If you’re in a Christian marriage, it’s easy to think that your marriage is secure – that it is somehow immune to heartache, fights and infidelity. But the truth is, no relationship comes with a lifetime guarantee. Even men and women who grow up in stable homes, who attend church and consider themselves Christians, who promise “until death do us part,” can have their marriage fall apart.
As Christians, we know that applying biblical principles to marriage will give us a stronger foundation than those who are not grounded in Christ; however, we sometimes fall short when it comes to following through.
Every time you and your spouse pray separately for one another, great things happen in your relationship because of prayer’s incredible power. But when you pray together, that power increases tremendously, and so do the results. Going to God in prayer as a couple benefits your marriage in several ways:
Prayer Encourages Humility and Honesty
Experiencing unity of heart with your mate is not automatic. It requires both partners to work together. Jesus taught that an honest and humble heart was essential for effective prayer. In the same manner, if you want to grow in your prayer life together, it is necessary to honestly bear your soul before your loved one as well as before God. As you humble yourself before God, you are communicating a special message to your spouse. You are declaring that you are open, vulnerable and sincere. God gives grace to the humble. All marriages can use God’s grace to smooth off the rough edges.
Prayer Unifies You
When you and your spouse took your marriage vows, you became one in the eyes of God. However, each day you are still in the ongoing process of becoming one in your everyday lives. Living out this unity takes time and effort. One of the most complicated things about marriage is the fact that two people are in it. If marriage was all about working through things by yourself, it would be easy and you could certainly do it by yourself. But marriage is about two people syncing their dreams, desires, assumptions, needs and habits with those of your spouse. Meshing these things with your spouse can cause discord. When you pray with your spouse, you are drawn into unity with God, and as a result, with one another.
Prayer Promotes Emotional Intimacy
We often experience emotional intimacy and deep connection at the very beginning of relationships, before the conflicts start. Just as physical intimacy reaffirms your oneness, so does praying together. When you pray together as a couple, you are not only communicating with God, but also with each other. A deep level of emotional intimacy occurs through prayer. You begin to learn so much about one another when you share your specific prayer requests and listen to each other pray.
Prayer Allows God into Your Marriage
We often hear that a successful marriage consists of three people: husband, wife and God. For a marriage to last and be happy and fulfilling, these three parties need to be involved. While a marriage is made of two imperfect people, when you add the presence of a perfect God, then you are in a greater position to draw closer to what God intended for your marriage. When you’re struggling with different issues in your marriage, it can feel like all hope is lost at times. But in those moments of darkness and despair, God intervenes, changing our hearts and teaching us how to make our marriages one again.
The Bible tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). In order to this, you must pray for yourself first, that you will be the person God wants you to be. You can begin with Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Only then, when we have a clean heart and a right spirit, we will be in the right place to pray effectively for our spouse.
When we pray regularly for our spouse, we recognize the importance of praying for their needs – what they are going through daily, their troubles, their physical ailments and concerns. God calls us to take everything to Him in prayer. You should be striving to be the kind of partner who is praying for your loved one and with your loved one. You can use the Bible to guide your prayers for your significant other. Pray that they can be the kind of example you know they want to be.
We are taught as Christians that prayer is the most powerful way to experience God, but we often fall short. Too often, prayer is an afterthought or a last resort when things are going south in our marriage and all other options have been exhausted. It’s easy for prayer to get lost in our daily routines and schedules. But when we commit ourselves to God, including our marriages, He is waiting to show us things beyond our imaginations. Our marriages can only be transformed when we begin to make a commitment to pray for and with our spouses. When we work at our prayer lives daily in our marriage, and make it a point to be accountable with God, we enter a space of full vulnerability and openness to receive God’s work in our marriage.
Prayer is more personal and powerful when we accept prayer not as a daily or daunting task, but as a way of life. When we strive for closeness not only with our spouse, but closeness with God, we can ultimately deal with the everyday challenges we face. Pray that God will help and guide your marriage. Ask God to teach you and your spouse how to pray together so you can have the marriage He intends for you to have.