20 Things I’ve Learned (Part 3)

Here is part 3 of 20 Things I’ve Learned (from 20 years with my husband).

16. Prayer is vital; pray about everything! If you’ve been married longer than say, two weeks, let’s face it, by now you thought you’d be divorced ~- or would have killed each other. Marriage is hard work. Straight up, marriage can be hell. It’s important to bathe everything in prayer. Pray for your spouse. Pray for your marriage every day. Even if it feels like it’s too late for this to work, there is always hope in Christ. Nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37) Many people are amazed that Ray and I are still married, because of all we’ve been through. It is God who has kept us together this long.

Pray over every aspect of your marriage. Pray for your husband to be the leader God has called him to be. Pray he will walk in obedience to God. Pray against laziness, apathy and spiritual lukewarmness. Pray for physical and mental strength for him to do his job, and for favor for him at work. Pray he will get along peacefully with co-workers. Pray for wisdom for both of you for parenting. Pray about your sex life. (Did you know you can pray as you’re having sex, for God to help you have great sex?) Pray for protection over your husband from lust, perversion, pornography, and physical and emotional affairs. (This includes the internet.) Pray he will desire what is pure, lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4:8) – the movies he watches, the books he reads, the music he listens to. Ask God to help him make a covenant with God with his eyes, to not look with lust at a woman. (Job 31:1)

Pray for your husband to use the spiritual gifts, talents, and skills God has put inside of him for His glory. Pray he will fulfill his great destiny. Pray for your finances and for God’s blessings upon you. Pray for God to help you become one flesh with your husband and the wife he needs and desires. Pray for your husband’s and your dreams to come true. Pray for your marriage to become a picture of Christ and the Church. (Ephesians 5:23-32)

17. Just let it go. This applies to so many things. Forgiveness. Yesterday’s mistake or sin. Irritations. (Husbands and wives know exactly which buttons to push to make each other mad, like Ray burning food all the time or making so much noise.) We magnify the trivial and trivialize what’s important in marriage. Live as if each day were your last. Would you want to die, after just having a fight with your husband over him throwing dirty clothes on the floor, him remembering that as the last thing you said to him?

Is what you’re so upset, angry, disappointed, frustrated, or hurt about worth it in the light of eternity? LET IT GO.

Here is a quote on letting go by Poet-Author C. Joybell C:

“And I told him, I said: “One day you’re going to miss the subway because it’s not going to come. One of these days, it’s going to break down and it’s not going to come around and everyone else will just wait for the next one or will take the bus, or walk, or run to the next station: they will go on with their lives. And you’re not going to be able to go on with your life! You’ll be standing there, in the subway station, staring at the tube. Why? Because you think that everything has to happen perfectly and on time and when you think it’s going to happen! Well guess what! That’s not how things happen! And you’ll be the only one who’s not going to be able to go on with life, just because your subway broke down. So you know what, you’ve got to let go, you’ve got to know that things don’t happen the way you think they’re going to happen, but that’s okay, because there’s always the bus, there’s always the next station…you can always take a cab.”

18. He’s not your girlfriend. I think it’s ridiculous when I hear people argue that there are no differences between men and women. This. is. so. not. true. Keep in mind that your husband is a MAN, and different from you, and he’s not your girlfriend. He doesn’t want to spend hours talking about everything under the sun and in your heart, like your women friends would. He doesn’t want to SHOP or go to Starbucks and sit there for an hour, soaking in the delicious coffee aroma, the cute pictures, and the coffee shop atmosphere. Women dissect every conversation, event, birth, death, wedding, and in between things. They want and need to TALK – a LOT, about everything. They are into the details; men are not.

Learn to recognize the warning signs that your man’s man is at his limits: the eyes glazing over, the stone face, the screaming for mercy (just kidding). It’s important for you and your husband to talk and keep lines of communication open every day, but he can’t fill every need in your life. Only God can do that.

You also need women friends who you can talk to, shop, laugh, cry, and pray with, and confide in daily. I have met some of the best friends in my life online. Find women online (and offline) who you can connect with, network with, and open your heart to each day.

19. He’s your husband; have great sex a lot with him! This is one of the biggest complaints I hear from single, widowed, or divorced women – they can’t have sex. Well, they can have sex, but then they’d be labeled a ho. :O

The Bible is clear and direct that as husbands and wives, we shouldn’t defraud (deprive) each other sexually except in times of fasting, so that we won’t be tempted out of a lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:5) The original Greek word for defraud in this verse means to rob or deny. You’re robbing each other of pleasure by not making sex a priority.

It’s just setting up the two of you for trouble when you go days (weeks, months!) without sex. You don’t want your husband focused on that woman’s tush as she bends over at his work, all because he’s not getting any at home. You don’t want to start fantasizing about Justin Bartha in The Rebound movie, because you and your husband haven’t had sex in…well, how long has it been now? All religious spirits, please sit down now. Women, let’s get real here. This is a SERIOUS topic that the church NEEDS to address! As my former pastor said years ago, sexual intimacy is a form of spiritual warfare against the enemy!

“Drink water from your own well—share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in public, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Don’t share it with strangers. Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving doe, a graceful deer. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.” (Proverbs 5:15-19)

A GREAT resource about sex for Christian women is Sheila Wray Gregoire’s website. She’s written a new book on sex, and has many articles on this topic, as well as on speaking, writing, and social media.

20. The best gift and legacy you could give your kids is a stable, loving, lasting marriage. Our daughter Heather gave Ray and me a sweet, pretty anniversary card this week, and in it she wrote, asking us to please leave her, her sisters, and our grandchildren “a legacy of love, forgiveness, humbleness, and honor.” In today’s world of nearly 50% of marriages ending in painful divorce, what greater gift could you give your children and grandchildren than a lasting, godly marriage?

Do what it takes to make your marriage last. Talk it out. Get a sitter and go on dates. Reignite your sex life. Do the little things that help a marriage so much. Laugh with each other again. Do something new to alleviate the mundane and boring. Forgive. Argue if necessary, but fight fair. If need be, go to a marriage counselor. But give your children and grandchildren the legacy of love. There’s enough divorce in this world. Make a difference. Paint a picture of Christ and His Beautiful Bride through your marriage.

(Photo below: Me and Ray)

***Did you enjoy this 3-part blog series? Be sure to sign up at the top of the page on the right-hand side for my bi-monthly ezine at www.BethJones.net, to receive free articles, videos, and the latest updates about my speaking events and products.

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