If you haven’t had a chance to watch the Instagram live with the Grace K!DS staff, you can find it here.
The survey they discussed at that round table talked about how parents are in a place where we don’t really have the threshold for more in our lives. Some of us have reached capacity after a very unique year, and instead of feeling empowered by tips and tricks, we feel overloaded and burdened. And maybe even to an unhealthy place, where we feel that if we don’t do tips 1-10, we haven’t done our best as a parent or spouse or person.
After this year, I think we are all in a place of recovery. We need rest, but we don’t always know how to find it. We need more time for ourselves, but we can’t add more hours to our days. We need to embrace our communities and find support among one another, but we are afraid to ask.
So, as we discuss why our marriages matter, I don’t want to give you ten tips for a stronger marriage. Mainly because I do not claim to be any sort of expert in the area, and consider my husband and me newbies in the grand scheme of things. But I do want to encourage you with one thing. One thing that I believe with my whole heart will change the trajectory of your marriage and mine, give us deeper levels of intimacy with our spouses and empower us all to prioritize our marriages in ways we never have before.
You need to pray like your marriage depends on it because it does.
When I was a senior in college, I was doing my student teaching internationally and within two weeks of each other, our family dog passed away and my father had a heart attack and had to have surgery. I couldn’t be there and was devastated. But the Lord reminded me at that time, that prayer was the most powerful and effective thing I could do, and I can do that from anywhere.
When I left Texas, my boss, friend, and mentor Teresa gave me a book called The Power of a Praying Wife, (the same author also wrote The Power of a Praying Husband) and challenged me to always be in a posture of prayer for my husband and our marriage. And when we moved to North Carolina, my husband got a new job that was very stressful and that required frequent travel. We knew that this new rhythm would be different and challenging, but we knew this job was the Lord’s provision, and we were confident that He would give us everything we needed to navigate the change. And with Teresa’s challenge fresh in my mind and the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I’ve never prayed more for Jordan than in that season.
When we talk about it now that season has passed and he has a different job, we talk about how those prayers sustained him and me through a time that really could have distanced us.
The day after we found out we were expecting our son, my husband was let go from that job because the pandemic was causing the company to lose business. Prayer was the only thing that kept me from being riddled with anxieties about needing to find a job when the world felt like it was falling apart.
Still, honestly, there is a lot I don’t feel like I know or understand about prayer and I have a lot of questions and that is okay. The Lord is teaching me more and more every day about the power and effectiveness of prayer. So, while I don’t know all the specifics, I do know that prayer is:
- Something we must do as disciples of Christ. (Colossians 4:2, Philippians 4:6, Romans 12:12)
- Something that is powerful and effective. (James 5:13-16)
- Something the Holy Spirit helps us to do. (Romans 8:26)
So, even though I don’t know who’s reading this right now or what your marriage looks like, I want to pray for you and for me, and maybe even for marriages across the body of Christ, that we would be empowered by His love to love each other well.
Father, we recognize that marriage is good and beautiful and holy and hard. We recognize that it takes sacrifice and selflessness. We recognize that it is a relationship in which we give good gifts, and receive good gifts in return. We recognize that in marriage we can be hurt, and we can be the ones who do the hurting. We recognize that we are the ones who have the privilege and honor of holding up our spouse in times of trouble, and sometimes we are the ones who need holding up. And in all those things, we recognize that we need your help. We need your Holy Spirit to prompt us to selfless love. You are the only one that will hold our marriages together, in bonds of unity and grace.
I pray for those who are feeling disconnected from their spouse, that they would have the courage to pursue when they maybe aren’t feeling pursued. I pray that they would find space to spend time with you, feel connected to you, and allow the connectedness to the Holy Spirit to fuel connectedness with their spouse. I pray that they would eliminate distractions, find time for one another, and not give loneliness or isolation a foothold.
I pray for those who have never felt closer. I thank you that this is and can be the case for marriages. We praise you for the way you unite us in love and call us to peaceful unity. I pray that this would continue. That intimacy, transparency, and authenticity would be words that describe our marriages.
I pray for those who are in survival mode. Lord, this season has been unexpected. But, you are sovereign, in control of all things, and there to provide all that we need. For those who feel like they are barely hanging on, I pray they would find rest in you and comfort from the community. I pray they would have the courage to reach out and speak up about what they are feeling and find time to recharge.
I pray for those who need to seek forgiveness. IT IS SO HARD. Seeking forgiveness and admitting wrong takes a humility that can be painful at the moment, but provides so much freedom. I pray we would all be humble enough to admit when we are wrong, and that when we do, we would be met with your grace through our spouse. I pray your Holy Spirit would lead and guide those who need to seek forgiveness.
I pray for those who need to give forgiveness. I pray you would empower them to exude your grace. I pray that they would extend loving-kindness to their spouse. I pray we would all see how your gospel empowers us to forgive because we have been forgiven.
I pray for those struggling to give grace for small things. I pray they would take the time to understand why they are struggling themselves and would find clarity as they look to you to help them through all things. I pray we would be able to healthily let go of the things we can’t change or control, but not overlook the things that need to be talked about just to avoid conflict, and I pray your Holy Spirit would give guidance and wisdom to know the difference.
I pray for those who need to reconcile because of big things. Lord, I pray for those who are waiting for their spouse to be ready for reconciliation and for those working to be ready for it themselves. We recognize that we have been reconciled to you through your Son, and there is no greater gift, and we want to be able to mirror that this side of eternity. However, reconciliation requires the work of both parties and sometimes it seems that would take a miracle, but we trust in you and believe in you for the hope of miracles.
I pray for those who are thriving, Lord, that they would come alongside those who are not. That those in strong and healthy marriages would use the gift that they have been given to serve the body. I thank you that marriage is a relationship in which we can thrive and experience blessings from you.
I pray for those who are avoiding hard conversations with their spouse. I pray you would give them the courage to speak up and speak with grace. I pray we would see conflict as a chance to grow and that these hard conversations would be led and prompted by You.
I pray for those who are being challenged in growth, we recognize that growth is uncomfortable sometimes, but so so good. I pray that marriages would be strong and connected and unbreakable in the face of challenge.
I pray for those who long to grow more together, I pray you would give them that opportunity. That you would provide community to come alongside them and strengthen them, that they would pursue things that make them stronger together.
I pray for those navigating change or making big decisions, that they would feel unity in this season, that they would feel your presence and prompting in the decision-making process, that you would give them wisdom and wise counsel, and that they would grow together as they decide next steps of obedience.
I pray for whatever season, that you would meet them in a place of intimacy and communion with you, that you would reveal to them more of yourself, and that your Holy Spirit would speak words of truth and encouragement into their marriage.
Looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!
Tyler OJ Campus
Teresa Ator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bethanie Tayler: email@example.com
Tyler UB Campus
Max Heller: firstname.lastname@example.org
Molly Pontius: email@example.com
Debra Kirby: firstname.lastname@example.org