Eat (with wife) Pray (with wife) Love (with wife)…..Two outta 3?

At CMDN RICanuck wrote that he won’t pray with his wife nearby anymore. This comment struck me because I had never seen this stated so plainly. Rather I see the admonition to pray with wives, that couples who pray together stay together, that praying with wife is being spiritual leader, and so forth. I have heard that from men who I know are red pill guys, it is not an issue that readily lends itself to a predictable posture from men of red or blue pill status. I have an opinion about it however, and it will likely rile all sides among confessing Christians.

 

Since I became a Christian I’ve been full circle on this. For one thing, I never liked praying together with the wife nightly, holding hands, all that. For as much connectedness it was to yield, the nature of said connectedness was of a certain type, and it fits the title and initial purpose of my blog.

Some may say that crying together is intimacy and connection. And, I suppose it is, but I will not agree that it somehow deepens a relationship necessarily. In fact it can make a man start dreading the nightly prayer because he may not want to get into that frame of mind (crying) in some sort of routine manner. I figured out that this IS the prayer language of many wives. A pastor I heard once called it the gift of mercy. Make no mistake; I’ve nothing bad to say about anyone’s prayer preferences at all. If one gets refreshing and  feels as if they have edified Christ and borne petition to the Lord then I agree with them for them in what they pray. But its not my prayer life and style to stay in that vein in each and every session where I enter prayer deeply.

 

I figured out that there were two parallel dynamics at play, maybe even three. There is of course a sincere desire in these wives my to have a prayer life, but in addition they are finding a massive geyser of empathy in this that they were likely craving (as women nearly all do) from the husband. It occurred to me that maybe this is another real reason for the desire to pray together, and a reason it is so heavily touted as such a powerful relationship ingredient.

 

There is more. It is not possible for men to pray as he wants to, to pray as long or short as he may wish, to pray when he actually feels like praying (and this is important to me in that I do not like to pray with my mind not devoted to the task, as if by rote)

 

I realize that what I am stating is personal preference. I also absolutely do not wish to say there is anything wrong with anyone’s prayer style or habits. If you pray at night with your spouse, great, that is excellent.I want to add that I am speaking not about times when a man leads his family in prayer, nor about other aspects of Christian husband-hood and fatherhood. I highly recommend a man lead prayer for his family. There are spontaneous occasions and routine occasions for men to do so. Its powerful and calming for a man to lead in prayer when a trauma or adversity manifests.

However there are a couple of other things about this; I am too strongly convinced about the female imperative to seek empathy from any source anytime to not have the suspicion that there is or can be a nefarious drive at work, unbeknownst. This combines with the churchian church telling men in all the man shaming sermons that part of stepping up is to be the spiritual leader of the home. That is defined with a task list that I have sarcastically referenced as making cut out Bible figures while wearing a robe and sandals. The force of the church telling men to do this, but more, telling women to EXPECT this, coupled with the woman’s instinctive or inadvertent realization that these activities are all great sources for empathy make this yet another unrealistic expectation Christian women take with them into relationships. It is also something to control, an added task/rule list which some thrive upon. And, ideally here it is specific in its admonition to men about men.

Men who have been raised in the churchian evangelical feminist culture they will gobble it up and dish out the desired empathy, and it will either content the wife, or not. For those who are not prone to fall in line, maybe they came to faith as adults and were not subjected to decades of shaming sermons, they will either begrudgingly do it or not do it at all, which will make princess unhaaaapy. In either case, this is a massive boost to the already potent combination of the princess and the Personal Jesus ™

There are myriad other possible reasons a given man may be reluctant to do this, and I’m interested to read comments, even those that inevitably will scripture lecture me on why a man needs to chase these balls when they are thrown.

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12 thoughts on “Eat (with wife) Pray (with wife) Love (with wife)…..Two outta 3?

