Years ago before we were married, someone challenged my husband to pray with me every single day of our married life. Being engaged with stars in our eyes, we thought that sounded like a “no brainer.”

It wasn’t long before we learned that this was one of the wisest pieces of pre-marital advice we received but also one of the most difficult to maintain.

It was wise because praying together brings God into the center of your marriage.

It becomes the glue that holds you together in the good times and the bad. Praying together is an act of humility. It demonstrates that we need help. We can’t do this “marriage thing” by ourselves. We can’t raise our children without God’s help. And we, sinful women, can’t live in a close relationship with a sinful man without God’s grace, power, and forgiveness. Oh, how desperately we need His help to build strong marriages.

Praying together with our husband is an act of deep intimacy. We are stripped bare emotionally. There is little room for pretense. John and I agreed that we would never go to bed angry. Praying together at bedtime forces us to get our relationship straight. It does not mean we sort everything out or that hurts are healed. It does mean that we give ourselves to God and each other once again, even if we don’t feel like it. Usually John prays a very brief, honest prayer over us, and we fall into bed. (If one is staying up later, simply pray before the first goes to bed or if one is traveling, try to pray sometime via phone during the day.)

Sometimes wives want to pray with their husbands but are afraid it will be awkward or that their husbands won’t want to. Or they wait because they feel the husbands should initiate this.

Then it’s easy to become critical because he doesn’t! I have found that men often need a proposal offered in a wise, gentle manner. Here’s one many have found helpful:

Ask your husband if he would be willing to try a 10-day experiment that will take four minutes each day. Choose a time during the day or evening that will be best for both of you. Have him share one thing that is on his mind. It may be a situation at work, a project that’s overdue, a difficult relationship. Then you share one thing — perhaps a concern about a child, a colleague, or a fear.

Do not discuss the other’s concern. Simply listen. Then holding hands, have the husband pray a two-sentence prayer for the wife’s concern and the wife do the same for the husband’s concern, and then pray the Lord’s prayer together.

No matter how many years you have been married, I suspect that this will take you to a deeper level in your relationship.