A Prayer for Oneness In Our Marriage {with free printable}

A Prayer for Oneness in Your Marriage

John and I have been married for 46 years.

We have five grown kids-all married and 21 grandchildren. Yes, this still shocks me!

The greatest desire of my heart, and probably yours too, is that my kids will love the Lord and each other. I long for this passion to continue throughout generations to come.

However, I know this will take a lot of prayer, a lot of forgiveness, and a lot of God’s grace.

Every Tuesday I focus on praying for our six marriages (5 married kids, plus me and John =12 people. Now, that’s higher math!).

Here’s a page from my prayer journal for Tuesdays:

Dear Father,

You have called all 12 of us into marriage. It was your creation that you might be glorified by it. Lord, please be protecting our unions.

Give to each of us:

A sweetness of speech

A desire to work through struggles and stick to it when we are tempted to flee

Eyes only for each other

A desire to serve the other

The discipline to quickly forgive and to ask for forgiveness

A sense of how we are fitting together-us two being better than one.

The willingness to really listen and consider the other’s view instead of “presuming”

A growing thankfulness for one another

A time to pray together

A time to laugh

Deliver us from:

Taking one another for granted

Failing to appreciate or to build up

Wandering eyes

Emotional divorce

From those who would tear apart our marriage

From work overtaking relationships


Keep adding layers and layers of glue into our unions and molding us into oneness.


My list isn’t “done.” It’s always changing because we’ll always need His grace and power to keep growing in our marriages!

A Prayer for Oneness in Our Marriage Printable


To download the free printable of the prayer, simply click the link below: 

A Prayer for Oneness in Our Marriage

Blessings on you and your marriage,


*You can read more about Susan’s simple, but Powerful Prayer Plan HERE.

John and Susan Yates Family
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A Prayer for My Son’s Someday Bride-to-Be

A Prayer for Our Son's Someday Bride

I can tell you the exact moment I began praying for our son’s future wife.

Maybe not the month.

Or even the year.

But definitely the moment.

I’m sure there must have been a context of some kind, but most of those details have faded and now all I can remember are the words that he said.

“I want the kind of wife who would be able to pull an arrow out of my back. That kind of woman.”

He was only 11 or 12 years old at the time, so why he would be thinking such thoughts I’ll never know.

All I know is that it stopped my mama’s heart.

This brought up so many questions I wanted to ask him. Starting with, “Why, Son? Why an arrow?” Then, “Why would it be in your back?” and “Who would do such a thing?” and so on.

And finally, “Where in the world do you get these ideas from??”

It was our first conversation about his someday wife.

But it wouldn’t be our last.

We’ve a had a number of discussions since that time and they’ve all been interesting and insightful. I’ve appreciated hearing his perspective as a young man living in the current culture. It can’t be easy and it’s nice to know that he takes it seriously.

Of all the things he’s said during these discussions,  my personal favorite was when I told him how badly I wanted a good relationship with his future wife – whoever she ended up being – and how I was a little afraid of what she might think of me.

I confided, “I really hope your wife will like me and that maybe we’ll even become friends.”

He was young and answered me briefly, almost fiercely, “She’d better like you, mom.” Sounding nearly like a threat.

I believe that was one of the highest compliments he ever gave me. And I tucked that one deep down into my heart.

Now our son will soon be graduating from college and he no longer talks about arrows. He lives across the country and we only get to see him once or twice a year. But we talk and Skype often and I’m grateful for the man he’s become.

This same son was recently in a good friend’s wedding, having enjoyed a close friendship with both the bride and the groom. As the best man, he offered the newlywed couple the following blessing after the cutting of the cake:

Dostoevsky wrote, “beauty will save the world” and, whether or not he realized it, truer words could not have been spoken. The story of the Gospel and God’s love for us contains the greatest beauty of all.

In the same way that marriage is meant to reflect God’s relationship with his Church, I believe that your relationship has always been – and always will be – one of beauty, filled with goodness and truth.

As long as the two of you are in the world, the rest of us have hope and your many kids will have a chance to grow up loving and seeking the Lord.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about the words he shared. Because this really is how Christian marriage is designed to be—a relationship filled with beauty, goodness, and truth – and how desperately the world needs to see more of this kind of love. Actually, we could all use this kind of hope right now.

And so I continue to pray for his someday wife. 

A Prayer For My Son's Someday Bride

The newlywed couple, with our son on the right

A Prayer for Our Son’s Someday Bride-to-Be

I pray that she will be full of beauty and kindness and wisdom.

