In five years of marriage, my husband and I, combined, have moved six times, changed careers five times, brushed off Valentine’s Day four times, recovered from three surgeries, adopted two terrible dogs, and created one child (a boy on the way!).
We’ve gone through more than most couples in our short time. Josh lost his grandfather to liver cancer, and I lost one of my dearest college friends to suicide. I have been diagnosed with Obessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Secondary Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Josh fights early signs of arthritis from his collegiate baseball career. We’ve both lost jobs, lost arguments, and occasionally lost the reason we fell in love. Yet, despite the loss, we have gained so much.
While I’m new to the art of tolerating the opposite sex’s quirks and gross hygiene habits, I’d like to offer 18 short, powerful prayers that became a survival guide for my marriage—and, eventually, a list of reasons to thank God for the blessing of waking up next to the world’s loudest snorer:
Prayers of Protection
1. “Lord, help me not kill this man.”
When I mutter this huffy prayer, I don’t want to mean it because I’d much rather thump him over the head after he has promised, again, that he “did the laundry”… his definition meaning he threw the clothes in the washer, threw them in the dryer, and then threw them in a wrinkled pile on the couch for the dogs to lay on.
But, when I pause and vent to the Lord, letting him know where my emotions are in the moment, it establishes a connection with God that humans rarely tap into. We negate this sanctifying space when we sidestep God’s friendship and choose to allow our present anger to unleash on our husband or become a nasty gossip session with a friend.
Vent to God—first. You won’t regret those five seconds that establish a comical yet peaceful connection with heaven (and grant you the wisdom to reexplain what “doing the laundry” means).
A few less huffy-puffy prayers of protection for your hubs:
2. “God, put Your mighty hands of protection around my husband as he works today.”
Perhaps your husband is a police officer, fireman, lineman, soldier, school teacher, or doctor—you name it—and there’s a reason to fear for their safety. My husband is a pilot, so I must focus on letting God protect him when he’s 36,000 feet in the sky. After all, we can try to be Super Woman all day long, but we can’t be in two places at once, and we can’t save the day.
Let the Savior do the Savior’s things. You give yourself the grace to pray, step back, and allow God to protect your husband.
3. “God, protect my husband from the enemy’s temptations today. Remind him of Your faithfulness and the strength You have supplied for him.”
Culture has caved as a result of broken family units. Sin creeps into cracks and crannies and crumbles the foundation of God’s design for mankind’s unity with Him and one another. Don’t let Satan get away with that. Instead, pray for the protection of your husband’s soul.
4. “Jesus, be with my husband as he travels. Help him navigate today’s itinerary on time and safely.”
I underestimated this prayer until my husband called one snowy Colorado day to tell me a semi-truck had caused a terrible wreck—totaling our car but leaving him unscathed. Let God work through your husband as he drives, flies, and travels anywhere.
5. “God, shield my husband as he does what he loves today.”
We ladies tend to enjoy hobbies that center on the home and/or arts. Outside the occasional staple-gun accident, our side projects usually aren’t as dangerous as the men’s—hunting big, wild animals, luring large, ferocious fish, playing golf with buddies who don’t know how to hold onto the golf club once they’ve swung it, etc.
Ask God to keep your husband safe as he participates in hobbies God designed him to enjoy.
6. “Jesus, please protect my husband from damaging stereotypes.”
One day, Josh and I were running an errand, and a lady our age could’ve used Josh’s manpower. He noticed her need but walked away without batting an eye. A southern belle, I chastised his rudeness. His reply: “What if she takes my attempt to help as being aggressively flirty? Then I’m in trouble when I did nothing but try to help.”
Today’s culture has men at the center of tug-of-war. Some women demand that men drop everything to rescue them, while others create posters explaining why women never needed “misogynistic,” “overly sexualized animals” in the first place.
Pray that God grants your husband the wisdom to be led by Him, not by today’s destructive definition of manhood.
Prayers of Growth
7. “God, please let my husband grow spiritually despite his past.”
We are all sinners who come with baggage, and as we develop our relationship with Christ, we repent of our past sins but often find it difficult to forgive ourselves. This stunts our spiritual growth, allowing Satan’s deceptive weapons of guilt and shame to keep us prisoner.
Pray that God allows your husband to walk free in His forgiveness, creating space for God to instill joy, hope, and a story of renewal that he can share with others.
8. “Jesus, please teach my husband how to grow despite childhood trauma.”
While some of us never experienced heinous physical or sexual abuse, many of us experienced emotional neglect or manipulation. Meanwhile, some of us never received practical resources, questioning why the lights were shut off again or whispering to the teacher that we didn’t have money for school supplies.
