One night, years ago, I was laying in bed unable to go to sleep. I looked over at my sleeping husband and asked God how we will ever get through this. How will this not break us? At the height of my pain and rage, I thought to myself, “This is it. I’m done.” As soon as I thought that, I heard the Lord gently speak to me and say, “Wake your husband and pray.”
The last thing I wanted to do was pray with him. What I really wanted to do was get in the car and drive away and enjoy a nice vacation alone. But, I couldn’t because we couldn’t afford it. I would get as far as my gas tank would take me and that would be the extent of my lovely vacation of alone time.
The urge to wake him and pray wasn’t going away and I knew I needed to obey God. So, I reached over, woke James and said we needed to pray for our marriage. He was half asleep, we prayed for 2 minutes, and he rolled back over and went to sleep. I remember sitting there thinking, “What was the point of that?” and again, I heard God’s small voice say, “Do it again tomorrow.”
So the next day we prayed together and again the day after and the day after. We needed to align our hearts back together and towards Christ and the only way that could be done is by spending time in the presence of Christ.
Eventually, our prayers were longer and more detailed. It would soften our hearts as we entered into serious conversations. These conversations were needed for us to hear one another, express our emotions in a healthy way, and come back to being one.
Whenever I would pray with James during these difficult times, God would remind me that I am supposed to love like He loves (Matthew 15:12) and to forgive so that I’m forgiven (Luke 6:37). God would soften my heart, give me compassion, and most importantly strengthen my love for James. In those moments I would enter the room so frustrated, hurt, and angry but after praying with James I would leave feeling encouraged and my love for him strengthened.
And the same would happen for James.
We knew there was still work to do and change to be made, but we knew we could do it.
If you’ve found yourself in a marriage where the problems look so big that Mt. Everest seems like an easy climb – pray together. If the weight is so heavy you can’t imagine how you will lift your head in the morning- pray together. You look over at your husband and feel nothing but frustration and anger- pray together. Pray with your spouse and God will meet you two there (Matthew 18:20).
I know this may sound simple and what your dealing with has many layers and is very complex. Praying may not be an overnight fix to the years of hurt and betrayal but over a period of time- it will be the tool Christ uses to bring healing and restoration.
The very first thing you must do to save your marriage is to pray together. To enter in the presence of Christ together. To allow hearts to be softened and minds to be transformed. No matter what path you take to heal your marriage, counseling or not, prayer must be the foundation of your marriage during the difficult times and after.
If your marriage is strong but your friend is walking this path, pray with your friend. Pray for strength as they deal with probably the most difficult thing they’ve ever dealt with. Stand in agreeance with them that their marriage will be healed and restored. That support will provide a backbone of encouragement for them to rely on more then you may ever realize.
The power of a strong marriage and the beauty of its love is a testimony of who Christ is. Often, we underestimate the power of a Christ-centered marriage and the change it can bring to families and communities.
My heart in writing this is to simply encourage you and to stand with you in prayer. I may not know all the specifics, but Christ does. I may not know your heart and the weight you carry, but Christ does. So as I pray for you this week, know that the Holy Spirit will say the words on your behalf (Romans 8:26).
Matthew 19:4-6 says, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”