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Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 NLT
When you’re upset with someone or you feel hurt by them, the last thing you typically want to do is pray for them. Our human nature when someone hurts you is to want to hurt them back, or at least play the victim for a while and make them suffer.
Choosing to pray for your spouse when you are upset with them actually helps you mature and grow closer to God and to your spouse. While it may be tempting to simply pray for them to see the errors of their ways and to see that you are right, praying for the following three things will help your heart change toward them and help make your relationship better.
Thank God for them. So many of Paul’s prayers in the New Testament begin with thanksgiving because he knew the importance of being thankful for the people God had placed in his life. When you take time to thank God for your spouse, it helps you remember how much you love them and how much of a blessing they are to you (something that’s easily forgotten when you are mad at them for something).
Pray for what they need. Ask God to give your spouse what they need at that time. It may be peace in their soul, it may be for them to grow closer to God and to hear His voice, or it may be for them to accept Him as their savior if they haven’t done that yet. The beauty of prayer is that God knows what you need before you ask Him, so you can pray simply that God gives them what they need and He will do the rest.
Pray for yourself. Ironically, probably the most important thing when praying for your spouse is to pray for yourself. Pray for God to change your heart and allow you to move past whatever is bothering and/or hurting you and to grow closer to Him through it. You are the only one you have control over in your relationship, so ask God to work in you to help your marriage grow stronger.
Practical Application: The next time you are angry at your spouse, go into another room and take a minute to pray for these three things and give your frustrations over to God and then watch your attitude change.
When you choose to let God work in your heart through conflict with your spouse, you can strengthen your relationship with God, grow in maturity, grow closer to your spouse, and experience more peace in your relationship.
**This advice is directed toward minor disagreements in marriages. If you are facing more severe issues in your marriage like infidelity or abuse, it is best for you to pursue professional help.
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