Are You Leaving Your Marriage Defenseless? - Crosswalk Couples Devotional - May 3

Are You Leaving Your Marriage Defenseless?
By Jen Ferguson

“Pray passionately in the Spirit, as you constantly intercede with every form of prayer at all times. Pray the blessings of God upon all his believers.” Ephesians 6:18b, TPT

Without even knowing you, I know you have something the enemy wants — your marriage. He will try sabotage, temptation, hopelessness, suspicion, and catastrophes in order to derail you, confuse you, and create walls between you and your spouse. He’s relentless, but for good reason. Good marriages have the power to change the world.

It’s not a far-fetched idea. Good marriages are a witness to how much Jesus loves the church. People who are a part of good marriages are able to come alongside others who are struggling in their own, providing wise counsel, empathy, and perhaps most importantly, hope. They provide a healthy example for their kids and for others who are a part of their lives. They impact their own generation and the generations who follow them.

Satan has chosen his battle wisely. As such, so should you.

A relationship this important not only requires intentionality, unconditional love, and grace with your spouse, but it also requires your active participation in the spiritual battle that is waging against the success of your marriage. Paul instructs us to all put on the armor of God and to pray without ceasing. It is only connection with God that enables us to wear our armor and find the strength to fight enemies we often cannot see. As such, we must pray for our spouse and for ourselves.

One of the most important things we can do when we’re praying for our spouse is to first ask Jesus to help us know how to pray for him/her. I humbly confess I have used prayer for my husband, Craig, to try to further my own agenda for his life. I’ve found, though, when I choose to pray only for the miraculous healings and radical behavior changes, I’ve sold the whole process short.  It’s not bad or wrong to pray for the big changes in someone’s life, but it’s also easy to get frustrated when you don’t see what you want unfolding before your eyes. Sometimes resentment and discouragement begin to build. Even in good marriages, there are still flaws, imperfections, and challenges that still need refining. The only way a good marriage stays good is by continually working together to help each other become more like Christ. And this requires prayer, not just for the big things, but the little things, too.

Sometimes, it’s harder to identify the little things for which we can pray, which is why asking Jesus first opens us up to new perspectives. For example, during the summer of 2018, Craig was really sick with an auto-immune disease. I started with the big prayers — miraculous healing! But when that did not seem to be how God planned to care for us in this circumstance, it was time to try a new tactic. God showed me how to pray in a way that furthered His plan for Craig and not solely my own. I began to pray things like:

  • Jesus, help Craig to connect with you in a way that is life-changing.
  • God, lead Craig to a place where he can surrender his old ways of doing things because he knows He can trust you more than he can trust himself.
  • Lord, surround him so much with your presence that He simply can’t miss it.

Ironically, these prayers didn’t just bring about change in Craig, but they brought about change in me. For example, If I truly believed that full surrender to the will of Jesus was important for Craig, it became crystal clear that this would also be important for me to do as well. If God wanted Craig to feel his presence to the full, I knew He wanted the same for me. It opened my eyes to Jesus’ activity to a level before which I had never comprehended. Ultimately, my prayers for Craig resulted in a realignment in my own relationship with God and put me and Craig on the same page and headed in the same direction.

It’s this level of unity with God and our spouse that keeps the enemy at bay and prayer makes this defense possible! We encourage you to lean into God’s heart for your spouse and see how prayer can bring even more life, love, and freedom into your relationship.

Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography and are also creators of the Marriage Matters Prayer Cards. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy at The {K}not Project. Jen is also a mama to two girls and three high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.

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Originally published Friday, 03 May 2024.