I pray that she will be soft in heart and strong in spirit.

I pray that she will laugh at his jokes, put up with his teasing, and carefully listen to his deepest thoughts.

I pray that they will stay up late whispering their dreams and sharing their ideas.

And that the two of them will wake up in the morning as much in love as ever.

I pray that it will only be the beginning of a lifelong friendship between them both.

I pray God is even now preparing her to be his wife, just as I know He has been preparing our son to be a husband.

I pray that she’ll understand what it is to receive forgiveness. And be ready to forgive in return.

I pray that she will lovingly respect him and that he will cherish her always.

And, as much as I hope that she will be crazy-in-love with our son, I pray that she will love Christ even more.

And, yes, I pray that she will be able to pull an arrow out of his back.

But can’t help hoping that she will never need to.

Above all, I pray that their relationship will be one of beauty – filled with goodness and truth. A reflection of God’s love for His Bride.


In my prayers,
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Why Do I Get So Annoyed at That Man?

Why Do I Get So Annoyed With That ManHere in Montana, November means the men put on camouflage and spend a week hunting.

But do you know what hunting has always meant for me? No cooking dinner, doing some fun project, and maybe a splurge to go shopping. So I’ve always waved goodbye to the men and have tried to look sad.

“I’ll miss you!” (Take your time –an extra day if you need to.)

Matt and his brother loaded up rifles, camouflage, and Skittles (gotta know what’s important) yesterday and headed out the door. On my way home from school I felt giddy about the wonderful girl evening that lay ahead of me.

Then my phone rang.

“Hey hon,” Matt said.

I shouldn’t have been hearing from him at 3:30 in the afternoon. He had promised me they’d be out until dark.

“We came in early to pack up and head out to eastern Montana, but the weather doesn’t look favorable in those places,” he said. “So we’re just going to do local day hunts this week.”

Plans changed.

Man at home. Worst of all? He was going to need dinner.

I was disappointed, but I had just been reading Paul David Tripp’s book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand, and a chapter about what causes chaos in relationships. Tripp brought this verse to my attention:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.  (James 4:1 ESV)

Those “passions” refer to our desires for pleasure. Tripp says:

The problem with desire is that in sinners it very quickly morphs into demand…Demand is the closing of my fists over a desire…The morphing of my desire changes my relationship to others. Now I enter the room loaded with a silent demand: You must help me get what I want. If you are an obstacle, I will immediately be angry and impatient with you.

So I recognized that I desired my girl evening, and in the past I had closed my fists over this desire.

But I decided to listen to what the Lord had been teaching me, as I had been thinking about the verse from James over the last few days. I asked the Lord to help me set down my desires, and I internally gave the evening to my husband.

I went to Cabela’s and bought Matt some new hunting boots because his were breaking down, stopped and grabbed fish-n-chips from Applebee’s, and later went back to Cabela’s to exchange the boots that were too big.

And I did it all with a happy heart. That is no small work of God in me.

Because there have been other years when Matt has come home early from hunting, and I have chosen to punish him for ruining my expectations. I’ve chosen wordless pouting and grumpiness instead of welcoming the poor man home, proving that my desire for a girl’s night was more important to me than loving him.

“I thought you would be upset that I came home early,” he told me later last night. “Usually you get upset.”

“I’m growing up,” I said.

Why Do I Get So Annoyed With That Man?


So I have two kinds of encouragement for you.

First, keep an eye out for your desires for pleasure that could easily become more important to you than loving God or loving the people in your life.

Second, I want to point out that time and again my marriage has gotten better because I have been reading the Bible and have chosen to obey what I’ve found there. God’s truth is the source of change.

Being a happy wife starts in our own hearts.


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How to Keep Your Marriage Together When The World Is Falling Apart

How to Keep Your Marriage Together When All the World Is Falling ApartDo you ever worry? Or at least wonder?

That’s what I asked her over our dinner together.

But my friend seemed surprised at my question. Not sure what I was exactly asking.

So I elaborated.

Do you ever have any concerns about your marriage? You know, with everything that’s been happening lately? All the bad news and marriages that appear to be falling apart everywhere?

Infidelity. Irreconcilable differences. Distance and divorce.

No matter where you look, it seems to be the same. Not merely documented in the news, but also seen in many families, dear friends, and even churches. 

So how does that affect you two?

