Prayers – the good, the bad, and the ugly

Earlier this week I was clearing a backlog of marriage prayer requests on The Marriage Bed. There are a few types of pray requests I see repeatedly:

  • Ask God to change/fix my spouse.
  • God, cause my spouse to forgive my sins (my many, many sins) against him/her.
  • God, show my spouse I have really changed this time.
  • Show my spouse I am not _____ the way s/he thinks I am.
  • Make my spouse leave the other man/woman and come back to me.

I see three glaring problems there – requests for God to violate free will, a lack of responsibility for one’s own actions, and a failure to ask God for self-change and self-correction.

I recall one rather long request from a woman who said her husband thought she was controlling. She didn’t see it, and wanted him to stop seeing her that way. She then when on to say a number of things that seemed very controlling. I appreciate that she could not see it, but rather than asking God for the ability to see herself clearly, she asked God to make her husband not see her as she was. I don’t think God will answer that prayer, and her failure to be open to the possibility that He might want to show her she is controlling robbed her of the chance to grow.

My suggestion: when you pray about your marriage, or your bride, always assume that you don’t see the situation the way it really is. Also, assume you don’t see yourself or your bride 100% accurately. Then give God the opening to improve your understanding, and to lead you to any correction or change that you need. Even when you are sure you are right, and she is wrong, leave an opening for God to change your perspective

Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:

How Often Do You Touch Your Spouse?: I am all about more touch, so this great post about the process of becoming more touchy with one’s spouse jumped out at me.

6 Ways to Kick Boredom Out of the Bedroom: Some great open ended ideas.

How To Break Free Of Marital Gridlock: Corey continues to stimulate and challenge my thinking. What a blessing to read something from someone with a different view point.

The Danger of Flirting: Sure you know it’s dangerous, but do you think about it? Do you know how dangerous it can be?

Loving a Woman’s Body: This one is for the women – “What if we loved our bodies like our husbands do?”
What are the Best Divorce Predictors?: What is the best predictor of divorce? “the number-one predictor of divorce is the habitual avoidance of conflict”. If you are a confilict avoider, you need to read this one!
Outlast Your Marriage’s Stupid Phase: Great title, and some great thoughts.

2 Comments on “Prayers – the good, the bad, and the ugly

  1. Early in my marriage, I regularly prayed that I could carry out Ephesians 5:25-33 more faithfully. It transformed my marriage, but it took time. Its the concept of Matthew 7:3-5.

  2. I know this is an old posting, but I get behind sometimes and check my newer emails before getting to the old. Anyway, I appreciate the points that you made and in general they are correct. As the leader in my family I have learned that I need to pray for my wife, and that may be to pray for growth in areas that she would never pray for. I prayed that God would make her less materialistic because I saw that it was a problem. As long as she stayed that way her relationship with God would suffer. I happened to be better in this area than she was and was therefore able to see that it needed to change. I also knew that there was absolutely NOTHING that I could do regarding this. So, I prayed to God and left it to Him. He answered that prayer. There are times and situations now that I am more materialistic than she is, and I have to humble myself and pray for forgiveness as she has helped me see that I am holding onto possessions as well. Our relationship is much stronger as well (even though I didn’t realize how strained things were because of that one issue), with her acceptance of me even though I don’t make more money than I do (in fact I make considerably less than she does). The list of prayers were I am sure purely self motivated, but we men need to embrace our position of leaders not to put a thumb on our wives, but to guide them to a closer and more powerful relationship with Him. Only by embracing our role can we grow closer to God and gain His power in leading our family… when we are weak then we are strong. By turning our spouses and childrens spiritual shortcomings over to Him, we can see power in our families as God draws us all closer. It doesn’t violate free will any more than Paul’s conversion did. God will do radical things to get our attention and make the changes that are necessary, but in the end it still is our decision to follow or not. Our lives were changed radically and now people think that we are radical because we are willing to trust Him with the safety of our lives even though we only got to this point because He has proven His faithfullness previously (I see a rabbit trail, but I’m not going to chase it).

    This is my first comment, so I just want to say how much I appreciate your site, and daily emails. You have helped me see the need and some inventive ways to grow closer to my wife and be closer to the spiritual leader that God intends for me to be. Sometimes it’s just a reminder of things I know, but have been falling away from, but that makes it so much more important to implement now before it becomes a problem. Thank you for your ministry.


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