For couples, supporting spouses play a significant role in the fasting experience. The supporting spouse appreciates the commitment of the fasting spouse and what this prayer focus means for the family. Here are some ways you can help your fasting spouse and be part of the experience, too.
Help set boundaries
During my first extended fast, there was much uncertainty for both Stephanie and me. Early on she became concerned about my weight loss. She proposed a weight loss limit, that if triggered, I would discontinue. Having a line in the sand was freeing, removing the uncertainty so that we could both relax.
Eventually I did hit that limit. By then we had grown more comfortable with the experience and, together, agreed for me to continue the fast.
A first time fast can bring nervous energy for both spouses. By working as a team, both spouses can be part of the journey.
Having Stephanie on board and in agreement was a powerful encouragement for me.
Pray with and for them
Your fasting spouse needs your support. Pray for them as you can. And pray with them also. Tap into their power source as they are experiencing a close connection to God through prayer. Sometimes they will feel down (yes, even discouraged) and maybe even doubting the purpose of the fast. Your prayer and encouragement will help them stay the course.
During my fast Stephanie participated in partial fasts along the way to show support of my efforts. Fasting from sweets is an example of ways she has participated and encouraged me.
Cover for them
With four children at home, I’ve learned that a “fasting” dad means a “less fun” dad. While I don’t want to drift from family, fasting puts a distance between you and others so you can be closer to God. It’s part of the dynamic of fasting.
During a fast, Stephanie will cover for me. Sometimes I won’t be at meals. Instead I may be in the back room or my office. There have been other times during a fast I have chosen not to disengage, but instead to be present with the family at meals and activities as usual.
In general, when I fast I need Stephanie to cover for me in various ways so that I can get the benefit from the experience. At times she may even take the kids away for the day or even the weekend so that I can be alone. Stephanie knows that my fast is important for the welfare of our entire family, and she’s eager to partner in this way.
The fasting spouse quickly notices that while they are skipping meals, life goes on for the rest of the family. And it should.
Often it seems when I fast, the calendar falls on the week Stephanie decides to make bread, cookies, and the evening meal all at once. When this happens, I’m reminded that the fast is working overtime.
But when she comes to my office to bring me a glass of juice, it reminds me that she notices and that she appreciates my efforts to fast for our family. Serving your fasting spouse in any way possible is a gigantic boost to their spirits.