Is God talking to YOU about your spouse?

Muddy Corn Maze 

There’s a certain frustration that sometimes comes with prayer. We wisely decide to quit trying to change our spouses and instead pray for them and our marriages. This is all good, but like anything in life, it can become contaminated.

I’ve been a part of a prayer group of women who meet regularly to pray for ourselves, our spouses and our marriages. It’s been an uplifting, encouraging, and helpful thing. We’ve seen many answers and beginnings of answers to our prayers—not just in our spouses but in ourselves as well. 

But there’s something I’ve noticed in my friend’s prayers, as well as, my own—sometimes we feel like God is speaking to us about what our spouse should be doing.

And maybe God is and maybe God isn’t. But it’s what we do with that new thought that creates the dilemma.

  • If we choose to surrender this area of insight over to our Lord, then we stay on track and God is able to do mighty things through our submission and faith in Him.
  • If we choose to take that insight on as our own project—self-righteously trying to convict our husbands into doing or becoming what we see as their “potential,” then we invite the contamination into the process. Then it becomes a muddy maze of mess-pectations!

Have you encountered this in your prayer life?

What have you done to adjust your thoughts and expectations? 

“Be still and know that I am God …” -Psalm 46:10a (NIV)

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” -Romans 12:2 (NIV) 

 Photo by Ada Be

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Linking up with – NOBH, Momma Notes, Marriage Mondays, Marriage Moments Monday, Making Your Home Sing Monday, Living Proverbs 31, Playdates with God and Marriage Mondays

  • I have learned to pray in a positive building way for my husband and also to look to what “I” can change instead of trying to change him. I am still guilty of all this but God still continually is working His redemptive purposes into my life.Thanks for this sweet post. Have a wonderful day, Beth!!

    I linked up just after you over at Nan’s blog hop MYHS 🙂 I am almost sure that this is my first time at your blog, I’m sorry. I have ‘seen’ you around in my niche so sort of feel like I ‘know’ you.

    • Yes, that’s what our focus has been as well–to pray mostly for ourselves and to pray in a positive way for our husbands. But for some reason, we keep sensing more and more about what our husbands’ need. Not that we aren’t sensing more and more about what we need too. It’s just eye-opening on both fronts. But I think it’s God’s way of teaching us to trust Him and our husbands. Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Judith and for stopping by and weighing in on the conversation!

  • I have learned to pray in a positive building way for my husband and also to look to what “I” can change instead of trying to change him. I am still guilty of all this but God still continually is working His redemptive purposes into my life.Thanks for this sweet post. Have a wonderful day, Beth!!

    I linked up just after you over at Nan’s blog hop MYHS 🙂 I am almost sure that this is my first time at your blog, I’m sorry. I have ‘seen’ you around in my niche so sort of feel like I ‘know’ you.

  • Stephanie

    I just made a decision to make a huge change in how I interact within my home and family. My husband has agreed to help me make this change and recognizes that it will take some changing on his part as well. I said to him, “this will be hard for me but it is in the doing of the hardness that the change will happen…over time.” This is going to be really tough but as far as I can see, it is the only way to effect change in each other. Actually doing the hard, uncomfortable work of doing “it” differently. Whatever that “it” may be. But “it” will affect and require change on both.

    I loved this post. Thanks for putting quality, helpful information out on the web.

    • Yes, and that’s another aspect of praying for my marriage that I’ve experienced. I am convicted about my attitude and behaviors and am convicted to do that “hard thing” like you’ve mentioned, Stephanie. I’m doing it more and more, but it’s not consistent. And sometimes my husband doesn’t even recognize it, so that’s hard to swallow and keep persevering. But it’s not about getting the results I want as much as being faithful to what God asks me to do and be. Thanks for your vulnerable sharing here. I appreciate your encouragement as well, my friend!

  • Stephanie

    I just made a decision to make a huge change in how I interact within my home and family. My husband has agreed to help me make this change and recognizes that it will take some changing on his part as well. I said to him, “this will be hard for me but it is in the doing of the hardness that the change will happen…over time.” This is going to be really tough but as far as I can see, it is the only way to effect change in each other. Actually doing the hard, uncomfortable work of doing “it” differently. Whatever that “it” may be. But “it” will affect and require change on both.

    I loved this post. Thanks for putting quality, helpful information out on the web.

  • Barbara Isaac Croce

    so good… self-righteousness is so fleshly! May God continually keep us humble and ready to be the one to change for His glory, leaving the rest to Him!

