“Marriage is hard work.” What a profound understatement. I (Cathy McIntosh) remember in the giddiness of our young engagement thinking, “We love each other so much, marriage will be easy for us.”
Boy, were we wrong.
We entered marriage with visions of everlasting adoration. That is, until work schedules, distractions, and ambitions got in the way. We forgot who “we” were, each thinking only of “me.”
Cutting remarks began. Distrust followed and soon we stopped walking in adoration. In fact, I’m not sure how much we even liked each other.
Then one day, I asked my husband to leave our home. He obliged.
The pain of marital separation was colossal: a hollow sort of emptiness where despair reverberated. We believed separate lives would bring relief. Instead, it brought a measure of hopeless anguish neither of us expected.
Alone in separate beds and in separate homes, unbeknownst to the other, we individually turned to prayer. My husband admittedly hadn’t prayed in years and my novice efforts felt awkward and uncomfortable. But in the desolate silence, we each cried out to the Lord, seeking help. We began interceding for our marriage, own hearts and reluctantly for one another.
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At first, the healing was nearly unnoticeable. There was no immediate reconciliation; no lightning bolt of realization or admission of wrongs. There was something greater. Deep inside each of us, there was the beginning of hope.
We felt a softening of our hearts toward each other; a calming of ignited anger. We began to remember the special affection that we once had. When we mustered the courage to look each other in the eye, we could still recognize something that belonged to just us. Over time, one of us admitted that we didn’t want it to end. Before long, his clothes were back in our shared closet.
While we didn’t discuss our separate prayers, we continued in them recognizing God was on the move. Our hearts still hurt. Trust remained broken, but we discovered a willingness to fight for our marriage. Over time, we learned to laugh together again. Then to let our guards down. Eventually, we re-established mutual trust.
The Joy that Prayer Brought to our Marriage
Recently, we commemorated our 31st wedding anniversary with joy, laughter, and celebration. Through the near quarter-century since our separation, we’ve learned to love fuller, trust with abandon, laugh at ourselves and with each other and discover a level of joy in the partnership of marriage that we believe the Lord always intended.
Healing started with a simple, heartfelt prayer that continues to this day. Through two hearts desperately crying out to God, we discovered lasting joy—the fruit of two lives individually connected to Christ.
As part of celebrating 31 years of marriage, I’m thrilled to release a devotional e-book titled 31 Specific Prayers for Your Marriage. My hope is that it will give couples the inspiration they need to pray regularly for their relationships. Find the e-book here.
Is Joy missing in your life? Need a guide to help get it back? I’d love to give you this Free 30 Day Reading Guide to help.
What are the areas you need to be covering in Prayer in your Marriage? Are you joining in the new Series on Creating a Prayer Strategy that Will Change Every Thing? Be sure to Check It out here
- How to Create a Prayer Strategy that will change Every Thing
- How to Pray Powerful Effective Prayers over My Own Life
- How to Effectively Pray Proverbs 31 and Change Your Life
Cathy McIntosh is over-the-moon excited about her first two grandchildren due this fall, just 3 weeks apart. She serves the Lord as an author, speaker, and blogger. Cathy is passionate about helping women embrace joy, even in the midst of a jumbled life. Learn more at www.cathymcintosh.com.