Mary and Joseph were making an uneasy journey in advent.
Hugely pregnant, and with bills to pay,
they were barely through a conflict that nearly divided them.
God of grace, hear our advent prayer
for people whose marriages are in trouble.
Thank you for romantic love, and the rush of desire:
help couples who feel empty when that fades or disappears,
show them that love is deeper than romance.
Thank you for harmony and partnership:
help couples that have lost their way,
who wallow in conflict rather than pulling through to the other side.
Thank you for lovers who honour and delight:
help couples whose lovemaking has become selfish
and totally devoid of tenderness.
Thank you for unity of purpose and shared pursuits:
help couples who have grown apart
and want different things from life.
Thank you for partners who cherish each other as companions:
help couples who live with walls between them
and have forgotten how to enjoy each other’s company.
Thank you for the sacred gift of intimacy:
help us when we idolize marriage and forget
that friendship in community is the core of Christian life.
Jesus, be with all who are re-learning how to be together
as they walk the long marriage road.
Holy Spirit, you know when there is hope for a marriage
and when partners cannot rally.
Give insight, especially when safety has been shattered by violence.
Help us as a community to support married people,
and to offer unconditional love to everyone,
even when we are broken.