A couple that prays together, stays together. Who hasn’t heard of that phrase?I’m sure you’ve also heard it said many other ways, but for the purpose of this article–I’m sticking to the issue of prayer!Before my husband and I got married, we chose 1 Peter 4:12-13 as our wedding verse. I know it’s not the typical “love is…” verses, but then again we’re not the typical couple!Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13, NIV84).Marriage is a strange thing. It combines the physical sweet union with the spiritual. How does God fit into marriage? As long as a couple walks hand in hand with God and each other—they will be prepared. So why are we so easily surprised by trials?
Trials force us to pray.
Let’s be honest—if it weren’t trials—the first year of marriage would go a little something like this.
Dear God, please bless my sex life. Amen.”
I’m a newlywed, don’t judge me. I can say with full confidence that I have experienced more of God’s blessing during the (almost) first year of our marriage than trials. But we chose the above verse knowing full well that would not always be the case.
Trials teach us lessons.
Marriage is a lot of work. It combines the pride and sin of (now) two people. If you and your spouse come with open hands and humble hearts–then God will teach you what He wants you, or the both of you, to learn.
Your spouse is the mirror to which God can use–and very powerfully I might add–to speak directly to you.
Don’t be afraid. This is why you pray.
Prayer is a great first tool to learn as a newlywed–and even before you’re married–so you can learn how to stand up under the trials that will come your way.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13, NIV84).
Food for thought: If it wasn’t for prayer, we wouldn’t have an outlet to express to God what we need help with.
Trials create character in us.
This is the most exciting part. God loves us so much that He allows trials to grow our character. It’s because of his great love for us that he disciplines us.
I once read a small but oh-so wonderful book called Secrets of The Vine by Bruce Wilkinson. It helped me to navigate through one of the toughest trials of my life. Bruce asked three clarifying questions.
- Is God disciplining you? If yes, then once I repent–the trial stops.
- Is God pruning you? If yes, then once God cuts off what does not belong–the trial should stop.
- Is God asking you to simply remain? If yes, then the only thing left to do is remain. It’s one thing to know God’s promises and another to rest in them. Abiding prayer can do more than save marriages, it can heal hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.
Finally, trials lead to great joy.
I know what you’re thinking. How in the world do trials bring joy? One of my favorite Bible verses in all of Scripture proves this point.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10, NIV84).
- Do you want a strong marriage?
- Do you want a firm foundation in that first few years of marriage?
- Do you want to feel you and your spouse are steadfast?
Then you have to go through trials. It’s after the trials when the joy comes. Cry first, rejoice later.
The best advice I’ve ever received on the topic of prayer and spending time with God is this: If you’re bored, God’s bored. So, my advice is:
1. Find what works best for you as a couple. Maybe you don’t pray together every day. Maybe you read devotionals and your spouse prefers reading their Bible on an iPhone app. Maybe you like doing impromptu Bible studies in the living room or at a coffee house.
2. Find what works and be consistent. The more you allow God room to speak—He will! He’s faithful like that and He will do it (1 Thess. 5:24).