Earlier, we began a "Prayer for Marriage." Beloved, whether you're newlyweds just beginning to travel the road of life together or if you've been married for many years, learning to talk to your spouse can enrich your life and deepen the bonds of your marriage. God is the master communicator, and we can come to Him to be instructed and taught in the art of communicating effectively with the one He has given us. Let's continue this prayer:
Father, whenever we communicate, help us to uphold the priority of our marriage, permitting no other relationship to weaken ours. May the word "divorce" never be formed on our tongue, never pronounced with our lips. May it never be considered as a viable option-for it strikes terror in the heart, fear and anger in the mind, and anxiety to our souls. And it grieves Your holy heart.
May we always, in all our conversations, uphold the oneness of our marriage, understanding that what affects one always affects the other.
May we allow open and honest communication, encourage vulnerability and authenticity. May we never be guilty of breaking each other's spirit. Rather, may we affirm and strengthen one another so that together we can endure any weakness, any failure and not lose hope.
Father, help us to sharpen our communication skills. Teach us to communicate with our eyes-to convey our delight in the other's presence, to say, "I love you," to let our loved one know even in a crowded room, "You're special to me." Remind us to give each other the gift of our full attention when we talk.
Teach us to respond to what is said so that our mate knows he or she is being heard. Help us to keep a confidence, to build a wall of trust so that we are free to share all that is in our hearts. And as we listen, Lord, help us to avoid giving quick or pat answers. Help us to listen patiently. Remind us that our loved one does not always want advice. Sometimes we just want to be heard; to say it, and to get it off our chest.
Father, may we feel the freedom to open up and share our fears. Sometimes it is so difficult to admit weakness or fear, but we need to be able to talk to someone—and of all people, it should be our spouse. May we also know that we don't always have to dispel each other's fear-nor should we think we must have the cure. May we just learn to listen. . .listen and pray.
Father, we all need to have that sense of significance, of worth, of security, so teach us to continually look for ways, for words in private and in public, to build our loved one's self-esteem. When one of us shares with the other, may we learn not to attack each other verbally. May the goal of all our conversations be for the building up of one another, the healing of one another, and the encouragement of one another so our loved one will want to talk, to communicate. May our words never be demeaning or destructive.
And finally, Father, when our tempers flare, may we make it a practice not to lay our heads on our pillows and close our eyes until we have resolved our anger. You tell us very clearly, "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity."
As we look at the one lying on the pillow beside us, may we remember that this is the one to whom we made our vows to love in sickness and in heath, for richer or poorer, for better or worse until death do us part.
Help us realize, Father, that a marriage like the one we prayed for is a marriage that speaks to all the world of the power and indestructible joy of living in obedience to the Word of God. A marriage that demonstrates to the world that with You it is possible to have a marriage without regrets; a marriage that gives others a snapshot of the marriage of the Lamb and the heavenly home You have prepared for us.
Beloved, our prayer for you is that your marriage will become stronger every day as you learn to have effective, loving communication. One of the things I want to touch on is this. There may be people out there who just think, "You know, if I have to, I'll endure this marriage." We don't want you to endure your marriage; we want you to enjoy your marriage! God wants your marriage to be sacred, joyful and exciting. Discover how to establish and maintain the kind of marriage God intends for you to have with our 40-Minute Study titled "Building a Marriage that Really Works." For those already familiar with Precept studies, we also have a Precept upon Precept course titled "Marriage Without Regrets." Go online to "preceptsforlife.com" or call (888) 734-7707 today to order either of these resources. We want to help change your marriage from "I've got to survive," to "I'm enjoying this marriage," as you learn God's precepts for life.
(Excerpted from Prayers to Bless Your Marriage. Copyright © 2003 by Kay Arthur. Used by permission of Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. All rights reserved.)