Marriage can have plenty of challenges on its own. When you add in the extra challenges and stress and financial burden of a child or children with special needs, well, things can get even harder.
Both of my sons have special needs and when they kept getting diagnosis after diagnosis, our marriage (and our budget) felt the strain.
Instead of acting like teammates and working together to best support our family, we sometimes treated each other like opponents that we needed to convince to join our side and our opinion, and other times we lived like mere acquaintances, each going about our own tasks and busy lives with little connection. I expected my husband to do certain things for me and our family and when he didn’t, my frustration or anger grew.
One day I stumbled upon a Scripture that changed everything for me and my marriage. It was “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.
I was convicted. I prayed that I would let go all of bitterness and anger toward my husband. I confessed feelings I'd been harboring in my heart to my husband and asked for forgiveness, which led to a wonderful conversation that brought us much closer together. I prayed that we would be kind and compassionate to each other and forgiving to each other. Daily I prayed that Scripture over my marriage until I felt in my heart and in my interactions with my husband that we were living in a much healthier place.
We started thinking about each other rather than ourselves more. We started praying together again. We became teammates, working with intention to support each other. We journeyed together on the path of special needs parenting and of life.
I saw then the power of praying Scripture over our marriages. There’s something powerful about praying God’s words back to Him, while adding a few of your own personalized requests. It helps align your desires with God’s because you are praying for the exact things God wants for you. Personalize these Scriptures with your own requests regarding your marriage and family situation. Consider praying one a day, or all at once, with your spouse or on your own. However you do it, make it your own, and prepare to see God move in your heart and your marriage.
Pray that you and your spouse would turn to God to get your greatest needs met, rather than seeking them from your spouse, who will never be able to meet all of our needs.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Pray that regardless of whatever challenging life circumstances and special needs related challenges you and your family are facing, you will face them together with your spouse.
"Then Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.” Ruth 2:18
Pray that you would let go of all bitterness and anger you have toward your spouse due to unmet expectations and challenging life situations. Pray also that you would be kind and compassionate and forgiving toward each other.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.
Pray that your challenges in life will not overpower the holy covenant you made with God and your spouse.
“God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.” Mark 10:6-9
Pray that you and your spouse would grow united in heart, action, wisdom, and in faith as you seek to honor God and love your family.
“I will give them singleness of heart and of action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them.” Jeremiah 32:39
Pray that you would be a spiritual encouragement to your spouse.
“I long to see you that I may impart some kind of spiritual gift to strengthen you, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:11-12
Pray that you would remember (especially during conflict!) your spouse is not the enemy, but that you are on the same team and have the same goal of caring for your family, even when it looks different.
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:11-12
Pray that you would grow in each fruit of the spirit toward your spouse.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22
Pray that no matter how tired you may feel, you would see sexual intimacy as a renewal of your marriage covenant and an opportunity to show your love and commitment to your spouse.
“I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me. Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards…there I will give you my love.” Song of Songs 7:10-12
Pray that your marriage would foster peace in your home and feel like a safe place for your whole family.
“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places; in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isaiah 32:17-18
Pray that you would not let your own busyness make you bitter toward your spouse or distract you from showing your spouse that they are important to you.
"Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him [Jesus] and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! “Martha, Martha,” the LORD answered. “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” Luke 10:40
Pray that you and your spouse would embrace your God-given roles in your marriage and fulfil them with a heart of love toward each other.
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy…” Ephesians 5:22-28
Pray for your husband/Pray as a husband, that he would be the provider and protector of the home God created him to be.
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15
Pray for your wife/Pray as a wife, that she would be intentional about taking moments to love, support, and encourage her husband.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:10-12
Pray that you would grow in loving kindness toward your spouse. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 4-8
Pray that your marriage would grow and flourish and be blessed.
“May the LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26
And perhaps most important of all, pray that your marriage would always belong to God, that God would be its chief builder and protector.
“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” Psalm 127:1
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