After spending some time on the chicken coop, the oldest and I came in right before a storm. I told Mom, “After I cut my hair and eat, I want to give you mom time. Whatever you want – alone time, blog time, or date time.” I thought this would be an easy choice for her. I would likely watch a movie – thriller, sci-fi, action, or better yet a combination of all three. I caught myself almost praying, “Lord don’t take me before Star Wars comes out this Christmas.” Then I came to my senses, of course I can watch Star Wars in heaven…duh!
Nevertheless, Johnna was not as forthcoming. Was it too hard of a choice for her on a Monday night after a long weekend? Did the busy week ahead occupy her thoughts that much? Is she so selfless that when forced to think of herself, she cannot? (She doesn’t drink often, but when she does it’s not Dos Equis) Or have I and the grind of motherhood so conditioned her to not think about herself, that she has placed personal time at the bottom of her priority list?
“You can just keep me company while I iron clothes,” was her response after I pressed the idea for twenty minutes. Are you kidding me Mother Theresa!?! There is no one here to impress. Where is your selfish streak? Awkward pause, “Ok,” is how I verbally responded. I turned Netflix off and brought in my plate of food to just talk (remember that communication post). Could I have it any easier? Is there a plot twist here? Am I in trouble? Nope, we just talked for a couple of hours and it was awesome.
We discussed the good, the bad, and the ugly. Our temptations, my supposed ‘blind spots,’ reminiscing on some marriage scenes, the fun we had hosting friends for Easter dinner, the great weekend, and my driving habits. You could slice the oneness in the air with a butter knife.
Reflecting on our time leads me to recommend three prayers you can pray for your wife daily.
- “I pray that she trusts You with her life, her marriage, and her parenting more and more each day.” It is easy to get distracted by the throws and demands of life. Our family operates at a high intensity. From the time the first kid wakes up, it is a sprint to nap time, and marathon until dinner. ‘Wrestle time’ has meaning in the King household. There is no tapping out, only surrender or death. Someone is always a moment from a tantrum and that means consistent disciplinary actions that could last anywhere from 2-20 minutes (another blog to come about how we aim to discipline like the Father). Thus it is necessary for me to pray for Johnna to have her quiet time and to trust that God will do what He says He will do.
The demands of motherhood are such that trusting in anything else, including me, or of control/order results in devastating grief, depression, and hopelessness. I, as the husband, can do very little to help an absence that only God can fill. I try to set the conditions that enable Johnna to spend time in the Word daily, but praise God she loves the Lord and has a dependence on His Word. The pressures of life are overbearing, living with 6 sinners whom rely on your stability everyday. If she takes that upon herself, she will be crushed under the weight of our ineptitude. However, Jesus said, “Cast your yoke upon me for my burden is light.”
2. “I pray that she receives encouragement from You Lord first and foremost, then me, then our family, and then the world – other moms, work, friends, etc.” The demands of motherhood are all day, every day, tough. Even as an Infantry Marine, I tried not to complain about having a hard day. Work would be a welcomed vacation for Johnna. Notwithstanding, she would excel at it too. I must be very careful that her heart isn’t enticed by the woos of the world due to a lack of her receiving it in the home. She receives many compliments from her new job, from friends, and family. These are all good things. But, if I am not doing my job, these good things become distorted due to an improper balance. It is my job to restore the balance in the force and teach my young padawans to do the same. Ok…I’m back. The point is, there is a lot of competition out there to break up the marriage oneness, and some of it is ‘good.’ However, King Solomon warns us to keep the foxes out of the garden. And if you know anything about chickens, you hate foxes in the garden.
3. “I pray that You help me to pray without ceasing.” I have been praying for this for myself for three years and I am not even close. This is a commandment and not a suggestion. Therefore, I am striving valiantly, daring greatly, yet erring and falling again and again, without ceasing. This is also something that I, who tends to err on legalism, cannot fake and just check the box. This is most challenging for me. One day I caught a glimpse of what praying without ceasing should look like in my life. I spent the day acknowledging God’s authority over every conversation and decision, praying through all the transitions in my day, and most surprisingly, being concerned with Johnna’s needs throughout the day. So although this last bullet is somewhat self-focused (of course, right?), it is an attempt to bring to our awareness that we should be praying for our spouses continually throughout the day as well. Yes, it has taken me three years of one prayer request to come to that conclusion. Who knows what I will learn by year 10, Lord willing.
Reminding myself to not just talk with Johnna, but anticipate her need for prayer. As she prepares lunch for the kids, that the kids would nap so she can have a moment of peace, that they would be protected from harm, that the oldest boys would be helpful during witching hour right before dinner, that she would be consistent with our family’s discipline, that she would encourage the gospel in daily conversations with the kids and so forth. I may have even called her, asked for prayer request, and prayed with her over the phone. But that was weeks ago and it only happened once in our eight years of marriage.
As always, I appreciate your accountability.
Men, readers, I pray that you will join me and hold me accountable to pray for our spouses daily and with gospel intentionality.