In the decade since I’ve written Sacred Marriage, numerous wives have made me increasingly sensitive to several situations that make marriage even more difficult than it already is—long-term unemployment, serious illness, addictions, mental illness, and the like. I’d like to use this blog post to request prayers for two groups of wives in particular who deserve extra prayer: military wives, and minority wives. Would you please consider adding them to your prayer list, and if you have influence at your church, consider creative ways to support them (and perhaps post some of those ways in the comments section)?
The special pressures military families face are enormous—keeping intimacy alive during long stretches of deployment; young men remaining sexually pure when they are away from their wives for months at a time; the frequent trauma soldiers suffer on the battlefield and the resulting psychological hurdles they face when they return; the complete upending of “normal routine” when dad leaves home, and when dad comes home. (Of course, many of these issues are equally true when it’s the wife who is on deployment.) I met a military wife two weekends ago who, with tears in her eyes, thanked me for Sacred Marriage, telling me it helped save her marriage, and then expressing, with great sadness, that almost all of their military friends are now divorced. I looked at the baby in her arms, and the little boy standing by her side, and was deeply moved at her desire and determination to hold her family together, in spite of the odds against them. Our soldiers serve our country at great personal cost, far beyond the battlefield. Let’s keep praying for them.
I recently received an encouraging but heart-rending email that raised an issue about African American families. Sandra writes: “I am an African-American woman… There are some differences regarding some of the particulars of the issues we face, e.g., most of the Black women I know are all working wives and mothers and we do not have the luxury of being stay-at-home moms, etc. We deal with hubbies who come home facing racism and we ourselves face that in addition to all our other problems. Will you pray for me and other Black women who want to live godly lives but who feel marginalized and feel that life just ‘isn’t fair’ because of the additional cultural issues we face along with our marital issues?”
Let’s all pray for these groups. Even more, let’s try to serve them. For military families, I’ve given away two copies of Devotions for Sacred Marriage so that spouses who are separated can read through the same book during a deployment and have something to talk about when they touch base on the phone or through Skype. If you have the resources, consider buying two copies of this book for military couples that you know, and write in the front that you’ll be praying for them as they face their unique family challenges as they serve our country. If you know of a couple that could use these books, but you can’t afford to provide them, please let me know; Lisa and I will do what we can.
For minority wives—can I encourage the white suburban, stay-at-home moms to get to know their black sisters in Christ and begin praying for them? Not only can whites learn a lot from their black sisters, but perhaps you can also help support them in practical ways. The shared experience of being married can fuel an active friendship. And seeing how someone is directly affected by society’s prejudice as well as present and past injustices is helpful for all of us to “bear one another’s burdens.” One of the gifts you might give these wives would be Sacred Influence—that’s the book Sandra was referencing when she reached out to me.
There’s another side to all of this: getting involved in praying for others’ marriages and trials is one of the best things you can do for your own marriage. Praying for someone who has it just as difficult as you do, or perhaps is on an even more difficult road, puts our own struggles into perspective. When we start caring for the relationships of others, God often gives us a renewed heart and affection for our own relationship, making this is a win-win request.