5 Things Super-Happy Couples Do Every Day
"It all brings a freshness to our marriage because we both continue to
grow as people," Joe says.
"Plus," says Lori, "getting out of the house and out of each
other's hair keeps us from going crazy."
And — we asked the experts, so we know — going crazy is definitely not one
of the secrets of a happy marriage.
In another University of Chicago survey, this one of married couples, 75
percent of the Americans who pray with their spouses reported that their
marriages are "very happy" (compared to 57 percent of those who don't).
Those who pray together are also more likely to say they respect each other,
discuss their marriage together, and — stop the presses — rate their spouses as
Not to say that prayer is a cure for all that ails you (were that the case,
my beloved Oakland Raiders would have won the Super Bowl years ago). But
whether they're talking about a simple grace at dinnertime or some
soul-searching meditation, couples routinely say that a shared spiritual life
helps keep them close. And as Doug and Beth say, even couples who are on
different sides of the theological fence can benefit from praying together
"We have been married for seven years, but praying together is something
we didn't start doing until about a year ago," says Doug, a 32-year-old
Salt Lake City biochemist. "In the past, whenever we faced big decisions,
we'd have discussion after discussion about them, but we'd never really come to
After two 1,000-mile moves, the birth of three children, and two job
changes, all in the past four years, those difficult decisions had begun to
take a toll. So when Beth asked Doug, a nonreligious and self-proclaimed man of
science, to try praying with her, he figured they had nothing to lose.
"I soon found that praying together brings out a real sense of
selflessness and humility," Doug says. "When you're praying for each
other, not yourself, you're focused together and speaking from the heart on a
whole different level. I would never have predicted this for us, but it really
"As bad as any problem may seem at that moment," agrees Beth,
"prayer always helps us see beyond it. It doesn't have to be a
long-drawn-out scripture reading, just a few minutes a day. When we pray, it
brings another level of honesty to our conversations. I think it's the most
intimate thing you can do with another person."
Now they pray together every night, once the "urchins" are in bed,
which puts them in the company of the 32 percent of American married couples
who say they pray together regularly. It also puts them in the company of Julie
and Thom, when the other couple isn't holed up in their igloo, of course.