Talking Your Way Out of Trouble
"Our marriage is hopeless. The wall Jeff and I have built between us cant be torn down. Too much has happened. Quite frankly, this is a waste of time."
That was Meagan's assessment during the first session of a three-day marriage seminar I facilitated for couples in crisis.
Later that day, I mentioned, "Prayer is one of the most useful tools to save and strengthen your marriage." After the session, Meagan asked what I meant.
I explained that when a husband and wife are at the end of their rope, one of the best things they can do is pray together. It can restore intimacy and bring healing in ways that nothing else can. Praying together allows a spouse to see inside the heart. We discussed the practical aspects of how prayer could be applied to their marriage.
The next morning, Meagan and Jeff walked into the seminar together. Something was different. The couple who seemed hopeless the day before were holding hands and interacting pleasantly.
During the first session, Meagan shared about the previous evening. With tears in her eyes she said, "We didn't read our assignments or do our homework. But we did something we have not done for years we prayed together. We listened to one another and glimpsed into each others soul in ways wed never experienced. We communicated through prayer freely, without irate and hurtful words.
"Its amazing," Meagan continued. "Months have passed without being able to say 'I love you' or 'I am sorry.' Last night prayer freed our hearts to express feelings I thought we both had lost forever. In fact, I don't know if we have ever connected like we did last night."
Whether your marriage is in trouble or simply needs a tune-up, praying together will make a difference. Without prayer, your relationship will never reach deep fulfillment. Praying together should be just as much a part of your daily routine as kissing each other good night. Couples who pray together function on spiritual levels that other couples do not (James 5:16; Psalm 34:17-18).
Surveys show less than 10 percent of Christian couples pray together regularly. Prayer invigorates and strengthens marriage. Here's how praying together can strengthen - and possibly save - your marriage.
It invites Gods power
Your future together is under Gods caring and watchful eye. Its easy to lose hope when you cant resolve conflict with your spouse. Inviting God into your lives through prayer restores power and confidence in your marriage. It reminds you that just as you are joined to each other, you are also joined to God. With Him you can do things you cannot do alone.
It will unlock closed hearts
Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44). Though you, hopefully, don't consider your spouse the enemy, its easy to close your hearts door to your spouse when there's unresolved conflict, hurt, anger, resentment or a lack of forgiveness. Because its impossible to resent someone you pray for on a regular basis, when you pray together, God will do His work of restoration and help compassion return to your heart for your spouse.
Its a simple and effective way to communicate
God loves to hear couples humbly pray, "God, I want to be a better husband"or "Father, help me to show more respect toward my husband." When we pray, God listens. And guess what, so does your spouse. Often a spouse can talk to God about his innermost thoughts and feelings when he cannot express them to his mate. Some spouses write their prayers to God and share them with their mate. Find the method that works for you.
When praying together, be careful not to offend or attempt to manipulate your spouse. Talking to God about your mates behavior or making indirect suggestions can damage your relationship.
Prayer is a time to be open and self-disclosing with God. As you communicate your struggles, desires and petitions to Him, intimacy will increase, and so will the commitment you share.