Maybe you’re in a bit of a dry dating spell. Maybe your heart is breaking. Or, maybe you just want to see eye-to-eye with your spouse. Or perhaps your love life just needs a freaking miracle, already (we’ve all been there). Whatever your romantic woe — we have one simple question: Have you considered prayer?
Yes, really. We’re talking about the good, old-fashioned, get-down-on-your-knees kind of invocation. Some might call it guided meditation, but as Catholics we usually call this kind of practice prayer, and it often involves asking others who have gone before us to intercede on our behalf. And when it comes to matters of the heart, there’s rarely a better antidote.
So next time you’re experiencing a relationship low (or high!), remember, there are some folks up in heaven who are ready and willing to help you get better at love:
1. When you’re feeling rather desperate:
Okay, so he’s that guy we all pray to when we lose our cell phone, keys, wallet, favorite sweater vest, etc. (Some call on him so often, they affectionately called him “Tony.”) But did you know that he’s also the patron saint of lost causes too? Yes — those lost causes.
Like that ex-boyfriend of yours whom you “accidentally” text late on Friday nights. Or that girl who works in your office building who’s already said, “No, I’m busy.” Try and see if invoking St. Anthony can help you get over these rough patches, or, by miracle of miracles, change their hearts around entirely.
2. When you’re basically high on endorphins:
When love starts feeling like an actual, wonderful, perfect drug (no you’re not crazy, it’s a thing), it might be a good idea to start praying to St. Dwynwen — the patron saint of of lovers. Why? Well, like a lot of stories of old saints, the details aren’t exactly clear. But most of the legends agree that she was a princess who, instead of marrying the prince of her dreams (whether through her father’s wish, or hers, or another engagement — it’s murky), she dedicated her life to God and started a convent. Apparently, she was known to pray on behalf of all the hopes and dreams of true lovers! So, yes, she’s definitely someone you want on your side when you’re falling fast — especially when the future with someone looks hazy.
3. & 4. When you just want to find someone already:
St. Anne & St. Joseph
“Saint Anne, Saint Anne, send me a man,” as the old Catholic rhyme goes, apparently. As the maternal grandmother of Jesus, St. Anne’s job as a Jewish mother would have been to help arrange Mary’s marriage to Joseph — which, evidently, shows she had some rather masterful matchmaking skills. And St. Joseph, being the prime example of a steadfast, patient, rockstar of a husband, is another ideal saint to pray to.
If you’re looking for a more structured prayer, consider searching for novenas (prayers offered over the course of nine days) dedicated to either St. Anne or to St. Joseph. You’ll find lots of Catholics who’ve found clarity after these nine days of prayerful romantic longing!
5. When you just married your someone:
If there’s one thing for certain, St. Philomena knew what her heart wanted (she dedicated her virginity to Jesus) and she was willing to go through actual hell and high water to make sure this actually happened (she survived horrific torture — in fire and in water — as she denied marriage to Emperor Diocletian, who was emperor #1 in persecuting Christians). Fortunately, you needn’t be a virgin, an aspiring nun, or even a persecuted Christian to invoke her help in starting your marriage off right.
6. When you want your marriage to be actually happy:
St. Nicholas of Myrna
As the legend has it, the saint that inspired the myth of Santa Claus, St. Nick, actually got his start by helping a seriously-broke father come up with three substantial dowries for his daughters — which resulted in making three very happy marriages.
So if you’re finding yourself worried about the practicalities of marriage (e.g., “How the heck are we ever going to afford this wedding/house/car/baby/skincare”), relax — and remember, God provides.
7. When your marriage is difficult:
St. Edward the Confessor
The man who built Westminster Abbey about a millennia ago wasn’t expecting to be a king — his older brother was. But he died, and Edward received the crown during a time of of war with the Danes. Before all this happened, he is said to have made a vow of chastity — but it became apparent that in order to keep the peace, he was to marry a powerful Danish pirate-turned-baron’s daughter, Edith. So not only did this uneasy marriage remain unconsummated, but his father-in-law was kind of his country’s archenemy.
While marital problems might have seen worse, remember, if you’re hitting a rocky patch, consider praying to this saint, who was known to effectively manage an entire country while maintaining a tumultuous marriage.
8. When you just want to be on the same page already:
Blessed Elisabeth Leseur
While not yet technically a saint, Bl. Elisabeth Leseur is known for her diary, in which she reveals some of her deepest struggles in her marriage with a man she deeply loved: a medical doctor and an atheist leader in France.
Despite their differences, they had a strong marriage, but she secretly prayed he would receive the gift of faith. While she lived, she suffered both hepatitis and cancer, often offering up her pain for her husband to convert. And after her death, he did indeed have a conversion — but only after going to Lourdes wanting to expose it as fake. In fact, he was so deeply moved, he even became a priest.
Of course, when we pray to Bl. Elisabeth, we’re certainly hoping for these sorts of conflicts and struggles to be solved in our lifetime. Yet, all that said, isn’t it such a beautiful testament that love is indeed more powerful than death?
No matter your experience with love, sitting down in silence and mindfully giving your intentions and your thoughts over to God will actually serve you in making better choices and give you a clearer understanding of others. And yes! No matter your relationship status, there’s definitely a saint for that.