You may have heard the quote “The couple that prays together stays together,” that statement has generally been made in relation to Married couples, in fact research suggests that up to 92% of couples that pray together stay together (click here for some of Dr. Dave’s thoughts on praying as a married couple). But what about dating couples? How does this apply? And should it apply when you’re dating? After all, you may not WANT to stay together, dating is for the purpose of getting to know each other and discerning whether or not you want it to be forever, right?
When working with couples during premarital counselling or after their wedding day we often come across issues and questions around spirituality and spiritual connection, or rather, the lack of it! The reality is, spirituality is something vital to your relationship and here are some thoughts on why praying together even as a dating couple is a good idea.
1. DEEPER UNDERSTANDING: Hearing the heart for God that your prospective other has is vital, too often we use phrases like “Christian” and “prayer” and think it means the same thing to each other. Learning and navigating what these terms mean to one another and how definitions might differ, while dating is important.
2. GOD AS #1: God should be the first priority in your life. Being in a relationship where you never introduce each other to the context of your most important relationship neglects an important part of who you are. If God is supposed to be #1 in your life, doesn’t it make sense that He would be included in your relationship?
3. PRACTICE: Assuming that you, at some point, do marry one of the people you are dating, it is good practice to make your spiritual life a regular part of your relationship. Patterns of behaviour and a flow of relationship are established as time progresses, it can be difficult to implement and include new things. Adding a devotional and prayer can feel awkward and strange if you have known each other for a long time without it.
4. RELATIONSHIP PURITY: Seeking confirmation and peace from God in your decisions can actually keep your level of relationship on track, including the physical component of your relationship. It’s hard to go outside God’s purity parameters when you are spending time with your Creator. For example, you probably wouldn’t cheat or push limits in a game if the referee was standing right next to you.
5. KEEPING FOCUSED: Putting God at the center of your relationship, including prayer, keeps you sensitive to where your relationship is going and how to avoid the dangerous pitfall of putting each other before God. With a new relationship comes infatuation, which easily distracts from God as your main priority, prayer can and should help ground you.
6. FUTURE MARRIAGE: Spirituality is VITAL to your future marriage and a developing relationship does require that you know each other on this level – the number of times we hear stories of people saying that their “Christian” boyfriend or girlfriend didn’t turn out to be a “Christian” spouse is disturbingly common. Seeing faith in action is a non-negotiable, especially before you say “I do”.