    • Yes, and it’s so easy to slide into that self-righteous mode, at least for me. God is working on developing a sober view of my sins in my heart and it’s painful but good. I’m encouraged that you’re working on that as well in your life, Barbara. I appreciate you coming by and weighing in, my friend!

  • Barbara Isaac Croce

    so good… self-righteousness is so fleshly! May God continually keep us humble and ready to be the one to change for His glory, leaving the rest to Him!

  • mmm … nothing our men love more than feeling ‘less than.’ Or being someone’s project. Or public prayer request.
    The Psalmist got it right when he asked God to search his OWN heart. Not everybody else’s.
    As always, you hit a home run, my friend. And I hope you had a rest-filled Sabbath …

    • Yeah, that project thing got really old in our household years ago. But like the definition of insanity, I keep trying to pull that trick out of the closet over and over. When will I ever learn? Well, actually this time I’ve only felt the temptation but haven’t acted on it just yet! But give me time, and I’m sure I’ll put myself in charge instead of my God or my man! ha! Thanks for stopping by, Linda. I always love hearing from you, my sweet friend!

  • mmm … nothing our men love more than feeling ‘less than.’ Or being someone’s project. Or public prayer request.
    The Psalmist got it right when he asked God to search his OWN heart. Not everybody else’s.
    As always, you hit a home run, my friend. And I hope you had a rest-filled Sabbath …

  • Jen

    Yes, the Lord has often convicted me of trying to take on the role of Holy Spirit towards my husband. But that is not my place. I’m learning (slowly at times) to be more quiet and wait to see what work God is going to do in his life. And waiting is a whole lot more peaceful that pushing forward with my agenda! 🙂 Excellent reminder!

    • Yes, that four letter word – “wait.” It really is tough but there’s so much good that God is doing in my heart and I’m sure in yours as well, Jen, as we wait on Him … and our husbands. 🙂 Thanks for your sweet words and for stopping by!

  • Jen

    Yes, the Lord has often convicted me of trying to take on the role of Holy Spirit towards my husband. But that is not my place. I’m learning (slowly at times) to be more quiet and wait to see what work God is going to do in his life. And waiting is a whole lot more peaceful that pushing forward with my agenda! 🙂 Excellent reminder!

  • Val

    Great post

  • Val

    Great post

  • Kate @ Teaching What Is Good

    Ah yes…that time in prayer when God switches the light from my praying about someone else to His wanting to change ME!

    Excellent post today, Beth. Coming over this time from Playdates at the Well link-up.

    • Yes, God shines a light and a whole lot more than we bargained for is illuminated! ha! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, Kate. I appreciate it!

  • Kate @ Teaching What Is Good

    Ah yes…that time in prayer when God switches the light from my praying about someone else to His wanting to change ME!

    Excellent post today, Beth. Coming over this time from Playdates at the Well link-up.

  • I tend to use prayer as my medium in lieu of confrontation. (I pray that everything will work out swell so I can avoid confrontation)That probably doesn’t lend much merit to my ability to communicate with my spouse or my prayer life.

    • I do that sometimes too, Kimberly. It is a balance that is hard to strike sometimes. But more often than not, I am letting my thoughts and feelings tumble out without God giving me the right of way! Or not allowing God to soften and speak through kindhearted and merciful words. There’s just so much to learn in this life! I’m grateful to be doing it with you and so many other women, as we seek God’s miracles in our marriages. Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend!

  • I tend to use prayer as my medium in lieu of confrontation. (I pray that everything will work out swell so I can avoid confrontation)That probably doesn’t lend much merit to my ability to communicate with my spouse or my prayer life.

  • Eeek. It is so much easier to look for the solutions to problems in others. I think it almost always comes back to praying “how do I need to do or say things differently?”. He may react brusquely to things I say, but it tends to be because of how I say it or the words I use. I change, and I get a different response. Fancy that. . .

    A great poke in the old heart, Beth.

    • Ooh, that’s a good prayer, Kim! I love being more specific and proactive in our prayers. Maybe I’ll challenge them next time we meet to consider this question as we formulate our requests. Thanks for your wisdom over at your place and even here at my comment section! I’m blessed by your friendship!

  • Eeek. It is so much easier to look for the solutions to problems in others. I think it almost always comes back to praying “how do I need to do or say things differently?”. He may react brusquely to things I say, but it tends to be because of how I say it or the words I use. I change, and I get a different response. Fancy that. . .

    A great poke in the old heart, Beth.

  • Hmmm…now you have me thinking, Beth. I came to a realization last week about something I’d like my husband to change in the way he communicates with me. But it really stems from my own insecurities more than what he’s doing right or wrong. I know I haven’t prayed enough about it, so after reading this, I’m going to do that and let God decide if it’s something I need to speak with Jeff about versus keeping quiet and just letting God work on me!

