As couples – either married or engaged – we have a lot of things vying for our attention, such as work, children, aging parents, planning a wedding and other things too numerous to mention. These things can be stressful and tear away at our relationships.
We may become like “married singles,” each going our own way, without even being aware of the conflicts demonizing and drawing life from our being. Our physical and spiritual strength becomes zapped. We aren’t attuned to the separation taking place before our very eyes. The next thing we know, we’re no longer a couple.
A foundation for marriage
We all know that the divorce rate is pretty high in the United States. However, there is an answer to this.
There are two things that will immensely tilt the odds in your favor for a marriage that will last until death: 1. Going to church together; and 2. Praying together as a couple.
Five out of six couples will remain married for life if they go to church together at least weekly; and, incredibly, only 1 out of 1,105 will divorce if they go to church together and either read Scripture together or pray together as a couple on a regular, ongoing basis.
According to the www.CouplePrayer.com website, “Nothing that researchers have ever discovered is as accurate an indicator of future marital happiness as whether or not the couple prays together, even for a few minutes a day.”
To that end, www.Couple Prayer.com offers a six-session program, which was just completed by participants on the East Bank of the St. John-St. Charles Deanery and hosted by Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Norco.
The stated focus of the Together with Jesus Couple Prayer Series is “simply and solely to help any Christ-centered married or engaged couple learn how to pray together more openly, comfortably, safely, supportively and consistently.”
As the facilitator of the program held at Sacred Heart and an eager participant with my wife Laura, I can tell you that the program lives up to its focus.
The program began by teaching us that prayer was not about technique but about relationships and encouraging us to “just do it.” It followed with teaching us to thank God together, to ask for God’s help together, to pray with Scripture, to worship God together and, finally, to pray for the power to forgive together.
As a deacon couple, my wife and I have struggled trying to pray together. She always felt “intimidated” by my prayer style and also felt her prayers were part of an intimate relationship she had with God. I likely would have had problems sharing concerns I brought to God since I tended to be the protective provider and would not want Laura to worry about my worries.
We didn’t know what we were missing. This month, we’ll be married 42 years and, after six weeks of praying together, we have never been closer than we are now.
Here are some comments from participants in the program:
- The couple prayer series has been a meaningful experience for me and my husband. After 27 years of marriage, it is like a newly found gift of love from the Lord that we will share for years to come and pass down to our children.”
- “It has made us more sensitive to each other.”
- “It has helped me to relate better to my spouse in prayer; to forgive and not hold on to resentments; with the power of God to bless, to forgive and to heal.”
- “We have been married for 50 years. I thought I knew everything about our marriage. I was so wrong. We have become so much closer because of our couple prayer.”
- “The power of prayer has brought us closer together. God has entered into our lives more than we could have imagined.”
As you can see, the power of praying together as a couple has many benefits. It is a gift from God, meant to be shared. Some couples have actually purchased the DVD program to give to their children or other relatives.
Please give God a chance to bless you as a couple. Encourage your pastor to consider offering the series in your parish or purchase the “home edition” and give it to yourselves as an early Christmas present. You’ll be glad you did.
Deacon W. Gerard Gautrau was ordained as a permanent deacon in 2012 and serves at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Norco.