It was a warm, early summer day when Dennis invited me to go to lunch. We’d known each other as friends for three years in college. But we hadn’t seen each other in a year since graduation, so we had a lot to catch up on.
One lunch wasn’t nearly long enough. So he invited me to go on a picnic the next day. And a picnic still wasn’t enough. On the way back to my apartment, he asked me to go to church with him the next day
And so began a month of daily dialogue, sharing rides to work, dinners, and walks after dinner. The talking never ran dry. He listened to me as it seemed no one ever had. I felt comfortable with him like no one else. Our relationship was easy and natural.
Within two months, this one long conversation led to a decision to get married. A conclusion we both reached after praying for God to show us His will.
But like every married couple since Adam and Eve, we found ourselves in places where the early ease was replaced by discomfort, disagreement, or difficulty we never saw coming. The springtime oneness that was so real when we married dissipated like dew under the midsummer sun; our promises were put under fire like dry, sun-baked clay.
How do we move from the excitement of our early “I dos” to a determined, expectant and equally excited conviction of “We still do”?
A definition of oneness is a start: an invisible transcendent quality of perfect harmony. Why is this definition helpful? Because it is what God intends for you. Experienced perfectly by the Trinity, it is also what Jesus prayed for us! And we surely need His prayers because we married couples are not just imperfect but also incapable of achieving the oneness we married for and that God intends for us.
How then do we recover that invisible but very real and needed quality that once lived between us? It’s not impossible. We’ve tasted oneness. The answer is going to Him, the source of what we need.
1. Ask God to reveal the truth. A heart examination is the first place to start. And not your husband’s heart. Examine your own. It is the special work of the devil to divide us. Jesus called Satan the father of lies, so start by asking: What lies am I listening to? What lies am I believing? Am I assuming the worst about my husband? It’s so easy to do. Begin by praying for eyes to see what is in your heart as a wife.
2. Ask God what has come between you if you aren’t sure. He who knows all wants you to know because His greatest desire is always reconciliation and restoration. He longs for you to say I still do.
3. Ask God to guide you to have an honest, authentic conversation with your husband. All couples will have relational habits built over months and over decades. Just this week, my husband said to me that he hated asking me to go anywhere with him. It was an overstatement because he didn’t really mean anywhere. What he meant was going with him on ministry/business trips.
For years I let him know how challenging these “requirements,” that is how they felt to me, were for me as a mom and for my personality. I don’t enjoy small talk and networking with strangers.
But I have changed. I had a conversation with God one day. I let go of my need to control, to make circumstances fit my needs. I told God I was grateful my husband wanted me to go with him at all. I asked God to help me be positive and not negative about my husband’s desire. I asked God to help me enjoy every minute of this relationship. Of course I haven’t done this perfectly, but I have improved.
But in this moment Dennis was remembering how it used to be. He was hearing old tapes, forgetting that I have changed. I gently reminded him I was not as I once was. And he agreed. And I have old messages I hear in things he says too, when the truth is he has changed a lot over the years.
4. Ask God for patience with growth in oneness. Remember oak trees? Oaks of righteousness, the Bible calls us, don’t grow overnight. You want your oneness to have the strength of an oak, not the perishable quality of a squash vine.
Trust God that your conversation may not resolve the issue immediately but may require countless additional conversations. Remember patience is what you are practicing. Multiple conversations may not be the way you want it to work out, but they are worth it. In God’s hands and timing, He will work the good you desire with increased oneness being the result.
As you work toward oneness in your marriage, begin where you are. Risk talking about the hard things with your spouse because when you work through these obstacles, the joy on the other side is so worth it. It’s what will allow you to enthusiastically say together “We Still Do!”
So pray for God to grow you together. Offer this prayer as a start:
We married for
Increase my vision.
May our marriage be
all that You imagined
when you brought us together.
For Your glory and our good.
8 thoughts on “Remember Your First Love Promises?”
Thank you for this, may our marriages be all God planned it to be. Amen!!
Thank you for sharing the wisdom God has taught your through faithfulness in Him and loving, your husband Dennis.
This sharing and prayer have encouraged my heart in this challenging time of our 47 years of marriage.
God bless you, your marriage and Faith.
In God’s Grace
Thank you Barbara
Please pray with me for boldness that I could pray with my husband of 35 years
We do not pray together other than at the dinne table as we are empty nesters now ! Thank you for all your wisdom, love and guidance
I am struggling with this as my 35-year-marriage is in trouble. I want and feel committed, but my husband does not. Thank you for helping me know God’s will.
Just beautiful, Barbara! Thank you for the inspiration.
Don’t know why I’m writing this other than – I feel I am the only one in my marriage that would feel this post is any where near possible. I am losing my wife and I cannot seem to win her back. I am praying for miracles…
Tim, my Brother in Christ, I cannot emphasize enough to you, right now, the power of prayer. Most of all pray for God’s will to be done in your life. No matter the outcome pray for God to give you the strength to endure whatever Satan decides to throw your way. We cannot give up, quit praying and give Satan any victory over us. The battle has already been won, Jesus fought for us and conquered death and the grave and has ultimately given each of us the victory. You may not be able to control the actions of your wife, but you are still responsible for your own actions and if God is first in your life- wow, will she be so rudely awakened when reality strikes her in the face! One can run from God all they like- but one cannot hide! I know first hand… I was once the runner. God has a way of grabbing one’s attention in the most uncommon of ways- some of these ways are very unpleasant. I’ll be praying for you and her and that God would soften her heart, and of course praying for the survival of your marriage. Nothing has ever surprised God or caught him off guard- this situation is no exception. This is all a part of a greater plan we cannot yet see.
I really needed that. Unless God changes my wife’s heart, she will get her desire and have a divorce in the very near future. I have been praying and hoping and reading the Bible. She just pushes further away. I am so heartbroken that me and me sons will suffer the consequences of her desire to follow the devil and break our family apart. God sure grabbed my attention with this divorce, and I have committed to him fully. I love her so much and want to honor her and God by being the man Jesus asks me to be.