Who likes to be the bearer of any type of “difficult” news especially when a person’s hope is all the way up to the moon and back again? But with my most serious face, I say:
MARRIAGE IS WORK.
And in lieu of another beautiful wedding season, I pick up my pencil and continue my “speech.”
The married women reading this particular blog article are probably nodding with me in agreement. The single women might be a little scared at the moment. The engaged women might be rolling their eyes out of annoyance as they await their own wedding date. Whatever the case, I proceed.
Imagine getting new plants that you are depending on to grow and thrive since you plan to allow them to be your sole food source for vegetables. There are no other options for vegetables and you must cater to these plants with great care. So you water them. You remove any weeds – God forbid your precious plants choke from the unnecessary effects of them. You even talk to your plants daily, as you once heard that they respond to human communication. You “need” these plants and you’ll do anything to keep them alive. Your dedication to your vegetable plants becomes evident as you now have a garden that is not only beautiful but edible. What began as mere sprouts will grace the many dinner plates to come in the form of delicious and healthy food. You’ve worked hard for your results.
Now imagine approaching marriage in a similar manner as the vegetable garden. Although you may be strong in your faith, you are in “need” of your spouse as the complimenting gift that God has allowed. Your spouse does not serve as your “life source” – because God is your “life source” – but you love your husband dearly. You understand that the marriage God has blessed you with must serve a purpose (God doesn’t allow anything without a purpose and marriage is no different). So out of your “need” for your gift – your husband – you nurture your marriage with meticulous care. You listen as he speaks. You do attentive and nice things that will please his heart. You remind him of his potential when the world constantly tries to attack his manhood. And most importantly, you pray like you’ve never prayed before. You pray for him as a husband. You pray for yourself as a wife. You pray that God’s role in your life be magnified as you both denounce Satan’s tactics to destroy your marriage. You pray that you are able to “stand” – stand in the good, the bad, in sickness, in health, when money is low, and in the face of the most disappointing circumstances of your marriage.
With tears in my eyes, I can empathize with any woman experiencing major disappointment at this very moment. God does hear. God does answer. Marriage is WORK, but may the rewards of your diligence be evident in God’s due season. May your marriage continue to blossom as the “plants” mentioned above. Put the WORK in, lady. Put the WORK in – prayerfully.
Below is a prayer devotional I wrote in 2015 for married couples. Feel free to use it or share it with another woman who can.
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The Loyalty Prayer:
A Devotional for Marriage Partners of the Christian Faith
I Thessalonians 5:17
“Pray without ceasing.”
Backed by biblical scripture, the three prayers serve as a guide for couples who seek to stand as a united front in the face of distractions, temptation, and adversity. Use this devotional as a model for regular prayer for your spouse and most importantly with your spouse. Allow the Spirit of God to lead you and your spouse according to the specifics of your needs, concerns, and particular household.
PRAYER FOR LOYALTY TO GOD
“Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Father God, in the name of Jesus Christ, we come to you thanking you for being the God of our lives and the God of our marriage. We trust that you are in full control. We completely surrender ourselves unto you. Our prayer is that we draw closer to you as individuals and that our devotion to you in prayer, scripture study, worship, and fellowship will be intensified as we seek to know you better. Help us to walk with you each and every day. We pray our ways, thoughts, and desires be pleasing to you. The distractions of this world are before us, but help us to remain focused on you and what it means to honor you with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. We understand that when we offer our whole selves to you, we relinquish control so that your will for our lives will be the priority. We reject our selfish ways and what this flesh wants. We want and need you above all. We acknowledge that you have been faithful and loyal to us on this journey as we seek to be loyal to you.
PRAYER FOR LOYALTY TO EACH OTHER
“You shall not commit adultery.”
Father God, as we live out our days and years as a married couple, we trust that your hand is upon us as we seek to love each other passionately and unconditionally. We put not our trust in our own abilities to keep ourselves and our marriage. We acknowledge that if you are not the mighty force that keeps us together, then what will? We pray that our eyes be only for each other despite the temptations and tactics of the enemy. As we go about the course of a day, protect us from the wayward men and women (Proverbs 6:24) who seek to conquer and divide us. We reject any tactic that attempts to sow seeds of discord in our marriage as we seek to cling to each other. The powers of darkness have limited authority as we acknowledge that your authority is greater than any wicked scheme. Help us to reject pornography, compromising media exposure, sexually inappropriate advances and settings that feed into fleshly desires that without a doubt, dishonor you. We declare that these things have no power over us, as the power of sin was made of no effect when we accepted you as Lord and Savior (Romans 6:14). We reject extra-marital affairs of any kind. Physical and emotional adultery has no place in our marriage. We embrace finding full satisfaction in you and each other. Help us to not take each other for granted as we wholeheartedly commit to continuing to romance, date, and entreat each other to a love-filled life. We pray that our loyalty to each other is strengthened day by day, year by year.
PRAYER FOR LOYALTY TO THE WORD
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Father God, we acknowledge that the power of your word concerning us is a mighty force (Hebrews 4:12). We pray that, by your Spirit, we be under the influence of your word–not for merely acquiring more facts and knowledge but that it be our very source of life and sustenance in the good times and the bad times. We remain confident that the scriptures are strong counsel even when our union is under attack. Despite lack, loss, despair, sadness, and disappointment; we seek to turn to your word for encouragement. We believe that if we keep our minds stayed on you, you will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Help us to remain patient and courageous as we remain hopeful in all of our transitions. We take courage in the biblical stories of couples like Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 15) who remained faithful even though they had not received their promise in the time frame of their desire. We, too, trust your word concerning us and we pray that the fruit of the Spirit be evident even more in our thoughts, speech, and interactions with each other (Galations 5:22-23).
Our hope rests in you, as we continue to believe that marriage is beautiful and worth every moment. We take joy because you are our God, our keeper, our very source for strength. We love you and honor you. In Jesus Christ’s name we pray. Amen.