People say prayer brings married couples together, but what about unmarried ones?
To pray together, or not to pray together? That is the question. For married couples of faith, the decision is a bit more obvious. They have clever adages in support of the idea, such as, "The couple that prays together stays together," as well as a whole host of surveys, books, and websites singing the praises of how prayer can strengthen a relationship.
But what about couples who aren’t married, yet are in serious dating relationships? Should they pray with their significant others, or is couple's prayer an intimate activity that is better suited for marriage? 10 Things You Can Learn From Marriage Studies
Karen Kropf, founder of the nonprofit organization, Positively Waiting, author of Sex Makes People Stupid and Did You MEAN to Raise a Sexually Active Teen? has much to say on the subject. I interviewed her earlier this week, and she argued that prayer between couples can create a powerful and intense bond. It's a time when people are at their most vulnerable, and openly discuss things that are weighing on their hearts. She even went so far as to call it "spiritual intercourse." She thinks it's fine for unmarried couples to pray together with other believers in groups, but if they want to have a private session with the Lord—just the two of them—forget about it!
According to Kropf, the desire to pray together as a couple is similar to the desire to share a sexual experience because both are anchored in the human need for intimacy.
"Unmarried, Christian couples may not race to the bedroom to be physically intimate, but many do race to be emotionally intimate and don't realize that it can be just as damaging because their shared sense of intimacy is actually premature," Kropf said. "It's not built upon the foundations that are important for a lasting relationship." Compassion Must Surpass Love in Lasting Relationships
What exactly are those foundations? Kropf listed the following:
1. Common interests and passions
2. A clear understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses
3. Shared visions of the importance of money, marriage, and children in their lives
4. A social support system of people who believe in their relationship and will encourage them when the going gets rough
The goal is to focus on establishing those things before jumping too far ahead in the intimacy department. Praying together, she reasons, is one step too far.
However, some dating couples have found prayer to be a rather positive experience in their relationship. A recent I Kissed Dating Hello video discusses this very topic. Chanel and Sarah, the website's co-founders, address the dangers and benefits of praying together in a serious relationship. Chanel draws upon her own experience of praying with her boyfriend and says that prayer helped her learn a lot about what he values, what he's compassionate about, and what things worry him the most. How To Add Prayer to Your Marriage Toolbox
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