3 Keys to Unity in Marriage – #2: Prayer
So far, I’ve been a wife for 493 days. I’ve loved every second of being David’s bride.
Over the past 493 days, we’ve learned that there are three things that significantly contribute to unity in our marriage: questions, prayer, and community. This week, I’d love to share why I am convinced prayer is the most important key to unity in marriage.
But first, I have to be honest. Prayer is not my strongest suit.
I am extremely task-oriented and often my “go-go-go” personality distracts me from taking time to converse with my loving God. Man, I’m so glad He is patient with me. I’ve learned that journaling my prayers is the best way for me to slowdown and focus. And after a year and a half of marriage I’ve learned –scratch that– I KNOW that prayer is absolutely necessary for our relationship.
Here is why:
- God created marriage. He deserves to be included.
- Marriage was created as a beautiful, real-life picture of Christ’s love for His church. What a privilege we have to represent something so wonderful to the rest of the world! As believers, we need to be continually abiding in Christ in order to clearly reflect the beauty of God’s love for his people.
- I need constant help to remove my selfish tendencies.
- Similar to asking thoughtful questions, praying regularly for David helps me forget about myself. It is also powerful and worth your time. When we take the time to lift up those we love to God, He listens. Oh, and as a side benefit, we usually forget about ourselves (at least for a little bit).
- Prayer increases intimacy.
- Yep, right up there with sex, praying together is one of the most intimate things two humans can do together. Being united spiritually is one of the most amazing feelings I have ever experienced. That type of deep relationship cannot happen without prayer.
Even though we are inconsistent and sometimes awkward at it (confession: last night I feel asleep during David’s prayer…), prayer has still dramatically improved the unity in our marriage. I cannot stress enough how important it has been not only for our friendship but also for our own individual relationships with God.
In case you are interested in starting to pray with your spouse or just need some help getting back in the habit, here are a few of topics that David and I pray about regularly:
We take time to thank God specifically for each other. When David does this, it means more to me than any love note he’s ever written.
We ask for continued unity and selflessness with each other and protection from temptation to put our own needs before the other person. If we are going through a difficult season or are in an argument we bring that to God too (sometimes in the middle of a conflict!)
Our Loved Ones:
Just like I do in my personal prayer life, David and I pray for our loved ones together. During the course of our marriage, both of David’s parent’s have been diagnosed with cancer. After a year and a half of chemo treatments, PET scans, and surgeries you’d think I’d know by now what to say to make him feel better.
Prayer still remains the best – no, the only answer. Laying our fears, worries, and our loved ones at the feet of our Creator is still the most loving thing I can do for David especially during rough times.
This is the same for all of our friends and family who are struggling or going through hard times. Rather than talking about how to fix their problems, David and I try our best to bring their stories before our God.
We believe that “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1), even our paychecks, tax returns, 401Ks and bonus checks. Because of this, we believe that our finances will be an open topic of conversation with God for the rest of our lives. We consistently take time to thank God for His provision and to ask how He would like us to steward our financial resources.
This may not be a daily prayer topic for you and your spouse, but for us it is almost weekly. To be transparent, materialism is a sin-struggle for both David and I. Because we recognize this is as a temptation we’ve committed to bring this topic to the Lord very often.
I think this principal can apply to any area of temptation or struggle that you and/or your spouse are facing. Whatever it may be, bring it to God. Often.
I make a concerted effort to pray for David daily. He is truly a gift in my life and one of the very best ways I can love him is by praying for him.
I’ll be honest, sometimes I am lazy and just throw out a blanket prayer as I’m drifting off to sleep. Something general and all-encompassing like: “God, thanks for David. Please keep him safe and bless him.” But most days, my prayers for David are very specific.
I have a running list of topics that I pray through that are specifically related to my precious husband. I pray for his career, his temptations, and his fears. I pray for protection of his mind, I pray for his health, and I pray for growth in his relationship with Christ. (The book Power of Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian is a great resource if you are looking for a little help on what to pray about for your hubby!)
Since I often struggle with maintaining my attention span during prayer time, I usually bite off just one topic a night to chat with God about so I don’t get overwhelmed.