Everyone wants a happy marriage, but not everyone is willing to work for it. We’ve become too self-centered to recognize that we can build the marriage of our dreams. We must have the courage to mend our flaws and then the determination to cultivate a vibrant prayer life. If you want to be a more loving and patient spouse, you’ve got to pray at least 30 minutes each day.
I’ve written several articles over the past few weeks about prayer. I’m working hard to improve my daily prayer life. By sharing my process with you, I’m able to give myself some accountability. Finding time to pray is hard because there are so many other things that I’d rather being doing. In the morning, I’d rather be sleeping. I also feel the urge to use those opening minutes to get right to work on my to-do list. It’s a real fight for me to wake up 30 minutes early, but when I do, it’s a peaceful time.
I have a dedicated prayer corner
where I like to pray. It’s a cozy yellow chair in the corner of our family room. My main struggle, is that I view morning prayer as monotonous
. The prayer itself isn’t boring, but rather it’s my lack of discernible progress. I’m starting to think that, like working out, it may take up to twelve weeks to notice progress.
There are three people in every marriage: the husband, the wife, and God. I'm ashamed to say that I often neglect the other people in my marriage. I don’t pray (I neglect God), or I put up the weakest effort to connect with my wife. Over time, this lack of effort starts affecting our marriage. I find myself feeling like a wonderful marriage is too idealistic. Even worse, I start to believe that it'll improve when I'm older. These thoughts are the same honey trap that keeps me from being a saint, or from living a healthier life.
Maybe you're like me.
Thankfully, I know those thoughts are wrong. Like my health or my path to sainthood, I can change the game at any time. I can say enough is enough and start doing things differently. I can be healthy and fit, I can be holy, and I can have a phenomenal marriage.
As Pope Francis likes to say, "Prayer works miracles
." To experience those miracles, we have to put in the time. I’m going to change my attitude about morning prayer. It’s no longer optional, but as essential to my day as that first cup of coffee. It’s no longer monotonous, but an exciting time to connect with my Creator, one-on-one.
If I can fight for those first 30 minutes of my day and make them count, I know that I’ll reap the fruits of that time. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are all fruits of the Holy Spirit. If I immerse myself in prayer, I won’t be able to stop those fruits from creeping into my day. As I grow in them, I’ll be a better husband and a better father. I’ll start to build the marriage that I’ve always wanted, the one that Alison deserves.
It all starts with prayer.