On May 14, 1988, Kristin and I got married. We were both twenty and ready to tackle life together. As I have instructed couples countless times as a minister, we were told to face each other, join hands, and say our vows to each other.
One of my favorite memories of our wedding day was the private, “see the bride” moment. This was before “first looks” were popular. One of my groomsmen asked, “Do you want to see Kristin before the wedding? We will shut the sanctuary of the church so it is just the two of you. She can walk down the aisle, and you can have a moment.” We both loved this novel idea and were so grateful to have this time together.
It has been thirty-two years of marriage, and I am more in love with her today. I married a woman of strength, beauty, humility, and character. We have faced so many challenges over the years but continue to make it through. We are quite the team.
One thing that may surprise you is that we rarely pray together. Early on in our marriage, I worked at UPS loading trucks at 4:00 am and went to school, and Kristin had a more traditional work schedule. That started the pattern of my early morning prayer time and hers late at night. We pray together occasionally, but we always share what we are praying about. One thing we do well is we talk every day. Even when our kids were little, we’ve made time each day to connect and often share what God is showing us.
The idea of praying together changed dramatically, starting in 2020. When COVID 19 hit, we had time. We started praying together more often; before an important decision for our kids, when I went back into the office. It took a while to get our rhythm, but it became part of our routine. Praying together became something we both looked forward to and didn’t want to miss. Our prayer time brought strength through one of the most challenging times in our ministerial careers.
Before this year, when others would say, “I pray with my spouse,” I wouldn’t disagree with them. I just didn’t think we needed it. I was wrong. Now, when we pray together, it is never the same prayer. God is revealing new insights and aspects of the things we pray about. We don’t follow a pattern – only that we do it. Like our wedding day thirty-two years ago, we join hands and invite God into all that we face ahead that day.
With our schedule moving back to normal and life going 100 mph, we again face the time difference. On the first day that we didn’t see each other because I had a 6:30 am meeting out of the house, Kristin did something amazing. She texted me her prayer for both of us. It works to pray with your spouse over text! When I read her words, I either text back my prayer or agree with an “Amen.” We have done this numerous times, and the connection and agreement are not lost.
In no way do I believe our way is the only way. After all, it took us 31 ½ years to get to this point. As I shared, I felt we were good; we had a rhythm. What I learned is that we have room to grow. We can establish new practices that will move us beyond good. And it’s worth it.
I encourage you to take some step that draws you closer as a couple. Maybe it’s talking every day about the conversations or challenges you are experiencing at work. It could be agreeing to pray about the same things even if it’s not at the same time. Maybe you are where we were, and praying together is something you didn’t think you needed, but you want to try. The opportunity to grow as individuals and as a couple is rich. You will be on the same page as you tackle each day!