If You’re Married, Do This
Have you ever overhead a conversation where…
- Two people were simply on different planes?
- Each side had the sole purpose of advancing their own agenda?
- Where there was no attempt to actually listen?
Ever done it yourself?
Just because you both speak English doesn’t mean you speak the same language.
But if you’re married, and if you want to have the kind of life and love where the passage of time creates a stronger bond, a deeper intimacy, a more exciting purpose, and a more hope-filled vision for your future, then it really helps to speak the same language.
Let me explain.
A passage some couples choose for their wedding ceremony is Song of Songs chapter 8 (sometimes called Song of Solomon). In it there’s this line: “for love is as strong as death.”
In fact, it was chosen at a wedding I led this past weekend. It suggests love has an unyielding permanence.
How do we get that kind of love?
I think one of the hands-down top-of-the-mountain ways, is to do this one thing:
Pray with and for each other.
To some of you that’ll seem obvious. But to others, it’ll seem like an octopus on a park bench—wildly out of place.
- Maybe prayer isn’t a big part of your life
- Maybe you only do it by yourself
- Maybe your spouse is in a different spiritual place
- Maybe you’re just used to praying in larger church-y gatherings
But this one thing may have the single biggest impact on your marriage. More than sickness or health, more than being rich or poor.
Pray with and for each other. Regularly.
Maybe your spouse doesn’t share your faith. But just because you can’t do the ‘with’ doesn’t mean you can’t do the ‘for.’
Because you know what? Prayer makes a difference. As Karl Barth wrote, God “does not act in the same way whether we pray or not.”
And then there’s this:
- When you pray with and for each other… it’s hard to stay mad at your spouse for too long.
- When you pray with and for each other… you more easily see your own fault in situations.
- When you pray with and for each other… you are more likely to forgive.
- When you pray with and for each other… you cannot help but be your spouse’s biggest cheerleader and advocate.
- When you pray with and for each other… you open yourselves up to how God is going to grow you.
“for love is as strong as death”
So what helps you speak the same language?
That doesn’t mean that you and your spouse will always think exactly alike or have no problems. But it will evolve you. In a good way. Together. Your common language, your language of prayer, will, by default, grow you upwards into a vernacular of “faith, hope and love.”
- To bolster your individual prayer life with some advice from Martin Luther click here
- To bolster your daily focus on God sign up for my 1-minute daily devotional here
Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Hmm, this praying with and for my spouse thing… I’m not sure.’ But remember: There’s always work to do to prepare for a journey of ascending greatness.
Theologian R.C. Sproul once shared a story about he and his wife, Vesta. For his birthday he really wanted golf clubs. She was much more practical and got him a bunch of white shirts. He tried to hide his disappointment.
And when it came to her birthday, she, being a practical person, wanted a new washer and dryer. He got her a fur coat. This time she was the one who tried to hide her disappointment.
It might be hard at first. But the key to prayer is to do it whether you feel like it or not, and to be honest.
Pray with and for each other.
When you do so, the passage of time creates a stronger bond; a deeper intimacy, a more exciting purpose; and a more hope-filled vision for your future.
As Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer is not preparation for the work; it is the work.”
So do the work. And your marriage will feel less like work. And more like…