February 23, 2009
How is Your Marriage?
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 (NASB)
A while ago, I wrote a devotion where I revealed portions of my past that continue to affect my marriage today. I followed that up with another one recounting the struggle I’ve had being intimate with my husband. I received hundreds of letters from women of all ages who could relate to what I had written. Because I also reported that my marriage was now thriving, I received a lot of questions and concerns:
“How did your marriage go from just surviving to thriving?”
“What if your husband won’t go to counseling?”
“I don’t love my husband anymore; what do I do?”
“My husband doesn’t make me feel good; he doesn’t even notice me.”
“I’m exhausted from trying to be happy.”
“All my husband wants is sex; I’m just too tired.”
“What if your husband is not a Christian?”
“That’s great for you, but what about me?”
I wish I was equipped to answer these questions. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go to Someone who could answer all of our questions for us? We can.
One thing that helped me was prayer. I know that sounds simple. I also know it’s not. It can be difficult to pray and be satisfied with God’s response. We need to be committed to receiving what God offers, not just asking for what we want.
For years, I spent my time praying for God to change Jeff, my husband. I blamed Jeff for me not feeling good about myself and my life. I thought:
If he would only pay more attention to me … then I’d be happy.
If he would just be more romantic … then I’d be fulfilled.
I wish he understood me.
He loves his work more than me.
I wish he would read the Bible more, or pray with me.
I bought the book, Power of a Praying Wife, certain if I began praying diligently for my husband everything would be fixed. I opened the book, ready to change my husband through prayer. Imagine my surprise when the first thing the author suggested was that I pray for myself! My intentions in reading this book was to change Jeff through my prayers, not to change me. That really opened my eyes. Maybe God didn’t want to change my husband; maybe He wanted to change me!
This shifted my focus on what God could do in and through me. Instead of trying to figure out how His Word applied to everyone else (especially Jeff), I focused on how it applied to me. What a difference that made!
As I prayed for myself, I also began praying for Jeff. This time I stayed out of God’s way and let Him work in both our hearts. There was not quick, but steady improvement. Looking back to when I first made the decision to focus more on my role in our marriage and less on Jeff’s, and compare it to today, it is like night and day.
I am a wife, but even before that I am a child of God. I pray my marriage lasts forever, but I have no guarantee of that. I do have the guarantee that my relationship with Jesus will. That’s the relationship I must work on first. Amazingly, when that one is right, the rest falls into place for me. It doesn’t mean that all is well, but it means I am well.
The next time you find yourself yearning for more from your marriage and husband, think about this. Instead of asking, “How is my marriage doing?” or “How is my relationship with my husband?” Ask “How am I doing?” or “How is my relationship with Jesus?”
Dear Lord, help me to turn over all of the desires in my heart to You. Work on my relationships, beginning with me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
by Gary Thomas
Visit Melissa’s blog
Commit to having a daily quiet time with God each day this week.
How can I make a difference in my relationships?
Could it be me who needs to change?
Galatians 6:9, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (NLT)
Mark 11:24-25, “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” (NLT)
© 2009 by Melissa Taylor. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 23 February 2009.