Remember, I kept God at a distance in my back-pocket incase I needed him and this was an emergency. My motivation for turning to God was because my marriage was in crisis and I needed Him to “fix” it. What I was trying wasn’t working.
Shortly before my ex left, I picked up The Love Dare by Alex and Stephen Kendrick. Four years earlier, after a very stressful and fractured wedding, my mother feared greatly for the success of our marriage. She started casually sending us Christian marriage resources that later collected years of dust. The Love Dare was one of the first books I had remembered her sending me.
The Love Dare is a 40 day devotional in which each day consist of reading a bit of scripture referencing marriage, relationships, and love. There is commentary explaining the meaning and making it relevant to the context of your relationship. Then there’s a daily task for you to complete with or to your spouse. For example, DAY 1 is “Love is Patience” referencing Ephesians 4:2. The dare is to “demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all…”
A handful of days before my ex left, I started The Love Dare. I resolved to continue the dare and keep going. When I started, I was basically going through the motions; trying to keep my head above water; trying to survive the crushing pressure on my heart. Since I couldn’t do the dares with him after he left, I wrote out prayers. I prayed with conviction, tears and snot. I would not only say the prayer of the day, but used them as a continuous prayer I built on each day. I would start and end everyday by reading every prayer and turning to God.
Initially, I prayed selfishly for my ex’s heart, for him to come back and not be influenced by the people he kept company.
I pray you fill his heart with loving thoughts of our marriage, our love, our history, and our future together. Bind temptation and negative influences from integrating into our healing process.
As this journey continued I started learning how to love in a very different way, unconditionally. I found myself not trying to rescue the marriage but actually rebuilding my relationship with God. My heart started changing.
Show me where I stand with You and give me the grace to seek You and Jesus. Forgive us for not inviting You into our hearts, marriage, and lives sooner. We’ve been stubborn and tried to control our lives on our own. I want to repair my relationship with You so that we can have a chance to repair ours as well. Thank you for Your love and please feel the love I have for You and Your Son.
Then I realized there were others that I needed to include in prayer. I started praying for my ex’s friends, particularly the one that housed him when he left. I prayed simply for God to touch his heart and come back into his life. I also started praying for other relationships affected by our split. I prayed that husbands would show their wives love and compassion and for wives to show respect and honor to their husbands. I prayed these marriages would find a stronger commitment to each other and their families. Most challenging, I forgave my ex. Even through the waves of hurt, anger, and confusion; I chose forgiveness.
When I completed the dare, every prayer was journaled in the pages. I mailed it to him with a final prayer.
Please help him receive my honesty with an open heart and please lead us to a path of reconciliation, love, forgiveness, and support. Thank you for the strength and courage you have given me.
There was never a reconciliation. However, the year to follow my surrender was filled with blessings I couldn’t even imagine or predict.
Sometimes we ask God to “fix” a problem, what we think we want. I have found that He sees more than what we see and gives us what we need. Like a parent looking out for the best interest of their child, He sees a bigger picture in answering our prayers. There’s a beautiful example in Acts 3, when Peter and John met a disabled man asking for money. Peter said “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” We ask for a quick fix or a simple solution that seems the best we can have or deserve. In truth, when we trust God, He is much more capable to answer our prayers in ways we never imagined.