A newlywed shares an important thought on the role of prayer in a relationship, and it applies whether you are dating, engaged, or married.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” [Philippians 4:6, ESV]
One of the most interesting and awesome parts of the story that Sharon and I share is that we dated twice with a very large gap in between. That alone isn't very much of a surprising fact or an unusual occurrence, many couples have dated more than once before ultimately tying the knot, and there can be many reasons for the delay—people change, they weren't mature enough, or there exists a fear of commitment on the part of one individual or the other, to name just a few.
I believe, however, that my relationship with Sharon is fairly unique. I think that it is probably quite sufficient to say that the number one reason that our relationship now works is the role that God plays in our lives, with the largest difference being in mine.
God expects us to communicate with Him—after all, he wrote us the Greatest Love Letter of All Time—the story of His son, His sacrifice, and the story of His redemption throughout history. God had inspired men to write the works of Scripture that are so integral to what we are called to do, and form such an important part of our lives.
And within that Scripture we see mentioned so many times how we are called to pray—to talk to our Father above in a deep and meaningful manner, to bring before Him our needs and desires and concerns. Jesus prayed constantly, always supplicating His needs and thoughts to the Father—He prayed to be alone with God, He prayed as intercession for others, He prayed for the purpose of healing and deliverance.
Scripture calls for us to pray continuously like Jesus; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” [ESV] Jesus’ own words in John state that if we are within God’s will—if our thoughts, our motivation, our desires, and our goals are in line with that which God has declared, then whatever we ask for, we will receive! “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, as whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” [John 15:7, ESV]
But when we’re in deep, personal relationship with another, we are called to prayer on a different level, and this applies whether you are dating, engaged, or married. It’s something that Sharon and I have done since we started dating for the second time; every day we pray together, especially at night, where we reflect on the events of the day and thank God for the ways that He has blessed us—but even more importantly, we pray for each other, separately in our own private times with the Lord.
God does something special when He brings two souls together in matrimony. Genesis 2:24 states that a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife as one flesh—and with this unity comes new responsibility and desires. I know that for me there is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling than to know that I am praying to our Heavenly Father with—and for—the woman that He has so lovingly and thoughtfully brought into my life. It’s so much better to face hard questions and difficult situations jointly in supplication, knowing that you are together united with Christ.
And that’s what is most different between where Sharon and I are now and where we were before in our relationship. When we parted ways that first time, I honestly had no idea the story that God had written, nor how amazing it would end up being. He was doing a work in me over that time to teach me the importance of prayer and supplication before Him, so that we would make it a priority when the unbelievable happened, and He brought us together again.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” [Ephesians 5:25-27, ESV]