I took another bite of my roasted beet salad, while she thoughtfully considered my question.

“No,” she eventually answered.  “I really don’t. I just don’t worry too much about it.”

She went on to say that she was confident in their marriage. Not only was she sure of the man she married, but she was sure of herself.

Not in a prideful way, mind you. But with a certain simplicity and assurance that did my heart good.

Because you know something? I liked her answer. A lot.

I came to realize that I had slowly let fear creep into my own heart over the past few years. I looked at what other people were doing – or not doing – and it made me question if we were next. If those same things were going to sneak up on us as well.

Thankfully, I’ve married a very patient man. So whenever I start throwing about my wild concerns or deepest fears, he only smiles and pulls me in tighter. He reminds me that that’s not what we’re all about.

That he loves me. And plans on loving me for the rest of our days.

He also reminds me that he has a healthy fear of God and that, ultimately, he is accountable to Him for being loving and faithful to me.

And I breath a sigh of relief.  Again.

So maybe you’re like me and sometimes wonder. Or worry.

You look around and see marriages crumbling and vows broken. Perhaps you come from a long line of broken hearts, like several of my close friends. Not certain if you even stand a chance.

But you do “stand a chance.” Because it’s not up to chance. It’s up to God and He is more than able to keep you together.

So look to Him. Not to the news. Not to your extended family. Not to your friends or neighbors (unless they’re an encouraging example).

And remember what’s true. 

We don’t need to live in fear.

When we become anxious and fearful, we are forgetting that our God is loving and powerful. There is nothing too hard for Him and nothing catches Him “by surprise” either.

Our confidence is not based on what a great guy he is or what a wonderful wife I am (ha!), but on Christ Himself. We love Him, fear Him, and we can trust Him with our marriage.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

What other people have – or don’t have – doesn’t determine what we have.

No matter what is going down around you, or what kind of (broken) legacy you might come from, you and your spouse can make your own decisions on what kind of marriage you desire.

When my husband and I were going through a sad season when a few of our closest friends were choosing divorce, we clung to each other and determined all the more that we were going to commit to loving one another. No matter what.

What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. ~ Mark 10:9

We should focus more on what is true and right – than what is going wrong in the world.

We can’t let the sins and hurts of this world define or influence our hearts toward our own marriage. So don’t let the situations around you make you anxious (note to self!), but keep your eye on Him who joined you together.

Then take it one step further. Fix your thoughts on all that is good and and lovely and be encouraged by these things!

Because, you know, there’s still some really good stuff going on. I can say that about my friend’s marriage and I can say it about ours.

And I’ll look forward to saying it about your marriage.

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~ Phil. 4:5b-8

So why not love each other for the rest of your days? That’s what we want to do!

In His grace,
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What Your Husband Only Wishes {But Can’t Seem to Say}

What Your Husband Only Wishes But Can't Seem to Say

*The following is a true story. A real conversation that took place between him and me. I still cringe when I think about it, but marriage can be like that—at least our marriage can be. Because sometimes the truth is hard to hear. ~ Lisa

It all began in a cafe.

Like so many of the meaningful moments in my life. He and I were sitting together over a grande latte in the newly-opened Starbucks at the Green Hills Mall. When my dear friend Susan walked in.

My face lit up as soon as I spotted her.

She and I had only known each other for a short time, but we’d made an immediate connection the minute we met.


Our young family had recently moved to Nashville and I’d felt rather alone up until then. So being with her was like a breath of fresh air to me.

So I shot her my sunniest smile, “Hey, girlfriend! C’mon over!”

A big hug before both of us began bubbling over with all the latest news. I complimented her on her new dress. Told her how much I liked the way she was wearing her hair. Thanked her for the book she’d lent me. And gushed how glad I was to see her!

At some point, I noticed how subdued my husband had become. I waited until she’d left us, then asked him what was up. Something was clearly on his mind. I could tell that much.

But he hesitated. Didn’t seem to know quite was to say.

Then finally, he said it so softly, I barely heard him. “I wish . . . you’d be like that for me.”

Okay, I don’t mean to be difficult, but be like what??

“Light up with a sweet smile. Speak kindly. Say nice things.”


No further explanation was needed.

I knew EXACTLY what he was talking about. And he was right.

I was all smiles for Susan.

Saved my grumpies for him.

Rarely bothered with the niceties anymore. Not particularly gracious or polite.

In all honesty? I didn’t offer too much of this kind of thing to my husband. He was supposed to love me “just the way I am.”

