Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash
Every couple enters into marriage expecting their love to last a lifetime. It is rare for a couple to expect things to get sour eventually.
Most newlyweds start off marriage with the best of intentions. However, many end up feeling confused and frustrated when things start to unravel. Each party feels that he or she has done all they can for the marriage and yet still feels deeply dissatisfied.
According to a study conducted by Whole Life, marital satisfaction and marital distress are correlated – the lower the satisfaction, the higher the risk of marital distress.
How then do we achieve marital satisfaction? What can we do to increase the level of intimacy and connection in our marriage?
As believing couples, we have the privilege of trusting in God to enable us to do so, but there are also proactive steps that we can take to protect our marriage.
Here are some of the most powerful ways to do so:
1. Pray for covering and growth for your own spiritual life
A good way to let go of past grouses, hurts, irritations and any source of current dissatisfaction is to ask the Lord to cleanse our hearts before Him each day. Ask Him for help to see our spouse through His eyes and not our own.
A Bible verse that I’ve learnt to pray regularly has aided me greatly in not looking at my spouse through my own self-centred eyes: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
Praying over your spouse can be the most powerful thing you can do for him or her.
Granted, there will be times when our spouse might have truly wronged us, but praying such a prayer can enable us to respond in a loving manner that is filled with His wisdom and that does not condone our spouse’s actions.
God has promised us in James 1:5 that we can boldly come to Him to ask for His wisdom and discernment in all things. We can also take comfort in holding on to this other promise: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
Seeking Him entails dedicating time to deepening our knowledge of and love for God. We have to ask the Holy Spirit to purify our intentions when we seek God; we should not seek our Heavenly Father out of the intention to achieve a more satisfying marriage, but to know and love Him as God and Saviour.
When we approach our Abba Father with a pure heart, we can expect Him to enable us to be all that He has intended for us in our relationships, including our most intimate one – our marriage (Matthew 6:33). The fruit of the Spirit will be exhibited in us and we will instinctively know how best to show our spouse love and meet his or her needs.
2. Pray for your spouse daily
Praying over your spouse can be the most powerful and helpful thing you can do for him or her.
As a believing spouse, we are to help push our husband or wife deeper into God’s presence. Once again, our intention behind the prayer cannot be to ask that God transform our spouse for our own pleasure and marital satisfaction but in ways that truly please God.
Here are some prayer points you can consider:
- That our spouse’s heart will turn to our Abba Father if it has strayed
- For protection over our spouse’s mind, body and soul
- For our spouse to walk in His will and be all that God intends for him or her to be, for His glory.
When a husband and wife pair prays unceasingly and leans on the Holy Spirit together, Christ’s love will bind their hearts, manifesting the fruit of marital satisfaction in ways that only God can give.
As He has promised, we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” us (Philippians 4:13). Let us meditate upon His Word and be encouraged as we place our spouse’s needs above our own.
This article was first written for Focus on the Family, Singapore and has been republished with permission.