When I first got married I would pray often for my husband and for the situations we were facing, the arguments that were happening repeatedly, and for the things I just simply did not like.
For the moment, prayer would give me hope, satisfaction, and relief. I would stand up from my knees, wipe my tears and feel confident I did exactly what I was called to do as a wife.
With negative thinking, I would have a mindset of, "Unlike my husband I took the situation to prayer."
I made the choice to take his temper to Christ, to take his financial habits to Christ, to take his walls that were causing lack of intimacy to Christ.
I did what I was called to do as a wife that held a spiritual position in the home and I chased God with what I thought was "righteousness."
As time went on and I would stand once more again from my praying knees, I would begin to doubt there was ever going to be a change. I was so sure I was doing everything that I was supposed to do by leaving all of this at the feet of Jesus. But why were the same situations still arising?
As I picked up a book one day "The Power of a Praying Wife;" the first chapter was about praying for yourself as a wife. I liked the title of the chapter ... I thought "Great, I need a chapter to pray for myself because at this point I need an immense amount of strength. Praying for my husband and all these walls he has is getting exhausting."
It was the longest chapter in the book and it all came down to changing me!
I wish I could say I read it and changed immediately from that day forward but I didn't.
I battled with the change. I battled with confessing my faults, my negativity in my marriage, and I battled with the same stubbornness that I would blame my husband of having.
However, I did receive the seeds that were planted the day I read the book for the first time. It sparked more questions in me than just "why are the situations not changing?" I began asking myself, "What if I did start praying for myself to change, how much change will there truly be?" That question intrigued me. At this point, all I knew was that I wanted some sort of change. And if it meant it had to be me, then it would be worth the try.
I am, and will always be, a wife that is constantly learning and growing into what the Lord is calling me to do. But as a wife that prays for herself, the dreaded growing pains are less frequent and kneeling down to the Lord with supplications is less self gain. The requests are not so much of God to hurry and change this, it consists more of: God enrich him, build him up mightily, give him vision and passion to chase after you even more.
Instead of getting caught up in all the things I wish God could change, I much rather pray for the things that will bless my husband.
Now, my prayers for my husband are calling out to God for me as a wife.
Here are 5 Things I pray for myself to become a better wife:
1. To have my spiritual eyes and ears open to hear the needs and desires of my husband
This one is something that I am still learning and trying to grasp. I pray often to develop the gift of being willing to have my spiritual eyes and ears sensitive to my husband's needs and desires. When my husband is stressed from work or a heavy load of projects, I don't want to think he's being cranky and I'm going to stay clear from him. I want to look deeper than the surface, take spiritual discernment in.
Sometimes it is best to leave our spouse alone to deal with situations they are dealing with, but as being ONE with your spouse, the majority of the time they desire and need us to be of grace and greet them with open arms. When discernment tells me that my husband needs me to just go up and hug him, I do it. I hug him and tell him how good of a man he is. This usually makes him smile or laugh and say "What do you want?" He knows I don't want anything but just to make him smile and give him a sense of relief. Those are the moments I feel victorious as a wife. I am not running from the surface of things, I am seeking God first to tell me what to do that can help my husband.
2. To have confidence in myself first, not man
When my husband and I first married, I depended on my husband's affirmation! I wanted him to constantly notice my new outfit, the new way I tried doing my hair, or even just notice my presence whenever I walked into a room. I wanted his compliments on every meal I made and every time I folded his clean laundry. This is unrealistic! It's not unreasonable to request affirmation in your marriage, it's just unreasonable to request it with every action you take.
Our spouses are not here just to build our self-esteem. They hope to enjoy our joy and confidence just as much as we would like to do with them. This was something I would request for the Lord to change often about my husband and this was something that did not start changing until I prayed for God to change me.
I had to find confidence in me as a child of God, which is whom I am foremost. I cannot claim this and then depend on man to achieve it for me. I had to learn to pray the scripture, "And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6) over myself so that I would be fully confident that it is God who brings completion to me, not man. I was putting an impossible task on my husband.
3. To be a woman of grace and wisdom
When I think of a woman of grace and wisdom, I think of the Titus woman. Titus 2:3-5 describes a woman that I think of having an elegant beauty that would shine straight through her with grace. From Titus 2, I learn as a young woman I am to gain insight from the elder women of how to love my husband and children in a godly manner, how to be a homemaker, how to be sensible, pure, and kind. This takes grace to receive as a young woman.
As I become an older woman, with many years to offer as an example to the younger generation, it will take wisdom to teach. I prayerfully hope I am able to receive and give with grace and wisdom for I am not just affecting myself but other women of the coming generations. As I do this, my husband reaps the benefits of me living out the scriptures.
4. To win with action, not words
One of my biggest flaws - before getting saved and a little bit now - was that I could talk too much. I would try to explain myself over and over about decisions I made or things I wanted to do. I believe I had a habit of talking too much because of fears of what others would think of me. I desperately wanted to relay that my intentions were always good behind my actions. I automatically believed no one thought I had good intentions. But by doing this, I would relay frustration towards my husband instead of the situation, or guilt onto my husband instead of conviction that was in me.
I had to learn (and still am) that my actions are what speaks louder than my words. I do not need to convince my husband or children to understand my intentions.
5. To walk in my anointing
I believe this is one the most important things we should be praying for ourselves as a wife. When we are walking in our anointing it means we must be walking in the Spirit; and as we all know, walking in the spirit means we are dwelling in peace, being led by God, chasing after righteousness. Our husbands and children will become witnesses to who God is in our lives and reap the abundance when we walk in our anointing.
For me, walking in my anointing is prayer. When I'm in the Spirit, praying consistently for the body of Christ (which is anything the Lord has placed in my heart), then I am in the presence of God. There is no better place to be and your family, friends, and whomever you may encounter couldn't agree more. The overflow of the anointing will grasp others with amazement by the peace they feel coming from you. Your home will be a home of peace, your job site will have a shift in the atmosphere, your marriage will experience a change in communication and intimacy because all things will be set on Christ when you allow yourself to walk in your anointing.
I would love to read about what you pray for yourself as a wife and what areas you grew in as a wife because you took it to God first. I pray we can encourage each other and bless one another with wisdom and insight by sharing.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Carmen Brown's website. It has been republished here with permission.