17 Ways You Can Pray for Your Husband

17 Ways to Pray for Your Husband in 2017 at www.annswindell.comI had the honor of getting to write for Way-FM recently about one of the topics I love the most: marriage! The start of the article is below; you can read it in its entirety here!

As wives, perhaps one of the most important things we have the opportunity to do in 2017 is to pray for our husband. No one knows him as closely as you do, and this offers a unique chance to come before the Lord and ask him to guide and protect your husband in a powerful way.

Still, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start or how to focus our prayers, and so, below, you’ll find 17 ways to pray for your husband this year. You can pray through the whole list at once, or pray for specific aspects on different days of the week or month. Even if your husband does not yet know the Lord, you can pray these prayers for him, trusting that the Lord hears you and he loves your husband even more than you do.

1. Pray for your husband’s relationship with Christ.

No other relationship in your husband’s life is as important as his relationship with God—not even his relationship with you! The good news is that as your husband grows in closeness with the Lord, his love for Christ will start to spill over into every other relationship in his life, including his marriage. So, pray that your husband will be motivated and excited to spend time with the Lord, praying and reading the Bible.

2. Pray that the Lord will give your husband godly friends.

We become like the people we spend time with, and so your husband’s friends have a huge influence on his life. Ask God to give your husband close friends who are also pursuing Christ, and that they would “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).

3. Pray for favor on your husband’s life.

Your husband has already received favor in having you as his wife, for “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22)! Now, pray that God will increase your husband’s favor with bosses, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances!

4. Pray that your husband will thrive in his job.

Few things matter more to a man than knowing he is making significant contributions in his work. Pray that God will give your husband joy in his work and breakthrough in any difficult situations at his place of employment.

Read the rest of the article here, at WAY-FM!

Looking for more marriage encouragement? 
Read 10 Ways to Grow Spiritually with your Spouse!
Read Cultivating a Joy-Filled Relationship with your Spouse.
Still Waiting by Ann Swindell

Marriage Shouldn’t End Your Dating Life: An Article for RELEVANT Magazine

Dating Each Other for a Healthy Marriage www.annswindell.com

This is my newest article for RELEVANT. Read the entirety of the article here!

Dating—in person, online or blind—is prized in our culture, and most of us think of dating to be an important part of any meaningful, romantic relationship. Whether casual or glamorous, expensive or on a budget, we intuitively know that dating is a central way to get to know someone, win his or her heart and build a romance.

So why wouldn’t dating continue to be important after marriage?

Marriage is meant to be an earthly picture of Christ and the Church, a relationship that points to the love and affection between Jesus and His people. But if a husband and wife hardly spend time together, it’s difficult for that love and affection to grow.

Dating your spouse doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, but to maintain—and grow—a healthy marriage, consistently dating your partner is important to do.

Dating your spouse doesn’t have to be expensive, but to grow a healthy marriage, dating your… Click To Tweet

Here are some of the reasons we all need to continue to date our spouses after we say our vows at the altar:

Time Is a Valuable Gift

Making time to date one another in a season of life that is very busy (and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon) is a powerful gift you can offer your spouse. Time is a precious commodity to any of us, and when we willingly spend that time with one another, we are saying “You are worth my time.” And because our lives are made up of just that—time—we are saying, in essence, “You are worth my life.”

We Invest in What We Value

If you’re like me and you’re not rolling in money, the components of getting a date with your spouse can seem too costly sometimes—paying for a date (and a sitter, if you have kids) can start to add up.

Yet, we invest in what we value: we do this all of the time with our food choices, our clothing purchases, our donations. It doesn’t mean we have to spend loads of money to date, but we do have to invest in growing our marriages as a couple—and it will cost us money, as many things of value often do.

When We Short-Change Our Spouses, We Short-Change the Family

Even if the family is just the two of you right now, if you ignore the need that your spouse has for intentional, invested time together, you’re hurting the family dynamics. The cracks may not start to show for a while, but the foundation of intimacy and friendship will weaken if you’re not building in to your relationship as husband and wife.

