A couple of weeks ago I had emailed back and forth a couple of times with a Christian husband named Link. In one of his emails he told me about a time in his marriage where he prayed for 5 specific things for his marriage and how God had answered his prayers. I asked him if he would write up his story so all of us could learn from his experience. We have touched on prayer a few times and statistics point out that even the strongest Christian men often fail to consistently pray with their wife. I hope you will read this story and see how powerful your prayers can be.
My wife is a great person and I am a much better person today because I married her. She is a woman of God. She prays. She reads the word. She is gifted prophetically, in song writing, in discipling other women, and in many other ways. Still, there were some things about her that I had wished for a while would change and some dynamics about our relationship that I couldn’t quite put my finger on that needed to change.
Occasionally, when my wife got PMS or just irritated, we’d argue. She’d get frustrated with me. Sometimes she’d give me these long lectures about how I needed to improve as a husband, sometimes during PMS and sometimes not. Some of what she said was true, but she could also be too critical.
At times I’d point out that I didn’t like her tone of voice or attitude, but she didn’t see a problem with it. She’d also be rather critical of me and my role as a spiritual leader. I have grown a lot as a spiritual leader, partly through her keeping me accountable. She’d encourage me to pray with her and read the Bible with her and the kids. When I was younger, I just didn’t realize how important these things are. Over the years, I became more disciplined in reading a Bible story to the kids and praying with them every night (with rare exceptions). Then I started praying and studying the Bible more regularly with my wife. I started doing these things diligently, but she still seemed to have a low view of my spiritual state.
My wife was pregnant and she could get irritable at times. Well, she could get irritable when she wasn’t pregnant. She normally put dishes in the dish washer, but one day I did it. She did not like how I was putting them in. Angrily, she complained, and scooted me out of the way and said she’d do them herself. The way she did that was really disrespectful. I stood there and prayed in my heart about it. I realized that I had not consistently prayed for her about submission and respect issues. I hadn’t offered her consistent accountability. I’d bring it up during an argument where she was trying to give me an earful. But that conversation would go nowhere if she was upset. So I realized I needed to change. I needed to pray for her and hold her accountable.
We were renting month to month. Our rent was below market, but our landlords could kick us out on short notice. One day I received a telephone call informing me that our landlords had decided to sell our unit since they were unable to refinance their variable rate loan. When I told my wife, she said, “What did you do?”– as if God were punishing me. I believed the Lord was moving us to a better place for the baby (which seems to be the case now in our new place.)
Well, since my wife was pregnant and that can be like having solid weeks of PMS in a row. We’d have arguments, and she’d think I was just awful. She said the Lord told her that our marriage was backwards, that our roles were reversed or something along those lines. That convicted me. Yes, that was true. I had not really exerted myself properly as leader in the marriage early on, deferring to her too much on decision-making. She seemed so capable, I hadn’t put much effort into being a leader toward her. And when she expressed a disrespectful attitude toward me, I rarely called her on it.
So I started meditating on these issues and reading the Bible to consider what we were doing wrong. It seemed like my wife had had a more submissive attitude when we first got married, and things seemed more in order when that was the case.
One week, my wife’s pregnancy hormones seemed to keep her in a bad mood much of the time. Discussions could easily turn into fights. She’d get upset over the smallest comments I’d make during discussions. I’d disagreed with her about something, but it seemed to me that I was fairly calm, and what I’d said would not normally upset her. She went in the other room.
After some time, I went in the other room and she wasn’t there. She wasn’t in our apartment. I looked out the sliding glass door in the back and our van was gone. She’d never left the apartment like this before. Then she called. She was at a friend’s house, an older woman from church who I felt comfortable to give her good advice or just be a listening ear during a time like this.
This situation motivated me to pray.
The Specific Prayers
As I prayed, I just laid out to the Lord in prayer various issues that were on my heart during that week of arguments with my wife that had caused me to reconsider aspects of our marriage. I asked the Lord to show certain things to my wife because it was hard for her to receive from me when I talked to her about these topics. A few days earlier, my wife had said that the Lord had told her something about someone she knew. So I thought if she can hear God about that, why shouldn’t’ she be able to hear God about the problems in our marriage?
Here are things I prayed about:
· My wife’s negative view of me. I prayed about how my wife always saw me as unspiritual and it seemed like she viewed herself as more spiritual than I was. I realized she seemed more discipline in some ways in her prayer-life perhaps and in certain other areas, but her attitude didn’t seem right and I asked the Lord to speak to her about it.
