The Best Thing You Can do for Your Marriage

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. Christians are most powerful on their knees.” –Corrie ten Boom

In the first four months of my marriage, a lot happened. Austin started a new profession out of town, I was beginning my final year of college. Everything was pretty peachy. Then it hit. Austin was exhausted from driving so much every day. My grandfather fell ill and died within a week. He experienced great rejection from family members. Our individual lives seemed to be crumbling. All along, we were figuring out how to be married to one another.

I am not going to lie. It was hard. I felt void of energy constantly. He was so tired he could barely stay awake when we were together.

One day everything escalated, making it oh so clear to us that something had to give. Something had to get done immediately. Unfortunately, we both knew exactly what it was. We 12661937_10205775046512288_3121794164829025504_n.jpgknew because we had been called to all along and had been disobedient.

Pray daily and earnestly. 

Now I am not talking about a two minute, “help my husband drive safely,” kind of prayer. We knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the kind of prayer we were being called to was an early morning, fall on our knees, and cry out to Jesus kind of prayer. A daily prayer that beckoned us to wake up before we want to and spend time with the Lord together. It was the best thing we have ever done for our marriage, and I guarantee you, it will be the best thing you can do for yours.

We fall to our knees in prayer because we are told to.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Colossians 4:2

“You may as soon find a living man that does not breath, as a living Christian that does not pray”-Matthew Henry

It would be quite a funny thing if when Austin gets home at night, I didn’t say anything to him. I didn’t tell him about my day. I didn’t ask him about his. I didn’t wonder how he felt, what he thought about the world around us, or anything else. If we just got married one day out of the blue and never spoke about it, one could argue that we were not actually engaged in a marriage—we were only legally bound.

Christian, prayer is our communication with God! He commands us over and over again to commune with Him because that is how we engage in relationship with our Creator. He knows the blessing that will come from our conversation with Him.

Praying should be our inclination! And not just when we want something. Not just when we are fighting with our spouses. Not just when we want something to be easier. We should be praying when we get excited about something, when we are distraught, or when we are surprised. Oh, how I love telling God about my day, as if He doesn’t already know—as if He didn’t order it.

It is one of, if not the greatest joy of the Christian life. It is what sets apart our faith from others. Our God literally crossed the bounds of heaven and earth to bring us into His kingdom that we might have life and have it abundantly. Prayer is part of that abundance. It is good for us, therefore, we have no choice but to do it.

We fall to our knees in prayer because if we are one, our communication with God should be too.

15027952_10207710544818536_4192788204132448882_n.jpgThe other day I was asked what feels so different about marriage. It is the oneness. There is nothing I desire to do alone anymore. Heck, I almost invited my husband to go shopping for his own birthday presents with me. I am so connected with him that I can tell when he hurts long before he has the heart to express it, and I can only imagine how that will intensify over the years.

In those first hard months of our marriage, Austin and I had very individual times with the Lord. While those times were and still are good for each of us individually, one reason our communication with one another was so bad, was because we were sorting out our lives—spiritually and emotionally—on an individual level. If we are one, and God has given us that title, why then should we not be getting on our knees in prayer together every day. We should want God to deal with us as a couple and as individuals simultaneously.

We fall to our knees in prayer because it puts our choices in perspective.

“Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer” -John Bunyan

This quote hits the nail absolutely on the head. The kicker is that we are supposed to pray whether we want to or not.

One of the hardest times for me to genuinely call out to God is when Austin and I are arguing. Why is it so hard? Because usually, I am in the wrong, if not completely responsible. Neither Austin nor I have ever heard the audible voice of God. Yet as soon as we begin praying during an argument, he immediately shows us all the ways we have just engaged in sin. He tells me that my tone was disrespectful. He shows Austin that he was leading poorly. He reminds us both that we love each other, not because we are perfect, but because He first loved us. Everything else doesn’t matter. Our own inclinations are sinful.

We fall to our knees in prayer because that’s how our physical space becomes filled with the Spirit.

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:2

Take a breath and go there with me. The lighting is dim, maybe just a lamp on, so that distractions cease There is no sound but you and your partner’s breath and cries to Jesus. Arms are stretched wide or lifted to Him or reached out as if you’re reaching to even just get a touch of His feet. Maybe you’re holding one another. Maybe you’re stretched on the floor as you might be if you were at His feet on the day of the saints.

You are asking for God to bless the other. You are praying through your sins, vulnerably repenting of your own marital faults. You are praising God for His son’s blood. You are acknowledging His power. You are interceding for the other, joyfully asking for His hand in their life. You are asking for strength to be obedient in your own marriage calling. You are pleading that your marriage might be equipped to not only be healthy but share the Gospel to all who engage with you.

Feel the Spirit bubbling up in your soul? Now picture actually doing it. Starting your every day that way.

I am not telling you that we do this to pat myself on the back. I am not saying that my marriage is perfect or even close. It’s not. But I am telling you that the Spirit is in my apartment and in my marriage every morning at 5:15 am. I am telling you that He lingers. That when we call on Him at the start of our days, we are ultra-aware of His presence throughout the rest of our separate schedule and even when we come back together in the evening. We are thankful in ways we wouldn’t be on our own. We are overcome by praise for His mercy. We love each other more. We love each other better.

We fall to our knees because Jesus is the best part of our marriage.

Oh my God, incline your ear and hear… For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.

Daniel 9:18

Because of His great mercy. That is why we cry out to Him every morning. Oh, how blessed I feel to be part of my marriage. I am obsessed with my husband. I think he is hot. I think he is the nicest person I have ever met. I nearly idolized him (along with lots of other people) because of his talent.

I am so thankful and overwhelmed by the fact that he loves me back. But my hot, talented, uber kind husband is not my Savior! He is awesome, but both of us can name many times that we have both sinned in ways that might even surprise you. We have been immature. We have been selfish. We have lashed out.

You know who hasn’t?

Jesus.

We fall to our knees because He is the only consistent thing about our relationship—because FullSizeRender-5.jpgwe need Him to love one another in the way we are supposed to. Marriage is not a walk in the park. It is giving all of yourself to another, trusting their hands to hold your heart. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t come easily to me.

Falling onto our knees in prayer each morning has been the best thing we did for our marriage. It rejuvenates us daily. It did not take away our individual pain, but oh how our God gave us unexpected strength.

Sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, I plead you to spend the start of every day on your knees with one another. Get up in the wee hours of the morning before your babies. Wake up when it is hard so that you aren’t relying on your own strength, but the Lord’s. Verbally pray for one another. Be changed in the presence of the Lord together. Rest in Him together. Give Him your hopes, your strengths, your relationship. Whether things are going good or bad, allow Him to take it. He will mold it for His glory. And that, my beloved, is the best thing you can do for your marriage.

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