Once we have kids, I think it’s just as important—if not more so—to keep dating one another. As a mom, I want my daughter to have everything she needs (and more). But more than many other things, children want to know that their parents are in love and that they enjoy one another. this brings peace and stability to a home.

Children want to know that their parents are in love and that they enjoy one another. #marriage Click To Tweet

Having a consistent date night won’t guarantee a healthy marriage, but it provides intentional space to grow together as a couple.

 

Read the rest of the article here, at RELEVANT Magazine!

Related: Dating Your Husband: The Hows and Whys

Celebrating Marriage: Cultivating a Joy-Filled Relationship With Your Spouse

This last week held some wonderful milestones for our little family. Our sweet girl celebrated her second birthday, and Michael and I celebrated our ninth anniversary–all on the same day! We have walked through much together in these last nine years, and my hope and prayer is that Michael and I will have the gift of continuing to walk together for many, many decades.

Celebrating Marriage: Cultivating a Joy-Filled Relationship With Your Spouse www.annswindell.com

One thing that Michael has learned about me in these past years is that I am, by nature, a celebrator. I love any excuse to throw a party, share a special meal, or take a short trip. I grew up in a family full of celebrators, and I also think that God values celebration: his Son’s entrance into the world was marked by a heavenly chorus of worship and joy, Jesus loved to share meals (with sinners!), and the end of all time will be marked by a wedding feast. God is, by nature, abundant and generous. The best kinds of celebration are full of those things, too.

And this past week, when Michael surprised me with a surprise stay at a favorite hotel and dinner out, I was reminded, again, at how important it is for us to celebrate each other. The time away as just the two of us–even thought it was less than 24 hours–focused us, again, on the beauty and power of marriage. We reminisced on all that we have walked through in the last years; we dreamed about what is ahead. And we praised God for the gift of one another, celebrating Him and the Us that He has been making. It was a gift.

Here are ways that we can celebrate one another in marriage–in big and small ways, every day of the week:

1. Celebrate the small things. Praise from a boss on the completion of a project? A child that is finally potty-trained?  Overcoming a personal obstacle? Look for ways to celebrate each other–search for ways to celebrate each other. Our marriage has been one in which we have come to enjoy celebrating one another, not just on anniversaries and birthdays, but for any number of reasons. Celebration doesn’t have to be big all the time, just intentional. An unexpected cupcake is a great way to celebrate a small victory, as is coming home with balloons to acknowledge the end of a challenging week!

Look for ways to celebrate each other--search for ways to celebrate each other. #marriage… Click To Tweet

2. Celebrate what you love about one another. One of the worst patterns we can fall into as spouses is focusing on what we dislike in our partner. We can become nit-picky, discouraging, and frustrated when we think about all that we don’t like in person we married. Instead, choose to celebrate–not just acknowledge–the wonderful aspects of your spouse. Is she a woman who is gifted in hospitality? Consider celebrating her abilities as a host by buying her something that will encourage her gift–a new set of sheets or a cookbook she’s been eyeing. Write her a note telling her that you see and appreciate how hospitable she is with others–and that you want to encourage her gift. Is he artistic? Purchase an art class voucher for him at the local community college, or set up a mini work space in an unused space in your home. Write him a note acknowledging that you value his artistic abilities and that you celebrate him pursuing that gift!

Choose to celebrate--not just acknowledge--the wonderful aspects of your spouse! #marriage… Click To Tweet

3. Celebrate in unexpected ways. Does your spouse love camping but you avoid sleeping under the stars? Consider a mesh of what you both love when it comes time to celebrate something big: perhaps glamping could bring your worlds together! Is one of you a die-hard sports fan while the other could care less? Consider getting tickets to the big game and give the gift of your time and attention to what your spouse loves for an evening or weekend–knowing that the celebration will mean that much more to your partner. When we stretch ourselves to celebrate the other in ways that are outside of our comfort zone, we may find ourselves surprised at how much fun we have!

No matter what type of celebration you bring into your marriage, the important thing is to celebrate the gift that you have in one another. Any marriage that stays together and honors the Lord is a miracle in itself–worth celebrating any day of the year!

Still Waiting by Ann Swindell

Kids Aren’t the Priority. Marriage Is.

