Elaine Sinnott shares the role of a miracle in the steps toward restoration of her hurting marriage.
“Lord, whatever You have for me, please give it to me. And I pray for my husband’s conversion. St. Monica, please intercede for him!” I said as I wept in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
That night I went to my first Praise and Worship Adoration since COVID shut everything down. Earlier that day, a friend reminded me it would be at the parish just five minutes from our house after revealing some overwhelming news to her. It also happened to be August 27, the feast day of St. Monica, a woman who prayed for the conversion of her abusive, unfaithful husband; difficult mother-in-law; and prideful son (St. Augustine) for many years. They ALL ended up converting! She is the patron saint of alcoholics, conversion, married women, and mothers.
As soon as I knelt in the pew and heard the praise and worship music begin, I immediately got choked up. It had been an emotionally exhausting past seven days and coming to Adoration was like I was finally re-centering myself on Who I needed to re-center on the most. I wept for almost the entire hour, palms open wide in worship of my Savior.
Then, just when I thought it was over, the priest began a Eucharistic procession, where he holds the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance for a few seconds in front of each individual person in the church, an incredibly intimate moment with our Lord.
When my turn came, I looked up at Jesus, closed my eyes, opened my hands, and asked for Him to help my husband and to help me. I surrendered us to Him, emptying myself of my tears so that He could fill me up with everything He had for me.
Saturday morning, I woke around 4:30 AM and my husband had already gone downstairs to get ready for work. I hadn’t been sleeping the past week as it was and all of a sudden I was tormented with anxiety after anxiety. I tossed and turned and wept and finally grabbed my rosaries around 6 AM and begged the Blessed Mother’s help for our marriage. With every bead and every mystery, I told her everything that was on my heart.
“I can’t be alone in my marriage any more, Mary. Please help me.”
“I am so empty, so exhausted emotionally.”
“I am so overwhelmed.”
Towards the end of my rosary, though, I began to feel peace and my mindset shifted, remembering St. Monica. I surrendered our marriage again to our Lord: “I don’t want to suffer throughout my entire marriage, but I will try to be faithful if that is my cross.”
As I walked downstairs to start breakfast for my children, I suddenly got the idea to text Luke about marriage counseling.
“He’s going to think you’re crazy. You’re just being dramatic,” was my first thought. I recognize that now as just another attack from Satan. I had asked my husband about a month before about counseling and he said absolutely not. But I felt peace with the decision to ask him this time.
“I think we need to see a marriage counselor,” I messaged him at 6:30 AM.
“It’s a little early in the morning for that isn’t it,” was his response.
Discouraged, I took a deep breath and tried again.
“Yeah, but I’m tired of not sleeping and waking up crying. I can’t do it anymore.”
“What do you have in mind?” he asked, which surprised me. I was expecting more pushback.
“I don’t know, but if you’ll agree to it I will search for one.”
“I think it’s probably worth it,” he responded.
No wonder Satan was trying to discourage me from asking. My husband finally agreed.
It was truly a miracle.
All those years of suffering, all those years of wondering if we’ll ever get help, it was finally going to happen.
And my heavenly help confirmed this for me, too. A dear friend sent me The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections on Friday, August 28th (St. Augustine’s feast day) but I did not open it until Saturday the 29th. For some reason, I decided to go back and start with the reading for the 28th and read the following:
“Professional counseling, more exercise, better nutrition, or maybe even the right kind of medication may be just the right thing for me and you.”
Sometimes God overwhelms me with His provision, His direction, His support, and how individual His care is for us. We can’t understand how it’s possible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). We think there’s no way He hears our cries in this valley of tears with many other people sending up prayers to Him, too. But He does. And it’s amazing what He can do when we surrender even the deepest, darkest parts of our lives to Him.
Are you struggling in your own marriage? This is not something I wanted to share because we never want to reveal what’s really going on behind closed doors. It’s easier to pretend everything’s okay. Except to the point when it’s no longer easier. I’m done pretending – it’s time to be real. Our world needs real. Real causes conversions. Real moves mountains. Real saves marriages.
You do not have to do this alone
I am writing about this so you also know you do NOT have to struggle alone! I only found hope in my marriage through friends and family who have shared about their own vulnerable struggles in marriage. God doesn’t want to watch you crying alone every day because you’re suffering so much. Know that there is something you can do! Visit Jesus in the nearest Adoration Chapel, or any Catholic Church, and kneel before the Blessed Sacrament or the Tabernacle. Sit in His holy, physical presence. Surrender yourself, your spouse, and your marriage to Him and He will blow you away with what He can do with that surrender.
Ask for the Blessed Mother’s help – she never turns away a child who comes to their Mother for assistance. And ask for St. Monica’s powerful intercession, too. This friend in heaven will become a prayer warrior for you and your marriage if you invite her to be.
Never give up praying, never fall into despair. Prayer and fasting are powerful weapons for even the darkest situations. There is always hope. There is always God.
Copyright 2020 Elaine Sinnott
Image: Jovaughn Stephens (2018), Unsplash
About the Author
Elaine Sinnott is a mother of soon-to-be-six, a new homeschooler, and a wife to her teenage sweetheart. She lives for big family gatherings and conversion stories, especially Something Other Than God and Rome Sweet Home. She is the owner of MilitaryWifeAfterGod.com and is in the process of writing a book about her own reversion back to the Church.