Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 24 June |
The Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Keep having the same fight with your spouse? Here’s a quick prayer to break the cycle



Sarah Robsdottir - published on 11/03/19

12 Simple words to call down God’s mercy …

Whether it be about finances or in-laws or who picks up the kids from soccer, don’t all married couples have a “favorite” disagreement they return to again and again?

From what I gather, this ‘round the mulberry bush fight is a problem common to marriage, yet one that in the moment can make a person feel tremendously isolated and alone.

Enter a powerful 12-word prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Christians have been leaning on the practice of reciting this prayer, widely known in the Eastern Catholic world as the Jesus Prayer, since the 14th century.

I discovered this secret weapon when Bishop Robert Barron recommended The Way of a Pilgrim, a book about a traveler who strives to follow Jesus’ command to “pray without ceasing.”

Here’s how I use this powerful prayer when my husband and I are bickering about finances – our all-too familiar ‘round the mulberry bush fight. I lift up the prayer repeatedly, saying it for myself and then for my husband, plugging in his name at the end:

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on Pete, a sinner.”

And bam! – my anger is diffused. Okay, maybe not instantly. Or completely. Sometimes I have to hide away and meditate on the words again and again – crying out to God for me, for him, for me, for my teens who have jumped in on the argument, and slowly … well, I calm down a little bit.

You see, I’m not promising a magical cure. I am, however, sharing a practical/ spiritual hack that’s helped us realize some progress – finally. Maybe you’ll try it the next time you bump heads over where to spend the holidays. Go ahead, plug in your spouse’s name:

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on __________, a sinner.”

See? Doesn’t that feel better than stewing in resentment? By choosing to storm heaven for your spouse, you’re taking control of the situation on some level; you’re steering yourself and your marriage and your family in a powerful new direction.

St. Teresa of Avila said “Prayer is an act of love,” and I always reflect on her wisdom when I’m saying the Jesus Prayer for my husband. Because honestly, I feel my love for him increase each time I say his name in prayer, regardless of what’s going on. Also, by calling down God’s mercy on myself and my husband, I’m admitting we’re both sinners in desperate need of God’s supernatural help.

Again, I’m not promising an instant magical cure for that ‘round the mulberry bush fight, but I can say the last time Pete and I had a doozy of one, I hid in the laundry room (like a caterpillar in a cocoon) and after many, many repetitions of Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on us sinners, I did find a new set of wings.

Read more:
What to do if you don’t feel like doing your resolutions

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Philip Kosloski
Prayers to be said at the elevation of the host at Mass
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
Theresa Civantos Barber
Celebrate “summer Christmas” with these 5 traditions ...
Cecilia Zinicola
The best method for transforming annoyance and frustration
John Burger
Parents of Amazon CEO donate $12 million to Catholic school
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.