It's what we all dream about! It's what we wait for before we find "the one," and what we are sure we've got when we get married. It's what Valentine's Day is all about, right?!
But I've learned that true love is made, not found. You don't marry "the one," you become one through marriage. Or at least, that's God's design. But plenty of times, people drift away from each other, not towards oneness.
Today, my challenge for you is to pray for your marriage, that it will be characterized by true love. More specifically, that you and your husband will grow in the love that is defined by 1 Corinthians 13. So today I challenge you to slowly pray through those verses, specifically 4-8a. Take your time; pause on each word and phrase; let them soak into your mind; be still and let God speak to you through those words. Let God give you a vision for your marriage. Imagine what those things would look like played out in your life and in your marriage. Pray for those things. And know that there is power in that prayer! You are praying for God's will in your life, and You can be absolutely sure He wants those things accomplished in your marriage.
I'm going to say it one more time... :-) Go slow!! Meditate! If you only do one verse today, that's perfectly ok. Do another one tomorrow; take your time.
I am going to share with you the beginning of my prayer for my husband and me. I wrote this down as I was praying, as I always like to do when I'm praying through the scriptures. This makes me slow way down, and lets me solidify God's words to me further. This is very personal to me! Not only sharing my prayers, but sharing them about my marriage. But I hope it will help you to know what I mean by praying through the verses.
These verses are sooooo good! I have found myself praying so many things for my marriage that I certainly wouldn't have thought of if I were praying without the direction of the scriptures.
Father, thank you for your gift of love! You are the author of love. You created it, you are love. Without You, I am incapable of true love. Fill me with your love for my husband. Thank you for the love you have given him for me. Give me charity -- unselfish concern for Zack's welfare above my own.
Thank you for Your long-suffering with me! I have so many weaknesses, and You are so patient with me. I never feel condemnation from You. I only feel acceptance from You, even when You are pointing out something for me to change. Please give my marriage that kind of endurance. Help Zack and me to have a supernatural gift to continue on being patient as the other grows and matures. Help us to respond with total acceptance of the other person, even in times where we need to bring up difficult conversations. Help us to extend grace and mercy to each other. Thank you so much for what a patient person Zack is, and how long-suffering he has been with me for the last decade, with faults that I know are so frustrating at times.
...and is kind;
Oh Lord!! Help me to speak words of kindness! Please train my thoughts and my words to be uplifting to Zack. Please stop me when I am about to say something unkind. Help me to control my thoughts to think only good things about Zack, so that when I speak, kindness is natural. Give me Your thoughts about him; help me to see him as You do -- Your child whom You love and have great compassion for. Even when I am hurt or angry, please fill me with Your spirit and help me respond in kindness. Thank You for giving me a kind husband. Thank You that he so rarely says anything unkind to me! Thank You for showing me Your love through him!
...charity envieth not;
Keep us from envy, Father. Help us to be happy for each other in the good that we have. There are times I get jealous that he gets to leave home every day, to go interact with adults and have quiet. Help me just to be glad for him, and to appreciate him for the difficulties that brings as well. Envy causes division; help us instead to grow as a team, to see the good for one as a blessing for both of us.
...charity vaunteth not itself;
Lord, teach us to put the other first. Protect us from the message from the world that in a marriage you have to make sure your needs get met. Please teach us to seek the other's welfare above our own. Keep us from being demanding. Give us the desire to put our own needs aside when the other has a need. Help me to invest my thoughts into how I can make Zack's life easier and more fulfilling, instead of just dwelling on what I wish were different in my life. I know that this is the path to my own fulfillment anyway! Thank You for Your blessings in our marriage, and for the fruit that has grown from this attitude. Thank You for teaching us the ways to have a peaceful life full of love. Thank You for Your Word, and Your promises. Thank You for Your power to fulfill these things!
...is not puffed up,
Oh Lord, so often I think of myself as better than Zack! That I try harder, that I work harder, that I am more thoughtful, whatever it is. Things that aren't even true! Forgive me for that!! Please continue to show me how prideful that is, and to recognize it as the seed of untruth and to know where that is coming from. Teach me to revere Zack more and more, and to admire him, and lift him up in my mind, not myself. Help Zack to do the same; give us a marriage where we are each lifting each other up. Thank you for Your miraculous design!! It amazes me how when I lift him up, I feel more in love and content myself! Thank You for your wisdom. Teach us to follow Your way!
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly...
Lord, give us discretion in our other relationships. Keep us from interacting with other people in a way that would cause anyone to question the properness of that relationship. Give us wisdom and determination to protect each other's heart and feelings, and to never give any cause for gossip or embarrassment. Thank you SO much for the faithfulness of my husband, and for giving me a marriage where my heart is safe. Please protect us, and give us a strong commitment to continuing that way.
I could go on and on! And I will in my own private time, but I really encourage you to take these verses today and to begin praying them for your marriage. I hope you will be blessed as you do this.
Happy Valentine's Day to you all!