  1. Empathalogicalism,

    You are coming from a different place from me. My story is very different from yours, you don’t seem to have ever struggled with hatred, loathing and resentment towards God, all the while believing that he is all good and all powerful. Cognitive dissonance, I know.

    I can send you more information via email if you contact me at the email address given in the comment verification.

  2. I really don’t know for sure. This is something I’ve been giving much thought on, especially since I want to determine the true Biblical expectation of marriage (Marriage 1.0), both for blog purposes and for my own understanding. It seems difficult to determine a Biblical mandate to pray with one’s spouse. To that end, I think most Biblical commentators link 1 Peter 3:7 when they mention praying with the wife (i.e. one flesh is one unit before the Lord and problems with the wife hindering the husbands prayers indicate a togetherness), but I’m finding it hard to get that out of a direct reading of the text. Of course, as I’m sure you know, most Churchian preachers are just giving their opinions anyway and usually don’t base much of what they say on any literal interpretation of Scripture.

    That said, here are my beliefs given what I do read: I do believe there’s a responsibility out of the husband for spiritual ministry of the home. Like to use the Churchian example, be the Senior Minister, Pastor, etc of the home. That seems to certainly mean praying FOR the wife and children, but I’m not reading that it means praying WITH the wife. Personally, I’ve not been indoctrinated into the Evangelical Matrix, but I’ve been in certain situations where it was called for to pray for and with others in their presence. Usually when I’ve been asked. Personally, I don’t see a problem praying with a wife (out of choice more than any true Biblical mandate),

    If I were to have one, but I’m sure I probably would direct the prayers away from the Miss America stuff (“Father give us world peace, feed the hungry children of the world, bless this country, etc”) and to something more personal. In observing people, I do come to believe that a lot of people avoid real genuine honest prayers before the Lord by doing that kind of stuff. I’ve always believed that prayer needs to be genuine, honest, and personal before the Lord, since He knows what’s going on anyway and knows when you’re pulling crap.

    There’s much more to say in this light on the topic of prayer, but that’s probably enough for now.

  3. Since I found it so quickly, here’s some fodder I’ll throw out from the chapter on Men and Prayer (#22) – mostly paraphrased from there, blocked if I quote something directly.

    Page 192 – 194: The use of “prayer speak” language (Murrow calls them King James, High Church, Holy Ghost, Evangelical). Sam would like to pray but can’t because he can’t pray in “prayer speak” so he doesn’t.

    Page 194-195: Group prayer can be tough to know when to go or not.

    Page 195-196: “The Prayer Mushroom” as Murrow calls it, where everyone touches someone to pray for them.

    Page 196: “Why Men Don’t Pray With Their Wives” (Murrow’s suggestion to wives about praying with their husbands)

    Women, if you are praying with a man, please start in silence. Give him the first word. Then as you take your turn, match his length and cadence If he offers a halting eight word prayer, you do the same.

    Page 196-197: Assumption that the Longest Prayer is the Best Prayer.

    As far as Murrow’s book goes, IMO he’s theologically wrong on a few points, but it’s hard to get any better than this on describing the trends of Churchianity as it relates to men. I definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it if they’re looking for that.

  4. I just checked the link. I got the review link by accident, if anyone has any trouble following the link, here’s the right one.

  5. I’ve never ran into these problems with my wife. She likes me to pray, she doesn’t do a lot of emotion or vocalizing of any type and usually just thanks me for “a good prayer” afterwards. Maybe I lucked out?

  6. I do come to believe that a lot of people avoid real genuine honest prayers before the Lord by doing that kind of stuff. I’ve always believed that prayer needs to be genuine, honest, and personal before the Lord, since He knows what’s going on anyway and knows when you’re pulling crap.
    —————————————————————-
    Hence some of the hindrances I mention

  7. Well I don’t mind praying for the food which I eat with her daily and talk. But I do pray on my own. Things that are personal to me. Praying together, IMO, will not let people talk to God the way they should.

  8. Exactly, though those that like to do it will say that you can pray the way you want or need to alone, then pray with spouse also. I have no axe to grind meaning Im not suggesting its bad or wrong to pray with spouse, goodness if its good for and to you, do it.
    I’m simply suggesting its not some magic bullet, its also not a Biblical mandate, and its definitely not like the churchian community has it now, a task list that IMO does far more harm than good in its leverage for control it gives wives. Heck, its even become a reason for divorce in the new churchian culture where its called spiritual neglect/abuse if he doesnt do it.
    I keep repeating about back pre-industrial revolution the things that populated a wife’s thoughts and expectations were vastly different and ironically though they whine and complain now that the women were slaves then, the set up then was far more egalitarian than it will ever be now. May be a post in that.

  9. We are most definitely exhorted to corporate prayer in the Scriptures, and I don’t see us “getting a pass” at the family level.

    If the man is to be the captain of the household, it makes perfect sense that in a Christian home he should take the lead in prayer. It is a dangerous thing to try and be the head in other ways and to abdicate the praying to the wife.

    A couple of suggestions: first, get better at praying out loud. There is absolutely nothing wrong with outlining your prayers on paper before coming to God with your wife and children, and you certainly don’t need to adopt “prayer lingo.” But being a good out-loud pray-er takes some practice to build the confidence.

    Secondly, lead in the praying. Pray for your wife and family. I would even suggest taking prayer requests from her beforehand and praying for them yourself rather than leaving her to do it. That has this one-two punch of being beta in the right way (showing concern for the things in the right way) and alpha in taking the lead and not giving her the spotlight.

    It isn’t that husbands are not to submit at all. They are not to be submissive to wives, but Christian husbands are called to submit to Christ. This is modeled in a most excellent way by the husband taking the reins in prayer, his wife following his lead as he himself yields to his Lord.

  10. Corporate prayer, yes, pray with family yes, what I have written about, no, its not admonished in the Bible, and I hope I did not suggest abdicating anything, let alone prayer.

    Im not sure why the hierarchy order and husbands headship and husband yielding to Christ is mentioned in this comment. These are things I and all the Christian men I know agree with.

  11. This has come up again, in a post at CF by LinkH, where he refers to the task list of what the evangelical church calls spiritual leadership as “his responsibilities”.

    I still cannot get my mind around this. He does say that his wife wanted this, and that’s fine (I hope he reads this and replies as I am not disrespecting him here and would like his input) but WHY does a wife want very specific things like that.
    I know the scriptures….I know about washing her with the word, I know about corporate prayer, I know that praying out loud is not Pharisaical necessarily, and about Paul’s admonition on edification by understanding, not prayer language and tongues. I know about prayers being blocked for men in Peter…..etc. etc.
    Having said that, let me be clear, I am not AGAINST any of this. What I am against is the task list nature it has been given, to the extent (I have seen this written explicitly on CF and other places) that women actually use the husbands lack of the task list to justify divorce, or at least to demand counseling until he stops “spiritual abuse”. This is so incredibly virulent among the 30 something women who, together w/ husband, came to the mega church for the first time not being raised in church. These women see things that THEY CAN GET from the husband, a new leverage to get him emoting. A well spring of empathy. Its just part of the expectations that are set forth and subsequently when not met cause frivolous divorces.
    The evangelical feminist response to this would be “I have never heard of a woman divorcing because her husband didnt pray with her”….well, thats not what i said, I said it becomes a PART of a tapestry she weaves of his shortcomings borne of her emotionally unsettled nature.

    I have to agree with Boide on this, the nature of prayer for me needs to not have to be distracted by wondering what another person may think. I cannot imagine how thats possible but I take your word if someone tells me its a non issue for them. I also have a sort of ritual, lacking better word, before I pray where I sort of empthy everything and clear my way, open up, drop other things, make sure I acknowledge what i am about to do, which is enter the presence of the creator of all things. Maybe someday I will try again with my wife, but right now I think its fine as it is.

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