Are You There, God? Day 4- A Healthy Marriage
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7, ESV)
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32, ESV)
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Colossians 3:19, ESV)
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Hebrews 13:4, ESV)
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:33, ESV)
Did you know that your marriage is supposed to be a picture of Christ and His bride (the Church—us!)? It’s a huge responsibility when we consider that our relationship with our spouse carries that much weight. Our marriage is a testimony, witnessed by those around us, and God is very invested and interested in it. In fact, we see from our first Scripture reference that our prayers can be hindered by the way we treat our spouse. How does that hit you?
It’s a little puzzling at times, this knowledge that God places two imperfect, sinful people together and asks us to reflect Christ’s love for the Church. We are often selfish, prideful, quick-tempered and irritable people, making it a challenge to be a good picture of His relationship with us—and yet we are without excuse. If you were to sit and reflect on just the last week with your spouse, can you think of situations which you handled improperly according to Scripture? Have you used “that tone” or maybe raised your voice or snapped when asked a question? Or maybe it’s the other end of the spectrum for you and your marriage has fallen to apathy—a marriage with little connection or care.
Whatever the case in your own marriage, if we want to have power in our prayer, we’ll need to right any wrongs in our relationship with our spouse. Failing to do so puts a curtain between our whispered prayers and God’s listening ear. The bottom line is this: how we treat our spouse has a direct impact on our prayers being heard and answered. This should cause us to give careful consideration to our marriage relationship and the resulting consequence in our prayer lives.
How, then, can we keep the air clear between us and God when it comes to our marriage? If we are to follow Christ’s example, we need to be willing to serve our mate and be a person of grace and forgiveness. We need to be compassionate and selfless people, putting their needs before our own. We won’t try to control or manipulate to get our own way. We won’t say unkind words when we’re stressed. We will empty ourselves for the good of our spouse—no matter what.
Marriage is under attack and has been since Satan began whispering in the ear of Eve in the Garden. But even more so in our modern culture, marriage is thought of as disposable once we decide we no longer wish to stay. Commitment is lacking and people give very little thought to the damage of divorce—even in Christian circles. Brothers and sisters, Jesus never leaves us, nor tires of us and casts us aside. He is faithful and He will never leave us or forsake us. He asks us to love this same way. In doing so, we portray His love for us—the way He designed marriage.
May each of us take stock of our own marriage and do whatever work is necessary to restore it to solid ground. May we be a spouse that God would call faithful, loving, serving—one who brings Him pleasure. May we bring honor to His name through our relationship with our spouse. In doing so, we give power to our prayers, removing any hindrance that could stand in the way of our fellowship with Christ.