Researchers at Florida State University recently conducted an experiment to examine the connection between prayer and fidelity. After recruiting participants who were in romantic relationships, and who reported praying at least occasionally, researchers assigned them one of four daily tasks. The tasks were as follows: praying for their partner's well-being, praying freely, reflecting on positive things about their partner, and reflecting on their day. The study is a bit complex, but essentially, the people who were asked to pray for their partners reported the strongest tendencies to resist fantasizing about other people.
The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia conducted a similar study, and found that couples who read the Bible together at home and who prayed together feel a strong marital bond. Interview subjects described prayer as "the great reconciler," saying that it helps to "pray over every important milestone." Religion, Faith And Spirituality In Relationships
Of course, both studies have their limitations. For instance, authors of the UVA study said that they relied on interviews with one partner rather than both. The lead researcher of the Florida State University study also admitted the possibility that some other factor germane to all couples could have influenced their behavior.
Whatever the case, and regardless of our religious leanings, we can understand what makes prayer an effective bonding activity. When couples pray for each other, and for things they both care about, they are more likely to see their relationship as something sacred and worth protecting. Praying together can also help open up communication between partners. When you sincerely ask someone how you can pray for him, you are asking him to share his problems and how he would like to grow from them. It's a vulnerable activity, it's a little time-consuming, and it takes practice, but apparently, prayer makes you focus so much on loving the other person that it's hard to consider intimacy with anybody else.
Do you and your partner pray? If so, do you do it on your own or together?