If You Pray Only One Prayer for Your Marriage…


Have you ever woken one morning in a daze, wondering what happened in your marriage? Something is different but it doesn’t have a name.

Or maybe it was a slow dawning realization that you and he have both changed. When did that happen? You didn’t see it coming.

Maybe you look at him across the kids’ heads, momentarily oblivious to the chatter and mealtime bickering, and notice lines on his face, gray in his hair. You hadn’t noticed before. Surprise flitters through your heart.

Time. It slowly etched its presence, creased its passing into your lives over the accumulated years. You recognize it for the first time or you see it anew.

“For better, for worse,” you said. But it doesn’t take long for worse to knock on your door. It’s not always a crisis, thankfully. Sometimes it’s just normal wear and tear, accumulated fatigue that dampens the spark.

Ten days ago the nation witnessed a remarkable moment at the beginning of the Super Bowl. The pre-game hoopla subsided and the coin toss was up. Newspapers had announced who had been chosen for that honor.  My eyes scanned the large crowd at midfield; beefy players, striped refs, camera toting men and women, honored guests. I didn’t see him there.

Then the announcer said, “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome some very special guests, President George Bush and Barbara Bush.” The crowd stood to its feet, clapped, and cheered. Our former president, wheelchair bound, was pushed out of the end zone, accompanied by the always pearl-clad Barbara in a cart at his side.

I cried. My husband even teared up, as did most everyone watching. I know because we were there. Tweets went out saying, “Why am I crying at the sight of this couple?”

I’ll tell you why.

The Bushes, imperfect as all of us are, are a model to our nation of unending love. Covenant keeping love. They remind us of what matters most in life. We see this so rarely in our world full of super stars and unending divorce drama.

Decades ago, Barbara Bush spoke to the graduating class of Wellesley college,

“As important as your obligations as a doctor, a lawyer, or a business leader may be, your human connections with spouses, children, friends, are the most important investment you will ever make. At the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not losing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, a parent.”

For one brief moment, what matters most in life, in marriage, was center stage for millions around the world to see. We knew it. We felt it. And we cried because it’s what we all most desire in the depths of our souls.

George and Barbara Bush are at the end of their lives, still side by side. My guess is they have few, if any, regrets because they chose wisely.

What the former president and first lady displayed is available to all. It’s called choice. An unromantic, unpassionate, unpopular word; it’s the bedrock of what has kept them together for a remarkably long time: 72 years.

Jesus taught us this by His life. He always chose to do the will of the Father, telling us, “I do nothing on My own initiative. I always do the things that are pleasing to Him,” and “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” (John 8:28-29, 14:15).

Love is a choice.

I am and always will be grateful that my insufficient love, my faltering attempts to give my husband what he needs, my failure to love well is not a terminal problem. My wonderful Father in heaven longs to give me what I don’t have on my own.

When I recognize what I lack and choose to go to the One source of love and pray, God supplies. Not always in feelings or romance, but He helps me love as needed in the moment.

A favorite author of mine wrote, “To love anyone is to hope in him always.  From the moment we begin to judge anyone, to limit our confidence in him, from the moment at which we pigeonhole him, and so reduce him to that, we cease to love him, and he ceases to become better.” (Madeleine L’Engle)

May this prayer always be your prayer for as long as you both shall live! And may God grant you length of days and a lifetime of years, for His glory, that others may be inspired by your faithfully chosen love.


Oh God,

I need You.

My love is not enough.

Give me Your love

for my husband.




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14 thoughts on “If You Pray Only One Prayer for Your Marriage…”

  1. I’ve heard it said….there will come a time in your marriage when the “commitment” is ALL you can rely on.
    After 34 years I have found this to be true. It is by my faith that Jesus Christ is who he says he is, that I have been able to take my commitment seriously, to honor such, and give recognition that my strength to love as I should would never be enough on my own.

  2. I love this article Barbara and I also admire you and Dennis for the same reasons. I have tried to hold on to my marriage with my husband of thirty years and he no longer wants to be married. I still love him and feel if given the chance I can forgive his infidelities. I don’t believe in divorce but he wants it so I can conceded. How do I get past that??? It is not official yet and I know he still loves me deep down inside. I wanted to be that couple like the Bushes and the Raineys of this world. Thank you for your inspiration. Karen D.

    1. Just as love is a choice, so is Forgiveness. There is nothing we can do to deserve forgiveness from the Father, He just forgives. So you have to forgive your husband (daily if necessary). Even though he does not deserve forgiveness, because that is what we are called to do. You cannot fix a marriage on your on, but forgiveness will give you peace, no matter what. Our God is bigger than our problems, bigger than our sins, and if it is Gods will, He is big enough to heal our marriages. But which ever path God takes us, He will never leave us.

    2. Hey, pray hard…even consider a type of fast..keep up the vitamins/ water…a fast may even be something tangible you enjoy- give it up for a designated time period. Get people to pray for you without hurting him with gossip and causing a stir. Find ways to not nag him ever. When he gets angry…have a quiet spirit-none of self defence, humble….do not force love of any nature on him. Give him space. Love indirectly but find ways to love somehow if there is a place anywhere you feel you can fit it in. Read your Bible…ask for wisdom how to deal with him…be careful what you say to others, including family members…don’t threaten him and give him any indication that anything is happening or what you are going to do if he does leave. Treat him justly even if he isn’t doing you how you think he should be treating you. Remember we are to even love our enemies.

  3. This is a living proof that love endures all things… But it takes hard decisions to go through life keeping the love intact and together.

    Thanks for sharing this reminder, “Love is a decision”, and it is not for the weak.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful article. My hubby and I are finally retired and have the wrinkles to prove it! We still are sweethearts though our deep commitment to one another looks different now from the earlier passions of years gone by. God’s faithfulness has been our mainstay through the myriad joys and sorrows life has brought our way.

  5. Seeing President and Mrs. Bush’s smiling faces as they crossed the field together that night was the most moving and memorable moment of this year’s Super Bowl for me, and a beautiful image that has stayed with me these last few weeks. Their enduring love – what an inspiration; what a gift!

      1. I just sent a reply out to one of the girls whose husband is threatening divorce…I am very concerned for her and I never reply to these but I have personally conquered through the Lord’s strength a huge hurdle several years ago using many of these points I brought out to that girl..i see you have deleted my comments and I would like to share those you do agree with… please feel free to edit my response and take out what you don’t like. I know through experience that everything I said worked for me in a huge way..my comment was just made within the last hour or so- Cathy

  6. They were such a sweet testament to us all! Love is the daily decisions to be for our loved ones. It is not in the grand gesture, but the daily action that it is borne and experiences. I’m so grateful for the grand love of my life which is Christ who has been constant through all.

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