Adultery is something that happens to other people. I never dreamed that it would find its way into our marriage story.
I certainly never imagined that it could be me who stumbled.
In spite of early convictions to never stray, I’d misjudged the strength of the enemy of our souls who constantly prowls. He moves with stealth precision, looking for someone to devour, for unsuspecting souls who think they’re immune to temptation.
I gave him an easy target.
That was over a quarter century ago. By the grace of God, our marriage survived. In fact, it did more than survive, it has thrived and provided my husband, Mike and I with more than three decades of strength, joy, satisfaction, and partnership.
Surviving Infidelity in Marriage
In one of the most miserable seasons of my life, I’d lost all hope for our marriage and asked Mike to move out of our home. He obliged. The pain of separation was colossal, bringing a hollow emptiness where despair ricocheted rampantly.
God met us there, in those long weeks of anguish.
Alone in separate beds, without the other knowing, we each turned to prayer. I was untrained and uncomfortable in intercession. Mike was rusty at best. But in the dark of night, we cried out, asking God for His direction and help. We prayed for our marriage, for each other, and for healing within our own hearts.
When we mustered courage to look into each other’s eyes, we recognized that neither of us were ready to call it quits. Over the weeks and months that followed, the Lord helped us re-establish a friendship and even find laughter. We began attending church and responding to our Savior as He drew us closer to Himself.
Eventually, we started to feel safe in each other’s presence. Our cracked foundation of trust was gradually mended by rekindled companionship and devotion.
Confessing the Secret
But I still held a secret that threatened to destroy it again in an instant. The affair had been over for years by this time, but God was actively pressing in, bringing conviction and prompting me to confess.
Today Mike and I share our story in the #IStillDo marriage series, Contending for the Covenant. It’s a truly remarkable collection of hope and encouragement for marriage. I hope you’ll take the time to read about our journey and many others who have flourished through the fiery trials of marriage.
Marriage is difficult but it can become easier with deliberate action and intentional practices. One of the practices I recommend most when seeking a stronger marriage is prayer.
Last summer, I released a prayer devotional with a specific emphasis on praying for your marriage. I’ve heard from a number of readers who immediately saw changes in their own hearts and eventually experienced improvements in their relationships. That’s because prayer is powerful and effective. (See James 5:16).
Prayer is Powerful and Effective
When we speak to the Lord, when we pray, God’s Word tells us that He hears (see Psalm 55:17). And not only does He hear, but He takes action. I think of the blind man who cried out to get the attention of Jesus as He walked by (see Luke 18:35-42). Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” When the blind man asked for sight, the Lord granted his request.
Make no mistake, Jesus already knew what the man desired, but He wanted to hear it from his own mouth. Just as we often know the needs of our own children before they ask, we prefer to hear it from their own mouths. We wish to discuss it, to spend time with them, to hear their hearts, and to deepen our relationship with them. I believe God feels the same way. He adores when we seek Him in prayer and share the burdens and the joys of our hearts. He cherishes our attention and the ways that we draw near to Him. Then He, in turn, draws near to us.
Because God unleashes His power when we pray, we must keep seeking, keep asking, and keep petitioning for the needs of our man. Our prayer helps our husband. While he’s away at work, or on the golf course or traveling for business, or coaching little league, our prayers sustain him. They encourage and strengthen him—whether he knows that we’re praying or not.
I regularly pray Colossians 1:9-10 for Mike. That portion of Scripture says, “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,” (NIV).
I pray it like this:
“Lord, help Mike know and understand your will. Give him all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that he can walk in ways that are pleasing to you. Help him bear your good fruit in all he does and grow in His knowledge of you.”
Your prayers, too, are powerful and effective, but be prepared. Before you begin to notice changes in your husband, you’ll most certainly see changes in yourself. You’ll become more patient and even begin to feel less annoyed by those personality quirks that used to drive you nuts. Allow the Lord to mold and shape you and as you strengthen your discipline of prayer you’ll experience joys and blessings that you never imagined.
You’ll also continue to experience hardship. Just because we draw close to God doesn’t mean that He makes our path simple and easy. He desires that we lean on Him through both the easy and challenging parts of life. So don’t grow weary of doing good. Set your mind to pray, then do it—no matter what. Don’t give up.
I’m praying for you as you deepen your prayer walk, asking that the Lord gives you perseverance and that you won’t grow weary of doing good.
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I don’t believe there’s any person in the world who knows my husband as I do. There are many who are close to him, several who spend hours each day with him in a work environment. Family members adore him as much as me, but each shares different types of relationship with him.