· Saying “You always…” and “You never…” when she got upset…followed by a statement that wasn’t true. For example, she would say, “You never listen to me” which was not true at all.
· Helping her realize when the devil (or a demon) was putting thoughts in her mind. I had an experience where this happened to me, and sometimes I can just tell when it is happening to other people. This can happen to anyone, even believers. Our mind is a battleground. Recently, she had been saying things that just weren’t true as she thought through one of our arguments. I could sense something was going on, spiritually, with her mind that wasn’t write. It had that twisted logic to it, and her conclusions about my motivations and thoughts were just wrong. She hadn’t responded well when I had told her that the devil was messing with her mind. This night, in prayer asked God to speak to her about this. .
· From some things my wife had made, I got the impression that there were times that she prayed against me rather than for me. If we had a disagreement, I wondered if she was praying that God would ‘teach me a lesson’ instead of interceding for me. I had a contract for a job that was not renewed once. I’d blamed her for some small thing in a discussion, and she acted like I’d committed a horrible sin. She prayed for God to teach me a lesson I suppose, and she just said she knew I was going to lose my job. She considered it the Lord dealing with me. This was some time back.
My wife would sometimes say during arguments that as a man, I should just be quiet. Women are talkative. Her idea was for me to silently listen to her express all her anger and say whatever she wanted. The problem was that some of the things she would say were not beneficial for me to hear or for her to speak. I thought about the household she had grown up in and the marriage dynamics she had witnessed as a child. I could imagine where she got her ideas about how husbands and wives were supposed to interact during a disagreement. I suspect that was behind some of the problems in our relationship. I prayed that the Lord would show her how her experience growing up with her family had affected the way she thought a husband and wife should interact.
Respect for me and submission to authority.
As I continued to pray, I laid out my case. I reasoned with the Lord from scripture. I pointed out that the submission passages told slaves to submit to masters, children to parents, and scripture told women to submit to their husbands as to the Lord. Wives are to submit to husbands as Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him Lord. My wife was deferent to authority in general. She would defer to pastors and Bible study leaders. But when we’d argue, she’d talk to me in a tone of voice I did not consider appropriate for a wife to use with her husband. When I’d point it out, she wouldn’t hear me on the subject. If I brought up the issue of submission to authority, she’d insinuate I was domineering, when I was far from it to the opposite extreme.
I reasoned with the Lord like this like this, would a slave talk to his or her master like my wife had been talking to me? Should a child talk to his or her parents that way? Wives are to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord. My wife wouldn’t talk to Jesus the way she’d been talking to me. She wouldn’t be bossy talking to him or talk to him in a disrespectful tone of voice.
I prayed to the Lord that if I were wrong in my thinking, for Him to show me where I was wrong. Otherwise, I asked him to explain this to my wife.
Amazing Specific Answer to Prayer
It was probably two or three nights later. My wife invited me to sit next to her on the couch. I looked at her. She didn’t look like she wanted to argue again. She actually looked friendly, which was good after a week or two of hormonal grouchiness. She told me she wanted to confess a few things to me.
My wife had been going to this special program at our church where people deal with past sin and relationship issues, a series of Bible studies on various topics to help people get free from things that bind them. . It sounded really good. Someone had prayed for my wife, and it seemed like a word of knowledge, and asked her if she had ever spoken curses when she should have been speaking blessings. She then realized several negative things she’d said about me. She realized I’d pray for her before I left the house and blessed her, but she would sometimes say negative things about me. She was getting blessed, but sometimes bad things would happen to me, which she had been thinking of as the Lord’s discipline. This seemed to me to be an answer to the prayer I prayed about her saying negative things about me.
At life change, they had talked about how you should say “You ALWAYS” do this or that when it isn’t true, and “You NEVER do this or that” when it isn’t true. She admitted that she had done this to me. I had specifically asked the Lord to show her not to say ‘you always’ and ‘you never’ to me.
At some point in recent weeks, she said that she realized that recently, some things she had thought about me weren’t right, and she had let the devil put thoughts into her mind. I had specifically asked the Lord to talk to her about this very issue of letting the devil speak such things into her mind.
