This week is my husband’s and my wedding anniversary and therefore, one of our favorite times of the year because we take extra special time to celebrate ‘us’! We enjoy reflecting and reminiscing about the day we were married, but also we thank God for blessing us with yet another year together.
For those of you who are married, maybe you can relate to getting a great deal of marriage advice on your wedding day. While some of the advice is valuable and helpful, you always have a piece or two that seems to remain in the forefront of your mind throughout your marriage.
One of the best pieces of advice we received that day was from my Grandpa. He told Ryan and I to make sure we take time to pray together. My grandparents had been happily married for 55 years at that time and were still sweethearts, so we figured they had great insight, wisdom and expertise.
Perhaps, this was their secret to a successful, loving and lasting marriage. In deciding to follow my grandpa’s advice, Ryan and I started to pray together before bed each night.
At first, I have to admit, it was strange, uncomfortable and (I obviously can’t speak for my husband) but personally I felt like I struggled to come up with a prayer that seemed worthy or profound. As time went on though, it became more natural and we both began to revere this time we purposefully set aside. It was our sacred time as a couple and it was quiet. Quiet, all except the voice of one another – There is something so intimate about hearing your spouse’s voice verbalize a prayer.
Prayerful words from a spouse, spoken in otherwise complete silence seem to carry so much more significance and power. It is a true ‘experience’ to pray together and one you will mostly likely never forget.
About 3 months after we were married, Ryan was deployed to Iraq. Our snuggled up bedtime routine, containing our quiet, sacred prayer time together had to be shelved. For how long, we did not know. During the hundreds of nights he spent away, bedtime and sleeping were always difficult for me. I prayed fervently on my own, especially for his safety, but I yearned for our bedtime and prayer routine.
I knew God was looking out for me though, because almost every time I decided to pray while trying to go to sleep, I would fall asleep not finishing my prayers. It was like God was saying, “Relax. It is okay. I got it.”
A while after he returned home, we began praying at bedtime together again. It was comforting and it was also a great place to be able to share what was on our minds. Praying like that together is a great way to get an understanding of what your spouse may be struggling with or can provide insights as to what is on their mind. I think we are both impressed that over the years, we still make time for this special routine between us. There are stretches when we miss, but we always seem to pick it right back up.
Praying together has definitely been a valuable asset to our marriage. It has provided a sacred, safe and quiet time for us to share and also made room for us to expose our vulnerabilities. And after our prayer, our hearts are usually opened up for conversations that we normally would not have had that day. It ends up turning into a little daily needed ‘us’ time.
We have kept my Grandpa’s wedding advice alive in our marriage and I am so proud of us for doing so. I hope and pray that you might experience the benefit of this advice as we have.
Melanie Sextro is a military wife and mother to two sweet boys. She is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City.