As a man who has new life in Christ, I’m taught through the Word to be spiritually strong in order to lead my family. We’re taught that in order for a relationship between husband and wife to be truly fulfilling, that we must have a one-on-one relationship with the Lord first. I’ve spent a lot of time praying alone, with kids, with my men’s small group, other family members, and the list goes on. I can’t understand, however, why it’s so difficult for me to pray with my wife. I’ve talked to her about it and she feels the same way. There is a weird barrier that exists when you let the very person you have been praying for enter your one-on-one time with God. Here are some reasons why I think this happens:
1. Vulnerability – Prayer time with your wife allows her to see what your personal prayer time with God is like. This is a very important part of leadership in the family as a man. NOTHING compares to a woman that knows her husband seeks the Lord’s face in prayer. However, for dudes, these are our most vulnerable moments. Men typically cringe at even the appearance of being weak. It’s pride. What does the bible say about pride?
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18 ESV
2. Distractions – I am guilty of this as well. Life gets in the way with a full time job, 4 kids and a toddler. Throw in two businesses and finances and you have the perfect recipe for the enemy to feast. Oftentimes, the last thing I want to do is come home, be dad for 4 hours, shower, and then spend time praying with my wife. Sure, we connect and talk about the day, but I will skirt the issue of prayer because of the emotional energy required. The problem is that my wife is craving emotional availability from me after her crazy day. This should be the time I “man up” and step into my role as the spritual leader in the house, but I usually don’t. What I’m doing is denying the Lord precious time with us as a couple and missing an opportunity to further solidify trust with my wife.
3. Animosity – Yeah baby, it’s getting real now! Being married means you will have disagreements. Period. No one is immune to this. The Creator made us all with a plan in mind. Each plan is different, so it should be no surprise that each person is different. Over time, our experiences shape our perspective and our reactions to circumstances. Since we love our spouse so much, the hurt that comes from realizing that they perceive things differently than you is amplified. This is when I “shut it down”. This, however, is the crucial time when couples NEED prayer the most. The door is wide open for the enemy to dance in and steal the connection you have with your wife. It’s a dangerous place.
So now that we’ve established why it’s so difficult – what do we do about it?
1. Establish a routine – I don’t know about you, but in my personal prayer life, I have a routine. My commute to work is about 45 minutes, so I often use the solitude during my drive to talk to God. It’s something that I do every day, so I take advantage of it. There’s no reason I can’t do the same with Karen. We have our bedtime routines (another thing that happens EVERY DAY), so we’ve recently begun to work prayer into the routine of closing out the day.
2. Talk to her about it – Ask her if she feels the same as you. There may be some goofy reason that can be squashed on the spot, but you will never know unless you communicate with her. If it’s deeper than that, pray about it! 😉
3. Journal prayer requests – One of the hardest things for me to do is to start the prayer. Most of the time, this alone will deter me from even praying with her. I have found that arming myself with prayer bullets before initiating spiritual warfare gives me confidence and makes me want to pray with her. It’s times like these when our prayer time is the most powerful and our connection is the absolute strongest.
Just remember, it’s ok to have a short prayer – don’t put too much pressure on yourself. The most important thing is that you and your wife are connecting spiritually. The bible says that when a husband and wife marry, they become one flesh. The faith that flows from that connection will not only have a powerfully positive effect on your marriage, but it is a faith that will move mountains.
9/20/15 – New thoughts: This summer, Karen and I went through a small group series called “Freedom” at our church. The purpose of the study was to learn what you needed freedom from and delivering it to God to let him liberate you. It was by far the most powerful study I’ve ever done.
After reading this post a year later, I realized that praying with my wife needs to be on my list of things to address. There is no better place for the enemy to wedge himself than between you and your spouse’s prayer life. It seems so obvious to me now, but it isn’t always that way.