09 December 2011

How to Keep a Marriage GLUED


 

Attn. Every Married Person :)

You may already know that prayer is on my list of tips for a lovely marriage.

Am I really going to talk about prayer?  Yes - I kind of have to... :).  You see, at this point in my life, I've seen what a beautiful thing it can be in a marriage.  So I CAN'T HELP but throw this post out there in case it could be helpful to anyone.

Now, I wasn't sure how I felt about prayer most of my life.  So if any of you are thinking WHAT?!?! Trust me, I've been there. 

In my first marriage, I really was trying to give praying together a go to just see how it could be.  But let me tell you, it felt pretty darn awkward to pray out loud with my ex-spouse.  He didn't feel a oneness with me...and so oh boy, he really resisted those moments of vulnerability & closeness.   It just made him feel...uncomfortable.  And at the time, I sadly took his lack of interest personally.  Often times if we were going to pray, he preferred that I say the prayer every night instead of us taking turns.  Well, that ended in two seconds.  I preferred to avoid the sting in my heart right before bed.

But now, I love prayer.  Now, it's not weird to me at all.  I finally get it - it's just a beautiful way to align your life with gratitude, charity, love, faith & hope on a daily basis.  Simple as that.  And I love it.

I have come to find that one of the sweetest things ever is to pray sincerely, out loud, with your spouse!  It gives you an opportunity each day to open up your heart for them to hear (which may not happen so regularly otherwise.)   I am convinced that if spouses would do this together sincerely each day, it would have SUCH A HUGE IMPACT on their marriage.

Once Danny and I met, we started praying together that very night and we haven't stopped.  It just felt SO good to have a partner to pray with after being alone for so long.  We just appreciate every drop of it now.  (Married people:  Do NOT take this for granted!  I am begging you :)  Trust me, you'd miss it if you couldn't do it any longer!!! :)

Here are some tips for praying with your spouse (and by the way, if prayer to God is not your thing, I think meditating or taking a moment to share some of this stuff out loud could be hugely powerful, too)...
  • Always express GRATITUDE for your spouse and point out all of their good qualities.  (I can attest that as a wife, this is the greatest stuff in the world to hear.)
  • Pray for the well-being of your husband/wife and any needs that they might have.
  • Pray to be a better spouse yourself. 
  • Pray out loud for forgiveness (if there is a need for a little bit of making-up to do.) Then follow with make-up sex :)
What could be better?  Wouldn't you just melt if your husband or wife gave a prayer like this for you each night?  Danny's prayers just about do me in.  I have never felt more loved in my life!!!  For me, it might as well be foreplay  :)  Haha.  Yikes.  Can't help but say it how it is, cause it's true. 

Now, if your heartfelt prayers do not encourage your spouse to start praying with you, it doesn't have to be the end of the world.  Maybe they would be comfortable with doing something else that is similar? Either way, do your best to not be resentful of them, cause that won't do anybody any good.  Try to learn to maintain your stillness in those moments and not take it personally.  In this state, you will still be able to help & love & be accepting of your spouse, as needed.  And you can still have meaningful prayers on your own.  And you can still pray for the same things above & pray for them in the same loving way you would otherwise.  Cause what you feel in your heart towards them will have a huge impact on your interactions.  And sex life.  And e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g  :)  :)

Love to all,

Mara

Do you guys pray with your spouse (or do something similar)?  Is it meaningful to your marriage?  If your spouse doesn't want to pray, how do you handle it? 


 
(photos by Saydi Eyre Shumway)

29 comments:

  1. I agree that praying together as a couple can change a marriage. I've seen it happen! My husband and I have been regularly praying together in the a.m and p.m. since we got married (over nine years ago) and it makes the day so much better to start and end that way. When we get rushed and don't pray together in the morning (or when it's been a rough nights with the littles and my sweet husband let's me sleep) the day seems more stressed. Taking that small amount of time to do pray seems like such a little thing but it really makes a HUGE difference. Anyway, I LOVE your blog and your message of being happy regardless of your lot in life. You are a very inspiring woman.

