Today, I was in a stressful situation at work that sent me into panic mode (which rarely happens at this job, thank God!). I sent a quick text to Lenny and told him how I was feeling. He sent me a text back that he was praying for me. Just knowing that he was on my side and that he cared enough to lift me up in prayer made my anxiety seem less intimidating.
Every night, before we kiss each other goodnight, my husband and I ask each other, “How can I pray for you?” Making that intentional time to pray for my spouse has helped us stay close by reminding me what is going on in his life. It also continually brings our relationship to God, who ultimately gives us success in our marriage.
In the beginning of this blog series, I told you that it’s tempting to pray for God to change our spouses. That’s why we have to remember to pray for ourselves first. Jesus says that we must examine the plank in our own eyes before trying to remove the speck from someone else’s (Matthew 7:5). When we pray for our spouses, an attitude change needs to take place; we need to develop an attitude of humility. If you come to God as if you’re perfect, you will try to manipulate God into fixing your spouse. However, if you remember that you are just as in need of grace as your spouse is, you can approach prayer for your spouse in a way that actually helps him to change.
A couple of years ago, I shared about how much I wanted to control my husband, but how controlling him doesn’t work. If I tell him what I want him to do, eventually, he does it. I’ve learned over the years that Lenny is more laid back than I am, so while I want things done now as if the world is going to end tomorrow, Lenny knows that they don’t have to get done right now. I wanted to change this about my spouse, but I realized that he has been teaching me how to rest. Instead of having a neat house and being a nervous wreck, I’ve found comfort in having a little mess if that means I’m less anxious.
In this moment, there’s a pile of clean clothes on our couch that need to be hung up and put in our closet (and while I always joke about my husband leaving his socks on the floor, this is a real story!). Although it’s bothering me that there’s a mess within a fifteen-foot radius of me, I’ve learned, through my husband, that typing this blog post for you and doing what I love (writing!) is more important than having a clean house. I’m not going to be a slob and leave my stuff everywhere, but I am going to recognize that sometimes, there are more important things in life than being tidy.
I share that story with you because, if I had nagged my husband and prayed to God for him to want to do the chores more often, I would have never learned how to rest. That’s why searching our heart is so essential for praying for our spouses. We don’t want to pray for God to fix our spouses, but for God to bring out the best in our spouses.
In this case, when I would pray for Lenny, instead of praying for him to help me around the house every once in a while, I could thank God that he feels safe in the home that we’ve created, and that he would continue to carry God’s peace everywhere He goes. My perspective has changed. I’ve noticed that he likes to work when he can, but he knows when to rest. I need to continue to learn that as well.
So, in praying for your spouse, I would encourage you to think about what draws out the best in your spouse. Pray for a new perspective for your spouse, and maybe what is bothering you about your spouse is actually a good quality. God can use what is different about your spouse to change you as well.