"LISTEN" Communication is a plus in any relationship, especially in a marriage.
Learn to LISTEN to your partner on purpose. Not only LISTEN but be sure to HEAR what your partner has to say. 'DID YOU HEAR ME'?
There’s an old Dorothy Norwood song I heard recently that goes, “Somebody, prayed for me, had me on their mind, they took the time and prayed for me. I am so glad they prayed...”. Hearing that song recently brought out true thanksgiving and worship to God, for all of those throughout the years that have taken time to pray for me - Mom, Dad, Grandparents, etc... Surely we can (and should) pray to God for ourselves, but there is something really special when someone cares enough to walk side by side with you by talking to God for and about you.
A recent study reveals, married couples that pray for one another, divorce at a rate of less than 1% . I like looking at it from the other perspective, a couple that prays together has a greater than 99% chance of staying together. What these couples enjoy is a God centered connection that is ushering intimacy into multiple areas of their marriage. It reminds me of the early years of the biblical marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. During those years they submit themselves to each other and God in ways that still speaks wisdom to us today.
Presentation Isaac took time to push aside his personal agenda and pray to God for Rebekah, who was unable to have children at the time (Genesis 25:21). His prayer is best understood as Isaac presenting himself before the Lord, for Rebekah’s sake. The Hebrew words, paint a picture of Isaac physically showing up in front of God - out of concern for Rebekah. His concern was a depth of commitment that exceeded hasty words and set aside time to go to God.
In our modern marriages, we are bombarded with so many responsibilities inside and outside of the home that grab our attention - daily. However, the committed time presenting ourselves to God “on behalf of” our spouse is invaluable for our spiritual intimacy with God, and our intimacy (connectedness) with our mate.
Commitment In Genesis 25:20, Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah. When Rebekah conceived in v. 26, Isaac was 60 years old. So presumably Isaac’s prayed on behalf of his wife for a span of 20 years. He just kept showing up before God day after day, for his wife - without seeing any results but presenting himself to God faithfully.
Praying to God for Your Husband or Wife • Tonight, ask your spouse to give you their top three personal goals for the next three months. • Commit to going to God on behalf of your spouse for these goals. • Pray that God will intimately connect you and your spouse with Him.
1 Article: Husbands and Wives located at http://www.prayerguide.org.uk/husbands.htm
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Edward is the author of Husbands, Wives, God: Introducing the Marriages of the Bible to Your Marriage. The overall premise of the book is that Husbands and Wives can build better relationships with each other by building a better relationship with God. Edward is on ordained Christian minister, living in Baltimore, Md. with his wife and son. The book is available at edwardclee.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, independent Christian bookstores and as an e-book on Amazon’s Kindle.
In any and every marriage there is one area of challenge that visits from time to time for some and seems to take up long-term residence for others. Communication. It seems like the harder couples try to work on communication issues, the harder it becomes for him to grasp her verbal and or non-verbal expressions, likewise it becomes harder for her to understand why “he just won’t open up to me”.
If It Can Happen to Al and Tipper Gore, It Can Happen to Anyone, that read the headline of a June 10th article written by Marco Lavanna on RINF.com. It expresses a sentiment that any and every marriage is subject to failing. While it is true that marriages continue to face trials and strains that lead them to divorce. However, for Christian marriages, there still remains a source of hope and wisdom for your marriage.
The recent separation of former Vice President Al and wife Tipper Gore after 40 years of marriage, is causing many to question the durability of marriage. After all, the Gore’s decades long marriage, had appeared to endure the inevitable pressures and strains any marriage faces, as well as the heightened strains of public life.
The Gore’s separation is bringing to light the disheartening “grey divorce” phenomena. Grey divorce refers to the swelling ranks of older couples, particularly in their 60’s, that are divorcing after decades of marriage. For what I call “actively married” couples - raising children, chasing dual incomes and responsibility laden - seeing older couples call it quits is proving to be particularly challenging. What are we to make of our parents generation dissolving their marriages, at a time when they should be looking forward to enjoying their golden years together? While there is not just one answer, the common threads tend to be: growing apart, a desire for independence and the cumulative effects of years of strain.
As I pondered this disturbing trend, God directed my attention to the biblical marriage of Job and his wife. If any couple can convey and provide insight to building a relationship that endures the ravages of marital hurt and pain, it is Job and his wife. Together they demonstrate positive and negative approaches to dealing with the painful circumstances straining their marriage.
Job and Mrs. Job - Trust in God Job’s story starts out pretty enviable. Job is called the greatest man of the east, a man of honor, dignity, great wealth and great faith. However, into this enviable life, God allows Satan to attack Job and he loses all of his material possessions - his money, 401k, job security, occupation, dignity, honor, status, and eventually his 10 children - all gone in a matter of a few hours! God then allows Satan to inflict Job’s health as sores and boils cover his body from head to toe.
This total loss of everything - wealth, financial security, children and his health brought great strain to their marriage as Job’s wife said, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” Not exactly the picture of spousal support that we are looking for in tough times. But rather than criticize Mrs. Job’s reaction we have to face the reality that we too encounter circumstances that cause us to say, like Job’s wife, I just can’t take it anymore, I want out of this marriage - I want a divorce!
Yet, at their most critical juncture, Job exercises a determined trust in God that provides us with hope, as he states, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord”.
Job was not dissuaded by the overwhelming circumstance nor was he putting his trust in his wife. Rather, he exercised a trust in God independent of his wife’s actions. Just think for a minute where would Job have been if his trust was solely in his wife? Who Are You?
When tough times intrude the peace of your marriage, who are you? Are you Job that views life’s punches as God’s sovereign prerogative and remains confident in God (cf. Job 2:10b; 19:25), or are you Mrs. Job that became overwhelmed with the circumstance and therefore becomes of no help to her spouse?
Whoever you might be right now, look at the example of Job. Eventually, God restores Job’s trust during his ordeal by rewarding him with double the material assets he lost. Then in Job 42:13, God rewarded Job, and consequently his wife, with ten more children.
While we, like Job and his wife, cannot always control the tough situations we will encounter in our marriage, we can, like Job, determine to trust the Lord.
- Trust the “tough stuff” of your Marriage to God
- Trust God more than you trust yourself or your spouse
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: