In the Bible, God commands, “All of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be ten­derhearted, be courteous” (1 Peter 3:8). Paying heed to these five directives can change your life and your marriage and make you the man and husband God wants you to be. It’s definitely something well worth praying about.

1. Be of One Mind

It’s horrible to have strife in a marriage. It makes us mis­erable. It affects every area of our lives. And it’s probably the closest thing to hell we’ll ever know on earth. If it goes on long enough, it can destroy everything. Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desola­tion, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). Those are frightening predictions. But prayer is the key by which unity in the marriage rela­tionship can be maintained.

A man and wife cannot live entirely independently of one another without paying a steep price for it. It makes them incomplete. “Neither is a man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:11). But because men and women are different, it’s quite easy for them to get off onto completely separate paths. Even in the closest of marriages, the two partners are still not joined at the hip. You and your wife may have separate work, interests, and activities, but if you are praying with and for one another regularly, it will keep you in tune and on the same path. Without this unity of mind and spirit that prayer provides, it’s too easy to get used to the other one not being there. And if resentment about that creeps into the heart of either one of you, you can begin to hold yourself apart from one another mentally, physically, or emotionally, without even realizing it.

It is especially important to be of the same faith and beliefs. In fact, this is a good place to begin praying. Your entire relationship is compromised if you are not on the same page in this area. For example, going to separate churches, or going to a church where one of you is not happy, or one of you going to church while the other one consistently does not, all promote a lack of unity.

If you can think of other issues such as this that have caused division between you and your wife, pray specifically about them. Ask God to change your heart where necessary to bring you into unity with your wife. Where your wife’s attitude and perspective need to change, pray for her to be able to change them. Your marriage will be a strong force for good if the two of you are of one mind.  

2. Be Compassionate

Have you ever seen your wife suffering, but you don’t know what to do about it? Some men become impatient with that. Others feel so at a loss or overwhelmed by it that it causes them to withdraw. If you recognize that happening to you, ask God to give you a heart of compassion. To be compassionate toward your wife is to have a deep sympathy for any area in which she suffers and to have a strong desire to alleviate that suffering.

Part of being compassionate has to do with simply lis­tening. That means being able to listen without having that faraway look in your eyes that says, “I have more important things to do. Let’s get this over with quickly.” Your wife is not expecting you to fix everything. She just needs to know that you hear her heart and care about how she feels.

In the past my husband would stand still and listen to me for no more than three seconds (I timed this) before he would walk out of the room. If I wanted him to hear a com­plete sentence, I either had to run after him or finish the sentence the next time I saw him. Even when I did get him to actually sit down and look at me while I was speaking, I still had to ask him to give me some indication that he com­prehended what I was saying. Usually I said something like “Blink if you can hear me.” When he blinked, it meant so much to know he had heard my voice. Now he has a heart for my struggles, and he listens with care. Those moments of listening and indicating compassion have been healing to our relationship.