    • We all need to evaluate our desires–holding them up for God to reveal the “truth” in our feelings and requests, Lisa. That’s another important truth that I hope the readers of this post take away. Great addition to our conversation here, my friend!

  • Hmmm…now you have me thinking, Beth. I came to a realization last week about something I’d like my husband to change in the way he communicates with me. But it really stems from my own insecurities more than what he’s doing right or wrong. I know I haven’t prayed enough about it, so after reading this, I’m going to do that and let God decide if it’s something I need to speak with Jeff about versus keeping quiet and just letting God work on me!

  • Yes, that’s what our focus has been as well–to pray mostly for ourselves and to pray in a positive way for our husbands. But for some reason, we keep sensing more and more about what our husbands’ need. Not that we aren’t sensing more and more about what we need too. It’s just eye-opening on both fronts. But I think it’s God’s way of teaching us to trust Him and our husbands. Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Judith and for stopping by and weighing in on the conversation!

  • Yes, and that’s another aspect of praying for my marriage that I’ve experienced. I am convicted about my attitude and behaviors and am convicted to do that “hard thing” like you’ve mentioned, Stephanie. I’m doing it more and more, but it’s not consistent. And sometimes my husband doesn’t even recognize it, so that’s hard to swallow and keep persevering. But it’s not about getting the results I want as much as being faithful to what God asks me to do and be. Thanks for your vulnerable sharing here. I appreciate your encouragement as well, my friend!

  • Yes, and it’s so easy to slide into that self-righteous mode, at least for me. God is working on developing a sober view of my sins in my heart and it’s painful but good. I’m encouraged that you’re working on that as well in your life, Barbara. I appreciate you coming by and weighing in, my friend!

  • Yes, that four letter word – “wait.” It really is tough but there’s so much good that God is doing in my heart and I’m sure in yours as well, Jen, as we wait on Him … and our husbands. 🙂 Thanks for your sweet words and for stopping by!

  • Thanks, Val. I appreciate you stopping by!

  • Yes, God shines a light and a whole lot more than we bargained for is illuminated! ha! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging me, Kate. I appreciate it!

  • I do that sometimes too, Kimberly. It is a balance that is hard to strike sometimes. But more often than not, I am letting my thoughts and feelings tumble out without God giving me the right of way! Or not allowing God to soften and speak through kindhearted and merciful words. There’s just so much to learn in this life! I’m grateful to be doing it with you and so many other women, as we seek God’s miracles in our marriages. Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend!

  • Ooh, that’s a good prayer, Kim! I love being more specific and proactive in our prayers. Maybe I’ll challenge them next time we meet to consider this question as we formulate our requests. Thanks for your wisdom over at your place and even here at my comment section! I’m blessed by your friendship!

  • We all need to evaluate our desires–holding them up for God to reveal the “truth” in our feelings and requests, Lisa. That’s another important truth that I hope the readers of this post take away. Great addition to our conversation here, my friend!

  • Yeah, that project thing got really old in our household years ago. But like definition of insanity, I keep trying to pull that trick out of the closet over and over. When will I ever learn? Well, actually this time I’ve only felt the temptation but haven’t acted on it just yet! But give me time, and I’m sure I’ll put myself in charge instead of my God or my man! ha! Thanks for stopping by, Linda. I always love hearing from you, my sweet friend!

  • Great post as usual, Beth. Thankfully, I learned {the hard way earlier on} to lift all those thoughts and prayers about what I think my hubby should be doing up to God and then FORGET about it and concentrate on what God wants to change in ME!

    • Yes, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way as well, Sheila. But I’m a slow learner sometimes! ha! And the truth is, what I’m really feeling here is a “temptation” to get busy with my own efforts. I think sometimes we don’t recognize that it’s a “temptation” but take it as a great idea that has resulted due to our vigilant prayers and often nothing could be further from the truth! I just wanted to sound the alarm!

      Thanks so much for you continued encouragement here, Sheila. I love discussing these issues with you and others and seeing your smiling face in my comment section! 🙂

  • Great post as usual, Beth. Thankfully, I learned {the hard way earlier on} to lift all those thoughts and prayers about what I think my hubby should be doing up to God and then FORGET about it and concentrate on what God wants to change in ME!