My newest piece is up at RELEVANT Magazine–a piece about how to cultivate a healthy marriage after kids come along. It’s something I’m passionate about, both personally and culturally, and I’ve written about it for Today’s Christian Woman, as well. Read the start of the article below:

Keeping Your Marriage Healthy after having kids....so important!

 

I was concerned that becoming parents might weaken our marriage. I wasn’t afraid that it would ruin our marriage. Michael and I had made promises to God and each other to stay the course, come hell or high water. We also had—and still have—a deep friendship and camaraderie in our relationship. But I was, admittedly, nervous that having a child might throw some of that off-kilter—that, perhaps, adding another human being in the mix might strain our connection and closeness.

And you know what?

It did.

Our daughter was born on our seventh anniversary, and her birthday has become symbolic to me: Those things that were solely about me and my husband—the things that used to be just about us—those things have shifted. Even our marriage—our very anniversary—is shared, now.

And that’s a good thing.

Because although it feels like it might rub me raw some days, getting to be a parent is a gift. God’s word unabashedly declares that children are a blessing from him (Psalm 127:3-5), that each child is intentionally created by God (Psalm 139), and that children show us a picture of what it means to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:1-3). I believe in the Bible. And I also believe my experience—my daughter is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

But being a parent is also a gift because it can strengthen our marriages, if we are intentional about growing as parents and spouses. Growing as parents without growing as spouses is putting the proverbial cart before the horse, and both the marriage and the parenting will suffer. But the opportunity to grow as friends and lovers—as husband and wife—as we are parenting? This is a truly good gift.

Growing as parents without growing as spouses is putting the proverbial cart before the horse. Click To Tweet

Here’s how to be purposeful about growing as spouses even as we parent those small humans who are making lots of noise in the house:

Make Time Just for the Two of You

Yes, it’s going to be a lot harder to get one-on-one, meaningful time together now that you’re parents. But do it anyway; your marriage is worth it.

When Michael and I were dating, engaged and then married before becoming parents, we had so much time to be together. Time to explore the arboretum. Time to talk over long meals. Time to see movies and sleep in. Now, as parents (and remember, we only have one right now; God bless all parents of multiple children. Amen.), a lot of our time is spent doing parent-y things: feeding our child, playing with our child, reading to our child, bathing, cleaning and clothing our child. Her schedule shapes a great deal of what we can and can’t do.

So we have a weekly date night. Sometimes we get a sitter and go out. Sometimes we talk and eat ice cream and watch a movie at home after she goes to bed (Alleluia for the 7:30 p.m. bed time). But we are consistent about making time to meaningfully connect so that we can operate as friends and lovers … and not solely as parenting partners.

Make time to connect as spouses so you don't operate solely as parenting partners. Click To Tweet

Serve Your Spouse, Not Just Your Kids

Before children, it’s just easier to care for our spouse—to stop at the store and pick up a favorite cereal when we’re running low, or to refill the gas tank in the car before it drops to E. But when the days fill up with attending to the basic needs of children, we can get worn out with serving anyone but ourselves.

The gift in this, though, is that parenting reminds us in fresh ways that it’s not all about me. Caring for one or two or 10 little humans forces us to put the needs of another before our own—often to a degree that we’ve never had to experience before. Waking up 10 times in one night? Sure. Making meals and washing clothes for kids who don’t have the fine motor skills to do it for themselves? Of course.

But if we’re so exhausted by serving our kids that we can’t—or won’t—serve our spouse, we’re headed down the wrong path. We may not be able to fill up the gas tank on a whim or pick up roses on the way home, but we can still serve our spouse in simple, thoughtful ways through the week. A note left on a dashboard, the offer to take the kids while she gets a night out, or the willingness to clean the dishes—these little acts of service help keep marriages healthy in the midst of exhausting days and years.

Read the rest of the article here, at RELEVANT!

Related post: Connecting After Kids

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Dating Your Spouse: No Excuses

My newest piece is up at Todays Christian Woman, entitled “5 Reasons to Avoid Date Night (But Why You Should Date Your Spouse Anyway). Michael and I have had a standing date every week of our married lives–this article shares my heart behind why we’re so committed to dating one another in every season of life!

