Seven Tips on
Praying With Your Spouse
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Mt 18:20
For some couples, praying together is very natural but for others, it feels awkward or forced. The reality is that there are many different ways to pray with our spouse and every couple is unique! Here’s some tips on how you can engage in speaking to your Heavenly Father as a couple, bound together with Him in a covenant of love. Each type of prayer is important – blessing, intercession, plea for guidance, communal prayer, and repentance. Growing in your prayer life is an essential way to develop and deepen your relationship, but also a way for you to support your spouse and love them more profoundly. The more united you are, the more powerful your prayer is.
- Recognize that you and your spouse may pray differently. For some, the ideal prayer is sitting together, holding hands, and praying spontaneously. For others, prayer means attending Mass together, praying the rosary, or saying grace at meals. The good news is that the Church gives us many ways to pray: there is a variety! One spouse may have a deep intimacy with God that they find hard to share. Another spouse might be new to the faith and still learning the ropes, or have no prayer life at all. Others may be familiar with prayer, having been raised in the faith, but have never done it on their own. It’s normal for there to be different levels of spiritual growth between spouses. Prayer is so intimate: so it may be hard to share, but when you do share it, it’s incredible! It’s worth having a conversation about how you pray together, or how you could start praying together.
- Blessings are a good starting point. We’re all used to blessings before meals, but take it a step further. Blessings are the most natural kind of prayer to incorporate into family life. Bless your children, especially before bed or when they are sick. You can simply trace the sign of the cross on their forehead, even with holy water. Try blessing your spouse in the same way, and asking them to bless you. Look for ways you can incorporate this into your family life: say a blessing before going away on a trip, before bedtime, or at special occasions. Dads have particular gifting in this area and a father’s blessing can be very powerful for the family.
- Pray the Mass together. As an easy first step, sit next to your spouse at Mass and pray the mass as a couple. It can be tempting for crowd control to have dad and mom at opposite ends of the pew with the kids in between, but try this instead: sit side by side in the middle of the pew, with kids on either side. Its a powerful witness to the bond between you.
- Pray the rosary together. The rosary is a powerful weapon, and it’s no mistake that Fr. Patrick Peyton used to promote the family rosary with the slogan: “The family that prays together stays together.” Even if you just pray as a couple, without the children, it can be an easy starting point for you.
- When in trouble, pray “Come Holy Spirit.” If you see your spouse is having a hard time, ask the Holy Spirit to come and help them. Pray to the Holy Spirit before disciplining a child, having a tough conversation, or engaging with a teacher. The Holy Spirit reminds us that as spouses, we’re not acting alone. He is the bond between you both, and He will come when you call Him.
- Pray for guidance. Remember God is your Father and you are His children. When confronted with a difficult situation, sit together, tell the Lord your problem and ask Him to guide you. Then listen expectantly to see what He does. Be attentive to what thoughts or images come into your mind and then talk about them. Remember, God is our Father and if we come to Him as children, even with our failures and mistakes, He will respond in love. And yes, sometimes you will make wrong decisions and you will need to repent, but that is ok! God is always there for you when you seek His face.
- Sexual intimacy and prayer actually go together! The sacrament of marriage comes from God, and sex is the seal of that covenant. What this means is that the Lord is present in a very powerful way in marital intimacy. (It’s one reason why contraception is an offense against Him, incidentally.) We don’t tend to think of it this way, but sexual intimacy can be a prayer. Acknowledge this by praying quietly together before or after intimacy. Studies actually show that spiritual intimacy is an important component for women to feel connected with their husbands. Remember, when you are married, your physical union is a spiritual union as well.
Never forget that prayer for your spouse is powerful. Fr. Justin Brady, an exorcist, once mentioned that when a spouse interceded for the person being prayed for in exorcism, the demons went crazy. This underlines how effective spousal prayer is. If your spouse doesn’t pray, you can still pray for them. Start by asking them how you can pray them and then remember those intentions in your personal prayer. Praying for your spouse can have an unbelievably positive effect on the spiritual atmosphere of your home and on your marriage.
For our full podcast on this topic go to: MFP 124