Categories
Marriage

This will RUIN your wedding…if you let it

So much planning, so many details, all go into that one special day. The first day of the rest of your life. Oh, so much can go wrong. But will you let it?

The truth is, anything can ruin your wedding. We live in a fallen world, and we interact with imperfect people. Think about all the people in your family (and in your future spouse’s family). Do you really think that, just for one day, they could be perfect? From experience, let me tell you: the answer is no. They are all still the same people, just wearing fancy clothes and welled up with emotion. So, there’s even more margin for error than usual, because everyone’s emotions are up in the air.

The key is not to let anything ruin your special day.

So, the photographer shows up late, the decorative flowers show up as the bride is walking in, Uncle So-and-So had too much to drink and is now making a fool of himself, and somebody will say something that will make you wonder why you married into this family. Or why you were born into it. Or why you hang out with the people you do.

My husband and I…well, we got married relatively quickly, so we didn’t really have expectations. Until other people did and we realized our expectations were not their expectations. Then chaos ensued. But instead of focusing on what went wrong, we focused on the beautiful day that God gave us.

First and foremost, Lenny and I were dedicating our marriage to God. The church ceremony was beautiful, and (from what I could see) there wasn’t a dry eye in the room as emotion welled up throughout the sanctuary. I was marrying the man of my dreams. My husband was marrying the woman better than his dreams (his words, not mine!). It was an abnormally warm day, at sixty-five degrees in the beginning of November. Our venue was right on the water, so the pictures were beautiful and our guests enjoyed walking around outside. The food was delicious (whatever I was able to eat in my dress!), and I was able to see friends and family that I hadn’t seen in years. And, of course, I felt incredibly beautiful in my dress, and everyone who met me on the receiving line was quick to remind me of how beautiful I looked.

When I focused on what went right instead of what went wrong, whatever petty drama happened in the background stayed there. In the background.

I don’t tell you this to rain on your parade. I tell you this to prepare yourself for what is to come. If you’re imagining a day where nothing goes wrong, you’re imagining a day that doesn’t exist on this side of Heaven. There is a perfect wedding coming, but it won’t be in this lifetime, and it will be between the perfect Bridegroom (Jesus Christ), and His sanctified Bride (the Church). Until then, embrace the day that God has given you and enjoy it. All of your planning was not in vain. Now that it’s all done, take this one day to rest, breathe, and celebrate your union with the man (or woman) of your dreams!


Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Categories
Marriage

Priorit(ies)

Every morning, I feel like I have to make several choices. Do I help my husband get ready (since he has a long commute to work), or do what I need to do to get ready for work on time? Do I iron my husband’s shirt, or work out? Do I make us breakfast and lunch, or do I work on a blog post while he cooks the food? Do I fill up his water bottle, or do I wash the dishes?

The word priority has changed over the last couple of years. It used to mean the most important thing, but now, it can be made plural. When it comes to balancing your marriage, your free time, your kids’ schedules, and your other obligations, it seems like there are multiple priorities. I mean, which one could you really put first before the others?

When we’re single, our priority is to look out for ourselves, or maybe even to look out for a friend or family member. Once we get married, it seems that our priority shifts to making sure our spouses are healthy, happy, and at peace. However, those other important people in our lives don’t go away; we just have to learn how much of a priority to give our spouses.

I believe the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) pertains to this idea of choosing our priority. One day, Martha invited Jesus over to her house. Since hospitality was important (a priority) in the culture where Jesus chose to have His ministry, Martha was focused on making sure everything was perfect for Jesus’s stay. Her sister Mary, however, did nothing to help her sister get ready. In fact, she was listening to Jesus, which was important (a priority).

What Martha was doing wasn’t wrong. She was doing what was expected from her in the culture, and although it’s not explicitly mentioned in the text, I’d like to believe that Martha was busy preparing because her priority was making Jesus comfortable and well fed in a clean home. Nevertheless, Jesus admonishes her for not choosing what is better. What was important (her priority), in that moment, should have been listening to Jesus, the Great Teacher.

We have a lot going on in our lives. During this past school year, we had plans every single day. It was exhausting! From work, to ministries, to family parties, to small groups…we didn’t have room to breathe. Now that it’s the summer (and we’ve made some changes to our schedules), we have more down time, but before that, we literally had to choose what was most important (the priority) in each moment. Especially since money, and not only time, is also a priority for us now, because we are saving up for a house.

So, our questions were:
Do we save gas and food money, or do we visit a friend who we haven’t seen in months?
Do we have a date night, or do we clean the apartment?
Do we go to our small group, or do we have a date night?
Do we sit in traffic to go visit a relative that lives a twenty miles away, or do we go to bed early?