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  2. Um, and I should never try to leave a comment in the middle of the night. Sooooo many typos! :)

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  3. Thank you so much for posting this. My husband and I had our first baby this last summer, and have really slacked off on our scripture study and prayers since then. This has really motivated me to work harder at getting our priorities back in order. I have always been more reluctant to pray out loud together, because I'm a very private person and I almost feel like I'm not being genuine when I pray out loud, because it's such a personal thing for me and it's almost like I put up a wall when I pray out loud with other people, even my husband. This is something I really need to work on. I can only imagine that practice makes perfect. :) Thank you, again!

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  4. Prayer with my husband is the only way I can end my day. I feel like it is an anchor. When he is away on business I miss it so much! Thanks for this great reminder. Samantha Lee (Ps. My brother is Chris Carlson, my sis-in-law is Audrey - They say hi! We're all amazed by this wonderful blog and so happy for you and Danny. Keep writing -you're changing lives!)

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  5. What anonymous said lol :)

    We do both pray out loud with our children, yet we both have this wall up when it comes to praying together.

    Hmm, that's given me something to think about :)

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  6. We pray out loud together every night, and it's amazing what it does for us. All those nights that would otherwise have been spent with us going to bed angry ended with forgiveness and apologies. Because when you pray and feel the Spirit, you can't hold onto anger because the two cannot coincide. And yes, it means so much when he prays for me. It's like a jolt of love.

    North Meets South

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  7. My husband and I haven't ever been in the habit of praying out loud together. We like eachother just fine, but we are on different sleep schedules, and we are lazy lazy people. My husband tucks me in at night before he watches his shows about space, and I kiss him awake in the morning before I go to work. We've said prayers together periodically and it's always nice when it happens. I like it because we look at eachother afterwards and it's all smiles and "Hey you! Hey spouse! You're a real person, not just a fixture in this house!" As you can see, we could surely benefit from it :) Great post!

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  8. I completely agree. There is something that happens to a couple when they pray together. You are able to hear thoughts and feelings from your partner that you wouldn't hear otherwise. It is a beautiful thing!

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  9. I feel similar to anonymous which is strange because we are spiritual committed people, but I prefer my personal prayers much more. When we fast we always pray together because we are usually fasting for the same thing. That's always nice. My husband is way more on board with praying together than I am. I know I should give it a try to be really committed to it even though I don't like doing it.

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  10. i find that our prayers, or lack thereof, are a great barometer for our marriage. when we are praying together i know that we are both feeling connected. when we aren't i know that connection needs some attention. needless to say, we've gone in and out of praying together depending on "how we are doing". but we always come around to it sooner or later. thank goodness for that!

    as always, such a good post!

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  11. Definitely a good habit that my husband and I have formed...from day one. It's pretty much a non-negotiable thing we do each night, even when he's away and we have to pray over the phone. Nothing seems to melt anger more than to hear my husband pray with me at night. Prayer is really a form of work and it's been a HUGE blessing to me and being connected to my husband and working together on our marriage.

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  12. I love this idea, but how do you even start? If you grew up in a non-religious household, how do you learn to pray, especially out loud? I would love some guidance here because it does sound like a great thing for a marriage!

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  13. Anonymous--I grew up in a religious household and it STILL took me a while to get used to praying out loud with my husband! My recommendation for learning to pray is to just do it. And perhaps make it a learning process with your spouse. Try it for the first time together. But make it a goal to do it every day for a week before you decide if you want to stick with it. It's like snowboarding--you can't decide after the first try if you like it, because the first try is always hard and awkward! It takes a couple tries to really enjoy it!

    My husband and I recently started praying together at night, meaning we BOTH offer a prayer. It's not a matter of whose turn it is that night, rather who is going to go first. :) He prays and then I pray. Or vice versa. Oh my goodness--how had we never tried this before?? We pay more attention to each other. It's more of a connection. Seriously--it's 10 times better than just one of us praying each night. And then you're never offended that the other person always defaults to "it's your turn tonight" because it's always both your turns. Obviously I highly recommend it. After 7 years of sporadic praying, we now pray together like this almost every night because it's that much better.

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  14. Anonymous - what a great question...you've had me thinking all night and morning about how one would learn to pray "from scratch".

    I wouldn't count yourself as behind the curve on this one...you may in fact have some advantages. It's easy for those who grew up praying to just repeat the same old things and it can sometimes be void of real meaning. You get to start from the beginning and do only those things which truly foster love, gratitude, peace, and unity with a higher power and with those around you.

    Please take a look at the my post from Nov 18th on Peace...it will help describe the attitude I try to adopt in prayer. Also, below are a couple of things that help make my prayers meaningful:

    1) I believe that when I pray I am addressing a loving Heavenly Father who is the very definition of love, kindness, patience, mercy, strength, light, knowledge, etc. If there is a good quality to be had, it is possessed by God in it's most perfect and fullest form. One need not call it "God" or "Father" for prayer to be effective, but it is important to remember that who you are addressing is the very source of all life and love and comfort.

    2) For me, prayer is about aligning my will, my intentions, my being, with the kind of being/essence described above. That's why as Mara described in the original post, we use prayer as time to express love for each other and for those around us (including each of you readers - we love and think about and pray about you often), gratitude for this beautiful life (even when the trials come we express gratitude), and humility/submission (submission can sound so terrible - but when you realize you are submitting to the kind of power I described in number 1, it is really only like a child submitting to a loving and caring parent). I also express my deepest feelings of trust and reliance.

    3) After I've expressed emotions and feelings that help me "vibrate at the same frequency" as the God I pray to, then I consider the areas where I need continued improvement and ask for assistance...maybe it is patience, kindness, thoughtfulness, stillness and calm, maybe peace and joy are currently escaping me and so I ask...not in desperation, but in quiet patience. If I feel a lack of unity in that moment, I try to remove from myself all feelings of doubt, fear, insecurity and anger, and I ask for assistance. I also pray for wisdom in the various areas of my life - work, home, church service. Mara and I pray regularly to be led to the right doctors and people that might help us beat this infertility - and we pray for them as well, that they will be inspired to know how to help us.

    4) As someone who believes in Jesus Christ, I finish my prayer with some form of the words "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen". Essentially it reminds me that I am praying in His name. Besides being something Christ instructed, it also helps remind me that what I ask for needs to be "worthy" of attaching his name to it. For example, I could never pray for the harm or misfortune of another...that would go against the very Being I worship. Praying in His name is a reminder to keep my attitude and motives in check, and to seek after a personal being that allows for the kind of Unity that he said he wanted us to enjoy.

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  15. Continued…

    I hope that helps. As for praying out loud...it helps keep my thoughts from wandering. It also reminds me that I am doing something more than just thinking, I am actually addressing the true Source of everything good.

    In the beginning, you may find that the words are difficult and awkward since you're not used to it. Don't worry about it, relax. And if a big part of your prayer is sitting there in quiet silence, just thinking about and embracing the emotions of gratitude, love, patience, kindness, faith, etc....well then you are off to a perfect start. No one, and I mean no one (but you), will be judging the imperfection of your words.

    Finally, one more image for you. If you have kids, this should a little easier...just imagine how you'd feel if your child addressed you in love, gratitude, and humility, and came seeking greater unity with you, came seeking your love, comfort, and guidance. I can only imagine the outpouring of love and hugs and reassurance that you'd want to give. That's what I try to imagine is happening in Prayer, that is how I try to imagine my efforts being received.

    Hope you don't mind the long explanation...I guess one day this will have to turn into a post :)

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    1. i love your long explanation, very well put.

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  16. My husband loves to pray, but it's still something that I'm working on. I pray, but I don't LOVE it, you know? Particularly our couple prayer. For years and years I didn't pray on "my night" about half of the time.

    For Christmas last year I gave my husband one of the hardest gifts I've ever offered: I told him I would pray on my turn EVERY TIME. And I have. And it's been great. I've realized that the gift was also a gift to myself. I needed it more than my husband did!

    I'll also have to try Molly's approach - both of us praying on the same night. I like the idea!

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  17. My good friend just recommended your blog, and now I have spent over half an hour reading over your posts, and I just have to tell you I love you. A little bit. Just wanted to throw that out there :)

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  18. KENNINGTONS - The fear of typos used to hold me back from ever commenting anywhere! ha! It's ok - and thanks for writing.