I’m the one who best knows the nucleus of his personality, his drive, his insecurities, strengths, and challenges. He shares his heart with me, casts vision, and ponders dreams. I can look in his eyes and sense from his tone of voice when something is bothering him, or when he’s overjoyed or angry. He lets his guard down when he’s home with me and invites me to partner with him in mulling over circumstances and decisions.
Therefore, it stands to reason that I can pray for him like no one else. I have the role and ability to seek the Lord’s help in areas that no one else understands. I can discern areas where he’s challenged by more than situations—where the enemy might be trying to gain access or shoot fiery darts in his direction. When I pray on his behalf, I can share a level of closeness and familiarity.
Mirror and Strengthen Intimacy
Praying for my husband mirrors the intimacy that I have with God as well as with my life-long partner. Through prayer, I can also stand in the gap for him and resist the schemes of the evil one over his life. This strengthens my intimacy with the Lord and in a supernatural, spiritual sense, the closer I draw to the Lord, the more intimate our marriage relationship becomes.
I enjoy praying Ephesians 6:10-12 which says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places ” (ESV).
I pray it like this
“Father, please strengthen Mike in You and in Your might. Help him put on the full armor of God every day so that he can resist and stand firm against the schemes of the enemy. We know, Lord, that our battles are not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces in unseen realms. Equip him to walk in ways that are pleasing and honoring to you.”
When we draw near to the Lord, He draws near to us and we can draw closer to one another as husband and wife. We mirror our intimacy with the Lord through prayer and strengthen our intimacy with each other.
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When we look back, it’s easy to see where we went wrong. Years ago when Mike and I nearly lost our marriage, each of us were so wrapped up in advancing our own careers that we neglected one of our most important gifts: each other.
At the time, we couldn’t see it. We believed that we had a firm grip on things at home and were successfully balancing our careers, our relationship, and the needs of our kids. I’m embarrassed to say we were one of those supercilious couples that sincerely believed we had it all together. And that’s when the bottom fell out of our marriage.
We began taking each other for granted. We wrongly believed we could let go of the wheel and let our marriage drive itself. Each of us stopped expressing appreciation or even acknowledgment of one another. While we were far too close to the situation to see it, we’d allowed our relationship, which should have had a place of prominence, to slip out of position. We let other things capture our focus.
It’s not only work and striving toward separate goals that can take our attention off our husbands. It can be valuable activities and things we share that can misalign our priorities. Such as engagement with children’s activities, or caring for elderly parents, or work out schedules, hobbies, or social calendars.
In this current blog series, we’ve emphasized several urgent reasons to pray for our husbands. So far, we’ve discussed the needs of softening our heart toward him and building him up with our words and actions. Today’s discussion takes us to the third point: giving our husband precedence.
Give Your Husband Precedence
No, we can’t always give 100% of our time to our marriage. That’s not reasonable. And God has assigned us multiple roles and purposes as we live our lives. But we can find ways to actively communicate and express how essential our husband is to us. We can do more than tell him he’s important. We can show him.
One incredible way to do that is to pray for him, often and regularly both while he’s with you and when he’s not. Then find subtle ways to let him know you did.
A go-to verse that I use as I pray for Mike is Psalm 37:30-31 which says,
“The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom;
his tongue speaks what is just.
The instruction of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not falter” (HCSB).
I pray it like this:
Lord, let Mike’s tongue speak with wisdom and share with is just. Cement your instruction in his heart so that his steps will not falter.
By dedicating the time to pray for him and letting him know that I’ve prayed, I am giving my husband honor and priority and establishing the importance of our marriage. You can do likewise. 🙂
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Mike and I often spend time with couples who banter back and forth with one another. It seems good-natured and humorous, until a critical comment stings. It’s evident when watching facial expressions and body language. It’s confirmed by a change in tone and a shift in mood.
Those are the moments when I think, “I’ve been there.” Words can wound, and I’ve certainly inflicted my share of injuries with a sharp tongue.
Years ago, while socializing with other couples, I’d jab and criticize my husband with jesting and sarcasm. But there was truth to my complaints. I knew it. Mike knew it too. Criticizing our spouses in social settings is a habit that many of us fall into.
The Lord began to show me how I was tearing my husband down with my words. I started to notice the look in his eyes when I’d jab. Or his defensive posture when I’d deliver a sarcastic remark. I suppose that’s why I’m so sensitive all these years later when I see it in others.
Build Others Up
The Bible teaches that we should not let “any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV).
I used to believe that meant that I shouldn’t swear or use foul language. But unwholesome talk also includes sharp words, coarse jesting, sarcasm, and critical remarks. I realized that by poking “fun” of my husband and tearing him down, I was behaving in opposition to this Biblical instruction.
