#MarriagePrayers: Galatians 5:22-23

#MarriagePrayers || 31 Verses to Pray for Your Marriage || Scott and Teri Lynne Underwood

#MarriagePrayers || 31 Verses to Pray for Your Marriage || Scott and Teri Lynne Underwood

Before you read this post, you need to know this: I hated writing it today. Because Scott and I had an argument last night and this is one of those days when marriage is hard and I feel like the least qualified person in the world to encourage anyone else on the topic. As I read through the verses for today, my heart was saying, “I don’t wanna!” The fruit of the Spirit doesn’t leave much room for my hurt feelings and my desire to be right and my need for affirmation … in fact, it leaves exactly ZERO room for all that mess. It’s important to me that you know I’m a crappy wife sometimes and that as much as I love Scott, there are days when I treat him poorly. Because, y’all, this is what marriage really does look like — it’s hard and it’s two people wrestling with their own selfishness and desires and trying hard to lean into the beauty of what marriage can be while dealing with all the ugly mess inside each of them. Also, you should know I had a totally different plan for today’s post and maybe I will write that one someday … but today, I needed to work through these verses as a means of confession. ~ TL

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. — Galatians 5:22-23

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Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time studying and teaching this passage from Galatians. I’ve told countless women how we don’t get to pick and choose which fruit of the Spirit we want … we already have all of it because the Holy Spirit indwells us. I’ve reminded them our job is cultivate a fertile soil in our hearts and minds to allow this fruit to thrive in our lives.

But here’s the thing, as much as I have studied and taught and written and encouraged with this pasage — there are days {like today} when this passage is super hard for me to apply and walk out.

Marriage can bring out the bad fruit in me.

Have you ever read the verses immediately preceding the fruit of the Spirit list? Just in case you need a reminder, here they are:

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is … — Galatians 5:19-22a

Let me just highlight the ones that trip me up most often — strife, fits of anger, divisions, dissensions, and envy.

These are not attractive qualities in a spouse. Yesterday was a bad day for me. It started early in the morning with a phone call that left me feeling vulnerable and frustrated, then there was the text which reminded me of an ongoing difficult situation, an email that was less than kind, and somehow I just found myself in a funk. And a simple conversation with Scott led to this abyss of tears, irrationality, and carelessly spoken words. I was in bed by 9:30 with a headache.

So what could I have done? How could I have handled all of yesterday better?

Love — I should have remembered that Scott loves me and is never looking for ways to hurt me or be unsupportive. And I should have let love, not frustration and hurt, guide my words. {Related: 10 Verses to Guide Your Words}

Joy — I chose envy instead of joy right at the beginning of my day. And that started it all down a dangerous path.

Peace — When my heart got tangled up, I should have spent time in prayer to allow God to provide peace over the storm beginning to well up inside me. I also should have kept peace between Scott and me as a focus instead of giving in to strife.

Patience — Let’s just say this one is an ongoing issue with me. The Greek word used in this verse essentially means to be long suffering with people. The discord between Scott and me could have been totally avoided if I’d made the choice to be long suffering about the person we were discussing.

Kindness — My words were not only unloving, they were unkind. I let my crazy emotions guide me instead of the truth. Kindness is one of those qualities that can have a tremendous impact in marriage — and unkindness can be devastating.

Goodness — Goodness is the opposite of selfishness because goodness seeks the best for others. I wasn’t much thinking about the best for anyone but me yesterday.

Faithfulness — In the middle of all my frustration and hurt yesterday, I diminished the faithfulness of our love. I allowed current situations to have more impact than steadfastness.

Gentleness — I was harsh with my words, my attitude, and my actions. And I was wrong.

Self-control — I suppose it’s clear there wasn’t much self-control revealed in my life yesterday.

Yesterday wasn’t a banner day for me. And because I allowed my thoughts and words to be guided by my feelings instead of submitting all of it to the Word, I bore some pretty bad fruit.

So what do we do when days like this happen?

Confess — We need to confess both to the Lord and to our spouse.

Commit — We need to be honest about what can trigger these types of things and then commit to learning better skills for coping and responding.  For me, I am memorizing some verses about joy.

Conduct — Above all, we must remember we are ambassadors for Christ, called to reflect His character. Yes, we will fail at this but we can never allow our missteps to convince us to give up. James reminds us of this important truth, “ Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” {James 3:13}

The bad days will come … for both of us. When you’re the one who’s wrong, admit it and make every effort to resolve the situation and deal with your junk.  When you’re the one who is wronged, be sure to respond in light of the fruit of the Spirit, encouraging your spouse with grace and tenderness.

~ Teri Lynne

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Today’s Prayer

The bad days will come ... for both of us. When you're the one who's wrong, admit it and make every effort to resolve the situation and deal with your junk.  When you're the one who is wronged, be sure to respond in light of the fruit of the Spirit, encouraging your spouse with grace and tenderness. || #MarriagePrayers based on Galatians 5:22-23

 

Lord, when we are jerks to our spouses help us be honest with ourselves. Use Your Word to convict us and draw us back to You. Thank You for giving us the fruit of Your Spirit. Help us cultivate these qualities in our marriage and in our lives. Let us not make excuses and cast blame but instead be humble and willing to seek forgiveness and restoration. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

#MarriagePrayers: Help us cultivate the fruit of Your Spirit in our marriage. (Gal. 5:22-23) Click To Tweet

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Thank you for joining us for #MarriagePrayers: 31 Verses to Pray for Your Marriage.  Scott and I will be sharing a new verse and prayer every day throughout May, leading up to our 20th anniversary on June 1.  You can find every day’s post indexed here.  We pray you will be encouraged and challenged as you pray God’s Word for your marriage.

The bad days will come ... for both of us. When you're the one who's wrong, admit it and make every effort to resolve the situation and deal with your junk.  When you're the one who is wronged, be sure to respond in light of the fruit of the Spirit, encouraging your spouse with grace and tenderness. || #MarriagePrayers based on Galatians 5:22-23

2 Replies to “#MarriagePrayers: Galatians 5:22-23”

  1. You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! Withiut going into detail let me just say that I, too, went to bed a little off kilter.

    1. Jennifer, thank you for taking time to share. It was a scary post to publish because even though I know EVERY marriage has these days … very few ever talk about it. And we need to hear more of the stories of digging in and dealing with our junk and doing the hard work so our marriages can continue to grow.

      So thank you!

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