I have a heart for marriage. Always have. Since I was a little girl (without a mom, dad, or any example of it to look to), I always desired it and understood its great worth.
Then I married young. 21 to be exact. And I was married 11.5 (hard) years to Paul before I was widowed, unexpectedly while separated from him. [You can read about it here, but listen to this episode of our podcast for more of my marriage backstory.]
I’m about to marry (Or should I say, “remarry?” I feel like I need to learn the terms here. It’s all so weird under such different circumstances this time!) my true gift from God to me and my 6-year-old son.
So, it’s with that context that I say this: marriage is a beautiful calling… one that cannot be entered into lightly, lived in apathetically, or taken for granted. It requires much grit, even more grace, and more prayer than you might be doing.
Enter: #prayingforyourhusbanddaily—my marriage project (ministry?), if you will.
When I was married to Paul, I quickly realized that I was in over my head. Not having parents (and specifically a father who could teach me how I should be loved), I had some early childhood wounds that would lead me into an unhealthy relationship that I didn’t understand was not ideal.
Premarital counseling, regular church attendance and involvement (I was actually on a great church staff for 10 of our 15 years together), and a few attempted “interventions” to induce change—none of it produced much lasting reprieve from the verbal and emotional abuse I endured. He was unhappy, and he was emotionally and spiritually unhealthy… yet he chose not to get any help until two months before he died. It’s a whole story. There’s a book coming eventually…
My point is, I had an innate understanding that marriage was vitally important and that God desired it to be holy and unbreakable. Yet, I found myself in one that seemed so very broken; I was doing “all the right things” and still felt hopeless.
I picked up a book that I thought would help me: The Power of a Praying Wife. At first I hoped it would change my husband (maybe he’d see me reading it and realize he had work to do). But the first chapter of that book delivers a gut-punch perspective shift that I really needed.
If God was going to change my marriage, it would be through me. And if He didn’t, my relationship with Him would sustain me as I drew closer to Him through prayer.
Being on a church staff, deeply committed to my faith, and highly social, I took all of these things and turned them into a Facebook live stream I called #prayingforyourhusbanddaily. I would get on Facebook most weekdays and talk about marriage, and then I led a time of prayer for wives (or those who hoped to one day be) on whatever I felt the day called for.
There were hundreds and sometimes thousands of views, and shares to and from people I’ve never met.
Women who would tune in daily, live, became a community I needed and one I was grateful to serve. In fact, our very own Dr. Zoe somehow landed on one, started referring her clients to the videos, learned of Grit and Grace through it, and then applied to be a contributor! Now she is a huge part of what we do (and my recovery, personally)!
I stopped the live stream a few months before Paul passed. We were about to launch This Grit and Grace Life podcast, and our marriage had become so unhealthy that doing the videos was extremely emotionally taxing, and at times, even an added point of contention for him. I surrendered it, knowing that ending it was right, but it truly made me sad.
When Paul died, thousands tuned in to watch his memorial service, and hundreds gave in a variety of ways to support Lincoln and I through the hardest time of our lives. It was such a gift to have the community I had created meet such a tangible need for us.
I hoped that one day, I would remarry and be able to bring it back.
I often reshared my old videos as I saw them in my Facebook memories because I knew they had been helpful at the time…it also reminded me to pray for my future husband, wherever he was.
I did a lot of soul searching, healing, and growing before dating again. I met my fiancé on Match.com and realized before our first date that he was special. I knew God had sent him to me, even if it was just to show me that He was still in the business of reconciliation, and that good, godly men are still out there. Maybe he would be a part of my story, not my forever, but even meeting him was so good for my heart.
We fell in love on our first date though, and after a year (and two weeks) of dating, he proposed. We will marry in a few months.
I started #prayingforyourhusbanddaily back up right after we were engaged and plan to do at least one new video a week. It was such a great feeling to hit that “live” button on my first new video in over two years. The outpouring of excitement warmed my heart. (You can watch that one, here)
So, if you’re looking for encouragement, relatability, and direction on how to pray for your marriage, I hope you’ll join the journey. Whether your marriage is happy and healthy, in a season of trials, or you don’t even know your man yet, these videos are for you. I will always speak vulnerably, and I trust that God will not waste those hard years. I know what it’s like to be desperate for God to do a work, and I also know what it’s like to be loved by a man who loves God first. It’s with that combined perspective in mind and heart that I will bring you this series.
You can find me on Facebook to catch them live (or replay), search the hashtag #prayingforyourhusbanddaily or look on my IGTV for recorded videos. Once I get past the wedding, maybe I’ll figure out how to update my super old YouTube channel. ?
For more encouragement for marriage, start here:
Are You Fighting for Your Marriage? These Resources Can Help
This Is What a Well-Loved Woman Feels
Dear Wife of the Badge, You Are Strong
How My Husband and I Survived My Affair
He Brings Me Flowers, but Is That Enough?
I Wanted a Divorce but God Did This Instead
Ask Dr. Zoe – How Do I Trust a Good Relationship After Past Betrayals?
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