There was no wrong answer to each of those questions, but there was always a better choice. If my husband chose to work overtime while I wanted to spend time with him, I would have grown resentful, and his choice to work would not have been the better choice. If I chose to clean the house instead of helping my husband get ready, he would have been late to work and angry, so my choice to clean would not have been the better choice. It’s not always going to be a clear-cut correct choice, but when you have one priority, making the choice of what is better is definitely easier. Our priority, overall, was that we made the decision together.

I believe that, although we have multiple people and tasks that are important to us, ultimately, we have an overarching priority that encompasses them all. For me, my priority is obeying God and showing His love to others. Ephesians 5:22 calls me to submit to my husband as I submit to the Lord. The way I submit to my husband reflects how I submit to God. Men are also called to love their wives as Christ loved the church, so my husband’s love for me is a reflection of his love for God.

Think about the priority of your life. Does your schedule reflect that? Are you truly doing what you want to do? Choose today what is better.


Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash

Categories
Marriage

How to save money for your wedding

Why does it cost so much to get married these days? Thankfully, my husband and I didn’t break the bank to tie the knot. If money is holding you back from getting married, here are some ways you can save money on your big day:

  • Make a budget. You have to start with what you have. If you only have $1,000 in the bank, you’re not going to spend $100,000 on a wedding. Pool your money together, and if you’re blessed enough to have parents who are willing to help you, figure out how much money they are giving you. Have a running list of what you’re spending vs. what you’ve received. Throughout our engagement process, we had money coming in and out of our bank account. We would spend a thousand dollars on the venue deposit, and then a family friend would give us a card with $500 in it, then we would get an influx of checks, money from our parents, and our paychecks, and we’d have to sort through what we needed to buy. For one of my best friends’ wedding, she and her husband had a wedding planning Excel sheet! Whatever you need to do to make a budget, do it. Trust me: if it does nothing else, it will help you feel more in control of your finances during this already crazy time.
  • Start with what (and who) you know. We both have big families, and we attend a big church. Someone has to know a good photographer! Someone has to be willing to sing at our wedding. We had friends and family participate in our wedding, which helped to keep the cost down. This is another way for family members to help if they are not able to contribute financially. If your aunt knows a great DJ, florist, or catering hall, her connection to the company may help you get a discount. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you’re getting married, people do want to help you!
  • Figure out your priorities. Did anyone miss the centerpieces? I didn’t. We saved a couple hundred dollars on centerpieces that would only serve to block the view of our guests sitting across from each other at their tables. But for some of you, you may need centerpieces, and that’s okay. For us, we spent most of our budget on the venue itself, on the honeymoon, and on the photographer, because those things meant the most to us. We were most concerned about making sure our guests had delicious food and a nice atmosphere, making sure we would have a nice time together alone, and making sure we would have nice memories of the day that would last us for years. Whatever your priorities are, spend the most money on those items, and don’t invest as much in the “extra” stuff.
  • Choose buffet style. If your caterer offers buffet style, go for it! Having a server at every table costs extra money, because not only do you have to pay the kitchen staff, but you also have to pay a server to wait on each table. Our guests appreciated the buffet, because the food was always available, and they could get up and talk to people at other tables without feeling like they were stuck in their seats.
  • Choose an off-peak time. My brother is getting married on a Friday afternoon. My sister is getting married on a Sunday. We got married on a Saturday afternoon in November. The “peak time” for weddings is on Saturday evening, sometimes Friday evening. Be creative! Sometimes having your wedding on a holiday costs less money, because who would get married on a holiday? But hey, your family is getting together anyway! Research times of the year that are less expensive for a wedding, such as January, March, April, and November.
  • Opt out of the alcohol. Again, this is all depending on your priorities, but my husband and I both don’t drink, so we asked to have a dry wedding. Some people grumbled that there was no alcohol, but we drowned out the sound of their grumbling with the sound of 3,000 extra dollars jingling in our pockets. And that’s how we funded our honeymoon!

Whatever you do, it’s going to be great! Don’t let anyone but the two of you decide how you’re going to spend your money.

If you’ve gone through the wedding planning process, what have you done to save money? What do you wish you would have done differently?


Photo by Ibrahim Boran on Unsplash

Categories
Marriage

Getting your financial life in order AFTER marriage

This post is not to judge anyone, but people want to get their financial lives in order before marriage so that they can live blissfully when they finally tie the knot. However, this pushes back their union several years, and may cause them to compromise their integrity or to even end the relationship. I’m not saying this is the path that we all should take, but for those of you who are on the fence, deciding whether you should get married now or pinch your pennies together first, we pray that God may use our testimony to help you figure out what to do next.