Men are taught never to discuss feelings. So whether your husband has opened up about his childhood, pray that God allows him to grow despite what he experienced as a kid. Pray in Jesus’ Name that bitterness and shame have no room in his soul.
9. “Lord, allow my husband to grow and thrive in his career.”
It’s no secret that men are expected to be the breadwinners, the ones who balance a successful career with care. Yet, they, too, struggle with petty bosses, competitive, undercutting coworkers, and work environments that simply aren’t healthy. Pray that your husband grows in wisdom and leadership no matter what career field he’s in.
10. “God, grant my husband the opportunities to grow as a dad.”
Mom guilt is real. I’m only five months pregnant and already feel the weight of overanalyzing every food I consume, hair product I use, or environment I step into for fear I will harm my baby. Meanwhile, dads feel the same pressure, just in a different way.
Pray that God will grant your husband the peace and freedom to open up to you and the kids about areas where he might feel inadequate, and ask God to bless his vulnerability with opportunities to enhance his communication skills or rework his schedule to spend more quality time with the kiddos.
11. “Jesus, let my husband embrace humility and seek to grow by asking questions and finding mentors.”
Hindsight is a blessing—but only if we are willing to share our past experiences to improve the present for someone else walking a similar path. Pray that God gives your husband the humility to know it’s okay to ask questions and ask that God plants the right mentors in the right places for your husband to connect with them and develop under their godly wing.
12. “God, challenge my husband to step outside his comfort zone and grow as a leader and/or mentor.”
Men feel their own pressures, including the pressure to lead and protect their families. But what about leading and guiding other young men? Pray that God grows your husband’s confidence and creates space for him to help others as he has been helped.
Prayers of Love
13. “God, help me remember that love is patient.”
Patience isn’t my spiritual gift, not because the Holy Spirit hasn’t allowed it but because I refuse to cultivate it. Stubborn (and stupid), I know. My patience thins quickly with my husband because he’s always the person who’s there, even if he wasn’t the person or situation that has left me short-fused.
Pray that God will help you remember love is patient, particularly between husband and wife. No party is perfect, so no party should demand impossible expectations. Allow God’s mercy and grace to flow from you to your husband… even when he does the laundry his way.
14. “Jesus, remind my husband that it’s not weak to show love.”
Just as men are hardwired not to show feelings, they are trained never to let love become mushy and gushy. Dressing up for a surprise dinner date or writing poetry for a spouse is now called “being whipped” or “owned” by a woman. But what if we are “owned” by Love Himself? And what if people weren’t afraid to demonstrate love as boldly as Jesus did on the cross?
Pray that God grants your husband the wisdom to embrace bold, sacrificial love, no matter what society thinks.
15. “Lord, allow our family to show my husband how much we love him.”
How often do we demand recognition for doing the dishes and folding the laundry but forget to thank our husband for taking out the trash, cutting the grass, or roughhousing with the children so we have a few moments of peace and quiet? I’m guilty of this. Far too often.
Pray that God grants you and your children the grace to enact gratitude for your husband. He deserves love and recognition too.
16. “God, fill my husband’s gaps of love with Your great Love.”
Whether it was a parent, best friend, or an ex who hurt your spouse, odds are, someone left a gaping hole in your husband’s heart that was meant to be filled with love. These gray areas are hard to navigate, as the man might not know how to express what’s missing.
Pray that God fills the holes of loss, betrayal, or abuse with His Son’s great Love.
17. “Jesus, let my husband fall in love with service.”
If your husband already balances a demanding job and family responsibilities at home, he might not enjoy serving in the community or church. But that’s where some of our greatest blessings live! Pray that God grants him the rest, encouragement, and inspiration to fall in love with serving others.
18. “God, help me love my spouse when I don’t want to love him.”
“I love you, but I don’t like you right now.” That’s the phrase I tell my husband when he’s made me livid, and nothing in me wants to nurture mushy, gushy love. It’s a phrase I spit through gritted teeth, yet it forces me to audibly admit that I not only love my husband, but I vowed to put him above myself. And once you admit that in front of your husband, there’s no turning back. Unless you like to eat crow.
Pray that God allows you the space to love your husband when it’s hard.
My love for Joshua Allen Garland is far deeper than when it began, but I believe it’s only through hardships, gritty prayers, and a determination to “[endure] all things” that we can celebrate five years of a love that has stayed (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Carolyn Horlings
Peyton Garland is an author and coffee shop hopper who loves helping others find beauty from ashes despite OCD, burned bridges, and perfectionism. Follow her on Instagram @peytonmgarland and check out her latest book, Tired, Hungry, & Kinda Faithful, Where Exhaustion and Exile Meet God, to discover how your cup can overflow, even in dry seasons.