I had a hard time breaking the habit at first, but as I began to conquer my tongue, we started to have a better experience in our social settings. They were more relaxed, with laughter and fun flowing freely. Our friends even seemed to sense a difference and soon I noticed that they weren’t jabbing each other as often, either. Our alone-time connection saw improvement, too. This one change in my behavior had an impact far beyond what I would have imagined.
Why is this urgent? Because the world tears us all down. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to others, measuring our abilities with unrealistic expectations. As wives, we are given the role and responsibility to show honor and respect to our husband. Building up at home is a noble calling we’re wise to not forsake.
When I pray for Mike, I thank the Lord for the countless blessings he brings to our family. I can share my heart—just between God and me—and express all the ways I see him reflecting Jesus in his life.
There has never been a time when I’ve mentioned to Mike that I prayed for him that he wasn’t genuinely grateful. And when I pray for him aloud while we’re together, he can see my respect for him in a new light. I would never say things to the Lord that I don’t mean with my whole heart. As I earnestly share with the Lord, my words do as Ephesians 4:29 instruct – they build him up according to his needs and benefit him as he listens.
Consider praying 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 which says, “I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace given to you in Christ Jesus, that by Him you were enriched in everything—in all speech and all knowledge. In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (HCSB).
Pray it like this:
Lord, I thank you for _____ (your husband’s name) and the grace he has in Christ. Enrich him, Father, in all he does so that he does not lack in any spiritual gift. Strengthen him in all things so that his way will be blameless. Help him see the fellowship he has with you and the calling you’ve placed on His life.
As you pray, watch with expectation at what the Lord will accomplish in your marriage.
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Wouldn’t it be great if we could reach a healthy, joyful place in marriage then put our relationships on auto-pilot and coast through a lifetime of togetherness and agreement?
Instead, marriage is one of the most difficult relationships in life. It’s challenging—sometimes agonizing—to keep a marriage on track. We experience highs and lows, periods of agreement, and seasons of head-butting. Since we live in an imperfect world with genuine struggles and enticing temptations, it’s safe to say that nothing is automatic.
But one thing I know—the effort to hold together in wedlock is #worthit. Even with as much work as it requires, I wouldn’t trade the sense of wholeness, purpose, and partnership that marriage offers.
Surviving in a Disposable World
Ours is a “throw away” society. If the microwave dies, we buy a newer, fancier brand and dispose of the worn-out model. When our car needs expensive repairs, we’re apt to trade it in. And sadly, when marriages encounter troubled times, our social norms point to giving up and finding a new spouse who’s easier to live with.
But God designed marriage as an unbreakable relationship. It’s the ultimate example of covenant love between Christ and the church. Therefore, God provides all we need to thrive (not just survive) within the institution of marriage. Strength, joy, satisfaction, and fulfilling partnership are ours to enjoy.
When we invite the Lord into our marriages, we can embrace the hope of Jesus Christ. He actively redeems, heals, and restores—if we allow it. Mike and I have learned that surrender to God and His ways bring His partnership. He alone can provide and protect our relationship, walking alongside us through every season and struggle of life. He cares for us, for our marriage, for our family, with tender mercy.
I wish we’d known that years ago. The road to discovery was long and painful, plagued with near-fatal mistakes. To reach a point of surrender, we had to walk an excruciating journey. May I encourage you to learn from our mistakes?
Pray for Your Husband
There’s a simple way to reach a point of surrender, to avoid some of the perils and pitfalls of marriage, and grasp the help of Jesus. If you have a desire to flourish in your family life, there is an urgent need for you to pray. Immediately. Begin right this minute and never stop.
I can almost hear you moan. If your marriage is badly wounded, it’s a challenge to find the heart, or the words to pray. It’s one thing to pray for your marriage. But taking it a step further and praying for your husband can be a lot to ask, since you may not like him very much right now.
And that leads us to the first of many compelling reasons to do it anyway:
Praying for your husband softens your heart toward him.
As you talk to the Lord about your husband, you’ll begin to see a shift if your view of him. The Lord will help you see your spouse from a heavenly perspective, as someone who was created in the image of God. It’s a supernatural experience, yet one that happens slowly and gradually. Over time your heart will soften and you’ll feel less prideful and resentful toward him. If you stick with it long enough, you’ll see your prayers transition from “change him, Lord!” to “help me love Him as You do, Father.”
Here’s a good place to start. As you lift your husband in prayer today (dare I say right now?) ask for his peace. John 14:17 says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful” (HCSB).
Pray it Like this:
Father, fill _____ (your spouse’s name) with peace. Not peace from the world or circumstances, but with the peace that comes from following wholeheartedly after You. Keep his heart free from trouble or fear and consume it with Your great love in Jesus’ name.
I hope you’ll join me over the next several posts. I look forward to sharing four more urgent and inspirational reasons to lift your husband in prayer.
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