When we first started dating, I was working part-time in the church office, and he was working for his parents’ ice cream truck business. Separately, we were getting by, but without the cushion of living at home with our parents, and with my college debt, marriage wasn’t even a dream for us. Of course, that changed rather quickly, as I transitioned to full-time at the office, moved into an apartment closer to him, and started to watch my budget.

After three months, Lenny told me he wanted to marry me. He told me he had talked to his parents about how much money he would need to start a life with me, and the number didn’t seem to bother him. Our entire relationship, we were in prayer, but when Lenny started talking marriage, I was on my knees a lot more often!

In general, we both have frugal mindsets. I grew up literally saving every penny in a piggy bank, spending money only when it was completely necessary, and making wise purchases at bargain prices (thanks to the teaching of my mom, who intentionally buys the items she needs at the cheapest prices, and grandma, who was the one that made thrifting cool!). Lenny grew up watching his parents start and maintain a business, so he learned the value of a dollar at a very early age.

When we started dating, we saved money everywhere we could, from going to walks at the local park, to eating dinner at home. When it was time to get engaged, I didn’t give Lenny a preference for a ring, but I told him please don’t spend a ton of money on it. He spent more than I wanted, but I learned later that it’s polite to spend a certain percentage of your income on an engagement ring, so I appreciated it.

We were engaged for a couple of months before we decided on a wedding date. While praying, we each felt pulled in different directions. Lenny was concerned about the money, while I was concerned that we were secure and maintained our integrity. We’ve learned that men and women have different priorities, and, generally, men feel more of a burden to provide financially for the family, and women feel more of a burden to provide a secure, nurturing home for the family. Lenny was concerned that he couldn’t provide for us, while I was concerned that we wouldn’t have security until we got married. One thing we agreed on for sure: no matter what, we wanted to be together, and we wanted to keep God at the center of our relationship.

So, we decided to get married eleven months later, giving us just enough time to gather our dollars together.

Right after making that decision, Lenny started looking for a job in his field, and I started to budget more intently. We cut the costs of our wedding (we’ll talk about that next week), and we kept a running total of what we spent and what we received from our friends and family. When we got married in November 2016, we both had jobs that gave us the ability to afford an apartment in our friends’ house, buy our necessities, and save for a house. We used the money from our wedding, and the selling of my husband’s car, to pay off my debt, so we could start our marriage without any financial burdens.

Of course, it hasn’t been easy, but looking back, we’ve seen how God has provided. It all started with a step of faith. We’re now in an apartment that we didn’t think we could ever afford, and now we’re saving for a house that we also didn’t think we could afford. But as God has led us, we have trusted that He will provide for us each time to choose to say “yes” to what He has for us.

What “yes” do you need to say to Him today?


Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Categories
Marriage

Marriage is security

When we first started dating, we were infatuated with each other. Every kiss sent electricity through every part of my body, and every time I saw him coming from a distance, I wouldn’t be able to contain my joy. We didn’t even notice each other’s imperfections. We had lovey-dovey feelings, and it was beautiful.

Then, we got married, and everything changed.

Now that we’ve been married for two and a half years, we are in love. Every kiss reminds me that my husband is still with me, and spending time with him is an opportunity to connect. When he comes home from work, seeing his contagious smile truly makes me feel like I’m home. We notice each other’s imperfections, but we love each other anyway, and I feel like the grace we have for one another only proves that our love is strong.

I used to be afraid of the honeymoon stage ending, and I did everything I could to avoid it. I don’t think it’s completely over, but I do like the direction where our love is going. Instead of being happy, I feel safe, and that makes me very happy. Instead of being viewed as perfect, I’m viewed as human, but I’m loved anyway.

Thanks be to God, we are in love. Not just with each other, but with God. We are rooted and grounded in love. That means we know that, no matter what season of life we are in, we can trust that God will lead us and show us how to love one another best.

We don’t know what the future holds, but we are secure in our marriage and secure in God.

Categories
Marriage

In Case of Infestations

Yep. You read that right. Today, we’re going to talk about how to deal with little critters.

Most people who have been married less than two years aren’t living in a house. Whether you’re renting from a friend, you’re saving up cash in your parents’ basement, or you’re in a complex, you’re most likely living in an apartment.

Did you know that apartments are the breeding grounds for rodents, bugs, and pests? I bet no one told you that in marriage counseling! I bet no one told you to put roach repellent and mouse traps on your registry. But these little critters try to infest not only your home, but your marriage as well.

