Valentine’s Day may be over, but it’s important for married couples to grow in love and intimacy with their spouse throughout the year. And if you are looking for ways to grow in intimacy in your marriage, a great place to start is looking to the Eucharist!
Maureen and Jim Otremba are regular Morning Air® contributors, and they stopped by this week to offer their perspective on why the Eucharist is the foundation for a great marriage. Maureen is a professor of theology at the College of St. Benedict, and Jim is a Catholic coach and licensed therapist. Together they work with married couples, and have written Banquet of Love: Eucharist as Weekly Marriage Enrichment, a workbook to help transform marriages through the power of the Eucharist.
During their conversation, Morning Air host John Harper acknowledged, “One of the most intimate moments in someone’s life is when you have just received the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. And you close your eyes, you look up at the crucifix, whatever you might be doing, and you have that intimate conversation after receiving Him. How do you communicate that same intimacy that’s central to a marriage when you’re working with couples?”
Jim responded, “Amen, amen, amen. That is exactly at the heart of the curriculum Banquet of Love: The Eucharist as Weekly Marriage Enrichment, to recognize that it is the Eucharist that has, what Vatican II calls, the source and the summit of our faith. So it is the highest prayer that we have as Catholics. What the Holy Spirit has put on our heart is that we look at the Eucharist as literally a weekly marriage enrichment, or daily marriage enrichment.”
Explaining this concept, Jim said, “The reason we say that is because we look at every aspect of the Eucharist, from the Sign of the Cross to the sending forth, and we look at every part of the liturgy, of the rite itself. And the different forms of intimacy in the Eucharist are profound.”
Scripture tells us that marriage is an image of the love between Christ and His Church, and so it follows that we can learn how to better love our spouse through a better understanding of Christ in the Eucharist. Yet, Jim and Maureen pointed out that the intimacy that we associate with the Eucharist is often different than the intimacy that we associate with marriage. But in order to grow in both your relationship with your spouse and your relationship with the Lord it is crucial to explore the many forms of intimacy that are present in these relationships.
“There are there are many different forms of intimacy in the Eucharist. The beautiful form of intimacy in receiving the Lord’s body and blood, and there are other forms of intimacy as well. Spiritual intimacy, verbal intimacy when we hear the readings of the Word of God, emotional intimacy during the homily or during the readings, intellectual intimacy in the sharing of ideas during the homily and during the readings. There’s temporal intimacy, hanging out together as a couple and family with no electronics. I mean, it’s pretty powerful.”
“When we can understand these forms of intimacy more deeply as they’re presented in the Eucharist, and apply those to our marriage, marriages then can heal and resurrect from past wounds. We’ve seen it and it’s powerful. It’s beautiful.”
Listen below to hear more about the eight foundational intimacies that can be found in the Eucharist and applied to your marriage: