We’ve been asked recently to share tips for establishing a prayer routine with your spouse--intimacy and time together both change from engagement to marriage, and the desire to establish dedicated spiritual habits in your life together is a worthy one. But where to begin? Or what if the habits you set out to establish don’t feel like they’re working?
Like any language, like any habit, prayer is learned. Give yourselves permission to try different times and methods of shared prayer time and to change your routine if necessary--if, for instance, tiredness makes bedtime prayer more an obligation than a grace, try a week of praying over morning coffee or when you and your spouse come home from work, instead.
Know yourselves, and the means of worship and dialogue with the Lord unique to each of you, and how you might join your voices together--through Theology or Scripture, spontaneous prayer, the divine office, Praise and Worship, the Rosary, or otherwise. Be open to your spouse’s spiritual inclinations, even if they’re new or different from your own--love for each other, and for the Father, goes beyond feelings and even beyond comfort. Our call to step outside the comfortable doesn’t end in discomfort--it ends in communion.
Here, honesty and reflections from our team on establishing and growing a prayer life alongside your beloved.
My husband and I do well with the occasional novena, seasonal prayers, or fasting together. But as for praying regularly, his frequent travel for work means we are often in different places, literally. Routine isn’t feasible, and once we do get comfortable in one, God uproots us. I realize we aren’t called to be comfortable, so it’s probably edifying in itself.
Just do it. I often feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit at bedtime but because my husband and I are so tired, most nights we just pass out, forgetting to pray together. Lately I’ve been trying to reach out and say, “hey, do you want to pray?” He always responds, “Sure,” and leads us.
In our current season of raising young children, it’s easy for me to compare the prayer life my husband and I shared in the past (Bible studies, holy hours, day trips to cathedrals and holy sites, frequent Rosaries) to the one we have now, involving far less freedom with social events and uninterrupted time. While the demands of family life don’t mean we’re less responsible for our spiritual lives, we have had to cultivate peace with the opportunities we do have, and to recognize that even if our prayer is less community-centered and more rooted in our home, this is the mode in which the Lord calls us to live out our vocation in the here and now. We are definitely a work in progress in this area! I’d also encourage couples to continue calling each other on in their personal spiritual lives, as well. I find it such an act of generosity and good will when my husband encourages me to go on my own to Adoration or confession.
Looking for more practical tips on praying together? From the archives, our favorite past posts on the subject:
The learning curve of combining your spirituality with your beloved’s | 4 Tips for creating a prayer space in your home | Working through spiritual differences when you feel “unequally yoked” | Suggested patrons for your relationship and a selection of the most beautiful novenas and prayers to the saints | A guided meditation on praying with your wedding vows using lectio divina | How to plan a personal retreat for you and your beloved | How learning to communicate as a married couple is like learning to pray together, and why it’s okay to struggle | Spiritual book recommendations for brides | Our tips for a bathing your honeymoon in a spirit of prayer | How and why to consider bringing examen prayer into your relationship
We share our imperfections hoping within them, you find freedom. Constantly we are striving for accountability, vulnerability, and--above all--a deeper relationship with the Lord, offering ourselves and our spouses to him. If a lie has crept in that every other couple but you has it together, with a perfectly dedicated prayer life to match, know we are there beside you, always chasing holiness by way of our call to marriage.