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Marriage is more than a source of earthly comfort. It is more than an accessory to be acquired and then laid aside.
It is more than something created for the present moment. Christian marriage is your ministry, both to one another and to the world at large. It is the path of your sanctification. It is itself a prayer. It is one of the most beautiful ways God will use your lives to give the world a tangible witness to the love that everyone longs for but few dare to believe is real in this age. If you will let him, if you give every part of your relationship to him—the good, the bad, the joyful and sorrowful, the celebrations and the struggles—he will use it all to help you fulfill the destiny for which you were created: total, joyful, and eternal union with him. . . .
There is real power in being a prayerful spouse and more in being a prayerful couple. It is the power to know that it’s OK that you don’t know how to love each other the way you need to—at least not yet. It is the power to know that when you’re unsure what love requires of you next, you can go to God and ask him and trust that he will lead you, step-by-step, so that you get where you need to go. It is the power to know that you are loved beyond measure and that you don’t have to “settle” in your marriage. For even if your marriage is a struggle, God can help you and your spouse become a witness to the world of all he can do when two broken people turn to him and say, “Teach us.”
It is the power to take your joys, frustrations, celebrations, struggles, and every great and small moment shared between you and your spouse and dedicate them to a higher purpose—that of winning the crown of eternal life and becoming the saints you were meant to be.
Heaven doesn’t start at some point in the distant future. It starts now. And you can see glimpses of it in the love shared between you and your spouse. Just as bread and wine don’t look like much on their own but, when consecrated, become the food of the angels; just as water is water until it is consecrated to God and becomes the spring of eternal life—just so, your marriage might not seem like much in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of God, you are a sign to the world of his love.
You don’t have to be perfect. In fact, it’s better that you’re not. As St. Paul says, “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9, RSVCE). The only thing it takes is a heart that is willing to pray for and (ideally) with your spouse. A heart that turns to God every day and says,
Give me the courage to share your passion, your desire, and your longing for my spouse. Give me the commitment to be more vulnerable, more honest, more faithful, more intimate, more joyful. Help me work harder for my spouse’s good, even when that asks more from me than I’d prefer to give. Help me say and do the hard things my spouse needs me to say and do, so that I can be more faithful to you and call my spouse on to deeper faithfulness to you.
Take our marriage, whatever it is today, and make it what you want it to be for tomorrow and every day, until we meet you face-to-face at the eternal wedding feast.
Read more about how to tap into the spiritual power of your marriage through praying together with your spouse in Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak’s new book, Praying for (& with) Your Spouse (The Word Among Us Press, 2018) Available at wau.org/books.