I knew the intense tension we were both feeling. We'd been in a stressful job, Co-Pastoral Administrators of a poor city parish, that we were just coming off of. Our fourth child had died of brain cancer two years before. My mother was in a nursing home with advanced dementia. I now was main caretaker for a sister with various disabilities and health problems. And my husband was still suffering from PTSD from finding a friend who had committed suicide just months after our son died.
We were both strained beyond endurance, exhausted, irritable, depressed. I felt as if we were drowning in that depression. I knew the statistics - many married couples divorced after the strain of losing a child. And our marriage had many stressors on top of that one! I was more than depressed. I was scared! I wanted our marriage back, whole and intact!
I began to pray a prayer for us that I'd prayed when we were younger. It was a response to Jesus' final prayer at the Last Supper, when He prayed to His Father for unity for His followers: "Father, may Paul and I be one in You as You, Jesus, and Your Holy Spirit are one." In the days to come, argument still unresolved, I began blessing my ring with holy water before Mass as I had for many years before. I knew in my heart that Paul was praying too.
And the Father and Jesus responded by sending us their Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who Jesus asked the Father to send us as he prayed at His last Supper: "When He comes, the Spirit of Truth, He will guide you to all truth." (John: 16, 13.)
I know that many married couples rely on lawyers to draw up pre-nuptial agreements in case their marriage fails. They rely on divorce lawyers to help them work through divorces. But the Holy Spirit is a marriage's First and Best Advocate, Lawyer: the One Who will always show us the truth in love about our relationship, Who will help us balance each other, support each other, when we take turns being weak or strong. God's Spirit helped us resolve one of the deepest misunderstandings of our marriage and brought us through it and more one than we'd been before.