In our two years of marriage, we’ve had our fair share of visitors creeping in and out of our living spaces. As a neat freak, control freak, and perfectionist, I put the blame on myself every time an unwanted guest would come into my apartment. Maybe I didn’t vacuum enough. Maybe I shouldn’t have left that tiny crumb on the floor. Maybe I should have washed the dishes. It seems like every time I finally clean my house, they show up. And seeing those little things in our space makes us feel so unclean, we want to throw out all our stuff and move!

Lately, God has been calling me to be faithful with what He has given us. We may not have a huge space, but we are responsible for keeping it clean and protected. I’ve been more intentional about washing the dishes, decluttering our space, and vacuuming (oh, how I love the vacuum!).

After seeing just one “bug” in our apartment, we are worried when we will see the next one. It has caused us to live in fear, which adds stress to our daily lives and makes us more irritable. We’ve gone into survival mode, “every person for himself,” but that is not the way that God calls us to live.

Let’s be real: If you don’t understand it, you’ll most likely be afraid of it, and you’re living in fear. We’ve seen everything, from ants to cockroaches to mice to spider crickets. Just the look of what shouldn’t be in our apartment is enough to traumatize us. So that’s why I’m warning you now, before you get freaked out: don’t freak out!

My husband and I are not experts, but here are some ways that we have coped with the little pests instead of living in fear.

Don’t blame yourself. Like I said, apartment complexes are breeding grounds for pests. Therefore, when you have one, it is 0% your fault. Get it out of your head that you’re dirty or unworthy of owning your space.

Do your research. Certain pests are more prominent in some areas. We actually saw a review on Google that our apartment complex has cockroaches. Spider crickets like basements and moist environments. Mice like areas near the woods and near water. So, if you live next to a park or a body of water, you should be aware of what you might see. Don’t freak out, just be prepared.

Prepare for the worst; hope for the best. My husband and I do whatever we can to keep the critters away. We clean the house regularly (making sure our stuff is off the floor and food is stowed in shelves). We don’t live in fear, but we prepare as if an infestation can happen at any time. Bugs and rodents can be nasty, and once you have one, there’s always a chance of more coming back to take over the place. The maintenance staff at our apartment complex also has been attentive. If we have any problems, we call them immediately and they come within 24 hours. Wherever you are, learn about your resources, and use them.

Pray! God has called you to be responsible for your living space, but He doesn’t ask you to do it alone. Just like with anything else, whether you’re renting or you own a home, God can provide strength, wisdom, and resources to make you successful in your stewardship. I cannot even begin to tell you the spiritual lessons I’ve learned from having bugs and rodents in our apartment. My prayers have never been stronger. My declarations of faith have never been more bold and confident. It has also been wonderful to see Lenny step up and act in faith, and to be the leader that God called him to be.

Psalm 91 is a psalm of God’s protection and provision. I wanted to share just one verse with you, but it is all so good, I can’t pick and choose! May God bless your living space, and may Psalm 91 become real for you and your marriage (especially in your dwelling place):

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”


Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

Categories
Marriage

Five questions to become one with your spouse

We are meant to be a team with our spouses, but how often do we check up on one another?

When the Bible describes a husband and wife as “one flesh,” the tense of “become” is actually present progressive (Genesis 2:24). That means we are constantly becoming one flesh, and will continue to do so for our entire lives. In the process of becoming one, you need to know about your other half. And while questions such as “What is your spouse’s favorite color?” and “How does your spouse like his/her coffee in the morning?” are important, those questions will only take you so far on your intimate journey with your spouse.

Marriage is meant to grow you. The following questions can help you and your spouse figure out your goals and work to succeed at them.

I would encourage you to ask your spouse these questions periodically, not just once. Make an effort to create a comfortable environment, so you can both feel free to share your mind without judgment. In the process of becoming one, depending on your spouse’s past experience with spiritual and emotional intimacy, there may be some hesitancy sharing from the heart. Pour yourselves a couple of cups of tea, sit down on the couch, and work through these questions.

Hearing your spouse answer these questions, you may be tempted to provide feedback. Men (generally speaking) may want to fix their wives’ problems or provide quick solutions to their wives’ dreams. Women (generally speaking) may want to nag their husbands until they’ve accomplished the goals they’ve shared with you. Wait until your spouse has had a chance to share, and then share your opinion if invited to do so.

I promise, you will be closer after sharing your ideas with one another. There may be some tension at first, and most likely even some disagreement, but take time to truly discuss these topics until you feel like you’ve reached a resolve. You don’t have to have your whole life figured out in one sitting, but you should be able to come up with a game plan for the next week or so.