She also shared about how she needed to pray differently for me. She didn’t use the words ‘I prayed against you not for you’ but that was certainly the gist of it, and she realized that she needed to intercede instead of asking God to do things to me to correct me, because it seemed like the Lord was actually answering some of these prayers even for small things.. When bad things happened to me, like not having a contract renewed, that affected her as well.
I shared with her that I’d just prayed about those things that the Lord would show them to her. It was amazing how specific this was.
She also came to realize that she should still be able to accept me if I am human and have flaws, and she realized that sometimes she can have a problem with anger that relates to how she grew up, and figured out ways to deal with anger rather than expressing it toward other people.
She also shared with me how the Lord had shown her how the way she’d grown up and the example she’d seen of her parents affected her ideas of what a marriage should be like. I’d specifically asked the Lord to do that.
During our conversation, she said that at the Bible study, the speaker had mentioned an anger problem. She thought, “I don’t’ have an anger problem.” But one of the examples was if you get angry with your husband because of the way he does the dishes; you may have an anger problem. That was spot on! One of the things that motivated me to pray was to see how my wife acted disrespectfully to me when she got angry over the way I put dishes in the dishwasher.
Over the next few weeks, my other prayers were answered.
We found an apartment to move into and moved furniture. I sure am glad the arguing stopped before the move. After we got moved in, the Lord dealt with my wife about something. She shared this with me one night and it really blew me away. She said she was in the kitchen/dining room area and the Lord spoke to her heart. He said He was her Master. She wouldn’t speak disrespectfully to her Master, be bossy or criticize Him, would she? Then He showed her that he had put me in her life as, a word that in her native language is used to describe someone who outranks you at work. Then she realized that she needed to be careful about the way she had been talking to me, to make sure she wasn’t critical of me as she had been and that she treated me with the proper respect. She needed to respect my God-given authority as her husband. This was in line with my prayer about God teaching her about masters and slaves, parents and children, and submitting to her husband as unto Christ. She didn’t remember anything about the Lord saying about the parent child argument or the Abraham Sarah part of the argument I mentioned to the Lord when I asked Him to share with her. But He knows best, even picking the appropriate word from her language to explain the concept.
Things have changed in our relationship since then. If someone asked me a while back, “Does your wife submit to you?”—I don’t usually tell my wife to do stuff or give a lot of orders, so it’s kind of hard to tell. The issue would only come up if we were having a disagreement. But now I can notice things she says where she defers to me.
Something she said that was really touching to me was that referred back to when we were going through that period of arguing, while her pregnancy hormones were out of whack and I could do no right in her sight it seemed to me. When she was upset with me, I’d still pray for her at night even if she did not pray with me. I’d still read the Bible to her. She said the Lord spoke to her about the husband loving the wife as Christ loved the church and pointed out how I had loved and forgiven her during these times of argument.
Her whole attitude toward me as a spiritual leader and as a Christian has changed. She has resolved to bless me and speak positive words toward me. I believe the Lord has done a good, purging work in my heart over the past few weeks and gotten rid of some of the junk. My wife now seems to appreciate the spiritual leadership I offer in the home and the spiritual disciplines I practice with her and the kids more. One night recently, we were both tired, but we stayed up to 1 AM talking about all these things the Lord was doing in our lives. It was hard to stop talking because we enjoyed it so much. It felt like it was when we first got married. The love we have for one another feels more intense. The meek and quiet spirit is really appealing and attractive, and so is the heart-felt respect she has for me as her husband and as a man of God. The Lord has been so good to us.
She went through a time where I’d see her standing somewhere in our new apartment crying. I’d ask her why she was crying, and she’d say she remembered when she said something mean to me and ask for my forgiveness. She was also pregnant which could have contributed to the tears.
As a husband, I have tried to be a bit firmer in some ways, pointing it out if my wife slips into a disrespectful tone and being a bit more insistent on what I expect in this area. I don’t micromanage my wife or anything like that. As a married couple, we are still learning and growing. I believe I’ve seen a lot more results from simply praying and relying on God to work in our marriage than from calling her on her behaviors. It’s a lot easier if He works to make changes than if I try to push for changes on my own. The results are much better, too.
If you have problems in your marriage or in any relationship, it might be hard to believe God can move on someone else’s heart through your prayer. It can be easier to believe that God will answer prayers about things rather than people. But God has people’s hearts in His hands, too, and He can answer those prayers as well.
To read more about praying with your wife, you can read: