The Single Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Do Together

Put yourself in Teresa’s place. Here’s this awkward young man who finally managed to ask her out, which obviously took just about the last milligram of his courage. But she’s just started dating him, and now he’s clearly gearing up to ask for something more.

What’s it going to be?

Finally, he manages to say it: “Could we…um…pray together?”

She actually laughs at him. But in a good-natured way. He’s so sweet! Of course she’ll pray with him. And then, his voice breaking, he starts to pray the Hail Mary with her.

Smack-dab in the middle, he forgets the words. Which wouldn’t be a big deal, except that he was a former seminarian, and now he bills himself as a “Catholic speaker.” He talks in front of huge parish groups all over the country, but he’s so nervous praying with her that he forgets the second-best-known Catholic prayer in the world.

Well, yeah, of course I was that awkward young man. And yes, Teresa ended up marrying me anyway.

But why was it so awkward to think about praying together as a couple? Maybe it’s not so surprising. Praying together can actually be more intimate than sex. You have to bare your soul. It’s not easy to do that. It’s much easier just not to say anything.

But you’ve got to overcome that awkwardness. Faith without prayer is just a hobby. And prayer is actually the most important thing you’ll ever do together as a couple.

How do I know that? It’s science. And it’s theology.

You see a lot of bogus statistics on the Web. But actual reliable surveys show that couples who worship together are about 35% less likely to divorce. And that’s a bigger difference than you can make with just about any other change in your lives.

As important as it is to keep your marriage together, though, I don’t think that’s the biggest reason to pray together. Remember this: Your destination is heaven, and you want to spend eternity there. And eternity is kind of a long time.

Your marriage is the school where you learn how to live in heaven. You learn to put God at the center, and your relationship flourishes. Love surrounds you. That’s what heaven is. That makes prayer really important, doesn’t it? So think about that. Look at it from every angle. See how important praying together really is. Because until you can see that it’s the most important thing you’ll ever do together, it’s not going to happen. I know human nature. You’ll be too busy. You won’t want to start an awkward conversation.

Start with seven minutes a day. That’s a nice, easy number to remember, and it hardly seems to take any time away from all the other things you think you need to do. But more time is fine. Less is fine, too. Just start. Getting over that hurdle is the most important thing.

Won’t it be awkward?” someone asked me once. “We’ve been married thirteen years, and now…this.” Yes, it will be awkward. You’re encountering the Lord together, the source of all love. It’ll be as awkward as your first date. But that was worth it, wasn’t it?

When should you pray? Right before bed can be a good time, but if you’re really tired, it may be too easy to forget it or put it off. Try finding a time when you both feel most alive.

How should you pray? St. John Paul II had a really easy answer to that question: “I would say: Pray any way you like, so long as you do pray.” Perhaps start with the Our Father. Then ask God to help you to love him better tomorrow than you did today. I always tell people to end with the Hail Mary. (If you can remember the words.)

And when should you start? That’s even easier: Now.

No excuses. If you put it off a day, you’ll put it off a year.

Start praying together now––no matter if you’re dating, engaged, or married. No matter if it’s over the phone or in person. You’ll be doing the best thing for yourselves. You’ll be doing the best thing for your marriage. And you’ll be ready for heaven when God calls and you have to answer.

____________________________

Jon OriginalJon Leonetti is an international Catholic speaker, author and radio host who conveys a message of lasting fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Jon desires to cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus and help others do the same through prayer, the Sacraments, family life, Mary and the saints. Engaging Catholics in all walks of life, Jon’s keynote presentations and Surge of the Heart Parish Mission continues to help thousands of Catholics each year discover the freedom Christ offers by way of His life and love. Learn more about Jon at www.JonLeonetti.com

 

23 Comments

  1. Great post and awesome idea! But when you’re dating it can be hard to find 7 minutes together everyday. Right before bed is also a bad time because you won’t be together then (we’re being chaste here!). What would you suggest for courting couples?

    By Marie | 3 years ago Reply
    • Dear Marie,

      I might not be the best person to answer this question as I am single. But may be you could try to spend the first 7 minutes in prayer before the start of a date.

      I sometimes use the same method while driving to work in the morning to use the time to pray the Holy Rosary and the day at work has always being good.

      Will include both of you in prayers, God bless you
      Emmanuel

      By Emmanuel | 3 years ago Reply
    • After failed first marriages for both of us, my boyfriend and I work hard at keeping God first in our lives and our relationship. We pray by phone almost every night. Sometimes he picks a novena, sometimes it’s an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. Some nights it’s longer than others. The most important thing is we do pray together. It means the world to me!

      By Teresa | 3 years ago Reply
  2. One thing my fiance and I did to start praying together is we picked a different way to pray each night. Some of it was spontaneous prayer and some more traditional (Liturgy of the Hours). It helped us grow where we needed to grow but also gave us comfort with something we knew.

    By Danielle | 3 years ago Reply
  3. Hi! This is an awesome article! We are Singles For Christ coordinators. It is a Catholic ministry catering to young adults. We are wondering if we could publish this as well as other articles here on Chastity Project. We will definitely mention the source & even put a link back here. Thank you & continue to be an inspiration to us. God bless you all.

    By Bel and Jon | 3 years ago Reply
  4. This is some of the best advice anyone has ever given about relationships! Thank you 🙂

    By Hannah Pavalko | 3 years ago Reply
  5. Thank you for posting,I read the story with a great big pain in my heart..A long time ago the priest who married us,told us, on your knees every night,and pray together .My husband was on his knees,and i said we can do our prayers by ourself.He was still learning , l have been a Catholic from birth,That is why now the tears are on my face.How did i let this beautiful grace go past..Needless to say we separated ,not get divorced .

    By wilhelmina | 3 years ago Reply
    • Dear Wilhelmina,

      Will include you and your husband in prayers.
      Leave the rest to God; who knows for God nothing is impossible.

      God bless you,
      Emmanuel

      By Emmanuel | 3 years ago Reply
  6. Prayer together with the one you love is powerful, uniting and a way to learn about each other more.

    By Russ | 3 years ago Reply
  7. Dear Jon,

    This is a great article, thank you.
    (every time when I visit chastityproject.com, I will learn something new about chastity or being chaste – thank you for your contributions and God bless you all)

    God bless you,
    Emmanuel

    By Emmanuel | 3 years ago Reply
  8. My husband and I have worked in marriage-prep ministry for 10 years and have always told couples that praying together was, as weird as it may sound, more intimate than sex. Reading that you wrote the exact same thing was awesome! Praying together every day and especially our prayer together before going to sleep has been transforming! With everything we’ve got, we urge, invite, propose, and encourage couples to pray together daily and worship together in Church/Mass (at least) weekly! God bless!

    By Mary Watson | 3 years ago Reply
  9. Thank you for the post! I have prayed to some extent in most relationships. But I have prayed more for (and with) the one I am with now. And it shows! I love her more than any of the others, who are so distant now I barely remember. She seems more God-sent than any before and I can’t wait to see what plans He has for us!

    By Chris | 3 years ago Reply
  10. Great article, but it needs a caveat. One of the comments properly notes that prayer is more Intimate than sex, the physical serves the spiritual. Therefore, as when I was studying for the priesthood I did not pray with a chalice and paten in my hands (that was reserved for ordination), so I believe that the dating couple should not pray holding hands as that is proper only when the two have become one. My sisters may back me up on this one. To hold a woman’s hand as a male has certain theological, spiritual, and psychogical realities that speak more than words. Such that it plumbs the depths of who she is. If discernment leads to a separatio of a dating couple the hurt and doubt will run so much deeper in her as she handles the reality. She will doubt herself, men, And God to some degree. Yes, pray when you date (long prayers atbthe beginning of the date in daylight, short loving departure prayers when after having been with her for hours prudence says leave now!) When married, hold hand and, as I belive all married should, end your night prayers by restating you wedding vows. May the peace of Christ be with you!

    By FrJosephPeek | 3 years ago Reply
  11. My husband of 51 years, and I attended your mission at our church almost 2 years ago. I got your book “Mission of the Family” where you talked of praying together. My husband is not a Catholic but I still hope (since our children are grown and married themselves, He does attend Mass every Sunday with me.) I was afraid in a way to bring up praying together, but low and behold when I did he said yes. That is now the most wonderful part of our day, and we would not skip it for anything. On spring break, when the grandkids are staying with us they have joined in with us to pray and continued to do so at home.

    By Ramona Johnson | 3 years ago Reply
  12. I have been trying to find a prayer for chastity and self control. I have found prayers to Saint Maria Goretti, but I am still looking for a better one to pray with my boyfriend. Any suggestions?

    By Mary | 3 years ago Reply
    • St. Joseph, Blessed Mother, St. Agnes…there are so many, all wanting to pray for us to be chaste! God bless you and your boyfriend for desiring chastity!

      By Jenny | 3 years ago Reply
    • You should look into the confraternity of angelic warfare! Sounds weird, but it’s life-changing!

      By Sarah | 3 years ago Reply
  13. Thanks be to God that my husband initiated praying together before we married. It was awkward at first because praying out loud with another person is not something I’d done before (except for memorized prayers at meals and mass), and I felt vulnerable sharing my prayers and overcome with emotion. At first, he lead us in prayer and I would just chime in here and there, but over time, as I grew in my faith and felt less intimidated by praying aloud, we took turns leading one another in prayer. It is such a blessing in our marriage!

    By Lindsay | 3 years ago Reply
  14. We will have said the morning offering together for almost fifty years. It is good to hear young people just as committed to prayer as some were in the last generation.

    By Rose Tondra | 3 years ago Reply
  15. Great post, Jon. So simple, but so important. We were actually better about praying together before we were married. We prayed together, but with little consistency. Just recently we have developed a regular prayer routine and the results are noticeable.

    By Jerry | 3 years ago Reply
  16. Great post!!! My marriage will be my only marriage. I’m only 18, and whenever my friends and I are talking about settling down, we always say ” I am willing to settle down at my early or late 30’s”. It is because we’re not mature and ready enough to handle commitment. It is a lifetime giving of self to your partner. We just wanted to enjoy and value what we have. We always pray for the same man as you. I want a God-oriented partner, because that’s the way I was raised. I value God more than anything else. Marriage is sacred. To all the single ladies out there, God will give us the best man just like what He did to Teresa. 🙂 Great job to you man!

    By Kristine | 3 years ago Reply
    • Oh, And I am so so young to enter into commitment. I am still my parents’ baby prinncess 🙂 🙂 🙂 Haha. Great job to you Mr. Jon!

      By Kristine | 3 years ago Reply
      • *princess! sorry 🙂
        Love, Kristine <3

        By Kristine | 3 years ago Reply

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