What would happen if we prayed consistently with our spouse? Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “the couple that prays together stays together”. This isn’t just a cliche.
Focus on the Family shared an article that said, “Clinical research demonstrates that couples experience a great number of marital benefits when they regularly pray together. It increases forgivingness, emotional and sexual fidelity, relational happiness, trust and unity. It even improves conflict resolution, helping the couple realize that as they have individually been unconditionally forgiven by God, so they’re to forgive others.”
If you’re like many wives though, that thought leaves you feeling panicked as you think about your own marriage and how it feels to actually make time to pray with your spouse. Or you feel frustrated because you’re willing but your spouse doesn’t seem to be.
Can I just tell you? You absolutely are not alone! As we talked to members of the VMP Society (our FB group!) so many responded that while they WISHED praying together happened, there were so many obstacles. Exhaustion. Forgetfulness. A spouse who never initiates.
Instead of letting those frustrations gnaw away at us, we wanted to share a few very practical tips and even some advice from those VMP members who are consistently praying with their spouses!
1. Have patience!
This is a pretty boring tip but I think it’s important to remember that we’re all learning and growing at a different pace. And though our spouse may have chosen to follow God, he has not been made perfect.
Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
The work on my husband is not complete. I know we know this, but when I remember this about my husband, I have a lot more patience knowing
he has room to grow (just like me) and that God never expected perfection of us in the first place. It helps me ease the pressure of feeling like we should have this down perfectly. If I’m honest, me adding pressure for us to pray together doesn’t normally help.
2. Pray about it.
We’re gonna get to the less obvious tips in a second, but my friend Michelle makes a good point in her book, Famous in Heaven and at Home–are we spending more time complaining about an issue in regards to our spouse than praying about it? Even if you aren’t complaining about the lack of praying you get to do as a couple, praying for God to guide the situation is so important! Prayer together IS really vital and we do want to grow in that area. What wisdom is God waiting to impart in prayer to us that would help us know how to help foster that? He has the power to change our hearts and our spouses’ hearts without all our striving. Surrendering this area to Him is powerful and essential.
3. Be okay if it doesn’t come as natural to your spouse.
We all have different ways of naturally connecting with the Lord. Some experience God more in nature and others through serving. Others love studying deep theology while others feel God’s presence more as they worship. It doesn’t mean we don’t all need to grow in a variety of disciplines, it just means if you’re wondering why your husband never initiates prayer time, it may be that he has a different form of worship that comes more naturally. If you’ve been around here for long, I can assume you’re a journaler like me! 😘 I could not for the life of me understand why my husband didn’t have the same type of spiritual rhythms as me. I mean, the man has no Bible tray! 😜 But he loves meeting with 2 guys and studying the Word together. He loves watching YouTube commentary videos on deep things, and I’m grateful he doesn’t judge my faith because of how quickly I’d tune out those videos he loves.
Another thought? Our judgment and taking pride in our own faith is pretty detestable to the Lord. If this sounds harsh, I’m literally reminding myself of these things too! I may no longer jump to judge my husband’s faith, but it doesn’t mean I have this down pat for everyone.
4. Remember, nagging is optional.
Asking doesn’t have to imply nagging if you come with the right heart and tone. I think we’re all afraid of coming off like a nag, but asking your husband if he wants to pray isn’t necessarily nagging. Are you upset that he never initiates, so you don’t ask for days and then begrudgingly bring it up? This isn’t a hypothetical. I’ve done this. I’ve learned to approach with less nagging which means my husband (who doesn’t read my mind) can respond to my rational request with a quick (but sometimes sleepy) yes.
5. Don’t start out overly ambitious.
Like any good habit, we don’t want to start off so strong that we burn out. Consistency is more important than duration. One great hour-long prayer time compared to a few minutes that grow into a life-time rhythm of prayer time? There’s no comparison.
- Emily N. said she and her husband “pray about 5 minutes each night and aim for consistency over length.”
- Krystal K. said, “Sunday nights are our prayer nights. We get the kids to bed and then we have a list we pray through taking turns together. We have tried to be consistent throughout the years and it never worked until we firmly planted it on Sunday night. Now it anchors our week. We also pray short prayers together before bed every night.”
6. Think about your daily routine.
Where could prayer naturally fit so it feels less forced? When is the time of least interruptions from kids or phone calls?
- Julie S. said, “We pray together every morning while we have our morning coffee.”
7. Work through awkwardness.
Praying with others, even our spouse can feel uncomfortable. Here we are, opening up this very intimate conversation we may normally just have with the Lord, with another person. That vulnerability in the presence of the Lord is soul-linking! Don’t let the awkwardness cut it short.
- I love this reminder from Ingeborg O.–“Right before we go to sleep works for us. Was a little bit awkward to pray together in the beginning, but talking about it, and practicing short prayers together made it natural.”
8. Use technology triggers.
- Stephen said, “We began by doing a devotional every night but have since moved to 20 minutes of prayer at 8pm. Set the smart home to turn everything off and prayer music to begin.”
9. Pray FOR him too!
This is an obvious one if you have our prayer journal, but Jenny reminded me and I couldn’t leave it off the list! If you feel like your own prayer life is hampered because your husband isn’t willing or responsive to praying together, don’t let it stop you from praying fervently! If this is the case or if your spouse isn’t a believer, God has placed you there to be a prayer warrior for you and your family. The enemy will do everything he can to keep you from fervent prayer for you and your family. Resist his lies, flee from him and run into the arms of the Lord.
- Jenny F. said, “Ask him for prayer requests you can be praying throughout the month.”
Okay, ladies!! What step do you need to take next? Share in the comments below and we’ll be praying for you!
Just last night I found myself complaining to my husband about our marriage and feeling like something was off. When I got the email with this blog in it this morning, it was an immediate moment of clarity and conviction. I forgot so often to both pray for him and also to pray with him. Thank you for this reminder! Also, after reading some of your other blogs and your book, Grumpy Mom, I really feel like you and your husband are SO similar to me and my husband, so I really appreciate everything you write because I can often relate to it!
Awww Casey!! Thank you so much for sharing and so cool to see similarities in another couple! I love that!