My husband was intruding on my time with God, and I didn't like it.
For 10 years I had risen early each morning to read the Bible and pray. Since my husband, Don, preferred to sleep in, the timing was perfect. Before Don got up, before the phone started ringing, before my busy day started, I could focus exclusively on God.
I memorized Scripture verses. I prayed for friends who would be waking up to a day filled with grief or sickness. I seldom began a day without asking God to take away my will and replace it with His.
I savored my quiet, uninterrupted time with God until one morning I looked up and saw Don walking into the room. With his eyes barely opened, he announced that he wanted to join my early morning practice.
I tried to hide my shock and disappointment. This has to be a whim, I thought. It won't last.
The next morning, we took a trial run. I told Don what I usually did during this time. He gave me a thumbs-up, stretched out on the couch and promptly fell asleep before I had even finished reading the Scriptures.
I hoped Don would tell me that this wasn't going to work. At the same time, I felt guilty about my unwilling attitude. I knew there were other wives who would love to share a time like this with their husbands.
After the first few mornings, Don avoided the couch. But even while he was sitting in a chair, he sometimes fell asleep when it was my turn to pray. Since Don had so much trouble staying awake, we decided to eat breakfast first. After the meal, Don was alert and ready to participate.
What I thought would last only a few days has now continued for more than 30 years. Don and I begin our time together by reading the Bible. Sometimes we use devotional books, but most of the time we simply read and discuss Scripture. We tell each other about our plans for the day. We discuss the needs of our friends, church and nation, noting the requests in a prayer notebook. When prayers are answered, we write TYL (Thank You, Lord) by the recorded names.
We spend a lot of time praying for God's protection for our daughters and their families. We often use a prayer based on Colossians 1:9-10: “Lord, we ask You to help our children and their families to understand what You want them to do. We ask You to make them wise about spiritual things. We ask that the way they live will always please and honor You so they will be doing good, kind things for others, while they are learning to know You better and better. We also pray that they will be filled with Your mighty, glorious strength so they will keep on going no matter what happens — always full of the joy of the Lord.”
Sometimes my husband surprises me by telling God how much he loves me. I hear his genuine concern for me — a concern that doesn't always come out in other ways. Some mornings, as Don is praying, I am overwhelmed at the depth of his love for me. Silently, I ask God to make me worthy of such love.
Together, we have unearthed one of the most overlooked secrets for a strong marriage — going into God's presence together to pray and read His Word.
In hindsight, I now see that it was God, not Don, who intruded into my quiet mornings so many years ago. Our all-wise Father knew these times together would not only draw us closer to Him but would also help us grow more in love with each other. TYL.