Praying Together in Your Marriage
I love to talk to my husband. Sometimes, when we have a date together—away from our three talkative children—my stories just come pouring out. That woman at the gym who was lifting weights while wearing high heels. The article I read about church life that made so much sense. The one I read that didn’t. The idea I had for how to change our lives by rearranging the living room furniture. That thing I want to do tomorrow. That thing I want to do ten years from now.
Because I have a relationship with my husband, I love to talk to him about my life and to tell him my disappointments and desires.
Because I have a relationship with my God, I do the same thing. It’s called prayer.
And because my husband and I are in relationship to one another and to our triune God—because we are purchased by Christ’s blood and joined in marriage—we should love to pray together. Together we should talk about our shared life, our shared disappointments, and our shared desires with the God who loves us both.
When we consider the Bible’s teaching on marriage, it’s no surprise that praying regularly with our spouse is assumed. Peter gives this direction: Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers might not be hindered (1 Pet. 3:7 ESV).
In Peter’s instructions, we see that praying together is the normal practice of a marriage lived in God’s sight (1 Pet. 3:4; cf. 3:12 ESV). As Christian husbands and wives, we rejoice at one another’s successes, we consider one another’s needs, and we bear with one another’s sins so that we might bring those things to our Lord in prayer. Our love for one another and for our God will express itself in prayer together, and, as we pray together, we will inevitably love each other better.
But if your marriage is anything like mine, time for praying together is hard to find. Most couples have lists and calendars and scheduled alerts jammed with responsibilities: trash pickup, Bible study, grocery shopping, dentist appointment, carpool, soccer practice, business trip. Just running a household requires more energy than most marriages can find, and praying together often takes its cobwebbed place on the list of Things To Do Later.
In the whirlwind of life, when are we going to pray together? And is it really all that important anyway?
This is not a modern problem. People have always allowed eating, drinking, and dressing to consume more attention than they ought (Matt. 6:25–31) and to push spiritual duties to the margins. And, like many of us, the members of the early church also found themselves confused about the priorities for their marriages. That’s why Paul writes to husbands and wives: Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer (1 Cor. 7:5 ESV).
First, he affirms the value of physical intimacy in marriage: Do not deprive one another. While playfulness and pleasure might seem optional in a busy married life, in God’s good design they are actually essential. Do not deprive one another.
But as important as sexual intimacy is, the Lord allows one thing to occasionally eclipse it: except . . . that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Praying together is so vital for married couples that if time and energy are in short supply, all other obligations should move down on the to-do list.
If you and your spouse are early risers, pray together when you first wake up.
If you tend to watch Netflix or work on projects far into the night, pray together before going to bed.
If you share a meal, a ride to work, or a late-afternoon phone call every day, make one of those an occasion for prayer together.
If you have children in the home and already pray with them daily, set a separate time once a week to pray exclusively with your spouse.
As needs or decisions arise—and they do in every marriage!—make spontaneous prayer together your first response.
Whether it’s date-night or late-night, the conversations we have in our marriages should include the God who always hears us.
Let us pray.
This article is adapted from Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches by Megan Hill (Crossway, 2016).
Megan Hill is a pastor’s wife, mother of three, and writer living in Massachusetts. She serves on the editorial board for Christianity Today and is a regular contributor to Her.meneutics and The Gospel Coalition. Her new book is Praying Together: The Priority and Privilege of Prayer in Our Homes, Communities, and Churches.