A few years ago, Clark and I hit what some might call a rough patch. And by rough patch, I mean a whole field full of 30-grit sandpaper. We were dealing with some really big, really ugly stuff that forced us to man-up pretty quickly and start taking responsibility for our crap, not to mention our newborn child.
We found ourselves in a place in which I NEVER THOUGHT WE WOULD BE. Don’t get me wrong, I knew we were destined, as are all marriages, to experience occasional valleys, but THIS, this was not your average valley. And THIS, this doesn’t happen to people like US.
Our marriage had the makings of white picket fences and summer family mission trips and bible class teachers and dozens of smiling, frolicking children in the backyard (It’s okay if you want to gag. I kinda do, too.). We were products of solid homes, with parents that loved each other deeply and raised us well. Our fathers were both elders at our churches, our mothers both stay-at-home-moms/teachers. When we started dating, the question was never “if” but “when” the wedding would take place. We were, well, perfect for each other.
But shockingly, the enemy wasn’t intimidated by our marriage resumé. And now I know, the moment you believe your marriage is immune to big problems is the moment it becomes vulnerable to big problems.
I was convinced we would never struggle.
Then all of a sudden, there we were, two-freaking-years into this thing and practically underwater.
The next several months we fought the darkness with as much light as we could grab. When we started that fight, I was about 78% sure it would end badly, but with a lot of outside help, we made it through. And it was hard, but at the same time not. God had urged us toward good people, and good people make hard things much less hard.
The Benefits of Good People
About a year later, I was at the library with Charlee when I saw a family friend at the check-out counter. We weren’t especially close, but he’d known me since I was a child through my other family members. We waved at each other before he motioned me over.
“I just wanted to show you something,” he said, as he reached into his front pocket. He pulled out a small journal and began flipping through the pages, searching for something. When he found what he was looking for, he turned it around and pointed to three words: Clark and Jordan.
I looked at the context around our names, recognizing it only as a list at first, then realizing it was his list of prayer requests.
“I’ve been praying for the two of you everyday.”
Everyday. He didn’t even know us all that well, but he’d been committed to praying for us everyday for a year because he knows that PRAYER WORKS. And I know dozens of other family members and close friends that had also been praying for us because they, too, know that PRAYER WORKS.
We have a new marriage now. We see the gift of each other at face value: it’s not cheap and especially not easy, but that gift is so worth fighting for. We know now that we are just as susceptible to destruction as the rest of the world, which makes us love each other even harder, with greater intention and greater effort. We are on guard against the enemy, because we know how deceptive and manipulative he is now more than ever.
I Want to Fight
Recently, I’ve learned of another marriage attempting this long journey towards newness. And I also know of many that are weary and heavy-laden from the fight.
I have zero doubt in my mind that Satan uses the majority of his infantry in this culture to destroy the family unit. I’m about as non-confrontational a person as one can be, but he is one being that I genuinely just want to fight. I want to take him and his onslaught of marriages on the only way I know how, but also, the precise way I know works: through prayer.
I wholeheartedly believe the prayers that went up on our behalf, and those we ourselves offered, were heard and answered in ways I couldn’t have dreamed. Since then, I’m always committing to pray daily for the two of us, but I just really suck at it. I do, for several days at a time, and then don’t for several more (many more) days and then I do for a couple days again and so on.
Here’s what I know: when Clark and I are operating out of a place of God-centeredness, we click. When we operate out of a place of self-centeredness, we crumble. And that crumbling is felt in many other areas of our lives.
We’re Going to Start the New Year Off Right
So in an effort to a) start my year off with a commitment to center my marriage around God and not myself and b) because I won’t keep that commitment without accountability, I’m doing a “31 Days of Prayer for Your Marriage” email series starting January 1.
Here’s the low-down:
- If you subscribe below, you’ll receive a short prayer in your inbox each morning.
- SHORT. Like, read-it-while-you-brush-your-teeth short.
- Each day will focus on a different facet of marriage: selflessness, parenting, finances, communication, etc. (there are LOTS of aspects of marriage that could use some Jesus, amen?).
- These prayers will be unisex, so feel free to sign both you and your spouse up (in love) so that you both get an email and can pray for each other. Or, better yet, read the prayers aloud together (but no pressure if that sounds like a terribly awkward idea right now).
- ALSO, some awesomely talented fellow writers have graciously offered some wise words on marriage that will be posted on the blog throughout the month of January. (If you don’t want to miss those, subscribe for blog postings here, but this won’t sign you up for the 31 Days of Prayer.)
If you think your marriage doesn’t need prayer, I get it. No judgment. I’ve been there. But hear me when I say in love and humility… you’re wrong. Satan loves himself a sleeper.
New Year — New Marriage (cheesy, but effective). What better time to refocus, recommit, and renew than January?
To start your year off with daily prayers for your marriage, sign-up here: