Over the years I’ve challenged men to take the initiative and improve their marriages in another way. This action requires bedrock courage.
No, it’s not initiating sex. By comparison, that’s risky indeed, but nowhere nearly as challenging as … praying daily with your wife.
Now some men already are praying daily with their wives. But I’ve seen that look of hesitation and even fear in the eyes of many men when I’ve given them this challenge. It’s way outside of their comfort zone.
I am not certain that Barbara and I would still be married had it not been for this spiritual discipline of experiencing God together in our marriage. It has kept us from building walls in our marriage, it has forced us to forgive one another, and it has kept us focused in the same direction.
The power of praying together
A businessman who works for a well-known corporation took my challenge a number of years ago. He and his wife had been married for years and had two children. At the time, he was experiencing some difficulties in his marriage — he was angry over the lack of time they spent together, both relationally and physically. He had begun drinking (again) and they had been sleeping in separate bedrooms for two years. They were not considering divorce and remained committed to the marriage, but, in his words, “we were both on different pages, spiritually and mentally. She wanted to have Bible studies together and pray, but I was not willing, due to my inner anger at her.”
A few years later, my path crossed his again, and he wrote me that when he took the initiative to pray daily with his wife, their relationship was transformed.
Over a period of time and consistently praying together, we have seen amazing changes in our lives. Quickly the level of anger subsided. Each night our prayers became easier and meant more. We quickly seemed to move onto the same page, our attitude toward each other changed, and we began liking each other again.
We also saw changes in our parenting. We started talking more and having in-depth conversations. Over the last few years our conversations have turned to deep meaningful reviews of our lives and the mistakes we’ve made. We share hurts, frustrations and worries. We both seem to want to help each other and support the other in times of need.
As we learned to love and respect each other, our sex life has grown into a beautiful expression of our love and is more satisfying than ever. Our walk with God has grown deeper, individually and as a couple. Our lives seem to be connected on a spiritual level as never before. As with any marriage, problems still arise, but now we feel equipped to deal with the issues in a positive way.
The Lord has done a mighty work in our marriage and we contribute much of that success to the fact that every night we approach the Throne of Grace together. It truly is His grace that has sustained us. In fact, many times we have grinned that we know God exists. Only He could salvage our train wreck of a marriage and not only make it survive, but thrive.
Can you imagine what would happen in your marriage, in your family, if you showed that type of initiative and courage? My encouragement is to try it. If you miss a day, then pick up again tomorrow and pray together. I’ve found that the men who initiate prayer with their wives have a dramatically different relationship with them in less than two years.
Adapted by permission from Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood, © 2011 by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishing.