Marriage Stories: Sharing a ‘Blessing of the Senses’

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Marriage Stories

NOTE from Dr. Wayne Baker: Dr. Benjamin Pratt is author of the new book Short Stuff from a Tall Guy. He writes often about the values surrounding marriage—and, this week, he is inviting our readers to share as well. Please welcome Ben back for Part 5 in this series …

SHARING ‘A BLESSING OF THE SENSES’

COVER Benjamin Pratt Short Stuff from a Tall Guy full 3D cover proof

Did you enjoy this week’s series? Did these columns get you thinking about your own relationships? Or, perhaps you plan to carry some of this week’s questions into your class or small group? If so, you’ll find a whole lot more of Ben Pratt’s writing in his new book. Click this image of the cover to jump to our bookstore.

Already this week, we’ve shared stories about marriage’s ups and downs—and the need for good humor and compassion to smooth our way along this bumpy road. In the final part of this series, I’m turning to the importance of faith as the glue in millions of marriages. I’m an ordained United Methodist minister, but I’m not trying to convert readers to my particular tradition.

I am suggesting, though, that you share stories with friends about the role faith—or you might call it religion or spirituality—plays in marriage. Millions of Americans, this year, will be discussing this issue since the U.S. Supreme Court has just opened marriage to a whole new array of couples.

What’s your story about faith and marriage? Here’s my story …

When I conduct weddings, I no longer deliver a homily. Instead, I share a Blessing of the Senses. Each time I speak the blessing it is personally crafted to include feigned touching of the couple’s eyes, ears, lips, hands and heart. I think it summarizes the ingredients necessary for a sustained, thriving marriage.

Here is one version of that blessing:

May God so bless your Eyes that you will see, not who you want to see, but truly see your partner for his/her gifts and graces, warts and wounds. May you celebrate with gratitude the gifts and joys, and understand and console the wounds and warts.

May God bless your Ears that you may not only listen but truly hear the voice, words, yearnings, needs and hopes of your partner.

May God so bless your Lips that your kisses shall be sweet and tender. And may the words crossing your lips be ones of honesty, hope, forgiveness—along with laughter. May your lips be guardians that halt words of hatred, vicious criticism and contempt.

May God bless your Hands to be instruments of comfort, strength and tenderness for the other.

May God bless your Heart that you may be a presence of comfort, joy, hope, forgiveness and vitality to your partner as well as others. May your Hearts be so filled with love that you will be instruments of peace to all.

Love each other as you have been loved.
Care for each other.
Bear one another’s burdens; share each other’s joys.
And, bring each other home.

Share your stories, please …

OurValues is designed to encourage civil dialogue on challenging subjects—and, this week, we hope readers will share stories about marriage with friends. You’re free to print out, repost or share these five columns on marriage to get folks talking. Leave a comment below. Email someone. Come on, start talking …

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