My husband Steve and I have been married for well over four decades. We have been dedicated Bible-believing, Bible-living Christians for most of it. So you would think that we wouldn’t “forget” to pray when we should. But sadly, sometimes we do. When a problem comes up, sometimes we forget to pray first and then react.
Oh, we usually remember to pray in the morning together before we set off for the day. It’s something we started doing years ago. And it has definitely helped us. But we need added prayer times together, when we’re entering into situations where we’re tempted to argue in ways that we shouldn’t.
Pray First, React Afterward
Last week, we had one of those times. We had an event where we live, that Steve and I planned to benefit from, and enjoy. It was a semi-annual subdivision garage sale. This is where people within a several mile radius of where we live, sell used things they no longer need. These are things that other people may want to purchase. We had a short list of things we were looking for and hoped to purchase. We enjoy the discounts and we enjoy the time together.
But sometimes when we go out on this type of outing, we find ourselves squabbling over petty, little things. It doesn’t make sense as to why this happens. But it does. Maybe I think Steve is driving too fast or too slow, or whatever. And maybe he is displeased because he doesn’t want to go into a certain neighborhood that I want him to go… On and on it goes. Petty? Yes. The way we should act? No.
I’m thinking that perhaps you and your spouse may get into these types of situations. If you do, I’m writing this to suggest that you try to pray together first before you do something that can bring tension between you. (And if your spouse won’t pray with you, then you can petition God for both of you.)
Pray first Before Going into a Tense Place
Thankfully, we did pray together last week beforehand. And I have to tell you that it’s amazing how well we did together. Before we left, Steve took my hand and suggested we pray that God would make us to be peaceable with each other. What a novel idea!
It wasn’t until later in the day, after we had been home for a while that I realized how great we did together. I stood there amazed. I thought, “why didn’t we think of doing that at other times when we would be tempted to pick away at each other?”
So, I decided to write this blog to bring this to your attention. Prayer works, when we remember.
Prayer Works When We Go There
But there is another turn that I didn’t expect to happen before I wrote this. Steve and I spent some time this morning, working together on projects around the yard. And I have to confess; we argued about stupid little things. Our work styles are definitely different. And sometimes being “different” leads to tensions rising up, so we are tempted to squabble about petty things.
Sadly, we did. And you know what? We even prayed beforehand that God would help us NOT to go in this direction. Grrr!!! So why did this happen today and yet it didn’t happen last time?
I’m thinking that we didn’t pay attention to God’s promptings. I’m also thinking that it goes to show us all, that even under the best of situations and intentions, we sometimes fall and fail.
There are two lessons that come to mind. The first is the importance of praying first. That in itself, with God leading the way, can help us to “fall” less than we might have otherwise.
But the second lesson is, that it’s also important what we do next, if we DO fall. Upon recognizing that we aren’t doing what we should have done, we don’t nurse, rehearse, and continue to grab onto feelings and behaviors that we shouldn’t. Instead, we stop and pray. We confess our own failures (even if our spouse won’t confess his or hers), and work to reconcile our differences the best we can.
We all stumble and sin. But it’s important that WHEN we do, we don’t keep perpetuating our sinful ways, and instead stop, drop to our knees (or our hearts), and pray. We are to reconcile our differences with God and with each other. Confession, expressing sorrow to God and to each other, and repenting (intending NOT to repeat the offense, if we can), truly does work. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)
I can tell you that it works. Prayer works, as we look to God to help us. In between typing, I’m looking at my husband right now as he sits across the room. Right now we’re doing just fine. Squabbles? What squabbles? How I love this man… and how I love our God! Thank you Jesus for helping us to remember to pray!
— ALSO —
On a related thought, something that Fawn Weaver (from the “Happy Wives Club”) wrote, caught my attention. I’m thinking it might catch yours too. She talks about arguments in marriage where the “Law of Acceleration” takes over. This is where “we go from being hurt to angry, from disappointed to frustrated, and from sad to mad.” It’s something I believe we all need to recognize and consider. You might think about even posting a sign or two up somewhere that says, “BEWARE OF THE LAW OF ACCELERATION WHEN YOU’RE UPSET.”
To better understand what I mean by this, please read:
• The Day I Almost Yelled at My Husband
(How the Law of Acceleration in Marriage helps to keep your emotions in check)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.
If you have additional tips you can share to help others , please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.