Let’s start with the obvious.
“Marriage is hard work.”– said by Everyone
Sound familiar? I wonder how many times that sentence has either been spoken or put into writing?
Anyone who has been or is currently married knows that marriage is something that changes and evolves over time. One could even draw the conclusion that it changes, via an input/output method. What you put in is what you get out.
Let’s pause on that.
So if marriage has an output, as a reaction to an input, what does this look like in your marriage? Do you see areas of output that resulted from a specific input – good or bad?
I’ve totally seen this in my marriage. From the way we speak to each other, our priority levels, to our attitude towards life’s daily challenges – we tend to mirror each other. If we’re pouring positivity into our marriage, that’s what we get out. If we’re negative, then that’s what we get. Also, the input doesn’t need to even be from both of us.
It only takes ONE of us to heavily influence the other person AND the marriage – whether that influence is negative or positive.
Since no one sets out to have a negative experience in their marriage, let’s focus on the positive.
PRAYER is #1 one thing you should be doing in order to positively influence your spouse and marriage.
Here’s how to start!
First, we always have to acknowledge the “why”. Why should we invest in our marriage and take action towards making improvements?
If you haven’t yet, check out my blog on The Importance of Marriage. Here is a powerful quote mentioned,
Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health. They are also good for children; growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems.The American Psychological Association
There is much more to that post so please take some time to read and review the 3 Marriage Game Changers, as they are just that. I really believe those teachings can save, restore and launch a remarkable marriage.
So now that we have the “what” (prayer) and “why”, let’s focus on the “how”. How can we pray in order to move our marriage on the fast track to strong and thriving?
Let’s turn to the best instruction guide we have – the Bible!
Recently, I was having “a day”. You know, the kind where if you see another set of eye balls needing something from you, you might just cave and fall within the shell of your own body? Ha! We’ve all been there. So I have having my day and, thankfully, my husband was home. I said, “here’s the child, I’m going upstairs for about an hour. Don’t talk to me or ask me anything. I just need an hour.”
I brought my bible and journal, the two things that help me combat any bad day. Side note: if you’re ever having your own “day” then checkout my post on Mind Mapping. This exercise will keep you sane 🙂
Finally alone, I opened my bible to John 2: Jesus Changes Water to Wine.
Many of us have heard this story before. My first thought is, “I’d like some wine.” Ha!! My next thought is to skip over it because the title is the gist of the story: water -> wine. Got it. But, I’ve been trying to be more disciplined and really read every word when I study scripture. On I read:
1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4“Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
What?! Wait a minute, why is this even in the bible?
Honestly…who cares about water turning into wine??? I mean, cool power, but, why? I read this through a few times, trying to understand why such a story would grace the powerful pages of the Bible.
Then, it was revealed. Check this out!
First, I find it interesting that his mother, Mary, mentioned to him that the wine ran out. What was her concern? Why did it matter? It wasn’t even like it was a party that she was hosting. Then, I realized something.
She identified a need of someone else’s and made Christ aware of it…
If you’ve ever had someone praying for you, pleading for you, intervening for you, then you understand how significant this is. How would you like it if someone cared enough to bring your needs before the Lord, making them known? That’s pretty special.
How about you? Are you praying for your spouse and for your marriage? Are you praying for yourself? We each have many needs. Marriage is a combination of you and your spouse’s needs. Are you making those known to Christ or are you in “fix it” mode?
Let this be your reminder that prayer is incredibly powerful and something that your marriage needs!
Now, moving onto Jesus’ response.
In NIV (New International Version) he says, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” In The Message version, it says, “Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine?”
Alrighty then…not really the response I was anticipating! Maybe this story is more interesting than I thought!!! Ha!
But, before you think this is a statement of discouragement, think about this.
It appears that Jesus isn’t interested. But, when he asks, “is that any of your business?” He’s saying, “I already know”.
How many people know that Jesus sees you? He already knows. He’s sized up your problems WAY before someone else is able to mutter a word about them. We have a God like that – an all-knowing and all-caring God. Jesus is basically saying, “why do you bring me into YOUR interpretation of what that person needs?“
Don’t let this discourage you from praying. This is exactly what this story is outlining. The point here is that your prayer might be answered differently than how your “limited” and “worldly” view thinks it should be.
