Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and as a family we had a wonderful day together. As the moments slipped on by as they seem to do as I get older, I reflected on what a gift Troy has been to me. He is my soul mate and the love of my life.
I have shared earlier in a different writing that Troy and I share the same confirmation verse and that we used that verse for our wedding service. The Pastor a dear friend of ours also used the verse prior to our confirmation verse: “4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” Psalms 37:4-5 (NKJV)
During the wedding sermon our friend talked about delighting in each other and reminded us to focus on the joy because God had brought us together. Troy and I love to listen to our wedding sermon and it has been a great reminder of what we need to focus on in our marriage.
This past year Troy and I have heard distressing news of two different couples that we know of that they are either close to divorce or have all ready filed for divorce. We were so devastated and heart broken that we were unable to sleep; because we could not understand how this could happen. Both of these couples had strong Christ-centered marriages that we had both admired. We never dreamed that we would hear the unsettling news that their marriages were over.
The Devil does not like strong Christian marriages because it is a threat to all of his evil plans to destroy Christian homes and families. We have seen other marriages fall apart that once were so strong and we are left standing with an ache in our heart for our friends and their families.
Troy and I have come to the conclusion that we need to pray for God to protect our marriage from all of the distractions of life. We need to make sure that we take time to talk and to listen to each other. Not just to pray for each other but to pray together. ( I will never forget that when we found out that my Grandma was dying from cancer and it was during the fall, one of the busiest times for farmers. Troy would come in exhausted from a long hard day but he would always take the time to find out how Grandma was doing; and to take time to comfort me. It would have been so easy for him to go straight to sleep but he knew that I was hurting and wanted to encourage my heart.) That marriage is not about our own individual wants but is about what is best for both of us and our family. And finally it is only by focusing on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and making Him the focus and center of our life, that can make a marriage strong.
I was with some friends and we were discussing the book, “ The Power of a Praying Wife”. One of our friends spoke up and said she was disappointed at first to learn that the concept of the book is “it’s not about me.” We all laughed because we know that it is true. The only person that you can change is yourself.
I know there can be deep hurt and disappointments in marriage. And I will not pretend for one minute that I have all the answers to the problems and challenges of marriage.
However, I would like to share what Troy and I have learned that has been helpful and a blessing to our marriage. (These have been lessons learned from God.)
1. Do not go to bed angry at your spouse. “26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. Eph 4:26-27 (RSV). From experience I know that you will not be able to sleep because the devil will use this opportunity to harden your heart even further against your spouse. You don’t need to solve everything that night but at the very least get to the point where you can go to bed and sleep peacefully.
2. Realize that there are problems beyond your ability to solve as a couple. When you get to this point seek counseling from a Pastor or a professional counselor. Troy and I have done this several times and we have not regretted it. Please understand that it does not make you a weak person to accept outside help.
3. Pray together. Troy and I do this before we go to sleep. For some this might be difficult and uncomfortable at first. It is a blessing to be able to pray together with your spouse.
4. Do not try and change each other. You can only change yourself.
5. Do not assume that the other person knows why you are upset. Even if you think that it is the most obvious thing in the whole world. Your spouse is not a mind reader.
6. No one can live up to our expectations. A wise friend once told me: Expectations lead to planned resentment.
7. Apologize and Forgive. In God’s eyes it doesn’t matter who was right or wrong he wants us to reconcile. When your forgive someone it doesn’t mean that you are saying that what they did was okay, you are releasing it and letting God take care of it. Do not let pride get in the way. And only God can truly help us to be able to do this.
I felt compelled to share about marriage today because it has been placed upon my heart to pray for all marriages. It has also been the topic of many Christian radio shows that I have listened to this past week.
In closing I would encourage each of you to pray daily for your marriage (if you are married), and the marriages of family and friends. And finally I will leave you to meditate on this portion of scripture: “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Prov 3:5-6 (RSV)