How is Your Marriage?
Melissa Taylor

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7 (NASB)


A while ago, I wrote a devotion where I revealed portions of my past that continue to affect my marriage today. I followed that up with another one recounting the struggle I've had being intimate with my husband. I received hundreds of letters from women of all ages who could relate to what I had written. Because I also reported that my marriage was now thriving, I received a lot of questions and concerns:

"How did your marriage go from just surviving to thriving?"

"What if your husband won't go to counseling?"

"I don't love my husband anymore; what do I do?"

"My husband doesn't make me feel good; he doesn't even notice me."

"I'm exhausted from trying to be happy."

"All my husband wants is sex; I'm just too tired."

"What if your husband is not a Christian?"

"That's great for you, but what about me?"

I wish I was equipped to answer these questions. Wouldn't it be nice if we could go to Someone who could answer all of our questions for us? We can.

One thing that helped me was prayer. I know that sounds simple. I also know it's not. It can be difficult to pray and be satisfied with God's response. We need to be committed to receiving what God offers, not just asking for what we want.

For years, I spent my time praying for God to change Jeff, my husband. I blamed Jeff for me not feeling good about myself and my life. I thought:

If he would only pay more attention to me … then I'd be happy.
If he would just be more romantic … then I'd be fulfilled.
I wish he understood me.
He loves his work more than me.
I wish he would read the Bible more, or pray with me.

I bought the book, Power of a Praying Wife, certain if I began praying diligently for my husband everything would be fixed. I opened the book, ready to change my husband through prayer. Imagine my surprise when the first thing the author suggested was that I pray for myself! My intentions in reading this book was to change Jeff through my prayers, not to change me. That really opened my eyes. Maybe God didn't want to change my husband; maybe He wanted to change me!

This shifted my focus on what God could do in and through me. Instead of trying to figure out how His Word applied to everyone else (especially Jeff), I focused on how it applied to me. What a difference that made!

As I prayed for myself, I also began praying for Jeff. This time I stayed out of God's way and let Him work in both our hearts. There was not quick, but steady improvement. Looking back to when I first made the decision to focus more on my role in our marriage and less on Jeff's, and compare it to today, it is like night and day.

I am a wife, but even before that I am a child of God. I pray my marriage lasts forever, but I have no guarantee of that. I do have the guarantee that my relationship with Jesus will. That's the relationship I must work on first. Amazingly, when that one is right, the rest falls into place for me. It doesn't mean that all is well, but it means I am well.

The next time you find yourself yearning for more from your marriage and husband, think about this. Instead of asking, "How is my marriage doing?" or "How is my relationship with my husband?" Ask "How am I doing?" or "How is my relationship with Jesus?"

Dear Lord, help me to turn over all of the desires in my heart to You. Work on my relationships, beginning with me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Praying Through the Deeper Issues of Marriage: Protecting Your Relationship So It Will Last a Lifetime by Stormie Omartian

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

Visit Melissa’s blog

Application Steps:
Commit to having a daily quiet time with God each day this week.

Reflections:
How can I make a difference in my relationships?

Could it be me who needs to change?

Power Verses:
Galatians 6:9, "So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." (NLT)

Mark 11:24-25, "I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you've received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too." (NLT)

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20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so grateful for this encouragement, as usual it is relevant and it is just in time as you go through the difficulties of life...praise God that He is ever present and faithful...when you are focused on doing His will, He will enable you. He is indeed a living God, present in your todays, yesterdays and tomorrows.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the perfect devotion for today... God knows what's on my heart & is speaking through your words!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always say a prayer before my devotion time. This morning I prayed for a message to speak to me about my marriage. God is so good. I'm struggling in my marriage right now and had decided to separate from my husband until he asked if we could start praying together. Now this devotion. Thank you, Jesus, for knowing my heart.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too read that book hoping to change my husband and yes i was the one that changed!! I still need to constantly ask God for his guidance and what his will is for me.
Yes, God directs my path each and every day and I am so blessed. I thank him each and every day for sending his Son Jesus Christ to be my saviour!
This topic is one many of us married women do not like to face.
Thank you

Blogger Melissa said...

Hi, I am Melissa Taylor the author of this devotion. Your comments have encouraged me so much!!!! I often hesitate to share so many details of my life, especially the junk, but God is so good. It helps me to know that in sharing the painful and not so pretty parts of my life that others can be helped and encouraged. God Bless you and God Bless your marriages!

