For years, my husband and I had intentions of praying together. Sometimes, we both wanted to. Others, I felt like it was just me.
But no matter how hard we tried, how great our plans were of deep prayer together, we always ended up back into our normal busy routine with prayer as an afterthought.
It wasn’t until we changed both our mindset and our approach that we began to get consistent with praying together. And this deepened our spiritual intimacy and our relationship in powerful ways.
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Making time for devotions and prayer is hard enough when you are trying to fit it into your own busy schedule. When you’re trying to fit it into both you and your spouse’s schedule, this can be almost impossible.
And it doesn’t help when you and your spouse have different expectations of prayer.
Consider Your Expectations
When I got married, I had high hopes for spiritual intimacy in marriage. I had heard stories of couples who did daily devotions together, who prayed constantly together, who led their families in both of these things, who sang worship songs together and more.
It wasn’t that I wanted all of this. But I entered into marriage with vastly different expectations than my husband. He is a very godly man, but to him, faith had always been a private thing. He didn’t see the need for doing devotions or spending deep time in prayer together.
But I had come to faith later into my teenage years as a part of a group called Young Life. Because of this, many aspects of my faith were grown in community or friendships with others. I had thought marriage would be an even deeper extension of this.
We started at very opposite ends of expectation and this clash was hard to overcome.
I’d try to accept his expectations but then get frustrated and end up nagging. He’d try and commit to this idea of family devotions and prayer but then get busy or tired and we’d end up stopping.
We had to work through our expectations in order to meet in the middle with what God was calling us to in our marriage.
Just as every marriage and communication style is different, praying with your spouse will not look the same as your friend’s or your parents’ marriage. It will be unique to you and your spouse.
Stop and Pray Alone First
I desperately wanted to pray with my husband and because of my seeking after this, I forgot how important it was to spend that deep time in prayer alone first. This is more important than anything else because this is the time where God truly works in your own heart.
I read the book, The Power of a Praying Wife and was reminded of how important it is for me to pray for my heart and for my husband’s heart. In anything you want or desire from your spouse, it is so important to first pray about it.
My nagging would not change my husband’s heart. Only God could.
I also felt that when I prayed fervently, I felt much less of a need to nag. I began to trust that God would work in my husband’s heart in His timing. I began to see where my expectations were unfair or unrealistic.
God began to change my heart as I prayed for my husband.
It was through this that I started to see our expectations aligning and our hearts growing closer.
We so often want to dive headfirst into things. When my husband and I decide on something, we are ready to go all in.
We thought it would be cool to do a little work on a house, so we bought a house that needed to be almost completely gutted. We wanted to start growing some of our own food, so we dug up a huge plot of our yard and planted an oversized garden. We just like to do things fully. So when we decided we wanted to pray together, we decided to create a prayer journal, start several lists of prayer topics and try to commit to a chunk of time each day to pray through these lists.
If you are anything like us, you’ll know that this didn’t last long. It wasn’t long before we ended up skipping one day, then two, then a week and never got back to those lists. I’m sure I could go find that notebook that has like two pages of prayer lists and then a bunch of empty pages.
It wasn’t until we started small that we began to gain traction and start praying consistently every single day.
For us, this looked like a 5-minute prayer together before bed. We’d pray for one or two things each and we committed to doing this every day.
This only worked because we both had gotten on the same page with our expectations and we both wanted to make it work.
We picked a time that we had together almost every day. And we decided to be okay if we missed a day.
Because there was no set schedule, when we did miss a day, we could pick right back up. If we went away for a weekend, it was easy to jump back into when we got home.
Starting small was the game-changer for us. And once this habit was created and the momentum strong, we then added in other times of prayer.
We still struggle to be consistent with those other times, but we’ve clung to this prayer before bedtime and it has radically changed our marriage.
Give Yourselves Grace
There are periods of time where we forget to pray or get too busy (like when we had our first baby and rarely went to bed at the same time) and we will get off track for a while.
But you have to be ready to give yourselves grace in order to keep up with praying consistently. We have to forgive the other when we feel it is more their responsibility or lack of effort in keeping up with praying. And we have to forgive ourselves when we recognize our own responsibility.
God gives us grace every single day and so we must do the same for each other.
Praying with your spouse consistently is a powerful way to grow your marriage and to grow in your faith. It is a powerful way to stand against Satan’s attacks and a powerful way to cling to Christ through all of the ups and downs.