    ANONYMOUS- I'm so glad you're going to try to pray out loud even though you are normally a private person. It can be hard for many people to overcome that, I think...but I've decided it's worth it to be vulnerable & put yourself out there...there is just too much to gain. (btw, I have to put these same words into practice each day as I write this blog! Oh boy! :)

    DRAGONFLY: Danny travels sometimes for business and once in awhile we pray together over the phone. Sounds weird, I know...but those have been some of the sweetest moments of prayer ever.

    TAMRA - W-O-W! I am amazed at what you did! Seriously - that is really something. I'm so glad it turned out to be a good experience for you.

    LINDSEY: I love you, too! Haha. That is so sweet of you to write. So glad you found our blog.

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  19. Would it be possible to blog without posting photos of yourself? I was really looking forward to reading your blog because I thought it was actually about love for others and serving and reaching out and not another blog to showcase how cute you are and all the photos you take of yourself. Why can't you share what you have to say without the narcissism?

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  20. And yes, before everyone else says it, I am just jealous.

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  21. My friend Lindsey (comment above) brought me here. She knew I needed to read the hope here. Thank you. As an LDS woman facing divorce I am so very much afraid, of a lot of things. I needed this blog that I spent hours reading and pouring over tis week. I can only pray for a marriage like yours. Much love. (Also? Anonymous above is just mean. We call those kinds of commenters trolls. Don't let them get you down.)

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  22. Anon - certainly not out to showcase. Trust me.
    I just personally love seeing photos on people's blogs as it's nice to get to know the person I'm reading about. So we add photos when we can. But this is certainly not a photo blog...We spend most of our time & effort writing the posts as that is what this blog is all about.

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  23. Kimsueellen: Thank you for your sweet comment. I am so, so glad you found the blog. I am writing it with people like you in mind who are facing something difficult. Situations like divorce can feel so foreign...it's like unchartered territory. So I hope in some small way I can give you some support and encouragement through the blog.

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  24. I just came across your blog after visiting Mermag.blogspot.com.
    I just wanted to say how wonderful I think it is that you are writing this blog. I only wish that I had something like this back when I went through a divorce in 1989. It would have been a tremendous help to me. I suffered so badly through it and when I look back on it, I'm not even sure how I got through it. I did find the love of my life after that though and I thank God for bringing us together!
    I would also like to say that I really enjoy the photos that you post. I'm not trying to criticize anyone else's comments here, just giving my opinion. I guess I am more of a "visual" person and I love seeing photos on blogs, it just enhances the experience IMHO.

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  25. I just found you through mermag too, excellent post to read. We just started SLOWLY getting back to praying, I love your tips on praying, look forward to reading more stuff!

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  26. LOVE this post. I talk to the couples I counsel about praying together all the time but my husband and I fail o do it as often as we should. I know we need to be better at it.

    I LOVE the photos of y'all. You are both so gorgeous but the most beautiful thing about you both is your true JOY. That shines through in all the photos so please don't stop them.

    Finally, I find myself amazed at how wise and aware you both are. As I said before, I am a marriage and parenting coach and I do this stuff for a living but I am learning and being reminded of so much as I slowly move through each of your posts. This blog is very purposeful. Thank you for it. And thank your acupuncturist too please as I think she is incredibly wise as well.

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  27. My name is Jennifer and i want to testify of the good work done by a faithful DR PALOMA, a spell caster. in my life i never thought there is such thing as spiritual intercession. my problem started 5 months back when the father of my kids started putting up some strange behavior, i never knew he was having an affair outside our matrimonial home. it dawn on me on that faithful day 4th of April 21st 4:23pm when he came to the house to pick his things that was when i knew that situation has gotten out of hand and he then told me he was quitting the marriage which i have built for over 6 years, i was confused and dumbfounded i called on family and friends but to no avail. two months after i started having problem with my kids welfare rent-age and all of it, i really went through ***. until a day i was browsing on the internet and i happen to meet DR PALOMA Email palomaspelltemple@yahoo.com i never believed on this but i needed my man back so i gave the spell caster my problem at first i never trusted him so i was just doing it but you know a problem shared is half solved after a 2das my husband called me telling me that he his coming back home and that was all. now we are living happily and i still do contact him on this email: palomaspelltemple@yahoo.com

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