  • Yes, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way as well, Sheila. But I’m a slow learner sometimes! ha! And the truth is, what I’m really feeling here is a “temptation” to get busy with my own efforts. I think sometimes we don’t recognize that it’s a “temptation” but take it as a great idea that has resulted due to our vigilant prayers and often nothing could be further from the truth! I just wanted to sound the alarm!

    Thanks so much for you continued encouragement here, Sheila. I love discussing these issues with you and others and seeing your smiling face in my comment section! 🙂

  • Nan

    Such a good point! Isn’t it amazing how easily we can see what our spouses “need” to do and yet be so blind to our own weaknesses, lol!

    I remember a time when my husband was very resistant to adopting, yet I really wanted to. I broached him on the subject, pleaded, nagged, nothing worked.

    Finally, i just kept my mouth shut and began praying. After many, many months later (maybe even a year) my hubby just came up to me one day and said he’d been talking to someone who had adopted from a certain agency and hubby said “They are having an open house tonight and I was thinking maybe we should go and just see what they have to say.” I was floored.

    We never did adopt and wound up fostering but it was all still part of God’s plan! Thanks for linking up to “Making Your Home Sing Monday” today!

  • Nan

    Such a good point! Isn’t it amazing how easily we can see what our spouses “need” to do and yet be so blind to our own weaknesses, lol!

    I remember a time when my husband was very resistant to adopting, yet I really wanted to. I broached him on the subject, pleaded, nagged, nothing worked.

    Finally, i just kept my mouth shut and began praying. After many, many months later (maybe even a year) my hubby just came up to me one day and said he’d been talking to someone who had adopted from a certain agency and hubby said “They are having an open house tonight and I was thinking maybe we should go and just see what they have to say.” I was floored.

    We never did adopt and wound up fostering but it was all still part of God’s plan! Thanks for linking up to “Making Your Home Sing Monday” today!

  • Beth it’s so interesting reading this now – Am still reading Dave Harvey’s “when sinners say i do” and am in the chapter where he talks about being Nathan in our spouse’s lives 🙂 I haven’t finished the chapter yet so there’s much more to read and learn.

    I have to confess that I am often tempted to be ‘Nathan’ in my husbands life..but without the “Nathan-like” qualities. I have learned, still learning, that it’s better to err on the side of grace, than the side of action. So yes, give me faith and submission over action 🙂

    Thanks for the thoughts, I truly needed this reminder.

  • Beth it’s so interesting reading this now – Am still reading Dave Harvey’s “when sinners say i do” and am in the chapter where he talks about being Nathan in our spouse’s lives 🙂 I haven’t finished the chapter yet so there’s much more to read and learn.

    I have to confess that I am often tempted to be ‘Nathan’ in my husbands life..but without the “Nathan-like” qualities. I have learned, still learning, that it’s better to err on the side of grace, than the side of action. So yes, give me faith and submission over action 🙂

    Thanks for the thoughts, I truly needed this reminder.

  • Delia

    Thank you! Just added your button to my page.

    http://myhappilyeverafteragain.blogspot.com/

  • Delia

    Thank you! Just added your button to my page.

    http://myhappilyeverafteragain.blogspot.com/

  • Mia

    Dear Beth
    I know what you are talking about, although I wish I didn’t! I have been part of prayer groups that were praying for others, but have taken over the role as Holy Spirit Junior, trying to convince our Pappa what He needs to change about the other person! Oh, that we would first take the log out of our own eyes!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

  • Mia

    Dear Beth
    I know what you are talking about, although I wish I didn’t! I have been part of prayer groups that were praying for others, but have taken over the role as Holy Spirit Junior, trying to convince our Pappa what He needs to change about the other person! Oh, that we would first take the log out of our own eyes!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

  • rboerner

    This realization has taken a long time to sink in and unfortunately I still struggle with it. Being in this prayer group has really helped me to stay focused on what God wants from me and how He wants to change me. Feel so blessed to be part of a great group of women who aren’t afraid to speak truth to each other, lift each other up and work towards a strong Godly marriage!

  • rboerner

    This realization has taken a long time to sink in and unfortunately I still struggle with it. Being in this prayer group has really helped me to stay focused on what God wants from me and how He wants to change me. Feel so blessed to be part of a great group of women who aren’t afraid to speak truth to each other, lift each other up and work towards a strong Godly marriage!

  • Oh, yes, I’ve been there! Surrender is the best option, isn’t it, Beth? And it’s so liberating too. Suddenly, it’s all between God and them (it was all along). Good thoughts, friend.

  • Oh, yes, I’ve been there! Surrender is the best option, isn’t it, Beth? And it’s so liberating too. Suddenly, it’s all between God and them (it was all along). Good thoughts, friend.