During the worst of my refusing/gatekeeping years, my prayer life was nothing to write home about. I was a tangled-up mess of depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, and distrust. These feelings were directed both at my husband and at God. I could barely walk into a church without experiencing all these feelings, and there were times when I felt the same way about being with my husband.
During these years, my prayers were sporadic and anguished, the cry of my heart when I could barely put words together. “God, please help me get through this.” “Why am I so miserable?” “I don’t know what to do. Please help me.” “Our marriage is broken.” Why am I so broken?” At these times, I could feel God’s presence, His arms around me as He provided comfort and reminded me that He is real and that He knew my heart and my pain.
I would also ask God to help my husband leave me alone sexually. At those times, I didn’t feel the presence of God at all. That should’ve told me something, but I was too stubborn to pay attention.
During the depths of my husband’s unemployment and our ensuing financial problems, I finally–after years of almost never intentionally praying about anything–felt an urge to pray on a rare morning when I was home alone. “God, something is wrong with our marriage. We’re both miserable. I don’t know what to do. Please show me what to do. Please give me the courage to do it even if it’s hard and I don’t understand.”
It was the first time in years I had invited God into my heart and my life. He had been waiting for this invitation.
That was the beginning of the changes in our marriage.
I began to make changes, one baby step at a time, much of the time not understanding why or how, but knowing that God was leading me. As we have continued to grow, I have prayed quite often about our marriage. I’ve prayed for stronger emotional intimacy. I’ve prayed for our desire for each other to grow. I’ve prayed for my husband’s pleasure and for me to give selflessly at times. This prayer that has centered around growing our marriage has led me not only to a better relationship with my husband, but also a better relationship with God. My prayer life has grown. I invite God into my life in so many other ways now. My desperation to deal with a broken-down marriage has led to so much more for me.
Many of us have no problem at all praying about the pain and suffering of others; I think of how many men suffer the emotional pain of sexual refusal. Do their own wives pray for them and their suffering, I wonder?
If your marriage feels broken, or if your husband has expressed sadness about your sex life, I challenge you to invite God into your heart to help heal your marriage.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2