As Catholic Christians, we know that prayer is vital to keeping our soul in good health, cultivating virtue, and growing in intimacy with God. If prayer is an important element of your life, then you most likely have a desire to share it with your spouse. Sometimes this can be an awkward feat, though, since we all have different personalities and preferences in types of prayer, or especially because we may have never seen a prayer life modeled or talked about by a married couple. Hopefully sharing our own prayer journey and the following tips can get the conversation going and make the thought of praying with your significant other not so daunting or awkward.
We didn’t meet each other until our late twenties, which means that we had many years of praying on our own. I (Jackie) had a love for daily Mass since I was 18, a devotion to Our Lady in praying the rosary, and reading spiritual books. I (Bobby) enjoy silence and solitude, spiritual study, and the structure of the Liturgy of the Hours. We’ve learned there is a balance in fostering our own individual prayer lives as well as growing in prayer together as a couple with our Lord at the center.
Praying together can be a bit like learning how to dance with a new partner. It can be wonky; you may step on each other’s toes a bit and need to reevaluate.
So here are some tips to start praying together.
Step 1: Communicate. Seriously. Have a conversation. What are your prayer preferences? For instance, do you like praying a rosary alone (so you can take your time and meditate), or do you like praying the rosary with someone else? What times of day would be best for you as a couple? Would you like to pray together in the morning before work or maybe at the end of the day when it’s quiet (and perhaps kids have gone to bed)? Do you prefer structured prayer (like a novena or litany) or more open praise (thanking God for His daily blessings or praying over each other for intercessory needs)?
Step 2: Start Small. Don’t sign up for a 3-hour adoration shift on the first go. We build up to that, buddy. Do one decade of the rosary together. Make time for a daily Mass together sometime during the workweek. Novenas are a great way to pray together for a unique petition, be it related to work, family, or personal intentions. Then maybe do a Bible study together or read a spiritual book (like Venerable Fulton Sheen’s “Three to Get Married”) and discuss it. The possibilities are endless, so you can be creative! You could even go sit in a coffee shop and read Song of Songs to each other while you gaze into each others’ eyes and passersby look at you like you’re nuts.
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Step 3: Appreciate the Messiness of Life. Sometimes you need to change up your routine. What worked for you in the past may not work anymore. Be adaptable. This conversation (see Step #1) may need to happen every few months to see what’s working for you as a couple, and what is not.
If you have children then you realize the simultaneous great joy and great challenge you’ve been given. Instead of looking at your kids (or stressful work environment or personal anxieties) as an obstacle to prayer, pray in “the little way” of St. Therese and find God in each present moment. St. Paul said, “Pray without ceasing.” Whether it’s a long commute, an annoying neighbor, or a dirty diaper, find the opportunity to pray and ask for the grace to serve God and see Him in each messy moment. (Your spouse may even provide such trying moments “opportunities” to grow in grace!)
God desires for us to draw near to Him and for us to grow in intimacy with each other. What a gift it is when we experience the freedom of honoring Him with our earthly beloved. May God bless your journey!
© Jackie and Bobby Angel, 2017
Jackie and Bobby Angel's new book, Forever: A Catholic Devotional for Your Marriage, will be released on September 1. But you can get a preview today by downloading a marriage prayer from the book! For even more exclusive content, sign up for our eight-part newsletter series, Witness to Love. You’ll receive advice, insights, and a special pre-release offer on Forever: A Catholic Devotional for Your Marriage. To join other couples in discovering the mysteries and rewards of Catholic marriage, sign up today!