No frills or syrup for him.

But how hurtful for him to see me put on my “sweet face” for everyone else—everyone except the man to whom I’d pledged my lifelong love.

Here I was handing out the big smiles and warm compliments to my new friend . . . and dribbling out the tired frowns and whiny complaints to him.

There’s something not quite right about that.

Now don’t feel badly if you’re cringing. I was cringing too. Somewhat sickened, really. Definitely convicted.

So, girlfriend, that’s what got me thinking….

If we’re putting on our brightest smiles for our sisters?

If we’re saving our warmest words for our friends?

If we’re sharing our kindest thoughts with The Girls?

Then we might want to consider how hard it must be for him to watch. Maybe he doesn’t mention it – doesn’t know how to say it – but my guess is that he’d appreciate some of that warmth and kindness shown to him too.

So even if he’s around most every day, why not light up when he walks in the room?

Tell him how handsome he’s looking today. How glad you are to see him. A big hug and maybe a bit more.

Put on your sweet face and say nice things.

Like a breath of fresh air.

He wishes for a kind wife.

…and on her tongue is the law of kindness. Prov. 31:26

In His grace,
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*The above is an excerpt from 100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson.

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So What Exactly Does It Mean to Be Your Husband’s “Helper”?

So What Exactly Does It Mean to Be Your Husband's Helper

Lately I’ve been reflecting on a largely unremarkable, yet poignant scene a photographer friend of mine witnessed as she snapped photos of a rather illustrious couple.

As she offered directions in a brief moment during the shoot, the husband became momentarily confused as to what to do.

At that same instant my friend noticed the slight pressure of the wife’s hand on her husband’s back, guiding him into the next steps fluidly.

In that moment of grace, the man lost no dignity in not knowing what to do, thanks to his wife.

She was silently, and wonderfully, his teammate and ally.

One might even say that in this situation, she respectfully led her husband.

Barbara Rainey

Due to a project at work lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole idea about Eve’s creation as Adam’s “helper.”

It’s a delicate subject, this one.

Sometimes I’ve received some rather blistering thoughts from constituents on this topic—often because “helper” is seen as a demotion of women as inferior, or as propagating abuse. But these implications are against all we stand for: the intrinsic value of women and their critical, life-giving role, without which Adam’s situation was declared “not good.”

Sometimes the desire not to step on toes can cause us as Christians to dial back the breathtaking design idea fashioned into each woman as God crafted her.

You may have heard before that this term of “helper”, the Hebrew word ezer, elsewhere in the Bible refers both to the Holy Spirit of God Himself, and to military allies.

The concept is not for the faint of heart.

Rather, it is endowed with innate strength.

Acting as wingman is never a demotion.  Neither is the Holy Spirit less than the Father or Son. His leading of us, of me, is always gentle yet also with pure truth.  His guidance of me is always with my needs in mind.

Eve was “fashioned” for Adam—in that way, I suppose their union and likewise any married couple is not unlike a 3-D puzzle.

I see it in my own marriage, and my husband would be one of the first to tell you: I excel at design while he tops me any day of the week in finances.  Yet even these two descriptors are not thoroughly helpful because Dennis does have a good sense of design and though spreadsheets give me a headache I am not completely inept with numbers.

There are ways every wife distinctly and uniquely complements her own husband.

And of course, he’ll offer his fortes to complement her areas of lesser strength as well.

In some ways, through “helping”, we’ll actually be gently, graciously leading. Abigail and Esther are both shimmering examples of women who wisely, shrewdly, and respectfully “led”—saving untold lives through their astute courage and foresight.

Any coach worth his salt will tell you that’s what a team is all about: not domination, superiority, or self-service, but on moving fluently with what each player brings to the team, toward your common goal.

Each member maximizing his or her gifts in their position makes for a winning game.…Or photo shoot.

And it’s one of the nuances often found in the team of two called marriage.



Barbara RaineyBarbara Rainey, wife of 42 years. Empty nester to 6 kids and 22 grandkids. Cofounder of FamilyLife. Creator of Ever Thine Home. Author & artist. Inspires women to see mundane moments as sacred and meaningful. Still in awe at being loved by God.

You can learn more about EverThineHome HERE. And follow Barbara & EverThineHome on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Creating a Romantic Refuge in Your Very Own Home

*The above photo of the former governor and wife is with special thanks to the talented Nancy Nolan Photography

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