Have you ever felt like you might want to incorporate a little more prayer into your marriage? Prayer can certainly enhance a marriage, but it can be difficult and uncomfortable to start a routine of praying together. My husband has made a habit of going to Sunday Mass with me for most of our relationship, but I always felt as though I wanted there to be a little more depth to our prayer life outside of Mass. Little by little, I've introduced prayer into our relationship in small ways, and it's been amazing how much closer it draws us together. If you'd like to start praying more with your husband, here are five ways to get started.
Pray before meals.
My husband and I would always pray the "Bless us, O Lord" Catholic meal prayer when we sat down to dinner, but that seemed to be practically the only time we spoke to God together during a day. When we realized we wanted to begin spending time together offering up prayers for others and ourselves, mealtime seemed like a great opportunity to do so. After all, we eat together every night and were already saying a short prayer to begin with. When your life gets hectic and you can forget to do things despite your best intentions, setting a consistent time is a great way to get in the habit of praying together.
Pray before you go to sleep.
The end of the day is an excellent time to unwind and reflect. Make it a nightly ritual to spend time in prayer together before you close your eyes for the night. One powerful end-of-the-day prayer that you could begin together is the Daily Examen, created by St. Ignatius of Loyola. The five steps of the Daily Examen, as outlined on Ignatian Spirituality.com, are to (1) become aware of God's presence, (2) view the day with gratitude, (3) pay attention to your emotions, (4), choose one feature of the day and pray from it, and (5) look toward tomorrow. Praying the Daily Examen together—whether aloud or each silently—could be an excellent evening prayer routine for you and your husband to implement.
Keep a prayer board or notebook.
Some friends of mine used to keep a dry erase board in their apartment on which they kept a running list of the prayer intentions each roommate had. As a couple, consider keeping a dry erase board or even a prayer notebook in a private room, such as your bedroom or office, and record your personal prayer intentions as they arise. Being aware of each other's personal prayer intentions and keeping them in your hearts is a great way to grow closer through prayer, and it might open up communication about what's going on in each other's lives.
Pray in the car.
When you and your husband are in the car together, and particularly on a long road trip, there are plenty of ways you can seize the opportunity to pray. My husband pretty much expects that at some point on each road trip, we'll pray a Rosary. Even on short drives, listening to a Christian music radio station together is a small but powerful way to offer up your hearts to God. For other ideas of ways to pray in the car, read Christian Car Ride: Ten Ways to Pray While Driving.
Share spiritual reading.
So as not to torture my husband who hates reading, I am not able to implement this suggestion, as much as I wish I could. If your husband, on the other hand, doesn't mind reading, consider sharing a spiritual reading, such as a Bible passage, a C.S. Lewis classic, or a daily reflection, and discussing it together. You could even read something such as a novel or a news article and analyze it based on your beliefs. Spending time discussing spiritual matters may not be considered prayer in the conventional sense, but it will still get you engaged in your faith as a couple and perhaps open the door to other ways of praying later on.
Praying together is an invaluable way to bring more depth and meaning to your relationship. Even if your husband hesitates or things are a little awkward at first, your perseverance is sure to lead to many blessings in your marriage.
The Daily Examen. Ignatian Spirituality.com.
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