This is a reminder – you and your spouse are supposed to pray together. Why is it a reminder, instead of news? Because you already know it. Let’s spend a few moments thinking about the difference between praying together as a married couple and praying individually.
Praying alone: You offer your own desires, gratitude, needs, and praise to God.
Praying with your spouse: You unite your own desires, gratitude, needs, and praise with that of your spouse. The two of you in “one flesh” (Matt. 19:4-6) offer your prayers as a sacramental couple.
This united couple-prayer is more effective in Heaven than if both marriage partners offered their prayers separately. Why? For one thing, because the couple must unite their wills when they pray together. They show God by their couple prayer that they are living His words in the Gospel of Matthew about “cleaving” to the wife and being “one flesh.” God wants the hearts of both you and your spouse. You think differently; you are both motivated differently. God wants both pieces of that puzzle. When you pray together, you fulfill the original plan of our Creator God in the first chapter of Genesis (verse 27) by reflecting the image of God.
And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:27)
If you are not used to praying together, it will be awkward at first. But only at first. You’ll get used to it. Also remember this couple prayer is in addition to your individual prayers, not a replacement for them. Here are some tips to get started:
Keep it short, especially at first. Your spouse may not have the endurance or the temperament to stay in prayer as long as you. Gradually add more formal prayers as the weeks go by.
Pray alone with your spouse. This couple prayer time is in addition to family prayers, such as the rosary. A good time to pray together is at night, after the kids have gone to bed. Close your bedroom door so the kids don’t hear your petitions. Spend a few minutes in prayer together before you go to bed or do any other last-minute activities.
Pray on your knees. Don’t pray sitting down or lying in bed. For one thing, you might fall asleep. Besides, posture really does matter. It shows God you are really serious about humbling yourselves before Him and asking His help for your marriage and family life.
The husband should always lead the prayers. The man should begin the prayers with the Sign of the Cross and should say the first parts of whatever formal prayers you choose, such as the Our Father and Hail Mary. The couple together then says the rest of the prayer.
Pray both formal and informal prayers. Formal prayers are written down and memorized, such as the Our Father, the Hail Holy Queen, the Glory Be, etc. Informal prayers should come after the formal prayers, and consist of talking with God, Blessed Mother Mary, and the other saints and angels in your own words. Ask them for what you need and be sure to thank them for blessings and graces you’ve already received throughout your marriage.
Strive for the same time and place. Be consistent and actually set aside a time and place every day for your couple prayers. This doesn’t mean you can’t pray together at other times of the day; it is rather a method for developing a habit. Consistent behavior performed for several days in a row will begin to form new habits.
The previous article discussed ways to spice up your Catholic marriage. Part II features even more ways to add zest to your marriage, keep it Catholic, and reawaken the love you and your spouse have for each other.
Like the love notes, this is more important for a couple who danced together in the past, but fell out of the habit. If you think your spouse won’t like dancing, try it anyway and see if your assumption is true. If neither of you enjoy dancing, stop and do something else. On the other hand, you may have both found a new activity together.
Music is very powerful. A relatively new field of study called "Music Cognition" shows that music affects the brain and can strongly affect memory. The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, held a symposium in 2006 on music’s ability to affect memory. Topics included musical therapy and psychology. [^1]
In the early 1980s, Dr. Howard Gardner developed a theory of "multiple intelligences." The idea is that children and adults learn best one certain way. Some learn through hearing, some are visual learners, some hands-on, and others are musical learners. Put words to a song, and the words will easily be memorized. [^2]
Whether you are newlyweds or celebrating your silver anniversary, you can try some new activities that will add zest to your marriage and help you both communicate!
This is a two-part article. Part I discusses ways to add spark to your marriage and encourages couples to express love in ways the other will readily understand.
Playing a game together (just the two of you) provides a non-stressful activity you can both work on and enjoy. Many couples already work on the bills together. They talk about child care, education, work, and other stressful topics together. A board game is a great stress reliever that will pull you and your spouse together again.
Watch her nose crinkle when she laughs. Look at his eyes when he’s concentrating on the game. This is still the same person you committed to on your wedding day.