Seventeen. That’s how many years I have been married to David. Four. That’s how many children we have had in those seventeen years together. Three. That’s how many deployments we endured together.
To say that our marriage has been through ups and downs doesn’t quite hit all those turning point moments. Some of them have turned our marriage for the worse and others for the better. No matter what we have gone through as a couple or individuals, we have seen marriage as worth the fight.
I understand that there are circumstances in which marriage is needed to end, after doing all you can to save it. These are heartbreaking for most who have to go through it. Fighting so hard for something that you cannot save feels like a loss of great magnitude and it must be mourned. It’s only natural. But, what if it can be saved? What if there was just one thing you could do together and as an individual that would 100% change your marriage for the better and only end up down the path of “for the better?” You would want to know that ONE thing, right? I would.
Well, I found it; that one thing that changed my marriage to head down the “for the better” path. It has saved me, us, him. It was exactly what we needed to strengthen and deepen our marriage as two people working together to be one. It says in Genesis 2:24, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother, and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
What is it, you ask? I can hear your voices saying “Go on! Get on with it! I don’t have all day!”
Don’t you love suspense?
It’s so simple.
Pray together. Prayer is the answer.
I am sure you are doing a palm smack to the forehead right now. Duh! I knew that! Here’s the thing: we pray as individuals all the time, especially if you call yourself a Christian, but we don’t always pray together as a couple. David and I didn’t. We were busy with kids and jobs and ministry. You would think that would bring us together to pray even more, but all those “things” and areas only pulled us from time together. We were not intentional by any means.
Sometimes, we take our marriages for granted thinking that they are always going to be there, that we are always going to have our husbands to run to when we need to be comforted or get advice on something that happened to us. We think that things are great when they are merely just good. Don’t you want GREAT? Don’t you want the strongest and very best marriage that you could possibly ever experience? Don’t you want to know that the fight was really worth it?
The Bible is full of prayer. It starts in Genesis and goes through Revelations. It’s safe to say that God delights, answers, seeks, and desires prayer. When we pray we communicate with God and that is when he starts to answer. It’s not always in our timing, but He answers.
David and I recognized that we needed something more for our marriage. We were in a rut. We were walking the day to day and not communicating well. Arguments were happening more often, we were divided on discipline for the kids, and we just were not working as one. We started to do this weekly course together. We watched a video from the host, answered the study guide questions, and we actually talked about them – discussion style. Many of the weeks were uncomfortable because we had to talk through past stuff from growing up to stuff that happened recently. One week, it took us two hours because we had just come from a two day stint of not talking at all – it was a good ol’ silent treatment fight. Yep, even after seventeen years! During the courses, I felt the need to pray together. I had been praying with the kids before we walked out the door to school and I thought, “What if I did this with David before he went to work?”
I humbly asked David to take lead and pray with me before he went to work. I wanted to release any control I would have over leading, I tend to do that, so he leads our prayers. It was awkward at first. He wasn’t used to leading in prayer, and I wasn’t used to praying with him. We never have a lot of time. It is usually about a minute. We sit on the couch, hold hands, and say a prayer for each of our days. He leaves for work, and I continue with my devotions or whatever I may be doing.
Ezra 8:23 says, “So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” Here is what you want to hear: our marriage is stronger than it has been in years. In the last few weeks that we have been doing this, our children have seen better communication, togetherness, love, and devotion. For the first time in years, I feel like I am “one” with my husband. David even came to me one day and told me that he is loving that we pray together. He said that he has a better day at work and is more calm. We can talk again like we used to when we were dating (don’t even try to count how long ago that was!).
If you don’t have a husband that is a praying man, start to pray on your own that God would take captive his heart and he would want to start praying with you. You may need to take lead for a while, but as God works in your husband’s heart, he will begin to start to take lead. Prayer can save your marriage. It is worth the fight. It is worth the time and effort. God designed marriage to be good.
Lord, I humbly ask that You bring together the men and women who have devoted their lives to living for You and cover them with Your love. Speak to the hearts of couples that need to go to You for strength in their marriages. May they see that You are the only way to strength and longevity. Humble Your people to pray, Your married people. Thank You for answering our prayers and caring so much for our marriages to succeed. Amen.