We hear it all the time…well at least in the crowds I roll with.
Pray with you spouse.
Yeah…okay, but what they really mean is to pray for my spouse.
Nope. Wrong. They actually mean to pray with your spouse.
Ugh…but that’s so awkward.
The truth is that you are exactly right. It is awkward…really awkward.
While there is an incredible benefit and need to pray for your spouse, I want to focus on the equally beneficial (and necessary) act of praying with your spouse. By sharing your prayer life with one another, you allow God another avenue to enter into your lives as a couple.
Now I realize that different couples experience God in different ways. Some may not pray aloud together, but rather read spiritual books together. The point isn’t so much the means as it is the end.
Jesus Himself instructs us in the Gospel of Matthew that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (MT 19:5)
When did we lose our understanding of the importance of approaching our Creator together as one?
Our aim should be deeper communication and union with Christ not only as individuals but also as a couple. We should bring to Him our concerns, hopes, dreams and worries, but we should also open up to our spouse about those things, humbly asking them to join our prayers to their own.
Okay. Okay. So how do we go about this incredibly intimate act of worshipping our Lord with our spouses?
Step One: Accept the awkwardness.
Like I said, if you’ve never prayed with your husband or wife before it will be a little strange, but it is only as awkward as you make it. So take a deep breath and just push through it. (yes it is painful at first, but keep trying). Soon enough it will be like you never knew anything different.
Step Two: Use your words.
Praying silently side by side is all well and good, but the point is to pray together. Start with something simple like praying the rosary, or whatever works for you. Some couples I know do spontaneous prayer, others go through the daily reading together and discuss it. My husband and I have found luck before with praying the Liturgy of the Hours. You can start by sharing your intentions with one another, then make the sign of the cross and get to it.
Step Three: Sharing is caring.
This is the hard part. Once you have finished the prayer itself, share what the Lord is doing in your life. Express the promptings and nudges you are getting from the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t have to be eloquent. If it’s honest, it usually never is.
Allow yourself to explore and discover together what God might be saying and encourage your spouse to take part. He may be leading you each toward things individually, or He may be encouraging you as a couple. Be open and allow Him to guide the conversation.
The point is communication and allowing yourself to be vulnerable…this person is your spouse after all. When you got married you vowed to share your lives together, helping one another on the path to holiness. A critical part of our sanctification is our prayer lives, so why wouldn’t we want to share that aspect of ourselves with our spouse?
Aren’t we all called to lead each other to heaven? Or would it just be too awkward?
Now go get praying.