“Lord, please bless my marriage and my mate.”
I laughed when I first read the phrase “marriage and mate” in a Christian book on marriage, but now I use this phrase regularly to enter into prayer for my spouse. When we were dating and engaged, I used to pray for him almost daily, but now, after being married for several years, I realized that it had been a while since I’d spent time actually praying for him alone as opposed to praying for us as a couple.
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As I’ve tried to rebuild this habit of prayer, I’ve been surprised by what has shifted in my heart.
We all experience life in seasons, and our season right now includes my husband being back in school for nursing while I’m working full time along with being responsible for a few freelance gigs on the side. It’s been busy for us, and our evenings are often spent in separate rooms, typing away on our computers.
Praying for him — without him knowing it — has provided me with a sense of closeness to him. Saying a quick prayer for my husband when he’s on his way to clinicals or while I’m heading to work is a way to unite myself to him even when we are physically apart. As a wife, I am fulfilling my role to intercede before God on my husband’s behalf by taking his worries and burdens to the Lord.
As I’ve practiced turning my heart to God while thinking of my husband, it has helped smooth out the rough edges of miscommunication and disappointment that are normal in daily life, and it has redirected my focus to something larger that connects us — how the Sacrament of Marriage binds us together in a covenant.
Recognizing the space between us
While making me feel closer to my husband, praying for his needs daily also helps me recognize that there is an infinite space between us — the place where God meets each of us individually. Placing the habit of prayer between my husband and me reminds me that my goal isn’t to change him or ask God for what I think he needs, but to actually ask God for what my husband truly needs — whether or not I understand or know that need.
As I’ve tried to bring my husband’s stresses, schedule and experience of life to the Lord, it helps me respect that each of us has a soul and a journey with God that we are on. Our marriage is a huge part of that for us, but praying specifically for my husband’s needs instead of what I want for him allows me to see him as an individual instead of an extension of myself or a possession that is mine.
This spirit of prayer then overflows into our communication, and it reminds me to ask my husband more questions later or follow up with him — not with the expectation of a certain answer but as a way to continue getting to know him and grow.
Remembering the spiritual, daily
Lastly, praying daily for my marriage and my mate has helped me remember that our marriage is primarily a covenant, not a contract. We have entered into the Sacrament of Marriage, but living in a secular world can easily make us feel like marriage comes down to paying bills, scheduling things, cleaning the house and picking up groceries.
Praying for each other offers a vital reminder that our contract goes beyond the temporal to the eternal. Our souls are bound together before God, and the more I remember that, the more I approach daily life from that mindset.
If you’re looking for a way to reconnect with your spouse, taking a few minutes alone to bring your heart (and your spouse’s heart) before the Lord might be the new habit you’re looking to start or an old habit you want to deepen. It can be as simple as starting with, “Lord, please bless my marriage and my mate.”