinion, but let’s not start another debate on this).
I might be inclined to enter a church or kneel at a road chapel when passing by one but I don’t think I would start praying aloud or grab the person’s hand. It would have to be my girlfriend or intended for that. It would be tricky with a female friend, as I might be inclined to do that, while I surely wouldn’t with a male friend - this breeds the question of purpose: Why. Why. At any rate, I’d probably be saying a fast Pater noster qui es in caelis in a steady voice and without too much intonation rather than opening my mouth in the vernacular or deeply weighing the words or making pauses. Similarly, I would prefer rosary meditations written by a third person, preferably a priest or saint, rather than making up any special ones “about us” (which I do on my own but wouldn’t together - at least not aloud). Ideally, I would be kneeling down on both knees at a short distance, in one line, looking at the Tabernacle or at least at the same point but not at each other (as an offshot, remember the Exupery quote about love being not looking at each other but looking in the same direction? ;)), normally not holding hands. Once again, I would be careful to avoid any leading, so as not to act as the person’s spiritual or prayer director and avoid dominating her.
I would also avoid creating illusions of ministering anything to each other or taking any oaths on an impulse or establishing ceremonies of an uncertain nature, as much as certain ceremonies and patterns might perhaps be beneficial between spouses.
Perhaps the last thing that comes to my mind is that people who pray together may appear holier than they are to each other, especially if the atmosphere is deeply spiritual.
Maybe the really last thing would be that some time ago my dad said, “pray for her, not to her.” And he didn’t mean taking her picture and praying to it, obviously.
The decision is always yours, however, and I have no authority.
I believe you won’t find anything authoritative in the Church’s teaching, so it will ultimately go on your conscience. I would do that if I were very serious about that person, but I’d have to be hoping for marriage rather than discerning it. Everything would have to be in order between that person and me. Agape would have to be way ahead and in control of eros. I’m getting a hunch that it would be better for people who normally pray a lot and not for people who will barely pray otherwise.
I often think of this exact quote/picture when i think of a loving relationship, funny you said that. Thank you soo much chevalier, you have given much insight and things to contemplate. I appreciate it! I would like to respond but need to think about what you said.