When we were planning our wedding I remember an older wiser woman shaking her head at me. She admonished me, “You young people spend more time planning your weddings than you do your marriage! Girl, start building up your marriage.”
That was wisdom I would come to pass on over and over again, and remind myself of often.
There’s nothing at all easy about marriage. Two people becoming one flesh sounds poetically beautiful, doesn’t it?
However, the reality is a bit more gritty than that. It’s also two strong wills, two sin natures in need of constant grace, two varying opinions, and two unique histories merging together to form one life.
There’s a lot of (ahem) refinement happening there. The whole two becoming one thing? It’s no joke, my friend.
What it is is a lot of hard work, prayer, and (eventually) a beautiful picture of the way Christ loves the Church.
Build It Up Before It Crumbles
Building a solid marriage is a lot like building a house. You need a foundation, walls, and supports before you can think about the fun stuff like decorating.
In a Christian marriage, the foundation is God. Everything you build has to start on Him, because apart from Him the two can’t become one.
Just like that wise woman said, we need to spend time planning for our marriages to succeed. The ideal time to focus on building up your marriage is before it starts to crumble.
A cute farmhouse dining table and adorable throw pillows do no good if your house is going to fall over during a thunderstorm. Likewise, having Mr & Mrs pillows on your bed, matching vanity tags on your cars, or matching coffee mugs is cute but it’s not going to hold you up when you are both stressed about finances, arguing over which family to spend Christmas with, or you’re both just stressed from life happening.
How Do You Support Your Marriage?
The best support I’ve ever found for marriage is prayer.
When I’m praying for my marriage, I’m actively submitting it to God. When I pray for my husband, God binds my heart even closer to his. When I pray for myself as a wife, God changes my heart and transforms my desires from selfish to bring them into alignment with Him.
Here are four pillar prayers for every wife to build:
- Pray for Unity With Your Man
Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT) give a beautiful framework with which to live as a married couple. It says:
“Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Make allowances for one another’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”
Pray that God sinks these words into your heart and allows you and your husband to walk this out every day in your marriage. Consider reading it aloud together with him each morning or evening.
- Pray for Agape Love for Your Man
Hold up! Isn’t “agape” the Greek word for God’s love for us? Yes, yes it is. And marriage was created to show the world just how beautiful Jesus’ love is for the Church, aka the Bride of Christ.
What exactly does that look like? Well, agape means to love, honor, pursue, prefer. It means that we actively elevate that person and care about them without selfishness. We want to be with them.
So when you pray, ask God to help you be a beautiful picture of submission and honor towards your husband.
This concept is under fire in the world today because it’s so misunderstood. I personally pray often for God to raise up a generation of young husbands and wives to live in such a way that it causes a paradigm shift.
- Pray to Desire Your Man Above All Others
This seems elementary, I bet. But most marriages have a season that is challenging and in that time it can be tempting to compare your husband to someone else.
If this happens, I pray you hear the alarms sounding and run for your prayer closet/war room.
My friend, pray fervently that God helps you desire your husband above any other relationship, be it with family, friends, or the men. But also pray that you don’t compare him to others. That gives satan, the enemy of your soul, too much room to destroy your marriage.
Guard your heart and daily seek God for the grace you need to prefer (agape) and desire your husband, no matter what season your marriage is in.
- Pray to Be His Helpmeet
Women, we have been given a tremendous gift and responsibility as the helpmeets to our men. It’s such a cherished gift we have been entrusted with!
Pray that God helps you speak words of grace and encouragement that elevate him when he feels crushed. Pray for ways to help him fulfill his purpose and make his vision a reality. Pray for God to give you a spirit of cooperation with him, so that you are working together and not against one another (even unwittingly).
So you’re praying for your marriage. Now what?
Simple: KEEP DOING IT.
Don’t stop. Ephesians 6:18 encourages us to “pray in the spirit at all times and on every occasion [and to] stay alert and be persistent in your prayers” (NLT, brackets mine). Every day, pray for your man, yourself, and your marriage.
And if you’d like some more resources, please check out Graceful Abandon’s Free Resource Library. There are prayer cards to tuck into your purse or hang on your war room wall, bookmarks prayers to use in your Bible or day planner, and more resources to encourage and equip you to live a life of grace.