This summer, I have been writing about the love in our lives…and making room for more. More love. We are expressing more love for the Father, and we are taking time to receive more of the love of God in our lives. Now, I want to look at loving the people in our lives. For me, that starts with loving my husband. Let me preface this by saying that we have never had a storybook marriage. My sister has a sign above the doorway in her den that says,
“We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”
I always said that my sign would probably say,
“We may not have our act together, but together…
we have an act.”
Go ahead and picture it, add a bluegrass country background, and get Joaquin and Reece to sing the soundtrack. We are the Johnny and June of homeschool parenting, believe it or not. When it’s good, it’s really good and when it wasn’t, well… you get the picture.
I just don’t want you to think I’m sitting up on some gated community patio sipping lemonade in a designer outfit with my hair and nails done up to perfection, trying to tell you something that I haven’t actually lived. This is my life. It is real. It is gritty as the sand in a Smoky Mountain creek bed, but I do believe that God has cultivated a pearl out of the grit that wasn’t there before.
When I look at loving my man, I look to Jesus. I have heard it said, “God made me, and He knows how to fix me.” I believe the same is true for our relationships–especially the second most important one in our lives. God knows how to fix what’s broken in your life and marriage. Believe it or not, He also knows how to cultivate joy in that same relationship.
So, how does that happen, exactly? It’s not a magic fix. But, it is a “Promise.” It takes a little work…and faith…and patience. Sound familiar? (Hebrews 6:10-12) Here’s what I would tell my 12 years ago self, fixing to head into a rip-roaring bluegrass rollercoaster:
1. Be Quick to Forgive…
God sees it all. He knows what the outcome will be in every situation, but it’s kind of like I tell my kids:
If you try to “take care” of the problem your way, then I won’t be able to take care of the problem the right way.
When we choose to forgive the person we are married to (that means we lay down our “right” to respond or lash out), then we are leaving room for the Holy Spirit to free us and take care of the situation. Forgive. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Live free.
2. Honor Him.
Looking for little ways to honor your marriage partner is actually honoring God. It’s not huge. It’s not complicated. But, it makes a really big impact. At my house, I know that most mornings my husband will need a shirt ironed for work, and every morning he will appreciate a travel mug of coffee sitting on the kitchen counter. Those are two things I try to do every day to bless him as he goes out the door, no matter what. Ask your husband what he needs or do something little that he will appreciate every day. It makes a difference.
3. Pray for Your Kingdom Man
The most impact of anything that I have ever done in my marriage has been PRAYER!!! I have read and prayed aloud through Stormie Omartian’s The Power of a Praying Wife. I have read through the Scriptures and said them aloud with his name in them. This summer, I picked up a book that my mother bought him for Father’s Day 3 years ago. (Fun fact: My husband would rather drop off the face of the earth than read a men’s self-help or marriage book. He is a Mitford fan!)
Tony Evans’ Kingdom Man is packed with treasure about who God made your husband to be. I began dissecting this book and praying & confessing aloud the principles of God’s Word over my husband. (In my next post I’ll throw in a couple of these prayer confessions.)
All of this prayer has made a huge difference! I remember reading a Dutch Sheets book that likened prayer to little sticks of dynamite, each one charging the wall of our circumstance. They all add up!
Praying the Scripture over my marriage has really softened the rough edges of our relationship, smoothed over our differences, and shined up our love life! I can truly say that we are two new creations in Christ!
How about you? Maybe you are smooth sailing in your marriage and haven’t hit any bumps in the road. Maybe you are a 25th anniversary plus veteran! (If so, please add some comments for the rest of us!) Maybe you are not currently in a relationship and can store up some wisdom from God’s Word for later (or apply these principles to bless others in your life). Go ahead and comment! Be a blessing today!