Why I won’t pray for my future spouse

In the foreword to her daughter’s dating advice book, Christian author Karen Kingsbury relates a story from her honeymoon: on August 1, 1988, on a beach in Mexico, she and her husband decided to pray for their future family, including their future kids and those kids’ spouses. They prayed, and that very day, their son-in-law, Kyle Kupecky, was born.

This story alludes to a strong belief in some Christian circles in the power of praying for one’s future spouse, i.e., praying for the needs and spiritual growth of the person you will one day marry. This concept was really popular when I was growing up in the 2000s: young girls were encouraged to write letters to their future husbands filled with uplifting verses from their women’s Bibles; Rebecca St. James wrote a song about virginity┬ádirected at her someday spouse; an Amazon search brings up at least 10 books on the subject, some of them recently published. The goal, from what I gather, is for God to work in your spouse, shape you into the perfect partner, and fill you both with love for each other before you’ve even met.

It should surprise none of you that I’m not a fan.

I’ve gone from willingly participating in letter-writing and guided prayer to sick with anger at the mention of “hearts being knit together.” This practice that was supposed to benefit me spiritually has, I’ve found, harmed my faith, and I have more than one reason for no longer continuing. Continue reading

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