I wonder – just wonder – how many couples actually take time to pray together every day. To be honest, it has only been the last 4 or 5 years that my wife and I have experienced the blessings of doing so ourselves. It’s not that we had never prayed together before. It’s just that… we hadn’t made it a priority to do every day. At a marriage conference we attended (yes even marriage counselors can keep on learning) we were challenged to find a consistent time we could pray every day and do so. The effect? It’s been good…real good. Not every time, but overall. Some days I don’t feel like praying…I’m tired, bummed, or frustrated so Zerrin carries us to the throne. Sometimes it’s the other way around. It is a humbling yet enriching experience that has drawn us closer together.
Here’s some pointers to help in developing this time together:
• Find a time where you will be most consistent every day. For Zerrin and I it’s when we first wake up.
• Don’t come to the time with your own expectations. Let God grow it over time to what He wants it to be.
• Don’t set time parameters: sometimes we pray 30 seconds, sometimes 15 minutes.
• When you miss a day, that’s fine – start again tomorrow.
• Wives only read here: often husbands feel very threatened in this area. It’s not because they don’t want to be close and intimate spiritually but because they are afraid they won’t do it good enough for you. So if your husband doesn’t seem too keen on the idea of praying together here is how you need to be thinking: until he is clearly comfortable, make your prayers short. Don’t pray for all the missionaries in the world, and every extended family member, and for everyone on the prayer list at church. Do that on your own time. And when he prays, even if all he can do is say “amen” at the end of your prayer (hey that’s a good beginning!) squeeze his arm, smile, and say thanks hon! And then go about the rest of your day. Be content. He may not be as “far along” as you wish or pray the way you do. Is that OK? Be patient. The surest way to discourage him and impede progress is to indicate to him how disappointed you are in him! He gets enough of that in his world and in his own thoughts about himself. He needs to know there is at least one person in the world who is for him, and that is YOU!
• Husbands only read here: I know this can be a challenge. Keep in mind that prayer is just conversation with God. It doesn’t have to sound spiritual. Tell God what you are thinking and feeling about the day, ask Him to bless and direct you, your wife, and your children. And if your wife shows signs verbally or otherwise that your “prayers” weren’t good enough, just reach over … give her a big hug … and say “we’re workin on it – thanks for your love and patience… you mean so much to me!” And then get on with your day. Trust me – this will do more for your marriage than you can imagine! Very quickly your wife will feel more secure, move loved, and more affectionate. Her heart will soften when you humble yours. I know this may not be easy – but we can do it – as men of honor!