Came across a foundation changing passage for my marriage and I wanted to share it with you:
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. — 1 Peter 3:7
When I got married, I approached spiritual growth the wrong way. I was accustomed to exerting discipline, reading scripture, praying, fasting, meditating, etc. as an individual before God. In fact, after 13 years of marriage, I often still approach God with the mindset that some how, I am only accountable for my sins.
Yet, this seems counter to what the scriptures say. According to 1 Peter, my prayers as the husband are hindered — read directly affected by and taken into consideration with how I treat my wife. As a couple, we approach the throne together regardless of our physical space. When I am praying alone in the shower or my wife is reading her Bible in the other room, God is seeing us through the lens as one. I have been approaching prayer and marriage the wrong way!
Another passage that is often quoted in regards to marriage is Paul’s edification in Ephesians 5:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
This too is indicative of my marriage relationship affecting my prayer life. Christ always approached the Father seeking to do God’s will. Part of that will was a love affair with His bride the Church, which lead Christ to the ultimate example of love, laying down His life on the cross. Every act Yeshua did on earth was out of love and we are set to a high standard as authentic man to honor our wives, transforming our motivation from selfish gain to selfless love.
We also learn that our validation does not come from our spouses, but from thoroughly seeking God’s pleasure, where in the “joy of the Lord becomes our strength.” Christ was validated by the Father many times through out his ministry and when He approached the Throne on behalf of His bride, His prayers were unhindered. Often times as men we seek validation from our spouses, because we need a physical measurement of success: job promotion, great sex life, and material possessions. When our wives fail to meet those expectations, we recoil and become defensive, slowly spiraling towards a self-centered relationship.
Yet,think about the profound impact of getting your validation from the perfect source: your Creator. Our wives probably (and should) know us better than any one else, which in and of itself means that their validation is the most important. However, God knows us so much more, in fact, knowing beyond our present self and into the image that He desires us to be. So then if our validation is from Him, unmet expectations on our spouse’s behalf are a drop in the bucket compared to His unparalleled grace.
There is a certain freedom in that realization. It allows us as men to take on the full responsiblility of loving our wives completely and striving for the unconditional grace expected of us. In doing so, we can go before the throne with prayers unhindered.