Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.
- Oswald Chambers
Today Andrew and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I'm happy, though we happen to be in the midst of one of those bumpy patches that plague almost every marriage.
I woke up, made coffee and sat down to pray. I pried out the words I’ve used almost daily for two decades: Lord, thank you for my husband. Pause. Teach me to love him.
I pray this prayer when things are going well, and when they are rough. For if there’s one thing marriage has taught me, it’s that I’m only ever beginning to learn what it means to love my husband.
Love is easy when it’s a warm and fuzzy sentiment. Love is hard when I see my husband’s flaws clearly, or when he lets me down, or when we disagree on how to parent a difficult child. Love requires the rock-solid belief that God has given me Andrew for our mutual benefit, even when I am blind to the good in it (at the moment).
Marriage is about drawing closer to God through each and every blessing and conflict and disappointment. And it’s about closing my daily prayer for my spouse with lines like these:
Lord, bless Andrew in whatever ways you see he needs. Grant him the grace to grow nearer to you through me... and despite me. You know him better than I do, Lord. Teach me to love him as you do.
Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.