My parents had an awful marriage. My father was weak and distant, and my mother was too controlling. I mistakenly felt it was my calling to keep my own marriage from suffering the same fate. At first, my comments to my husband were helpful, but slowly he became withdrawn. Through the help of our mentors, we learned that we were locked into a cycle of hurting one another in one of the most painful ways possible: in ways that each of us had been hurt before. When I criticized my husband, it was magnified by the pain of criticism he had endured as a child. As my husband withdrew from me, it touched the pain of my dad’s distance from me in my growing-up years. After participating in a couples’ intensive retreat, my husband and I came to see each other’s pain, and we were able to offer each other words of compassion. We learned to pray together and seek the Lord for His comfort. We experienced the joy of bringing our burdens to God and then trusting Him to make changes in our marriage.
PRAY: LISTEN TO JESUS
I long to have quiet moments of conversation with you and your husband. I love when you are still and free of distractions, because those are the times when you can truly feel my love. I especially enjoy seeing you pray together as a couple. When the three of us come together in prayer, miraculous things can happen. Remember, I am the God of love. So it’s in these quiet moments of time with me that I can be your unlimited source of sacrificial love.
* Jesus, I ask that you quiet my mind and spirit. Help me to focus on you. In my relationship with my husband, I am depending upon you to ________. Since you are the God of love, I am counting on you to ________.
* Lord, I pray for my husband. Would you draw him closely to yourself? Since you are the God of love, I ask that you empower him to ________.
LIVE: DO THE BIBLE (James 5:13)
* God, I come to you now about the hardships I/we are enduring. I need to know that you care about ________. Please reassure me of your love. I need you to intervene in this situation empower me with your love because ________.
* God, in the same way, I pray for my husband. He needs to know that you care about ________. Please reassure him of your love. He needs you to intervene in this situation and empower him with your love because _______.
• Invite your husband to talk with you about any spiritual goals each of you may have (more times of prayer together, Bible study, devotionals, church attendance). Implement one of these ideas this week. • Invite your husband to lead out in prayer. Spend several minutes discussing the most pressing needs and hardships of your life together and then pray.