Love in Christ,
Melissa Taylor

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melissa, for being couragous enough to share this! I, too, had a rough time in my marriage and found what you said to be true. I started praying that God would make me the wife my husband needed. When this prayer became my focus our relationship started to change, slowly but surely. God is good all the time!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much for speaking with such honesty from your heart. You made it so real for me. It was like looking at my own life and relationship many times, except you helped me put words to it for the first time. Thanks for reminding me to put the focus where it really and truly needs to be.....ON ME!!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

may the LORD, our GOD, "fireproof" our marriages and may we all seek to have not just a covenant marriage, but a covenant relationship with OUR FATHER.
contract- take for one's self
covenant- the giving of one's self
love isnt an emotion. it is a decision that requires action. He loved us, though we are unworthy. we have all "spat in HIS face". LORD, forgive us and teach us to love as YOU love. though your marriage may seem impossible, remember that all things are possible with GOD. he healed ours and is still teaching us what a marriage really is almost 20 years after the "i do's". it is beautiful on the other side with HIM as the head. i searched long and hard for a way out. HIS WORD kept telling me "no". i pleaded and reasoned, the answer was still "no". we were past the point of argueing to indifference. 2 people just living in the same house. i too prayed for GOD to change him, but realized HE was working on me. training me to go to HIM. pour my heart out to HIM. search for HIM. it was tough "going through", but God never left me. my husband is the most Godly man i know now. GOD changed both of us. i look back and see how the deceiver was working. that is why satan fought so hard because he knew God wanted to use us. that is why he wants to destroy yours too. he despises Godly marriages and families. dont give in. let God work a miracle in your marriage as He has in ours. you may feel that you cant forgive or be forgiven, but through HIS power you can. isaiah 40:31, numbers 6:24-26, psalm 5:3

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read that book too! And boy did it change my perspective on myself and it changed my prayer life concerning my husband. "The Power of a Praying Wife" is an excellent book!!

Fireproof, the movie, had a challenge book in it called "Love Dare". The day after my husband and I watched the movie we found the book "Love Dare" at Wal-Mart. Both my husband and I thought it was a great tool at teaching unconditional love through the movie and wanted to do it for ourselves. Before buying the book, we both thought our marriage was doing great, but there's always room for improvement. :) You can find "Love Dare" at www.christianbook.com as well.

Blogger Melissa said...

To the Anonymous comment right above this one,

I just wrote a devotion this weekend titled "The Love Dare". I don't when it will run, but I agree, it is a marriage changing book. My husband did not do it, but I did...in fact I'm in the middle of it right now. It changed my perspective on love from Day 1 of reading it. Thanks for sharing about that!

Blessings,
Melissa

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa. I am struggling in my relationship with my teenage daughter and have been using the book by the same author "Power of a Praying Parent". Your guidance can be used to aid in saving even parent-child relationships. I realize that in order for my relationship to improve with my daughter I have to allow God to change me and my reactions to my daughter. I continue to cover my daughter in prayer, but I leave out what I believe needs to change and pray that God would continue to change us both and grow our relationship.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devotion. It is helping to cement in my mind something that God has already been impressing upon me in the past few weeks. My husband and I have been working through some junk in the past couple of months. He confessed to me some issues that he needed to work on, and I thought that was the end of that. Then God quickly began to show me that *I* had a lot to work on myself!! I knew I had some things I wanted to work on, but I didn't realize how bad they were, or how much they affected my husband. In the end, I have realized that my husband's issues were largely brought on because of MINE! Wow, that was a humiliating. Thank God for His work in both our lives, and by His grace, our marriage is already stronger than ever!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

