Though not newlyweds, my husband and I are still fairly new to this whole marriage thing. Over the last three and a half years, we have realized over and over again that there are still lots of things about marriage and family life that we have to figure out. One such puzzle is a method of prayer for us (sans kids) that bears good fruit.
Recently, we have been feeling a little discouraged that we have never maintained a routine of prayer together. It’s been attempted numerous times, but nothing seems to stick for longer than a few months (at best).
It’s understandable, life is full of unpredictability. Every time we try to iron out a method of prayer for our current state, life throws a curveball (like an illness or a new job), our whole routine shifts, and that rhythm of prayer no longer works.
How to Start Praying with Your Spouse
Thankfully, we are both resolved to continue this search until we find something that sticks. Serious about our endeavor, but also feeling creatively blocked, I approached other couples whose marriages we admire and asked them for advice.
I was uplifted by what I found.
Collective Wisdom from Faithful Couples
Knowing there would not be a universal answer to our problem, I sought advice from couples in all different walks of life and states in their marriages hoping something someone said would resonate with me. I sought the wisdom of empty-nesters who have been married for 30+ years, the balance of the families with multiple school-aged children, as well as the empathy of those still “newly” married and dealing with the chaos of toddlers.
Everyone delivered and not a single one disappointed.
What was most encouraging is that every couple affirmed their own experience with the exact same struggle in prayer—and all of them found unique and creative solutions that worked for them.
Praying with Traditional Prayers
- Judy + Jack // Wake up at 5am every morning to say a Rosary together.
- Sarah + Chris // Say a Divine Mercy Chaplet together as they prepare and eat breakfast.
- Annie + David // Both have long commutes. They call each other from their cars and pray a Rosary together over the cell towers.
- Taylor + Ben // Pray a novena to Our Lady of Good Success when big life situations arise.
- Mary + William // Use the Magnificat to pray morning prayer in unison before getting out of bed; at the end of their day they climb into bed together and use the resource to pray evening prayer.
- Heidi + Ken // Pick one day a week to fast both together and for one another (outside of the traditional Friday fast).
- Claire + Mike // Pray various novenas and complete different consecrations together on a regular basis.
- Shannon + Johnny// Take time to pray together every night after the kids are asleep. They sit together, and starting with silent, individual prayer before praying out loud together about the occurrences in their lives.
- Melissa + Joe // Go to bed at the same time. They hold hands and Joe leads with an opening invocation. Together they express petitions, cares, concerns, wounds, and praises aloud, offering them to Our Lord in unison of heart.
- Paige + Jack // Both work from home. During difficult and trying moments, they turn to one another for prayer. One spouse places their hand over the other’s heart and prays for extra graces specific to that circumstance to be added to their day.
Reading and Study
- Marie + Mark // Read a short devotional before bed and discuss it as they fall asleep.
- Madeline + Ryan // Have a designated Bible study night each week. They pick one book of the Bible and work through it bit by bit. First, they read individually before expressing what caught their attention about the passage. Sometimes they share insights, sometimes questions, and together, they search online commentaries to learn deeper meanings of a particular passage.
- Simona + Blake // Watch episodes of different religious series and have a conversation about them afterwards. This often leads to changes in the way they approach their days and weeks.
- Grace + Chris // Use the drive to Mass to familiarize themselves with the readings that day. This often leads to conversation and wondering. After Mass, on the drive home, they discuss insights from the Mass and how they can do something specific to live out the Gospel that week.
- Lori + Keith // Give each other prayer intentions each morning, They carry those intentions throughout the day, offering sacrifices and bringing them into their moments of personal prayer.
- Christine + Michael // Memorized five prayers with special meaning to their relationship. Each night in bed, before falling asleep, they hold hands or touch in some way (especially if they’re angry or feel out of sync) and recite them in unison.
- Liv + Dave // Have close to opposite schedules and rely heavily on intercession for one another. They text deep and simple intentions to each other at various points throughout the day and go to spiritual battle for one another from afar.
- CC + Matt // Use holy water to trace the Sign of the Cross over each other’s foreheads at the beginning of each day.
- Melissa + AJ // Repeat their marriage vows each morning as a daily reminder to love and serve each other and God.
- Abigail + husband // Constructed a personal litany of family favorite and patron Saints to recite on a daily basis.
- Mary + Stan // Begin many of their dates with a stop by the Adoration chapel where they pray for their marriage.
One Size Does Not Fit All
The responses I received from my friends and acquaintances were incredibly uplifting. It seems that—at some point (and often multiple times throughout life)—everyone struggles to find a rhythm of prayer that is fruitful for their marriage. And often the types of prayer that do work well wax and wane over the months and years.
The collective reply pointed to the following: this task is never easy. The Catechism refers to prayer as a battle for a reason, and we need to help each other in this fight!
Hopefully this list contains a helpful idea, and if it doesn’t, I encourage you to do what I did. Reach out to others you admire and ask them for advice! You’re sure to be rejuvenated by their answers!
Do you have a rhythm of prayer with your spouse? What works for you?
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