Individuals have their own experience of prayer, the personal conversations we each have with God. As your marriage relationship grows, you learn how, when, and why to pray together as a couple:
The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 122.
In marriage, prayer helps me feel close and intimate with my husband. He often prays in his own words, and it tells me what is on his mind and heart. I hear him express what blessings he is grateful to God for, and it reminds me to be grateful as well. I discover who he’s concerned about, and I hear his caring pleas for help for other people. Praying together helps us work together as partners in harmony, tuned into inspiration and more able to support the fulfillment of each other’s dreams and goals.
When you begin to explore as a couple what role prayer has in your life together, you can begin by sharing with each other:
Why you pray
When prayer has been helpful
What your prayers sound like–some use their own words, and some prefer prayers written by others or printed in scriptures, such as a Baha’i prayer book
How prayer keeps you in communication and connection with God
As you begin to pray together, you can identify what types of prayers make sense to say as a couple, and which ones can best stay private. These might include personal prayers where you ask forgiveness for something you’ve done, or prayers that ask for an increase in inner strength or spiritual growth.
Together as a couple, you can explore how to pray together, and how that practice might deepen your intimacy. These could include prayers such as:
Expressions of gratitude for blessings
Requests for guidance as spouses or parents
Supplications for the education of children
Pleas for forgiveness for conflict and requests for harmony
Asking for help for each other during difficulties or challenging circumstances
It pays to assess your motives for praying together. Don’t use prayer for and about each other as a form of manipulation, criticism, or control. These motives would work against one of the key intents of couple prayer: building a stronger sense of unity, of being “us” and “we” rather than “you” and “me.”
Timing for couple prayer can also take practice for a couple to navigate. When to pray includes the time of day, what is happening at the moment, how frequently prayer occurs, and more. One partner may only be able to participate peacefully with couple prayer once a week; the other partner may prefer daily prayer. At times you may each have to shift one way or the other to accommodate each other’s preferences and needs.
It will take some practice to learn to pray together. However, it’s worth the effort. Praying together can:
Deepen your understanding of what’s on each other’s mind and heart
Increase your unity and harmony through shared activity
Lift your spirits with hope
Provide inspiration for new words and actions
Help you to see the best in each other
Adjust your attitudes in a positive direction
Express honest emotions that are difficult to say otherwise
Prayers together in your marriage can be a gift that helps you live in a state of gratitude and love with God, and with each other.
Know thou, verily, it is becoming in a weak one to supplicate to the Strong One, and it behooveth a seeker of bounty to beseech the Glorious Bountiful One. When one supplicates to his Lord, turns to Him and seeks bounty from His Ocean, this supplication brings light to his heart, illumination to his sight, life to his soul and exaltation to his being. …By these attractions one’s ability and capacity increase. When the vessel is enlarged the water increases, and when the thirst grows the bounty of the cloud becomes agreeable to the taste of man. – Abdu’l-Baha, quoted by Dr. J. E. Esselmont in Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 93.
Marriage strengthening through an online course “Creating a Fortress for Well-Being and Salvation” is available through the Wilmette Institute for couples in the early years of marriage. Read more information on the course’s webpage. The discount code is BT20. It will give people a 20% discount when they pay.