For example, to us, it looks like someone may need more resources. To Jesus, he’s teaching them how to be resourceful – there’s a difference. For us, it looks like that couple should just split up and be done with each other. To Jesus, he’s teaching them holiness and refining each other’s individual characters first.
In my marriage, I know I’ve prayed for stronger leadership from my husband, when God’s response was teaching me how to be a better follower – see what he did there?! Ha!
So be encouraged. Even if something doesn’t look the way you thought it should – God is still working!
He says, “I’m already working on it!” Amazing!
The next part is funny to me. Jesus continued, “This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.” So what does Mary do? Verse 5 says, “She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, ‘Whatever he tells you, do it’.” I think I like her – ha!
But this is significant. Don’t miss this.
Mary has the best intention. She sees a need, she brings it to the Lord AND THEN she moves forward with such faith that her request will be met with resolution. Notice how she didn’t pause. She didn’t let any time lapse between her bringing the need and her moving into a state of belief and faith. Mary instantly moved forward with the full faith in the Lord’s ability to meet her request.
She didn’t let her mind stop her for a second. She threw her full faith at the servants, saying “he’s got it. I believe it.”
Do you have full faith that the Lord will answer your prayers? How many times do we give up in the gap. In the space of saying that prayer and then waiting for a resolution. How many times, within that gap do we doubt, give up, say, “well I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.”
The scripture says to call those things that are not as though they were. Are you doing this? Are you treating your spouse as the Godly man that he is becoming? Or are you criticizing him for not being everything you think he’s supposed to be?
I will be the first to admit that I suck at this and have to make a conscious effort, every day. However, I have learned to take comfort in the fact that I don’t have to be the “fixer” of all situations. In fact, most of the time, it’s better if I give it to God and leave it alone (anyone else with me?).
That’s where I’m stopping with the story. And, yes, Jesus turns the water into wine.
Also, ladies, we HAVE to give credit where credit is due. Just like us, men have their own set of struggles. Something I’ve found SO incredibly helpful is this book by TD Jakes, “He-Motions”. Holy moly!!! I’m telling you, THIS is what made me look at my husband as the human he is versus this project that I desperately wanted to change. TD Jakes has made it a known mission of his to address the men of this nation. But, we have to do our part as well and be educated on what our men are going through. Some quick points he makes:
- Few men have examples of what it means to be a husband, a father and a leader
- Men process life’s stressors completely different than women. For example, women like to “talk it out”, where as men go introverted.
- There is spiritual warfare, regarding our men. Satan knows he can bind women when he steals, kills and destroys the men in our lives.
- So. Much. More. I can’t say enough.
You will walk away from this book CHANGED!!
If you need anymore convincing, check out this overview by TD Jakes. Maybe this could be something you AND your partner read?! Buy your copy today. You will be so thankful!
Another fantastic book I’d like to refer to you is Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. Whenever I refer to anything “marriage”, this book MUST be referenced.
I’ve had countless conversations with other women about the “short comings” of our men. They’re not as considerate as we’d like, they can be hard to talk to about certain things and sometimes it just seems like they stream roll us emotionally. Here’s the problem with that line of thinking (please know I’m guilty of this too), WE ARE DIFFERENT. Men and women are completely different! Maybe we hold the same core values, and that’s why we connect in the first place, but in every other sense we are different – how we process things, communicate, think, etc. Emerson outlines this is such an easy to understand way. I’m telling you, THIS was HUGE in my marriage. It really helped me know when I needed “get off of my husbands air hose” <– read the book and you’ll understand, ha!
That’s my two cents. I love both of these books and authors. If a hard copy is just not realistic for you then try out Audible. I LIVE by my Audible. I’m so busy that if it were up to me reading material, I would never consume anything! But, with my Audible, I’m able to take advantage of my commute time and listen to my favorite authors. Both of these books can be found on Audible. Happy reading (or listening)!
If you’re willing, comment below on what your prayer is for your marriage or your favorite scripture for marriage! Also, if you found this information valuable, share this post on social media or directly with your friends and family. God bless! And, remember, YOU are a lady well-loved.
Photo credits to www.unsplash.com sources: Ben White, Nathan Walker, Annie Spratt, Radu Florin