I remember the first time I ever heard her call her husband a name, a name I had never, ever, heard a woman call her husband. I was taken back. “Was she serious?” “Did she say that to shock me?” I was 25 years old. I had not just fallen off the turnip truck or joined the Catholic Church. I had heard many a woman, many a Catholic woman, call their husbands many a name. But never this.
She said, “…he is my Saint Joseph…”
Who speaks like that about their husbands? Surely never anyone I was in contact with. As shocking as her 5 little words were, those are the only words I remember from our conversation 15 years ago. I could not get those words out of my head then and they still haunt me.
“He is my Saint Joseph.”
I had never seen a marriage with so much love and respect that a wife would seriously refer to her husband as her Saint Joseph. I had never thought such an ordinary man in such an ordinary marriage could merit such high praise.
And that’s the key…they were ordinary. They worked, were raising children, had quirks and faults and sins. Yet they had such a reverent appreciation for each other that the ordinary became extraordinary. The ordinary became holy. They truly lived as if their marriage were infused with sacramental grace.
I decided I was going to think of my husband as my Saint Joseph. When I touched his hands, I thought of the rough and calloused hands Saint Joseph must have had. When he came home sweaty and tired, I thought Saint Joseph must have done the same. When he bugged me or irritated me, which he still did, I thanked God for the Saint Joseph like qualities he possessed and asked for help to overlook the ones that bugged me. (Around the same time, I also met a grieving widow woman. And at night, when my husband snored, I thought how much my new friend probably wished her husband were next to her in bed, snoring.)
A Prayer to Saint Joseph
Guardian of virgins, and holy father Joseph, to whose faithful custody Christ Jesus, Innocence itself, and Mary, Virgin of virgins, were committed; I pray much beseech thee by these dear pledges, Jesus and Mary, that being preserved from all uncleanness, I may with spotless mind, pure heart, and chaste body, ever most chastely serve Jesus and Mary all the days of my life. Amen.