Should Couples Pray Together While Dating? Why This Author Says 'No'

Photo: getty
Should Couples Pray Together While Dating? One Author Says 'No'
Love, Self

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 relationships? Should they be praying together, or is couple's prayer an intimate activity that is better suited for marriage? While conventional relationship advice may not offer answers, certain individuals have ideas about this topic.

RELATED: How To Help Each Other Grow Spiritually In Your Relationship (Even If Your Religious Beliefs Are Different)

Karen Kropf, founder of the nonprofit organization, Positively Waiting, author of Makes People Stupid and Did You MEAN to Raise a 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 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 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."

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

RELATED: Marry The Man, Not His Religion. Trust Me.

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 couples have found prayer to be a rather positive experience in their relationship.

Chanel and Sarah, the co-founders of I Kissed Dating Hello, 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.

I mentioned this to Kropf, who was quick to point out that all those things could be discovered by praying with your significant other in a group setting, or, as I like to call it, a "chaperoned" setting where the dynamic is different, such as a Bible study or a church service.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

"Ideally," she said, "the relationship you have with your spouse should be radically different than the ones you've had with all the other people you've dated. Rushing to become intimate, physically or emotionally, with every single person, steals from the exclusivity that should be a part of marriage."

At the end of our conversation, I asked Karen about the way prayer has affected her own marriage. She said that over the past nine and a half years she and her husband have been married, prayer has consistently helped draw them closer together.

"When you're married, you become a lot of things," Karen says, "like roommates and business partners. But praying together taps into this other element — this being one flesh. It's really hard to describe."

As someone who has never done more than pray over dinner with a guy, I can certainly say that she's given me something to think about.

RELATED: 8 Ways To Safe-Guard Your Marriage When One Of You Becomes More Spiritual Than The Other

Christy Krumm is a freelance writer, food and wine blogger by day, and a restaurant employee by night. She's constantly experimenting in the kitchen, and loves collecting new recipes as well as new restaurants to try.