great message!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, am a wife that spent too many years holding a grudge against my husband that i kept waiting for the Lord to change. unfortunately i had my family and even some pastors wondering how 'i could put up with it'. WE did go for counseling at a time when our marriage was like some of yours on this blog: just sharing a home.
After 3 sessions (the first 2 the counselor let my husband talk) the lady-led to us by the Lord Himself, spoke directly to me with discerning words from the Lord Himself. She said (i'll never forget!) 'you have become bitter.'
ME? Bitter?
So she gave me some 'homework'. I was to make a list of all the things that bothered me about my husband. This list went into an envelope and into a drawer. Then i was to get a picture of him i especially like and write I Cor. 13:4-8 on the back of it. Put it by my bed.
Each day i was to bring my 'list' of petty things (and they were) before the Lord in prayer asking forgiveness that i had allowed these silly things to veil my love for my husband. And to ask the Lord to replace them with love. THEY were NOT going to go away, I was just going to find a tolerance for them thur His power and provision!
Then at bedtime (if not throughout the day) i was to take the picture and pray ICor over my husband and our relationship.
*An important part of this, above 'the list' and the picture, was that i was to OFFER MYSELF to the Lord for His change in my heart and mind!
There were days where my ability to do this was like the size of a mustard seed, but i sincerely, thoughtfully DID give myself over so He could remove the bitterness!
I cannot tell you exactly how and when He did a miracle in our marriage, but He did! It was as tho one day i woke up and have a refreshed, revitalized love for him! I apologized to him for my attitude, my expectations of his fulfilling me, and time blossomed our relationship!
We just celebrated our 20th Anniversary! For many years i have shared our story with women friends that find their marriage boring, feel they should have married someone else years before, etc...the LIES the enemy wants them to believe.
The Lord doesn't walk us thru these exercises of our faith that He won't use them in our lives to help others!
This is a long, beautiful story and i have tried to hit the highlights and important aspects.
But i agree, it's WORTH falling before the Lord and asking Him to help! it's WORTH falling before the Lord and surrendering your heart, attitude, mind, bitterness-whatever you can call by name-to Him!
Blessings, sisters!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharig this message & encouragement. I too am struggling in my marriage. I have been praying for the Lord to keep me in His will and out of His way as He works things out. This has been a hard thing for me to accomplish. I have a "fix it" personality. I find myself getting in His way more times than I want to admit. My prayers this morning were for Him to show me His will and way. I have to keep seeking His will and stop trying to tell Him how I think it should be. He knows the past, present and future; therefore He knows far better how to work things out for our good when we trust Him. I'm so thankful we have such an awesome and forgiving Lord and Savior who forgives my many sins and stumbles along the way. May God bless each of you.

Anonymous K. Martin said...

Thank you for sharing and encouraging with your testimony. I too have had struggles with my husband and how he relates to me and how I want him to relate to me. But God is good. I was given "The Power of a Praying Wife" as a wedding gift. And have given it as a wedding gift. It's an awesome book. It helped me to see that instead of spending so much time and energy trying to change my husband, I needed to focus on my relationship with God. Through seeking the Lord, the prayers and encouragement of others, quiet time with God, I'm in a better place. I have submitted myself, husband, and marriage to God. The only One who is able to work things out for His good.
To all those who are struggling, don't lose heart; don't give up. God loves you with an unyielding love. Pour out your heart to Him, look to His word for guidance, and wait for your help.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow.... I've struggled for many years in a drama filled marriage and have recently decided to separate from my husband. This devotion provides me hope that we will make it through our separation and reconnect. God will have the victory. I'll confess that I have removed God from his rightful place. The words in the devotion reinforced that I need to focus on my relationship with Him and only Him. Thanks Melissa for your transparent words and for being real.

Blogger Heidi said...

I really liked that book, The Power of a Praying Wife. It has really openned my eyes to things. It is true though everything you have said. Thank you so much for this encouragement!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I read you devotion yesterday, I really didn't know how to feel. Then last night I watched the move "fire proof". My husband and I have been seperated for 6 months now, and I've been so frustrated because I haven't seen any change. Maybe it's me whose suppose to be changing. Thank you!!

Blogger faithandhope said...

I was so encouraged by this devotion that I wanted to share my story. I am a wife and mother that has prayed for my family and renewal in our home. This journey has brought some painful things. I have for months now trying to forgive my husband for an affair that took place last year. My initial reaction was to leave but the Lord said to stay. And since that day it has not been easy but my faith even though at times have waivered remains in the Lord. There have been plenty of days that I have just wanted to give up on my marriage and it is then the Lord reminds me of the promise He has for my family. The same day of your devotion that morning I was on my knees praying to the Lord to help me and my family and I prayed for a reminder of his promise and that is when I read your devotion. I will not give up because I know the Lord has great things for my family and the story I will have to share with others. Though this journey has not been easy I can see where the Lord has been putting me to the fire to purify me like silver. The Lord has been dealing with me and trying to mold me into the wife that my husband needs and I can see where the Lord is dealing with my husband. For anyone else who is going thru something as painful I wanted to let them know that Satan does not want our marriages to work and he will do anything to cause your marriage not to survive. There have been times I have fallen for his lies and tricks and it has caused a set back in our progress but also that is when the Lord comes in and makes it work to the benefit for our marriage. This has been a very slow progress but I have seen the difference in me and my husband. I know I have forgiven my husband but it is so hard to forget. I pray that the Lord will show me how to forgive others involved in this situation. I know I have not reached to that point but I can see where the Lord is dealing with me and sometimes that can be very painful but the end result will be so joyous. I know the Lord will deliver my family from this and renew our home. Patiently enduring to obtain the promise. Hebrews 6:15

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