Dating Your Spouse: Connection, communication, partnership, love. Read this!

We’ve all heard about the importance of consistent dates with our spouse. It sounds ideal—a romantic date every week—but there are a thousand reasons why it feels difficult (if not impossible) to make happen.

Here are five reasons to avoid date night. Oh, and why you should date your spouse anyway.

1. “Dating Is Too Expensive”

If you’re talking about the versions of dating that pop up on social media and TV, then, yes, you’re probably right. Expensive restaurants, Broadway shows, sparkling jewelry—most of us would be thrilled if we got a date like this with our spouse once a year, or even once a decade. Because those kinds of dates, with the wining and dining and trying to impress each other all the time, aren’t feasible for most of us.

But there is something that is feasible: connection. Connection comes not through the amount of money spent, but the amount of heart invested. Some of the best dates my husband and I have had took place during walks at the local arboretum. Strolling on the paths, we had time to unfold our hearts to one another and to enjoy holding hands in a lovely setting.

Connection comes not through the amount of money spent, but the amount of heart invested. Click To Tweet

Now that we have a child, if we want to have any meaningful connection, it usually has to take place after she’s asleep or when we’re out and she’s with a babysitter. We try to have a date night out at least once a month. If we’re paying for a babysitter, our date is usually cheap (or free). We go for walks in the park, have coffee at a local café, or read part of a book together at the library. Make a list of cheap date night ideas with your spouse and pick one!

If money is really tight and there’s no option for paying a babysitter, consider swapping childcare with friends. You can also get creative with at-home dates. Turn your phones off and cook a late meal together after the kids go down. Watch a unique film you’re both interested in, and if you are so inclined, talk about it afterwards. Get competitive with a card game. Relax with a new flavor of ice cream bought especially for date night. What you do doesn’t matter as much as the choice you make to invest your time and attention in one another.

2. “I Don’t Have Time”

If you let other people control your calendar, then, yes, you’re probably right. There’s always going to be one more meeting, project, or sports practice that you—or one of your kids—has to be at. But ask yourself this:  Would you ignore your child’s query for dinner as easily as you can ignore your spouse’s (or your own) need to talk?

Would you ignore your boss’s requests for that deadline as easily as you ignore your marriage’s… Click To Tweet

We make time for what we value. If you value your marriage and the person you made a covenant at the altar to love, you need to make time for your spouse.

Prior to marriage, many of us had months—perhaps even years—of lavishing time upon one another. Dates stretched into hours upon hours of conversation and laughter. We prioritized our significant other above other relationships and our time bent toward him accordingly. While we may not have time for hours-long dates any more, we can make intentional time for one another if we really want to. We can say no to another meeting, no to another sports team, and no to another obligation. And in the process, we can say yes to a standing date with our spouse on Tuesday nights or Friday mornings or Sunday afternoons—no excuses. Just as no friendship is sustainable without consistent connection, no marriage will thrive without consistent time together.

When you put a consistent date night on the calendar, you’re telling your spouse that you value your relationship above all others. It’s worth it.

3. “My Marriage Is Beyond Help”

If your marriage is in a difficult place, sometimes the thought of spending intentional time together feels confusing—or even painful. The idea of a night full of forced conversation (or lackluster intimacy) may not be your idea of a good time. But if a marriage is going to heal, connection has to start somewhere. And dates don’t always have to be fun to be meaningful. Sometimes working through deep issues on a date night is just as important as laughing together.

Perhaps your date nights don’t look like a cozy evening on the couch or a hand-holding walk through the park. Where can you start? Might a meal together outside of the home provide an opportunity for conversation that doesn’t revolve around the kids or work? Could a morning jog together offer a chance to connect in a different—and still meaningful—way? Would you be able to attend a Bible study or small group together?

If all of this still feels too hard, it might be that your dates need to be at a counselor’s office, where you can work through pain in a safe environment. The point of a “date” is to get closer to your spouse. Don’t assume that dating your spouse has to look one particular way. Start where you are, and move forward from there.

Read the final two reasons here, over at Today’s Christian Woman!

If you liked this post, you might enjoy: Dating Your Husband: The Hows and Whys.

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