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Marriage, sex, and prayer: what the Scriptures say

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The Bible provides a unique prayer that can be said by spouses before uniting together in love.

Sex and religion are often thought to be opposed to each other and many think that the Catholic Church believes sex is “dirty,” “tainted” or even “sinful.”

On the contrary, the Church has always stressed the holiness of the conjugal act. St. John Paul II wrote in Familiaris Consortio, “By virtue of the mystery of the death and Resurrection of Christ, of which the spouses are made part in a new way by marriage, conjugal love is purified and made holy.”

It is because of this holiness that the Church seeks to guard and protect this beautiful act between husband and wife and encourages couples to unite together according to God’s plan for marriage.

One way to do this, which may seem odd or strange, is to pray as a couple before making love. This is not without precedent, as Sarah and Tobias, in the Bible’s Book of Tobit, prayed together on their wedding night and were protected from a demon that was killing Sarah’s previous husbands. The prayer sanctified their act and brought them closer together than they could possibly imagine.

Many couples are starting to begin this custom, including this Catholic couple, who write about the surprising spiritual benefits to this practice.

While this may not be for every couple, it may be a way for some to draw closer to God, while also uniting with their spouse, body and soul.

Below is the full prayer that Tobias prayed for himself and Sarah on their wedding night.

Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors;
blessed be your name forever and ever!
Let the heavens and all your creation bless you forever.
You made Adam, and you made his wife Eve
to be his helper and support;
and from these two the human race has come.
You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a helper like himself.’
Now, not with lust,
but with fidelity I take this kinswoman as my wife.
Send down your mercy on me and on her,
and grant that we may grow old together.
Bless us with children.

Amen, amen! (Tobit 8:5-7)

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