  • How do you feel? As a woman (again, generally speaking), I have a hard time navigating through my emotions sometimes. It’s nice to have my husband ask me how I’m feeling so I have permission to speak the emotions out loud. Most of the time, if not all of the time, he is my voice of reason as I realize my emotions are often based on insecurities.
  • What are your dreams/goals for the next week/month/year? I love sharing my dreams and goals with others. Speaking my dreams out loud makes them more real for me. It also gives me permission to process out loud and help transform my dreams into a reality. Your spouse may not know what dreams he/she has, so maybe you can ask the question a different way (such as, What do you want to accomplish in the next week? or What is something you’ve always wanted to do but never took the time to do it?). Again, you don’t have to have your whole life figured out, but asking about your spouse’s dreams can help you accomplish what you didn’t think you could in the near future.
  • How’s that going for you? Sometimes, we’ve already started working on our dreams. Some of us want to start our own businesses or get promotions at work or even heal a broken relationship with a family member or friend. Asking your spouse about the status of that dream can help him/her celebrate the progress he/she has made so far, and take practical steps to finish the task.
  • How may I help you? We absolutely cannot accomplish our dreams alone. I’ve learned that very early on in my short life. Your spouse has been equipped by God with different strengths to help you see your life from a new perspective, or to develop skills that you wouldn’t be able to learn on your own. This is a good opportunity to provide feedback if it is welcomed. However, your spouse may just want encouragement or a listening ear, or even a hug. Be prepared to help in whatever way you’re able, and whatever way your spouse needs.
  • How can I pray for you? Ultimately, our help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121:1-2). Praying for our spouses reminds us to keep our focus on the Lord and to trust Him with our plans. Without being holier-than-thou, we are also called to remind our spouses to trust God’s plan and to lean on His wisdom in all that we do. So, close your planning time together with prayer.

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

If you need writing or editing help, please visit www.elisabethwarner.com/services for a free consultation.

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Marriage

The power of silence among couples

Anyone who knows my husband knows that he is a man of few words. However, the words he says are so golden, they make you want to stop what you’re doing and listen. As a woman with many words, I have learned to listen to him and give him the respect he deserves.

But what do we do when neither of us have anything to say?

After two and a half years of marriage, we’ve learned that sometimes, words aren’t necessary. We love driving home in the car just holding hands, not saying a word during the entire half hour drive. When I’m crying, Lenny will put his arms around me and just hold me, the only sound between us my heaving sobs. When Lenny had a busy day at work and doesn’t want to talk at the moment, I stand by his side and wait, in silence, until he’s ready to talk.

How do we know when it’s time to be silent? Well, we’ll never know unless we try it!

James 1:19 says that we must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Although this verse is used to talk about listening, I want to focus on the second part of our instruction: be slow to speak. In a culture that loves texting and feeling compelled to give an answer to everything, it doesn’t make sense to stay silent when you have an answer.

To use a quote that has been attributed to Stephen R. Covey, “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand.
We listen to reply.” Maybe to show we understand, we don’t need to reply. Maybe to simply be there for our spouses, we can sit in silence.

A great example of people who were silent in the Bible were Job’s friends. After Job had lost everything, his friends came from their homes (which weren’t very close to his house, by the way!):

“When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” (Job 2:11-13, NIV).

So, give silence a try this week. Whether one of you is grieving or stressed, or one of you is celebrating, try to spend at least a half hour in silence. While sitting there together, pray for one another, and think about what you appreciate about each other.

Because then, when you both talk to each other, you will lean into one another, as the words you choose to say will be golden.

Categories
Marriage

I’m writing a marriage devotional!

My husband and I appreciate all the love and support we’ve received on our Marriage Monday posts. They will continue as long as we continue to have adventures to share!

I’m excited to announce that I’m working on a marriage devotional! Crazy how it happened. My novel is done (praying about publishing it – ANY advice is welcome!), and I was ready to enjoy the weekend on that Friday. Lenny and I pray every night before bed, so when he prayed that night, he prayed that I would finish my book over the weekend.

When he said, “Amen,” I said, “Lenny … I finished my book already.”

He said, “Oh.”

But when my head hit the pillow, God nudged me to work on another book, a book He had stirred in my heart on our honeymoon! Over the weekend, I took out my study Bible and started doing some research. The fun has already begun!

So, my marriage content energy will be spent on writing this new book, but as more exciting adventures happen on my writing journey, I will keep you in the loop.

Other than that news, we have nothing new to report. Even if we did, you know how we like to keep our lives private! We’ve been spending more time together and talking more. As we mature, we grow closer together, and that’s the way it should be.

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Marriage

Praying for Your Spouse

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.


Photo by Caroline Veronez on Unsplash