There are not a lot of things many wives would put higher on their priority list than a husband who steps up to the plate as a spiritual leader in their relationship. A big part of that is a consistent prayer life as a couple. If you’re not praying together with your spouse, it’s a good habit to develop – perhaps the best thing you can do for your marriage. We wholeheartedly believe the saying, “The couple that prays together, stays together.”
There are seasons, though, when a husband might struggle to lead in this way. Husbands, how many times have you lain next to your spouse in bed wanting desperately to go before God together and just couldn’t do it? The words just wouldn’t come.
It’s not that guys fail to see the importance. It’s not that they don’t want to pray with their wives. Sometimes it’s hard to identify the reason the words won’t come. They just won’t.
If you’re a husband and find yourself paralyzed at the thought of praying together with your wife, consider some simple ideas. Preface what’s to come with this: Just because you struggle, it doesn’t let you “off the hook” when it comes to praying together with your wife. These are merely obstacles to ask God to help you overcome.
The bottom line: God wants you to be a spiritual leader, and you know you need to be that for your wife. When you feel like anything but that, it’s tough to muster words of transparency and vulnerability to God, in front of your wife.
Three reasons you might have trouble praying together:
You’re afraid to admit your tank is empty.
Perhaps you’ve been in a particularly grueling season of physical, mental, and emotional exertion. That’s pretty much life, isn’t it? Honestly, though, on top of everything else, the weight of approaching the Creator of the universe with your spouse can feel a bit overwhelming. And sometimes praying together can feel like just another thing you have to do. Part of this feeling may come from a fear of admitting that you’re not strong enough to carry on.
News flash: you’re not. Prayer is an access point to the rest and refueling you need for another leg of the journey. Why? It centers you on what’s most important and helps you realign your priorities with God’s. It will point you toward things that need to change. Maybe there are things you need to stop doing, or things you need to start again. God wants to help you regain the clarity, focus, and energy you need to be most effective.
A prayer to pray with your spouse: God, I feel tired. Would you fill me with a fresh wind that only your Spirit can supply?
You have a low perception of the fruit you’re producing.
Ask a man who just turned 40 how they feel at the halfway point of their life and they may blow it off as just another day. On the outside. But, the reflective guy might wonder if what they’ve done and what they’re doing makes any difference to anyone. Am I just wasting my time? Spinning my wheels? Am I doing what counts?
It’s a natural response to reflect on the climb you’ve made during the first part of your life and what’s coming in the next. When these questions arise in a man’s life, there’s worry that someone outside himself would not have favorable answers to them. Someone worried about how they’re performing can be skittish about praying with their spouse. They may not feel worthy to do so.
Here are two thoughts about the idea of performance. It won’t bring us salvation. But, it is a sign of how we’re responding to the salvation offered to us. So, the perception of low value exists either because it’s true (from a fruit perspective) or the Enemy wants you to think it’s true. Either there is good fruit coming from your life, or there’s not.
Second, regardless of whether or not it’s true, the Enemy wants you to respond the same way. Instead of considering your salvation in such a way that you produce fruit, he wants you to retreat farther into a shell of mediocrity and not even sow more seed.
Failing to pray with your spouse doesn’t represent the positive response.
A prayer to pray with your spouse: Father, I know that you have saved me by your grace. I want to respond by serving you and my family in the best way possible. Will you show me how to do that? Will you give me the strength to produce fruit for them?
The road ahead isn’t clear.
A final thought is that a husband may struggle with a desire to know things will turn out in any number of areas of life. When he doesn’t understand what’s coming, he feels out of control. When he feels out of control, he may struggle to want to lead through prayer. After all, how can someone lead if they don’t know the road ahead?
God’s Word doesn’t guarantee us as many specific details about the way our lives will turn out. We certainly don’t get as many as we’d like. His method is to shine a lamp on our feet and light on our path. That won’t let us see very far down the road, but it will keep us moving.
We have just what we need to take each step. Colossians 1.9-10 reminds us of all we need to know when it comes to the future. It brings immense clarity to the question, “how do I know what God’s will for my life is.”
…we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you make be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
Maybe it’s not as crucial that you know where the road ahead is taking you as it is to make sure you’ve invited God the Father along as a traveling companion.
A prayer to pray with your spouse: God, I don’t know where this life is taking us. We feel so much uncertainty and have so many questions. Even though I may not understand these things, I know I want you to walk beside me to guide me through whatever we might face. I know I want to be a Godly leader who makes my family proud.
If you’re having trouble leading in your marriage by praying with your spouse, check to see if you’re struggling with these obstacles. Check if other things are standing in the way.
When you get to the place where you’re consistently praying together, you may find an entirely new dimension of your marriage will open – one that will bring you joy and satisfaction you didn’t know was possible in marriage.