A Marriage Nugget: To Know and To Do

In our age of hoarding stockpiles of information, even Christian doctrine, the enemy is thrilled if our learning amounts to little action. We are deceived into thinking we are growing in maturity as our heads expand, but our hands and feet remain idle (James 1:22).

A month ago, the Lord gave couples an opportunity to attend a “Marriage Refresher” event hosted and put on by Calvary over a Friday evening and Saturday morning.

Several speakers had a chance to speak about marriage from God’s Word and share experiences on how the Lord has worked out these Biblical truths in their own marriages. In addition, there was an opportunity for further sharing as couples broke into small groups at the end of each session to discuss the Lord and His working in our marriages. The Lord stirred and blessed in great ways!

It would be easy to leave a gathering like we had and put the information on a dusty bookshelf along with the other dozens of marriage books I have accumulated over the years. Perhaps my marriage would improve as my head grew!

But I was determined to take at least one thing from the Refresher and apply it to my life and our marriage. I wanted to share with you all my one thing:

Pray (with a Scripture) with my wife each morning and evening.

First Peter 3:7 was mentioned quite a few times during the Refresher, and it was the Scripture that most hit my heart:
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
The Lord tied “live with your wives in an understanding way” and “prayer” together in a way that I had not seen before. It was mentioned that it was our duty—and joy—as husbands to understand our wives, even as weaker vessels that we are to honor.

It should be a constant item of prayer for husbands to ask for help in understanding our wives. And He will answer! Our wives and life are understandable, by the grace of God.

In the course of discussing this with some of the other saints, a wife made the comment that her husband praying for her was, perhaps, the most powerful help that she receives from him in everyday life.

This was helpful, as we husbands tend to fix right away or quickly offer up solutions. For some of us, that can turn preachy in a hurry and prove ineffective in ministering to our wives.

But praying demonstrates understanding and helps our wives.

Prayer understands that I am not the ultimate answer to any of my wife’s struggles or needs. Prayer understands that her desires will be met upward, not horizontally. Prayer understands that the only answers to our heart’s questions are found at the right hand of the Almighty. Prayer understands that we are both needy and God is eager to help. Leading out in prayer understands the intercessory role of Christ for us that I am displaying to my wife. Persistent prayer understands that quick fixes are as effective as duct tape on a burst pipe. A prayerful life is an understanding life.

In the final session of the Refresher, an elderly saint who had walked his wife Home shared how he had prayed and read Scripture with her twice every day, morning and evening.
I was inspired by his example and desired to be that kind of husband for my wife, too. I have prayed with her many, many times over the years, but the God-wrought diligence to do it morning and evening had never crossed my mind. I felt the Spirit stamp this on my heart, and I have followed through every day since: Prayer in the Spirit, with the Sword of the Spirit in hand, twice a day, with my wife. The Lord has blessed.

The Lord has brought us closer together with Himself and with each other. We have prayed more faithfully for our children, and we have seen fruit. It has made me more aware of needs in her life and my own that we can bring to the Lord.

I have felt very little need to preach like I have all the answers, which I know I don’t. It has been a joy, not a burden. It has sent me to the Word early and often to have Scripture to help pray. It has been a benefit to my heart as she prays for me.

Certainly, there are times of "drive-by prayer" as I am heading out the door in the morning and she is still sleeping. But a hand on her side and a prayer on her behalf is still effective. She feels my touch and hears my words and is comforted.

Often, it is only a short minute or two. It has not been a demonstration of my great praying but God’s great hearing and provision. He does it all.

These are tender moments. Two weak human beings coming together to find strength in our Jesus. Two helpless souls crying out in desperation and thanking Him for the help that He always gives. Two sinners looking to the One whose grace has set us free.

It has been a glorious treasure to take home from the Marriage Refresher, and, oh!, how blessed we have been to not put it up on a shelf to collect dust in our big heads.

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