Prayer and Faith….The Glue That Bonds!
The other day I was speaking with a friend about the Christmas season and how I was looking forward to family festivities but dreading going Christmas shopping since my family has everything they need and desire. Unbeknownst to me, my friend was a Muslim in which his religion does not celebrate Christmas or the birth of Jesus Christ. I asked him if he had ever slipped in a present or two to celebrate the day with his friends, even though he did not celebrate Christmas. He just took pity on me being naïve about his religion and gently moved the conversation to topics in which we would both be familiar.
Now even though we ended that conversation, it left me wondering about the importance of religion in relationships. Sure, we’ve all heard about couples who come from different religious backgrounds and made it work. But at what cost? Did they have to settle their values and beliefs? How did the family respond? Does a piece of them wish they would have found love with someone of a similar religion? Listen, we’re all grown adults here and can make our own decisions but there’s something about a person’s religious upbringing that is hard to change.
When I think about my family and the marriages in my family that have been together for years and years, they generally have a similar religious background. I come from an African American family and being raised in an older African American household, you were strongly encouraged to be in church. Well, we didn’t exactly have that choice, we had to go! But this brings me back to my point, most of the happily married couples in our community were there too. Every Sunday morning, you would see them loading up their kids into the van all headed in one direction-church.
Okay, so now I know what you’re thinking. What does prayer, faith and religion have to do with staying together as a couple? I pondered this for awhile sitting with my friend of a different religion. From my own personal experiences and those of my clients, religion and/or spirituality are deeply held beliefs that people operate with to guide themselves in their daily lives. Your beliefs are a part of who you are or your identity and they have to be in agreement with those that are compatible to you in a successful long term relationship. So for example, if you’re a devout Christian who reads the Bible regularly, you may be mortified if you dated an Atheist who thinks the Bible is just another book on the shelf. Similarly, if you’re a serious vegetarian, you probably won’t want to date someone who works in a meat slaughterhouse.
As a dating coach who has also matched singles to other singles, I can tell you that religion and spirituality are the first things I ask when deciding upon whether two people would be a good match. Even if a couple is open to dating outside of their religion, I would still try to find them other singles closer to their religious backgrounds. For long term compatibility, this is essential.
No matter what religion you practice, I believe having a similar structured prayer and religious life is key to having a successful relationship. I’ve listed a few reasons below of how important they are in a relationship.
1. Prayer Strengthens The Relationship – Through prayer and faith, I believe you can conquer and overcome mountains. Couples that can pray together are more likely to be able to tackle any challenges that may come along which reduces the chances of them breaking up. There’s really nothing like a couple that can stand firm on their faith. They have something to look forward to in their lives together. They generate hope. Even in the midst of the storm, the couples that pray together, stay together.
2. Strong Network and Community of Friends – Even the Pope has his own community of people that guide him to his greatness. The church is there to help guide you and support you as a couple. As a young couple, you need older couples to show you the path to success. Older couples may need reassurance to continue to build on their success. It’s a tough world out there but when you have a community of supportive people cheering you on, it becomes a whole lot easier.
3. Communication Becomes Easier – Couples that share similar religious backgrounds tend to have similar principles they can stand on making their communication less challenging. It’s not to say they don’t have arguments as I’m sure they do but they know the end goal for their relationship and will always go back to those core values and beliefs which brought them together in the first place.
4. Hold Each Other Accountable – When you have a spiritual/religious partnership, you hold the other person accountable for their actions. You have shared core beliefs and models for success as a source of measurement. When one partner does something to undermine the relationship and that are against those values, the other partner challenges them on it and encourages them to do better. You’re always held accountable for your actions helping you to grow into a better person which helps to strengthen the relationship.
5. Family Stability – There is a sense of stability with the couples that pray and worship together in church. It gives the children a healthy view of a family structure and gives the couple the time to grow. With the constant change in pace of today’s lifestyles, this is the one place they can come to in order to lay their burdens down and pray for whatever it is on their heart.
Well, hopefully I’ve convinced you of the importance of religion and spirituality in a successful relationship. Your principles and beliefs are what mold you and make you who you are as a person. Prayer and Faith is the glue that bonds it all together. My church elders used to say that it takes a village to raise a child. I think the modern version should be that it takes a village to raise a family. With all of the temptation in the world, it’s easy to see why so many couples are coming to church as their first line of defense. If you are going through issues with your spouse or just need a little more hope, maybe it’s time to give prayer a try. After all, the couple that prays together stays together.