I feel like I have read all the advice about praying with one’s spouse or spouse-to-be, and I still feel a bit lost. I feel a little raw because I’ve already had one husband decide to leave me when I started practicing Catholicism again (I was lapsed when we got married). Now that I’ve found a Christian I want to consider marrying, I want to put in some knee time with him, but to be honest, I don’t know what praying with one’s spouse even looks like!
So, please tell me *from your own experience *what it was like to start praying with your spouse and what your joint prayer life looks like today. I think it would help immensely.
I dont think there is a set formula. My spouse and I initially felt a bit awkward about it. So we began by saying the our father together before we went to bed. Eventually we started memorizing certain prayers and reciting them together. Set prayers can be an easy way to start because they dont involve the person to speak in their own words. Ideally, your heart should be in the prayer even if it is a set prayer ofcourse.
After you feel conferrable with set prayers, you might consider asking your spouse if there is something they would like you to pray about. For example, he may say that his job has been really stressful lately - at which point YOU pray for his job. This is a good intermediate step because your talking about the other person and they often feel really appreciative you asked.
Once you get confertable with that, you guys can open it up to general prayer. Thanking God for everything he has given, making a petition, or simply worshiping him etc… either consecutively or at the same time. One other suggestion I would make is to write down the things you want to say in a short bullet list. You shoudlnt spend your mental energy trying to remember what you want to say to God. You should focus that time towards putting your heart into the prayer.
Since Nate and I have only been married a little over a month I can only give the ‘how we started’ side of the conversation. We usually say a small prayer before leaving for work that asks God’s guidance and help for the coming day, then we say another pray of thanks before we eat dinner. At first it was pretty weird praying together but as we continue doing so it’s become more normal to the point that we feel weird if we don’t pray. I don’t see any immediate changes to this routine but most likely as time goes by and we get even more comfortable with these two prayer moments we’ll add in either more prayers or perhaps more frequent bible reading sessions.
I can give you the view from about two years in. My husband and I started some things that we (unfortunately) did not maintain. For example, we started with morning and evening prayer from the liturgy of the hours. Unfortunately, with our schedules, that did not last, and we reserve that now for special occasions like lent, etc.
Here are the things that did last: (1) Meal prayer. We extend the standard meal prayer a bit. We both use that as an opportunity to name some things we’re thankful for and put out some specific prayer intentions. We eat dinner together every night and this is usually what starts the conversation. E.g., “And I continue to pray for my sister barbara as she struggles with X.” Afterwards leads to, “have you talked to Barbara lately?” “Yes, X has gotten worse for her and…” “Oh no, is there anything we can do to help?” et cetera. (2) Reading time. We read and journal together in bed, mostly religious books or the Bible. I think that’s a form of prayer, and sometimes it leads to questions and conversations. We share the same books. (3) Adoration. We no longer live in a city where there is perpetual adoration (we used to have the same holy hour) but now we go together whenever our church offers it. (3) Mass together. That’s a form of prayer! We always go together. (4) Confession and penance together. Since it’s on Saturdays we usually go for a walk after our penances (5) Special occasion prayers: Right now, we’re doing a Novena to St. Gerard. As special occasions come up, we pray together. It’s not scheduled. One of us will just suggest it.
It consists of 40 days of readings and prayers (to be done together), to implore the Holy Family to help you both live as a holy family, and bring you closer to Jesus, together.
Through it, you will learn how to live as a consecrated family, just as we are called to live our baptismal consecration and our confirmation consecration.
For the first several years of our marriage, we did little besides attend sunday mass. After meeting a couple of families that did this, we saw the peace and humility in their marriages and relationships, and the happiness in their children; we wanted that for our family. We started attending family apostolate meetings at their house on Friday evenings, where we prayed a family rosary together (with 5 other families), and then watched a formation video (bible study, sacraments, different topic every few months), and then conclude with a little time for snacks and socializing. We then did the consecration, and now renew it annually. Several years have gone by, our groups grew and expanded, and now we lead several families meeting at our house on Friday evenings, for rosary, formation, and fun. There is nothing so precious than to watch a 4-year old lead a decade of the rosary - totally volunteered! Our lives and prayer-lives have changed so much - there’s nothing like living to help other families!
Don’t want to take this off topic - but I hope this is a CATHOLIC Christian you are considering.
As for prayer - we will be married four years this September. We try to pray Evening Prayer together during the week and Morning Prayer on the weekend. We have different waking/sleeping schedules so it’s a bit difficult on some days.
We also pray together before every meal - and often he will hold me in his arms as we pray if we are serving from the counter and standing up (which is most nights actually). It is the most precious thing - it just happened one day and now we do it often. :o
Well almost 4 years ago i started everyday by praying the rosary for my future spouse. I would just say “God i lift this rosary up for my future spouse. May you keep him safe, heal him of all wounds and mental or physical aliments. May he know your love. May he have wisdom and know your mercy and become the godly man you disire for him to be. And lord may i become the handmaiden you wish me to be and that when we meet that your will be done and that we always keep you at the center of our lives.”
It was always a comfort to me that i was doing something daily for my future spouse though i didn’t know who he would be.
Now that i am engaged i have add my Fiance name but still say the same basic prayer.
My Fiance and i always pray together before meals, we go to mass together, we do altar guild together and the divine mercy and read and talk theology etc whenever we get the chance.
Don’t force yourself into a certian prayer mold. Go with what you know because God cares more that you try!!!
Thanks for asking, Liza. He is, in fact, an Orthodox Christian.
Gerrie, I love your idea about praying for each other's intentions, especially since Sam (my spouse-candidate) is so much more comfortable with recited prayers and may need a push toward the impromptu. Hearing your closest mate pray for your intentions does so many things, most notably establish understanding and empathy between the two people praying and lift this understanding up to Heaven. I dig.
For a while, we would exchange texts through the day ("I just lit a candle for our children" or the like), and now it's time to start praying together at home. Honestly, though, it's such a personal and private thing for both of us that we're having trouble getting started. This is doubly true with someone of a newly-understood faith tradition when you're afraid you might say something "wrong." As we move forward, I'm asking him to let me in on a significant part of the Orthodox practice, the prayer rope. I will bring him in on my Rosary as well. These are not only important prayers, but pieces of practice that are key to each our our religious identities. I'll keep you all posted on our progress.