The white flag. It's the ultimate act of surrender between warring nations.
And when it comes to marriage, and the “wars” we fight as husbands and wives, raising the white flag usually means “I give up. You win. I'm tired of fighting”.
But what if you and I raised a different kind of “white flag” in our marriages? What if the flag we raised was one of surrendering our marriage to God, not giving up in conflict?
As I thought about this, I must admit that the last thing I want to do is surrender to God when I'm in conflict with my spouse! I want to win the fight! I want to prove I'm right! I want to show her that “my way” is the better way! Sound familiar?
But that is me, as a husband, thinking in my flesh. James reminds me that “what causes quarrels and what causes fights” is my selfish desires. I want what I want and I want it now!
I must remember, in those moments, I am not only natural, but I am “supernatural”. Because, as a Christ-follower, all the power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me in the Holy Spirit. My old man has passed away and all things have become new.
I recently found a post by Melanie Chitwood that speaks to this topic of surrender in marriage:
It seems that the longer I’ve been married, more and more frequently I hear of struggling Christian marriages. I know these couples never intended to be in such a desperate place. When they said their wedding vows of “for better or worse,” they never imagined that the “worse” part would include thoughts of divorce appearing as a good option.
When I hear about these couples, I turn my thoughts toward my own marriage. I hug my husband tightly and whisper prayers of thanksgiving that we are together, committed, and growing closer.
You see, this hasn’t always been the case for us. For about half of our fifteen years of marriage, we fought constantly and although we loved each other passionately, we just couldn’t figure out how to be married or how to be a couple.
Finally, in desperation, I cried out to God asking Him what I should do. His answer surprised me. In the still, small voice in my heart, God told me to surrender my marriage to Him. I knew that the key to surrendering my marriage was trusting God. Instead of trying to be in control by telling my husband and God what to do, I learned to set my eyes on Christ and to ask Christ what He wanted me to do in my marriage.
Since that day, I have focused on being the kind of wife God wants me to be. I have searched the Scriptures, and one step at a time I have obeyed God’s commands for being a godly wife. Many times it has felt like two steps forward and one step back. But that’s still progress! God has transformed our marriage into one of friendship, intimacy, and laughter, instead of the strife-filled marriage we had previously experienced.
God knows all about your marriage. He knows all about you. He knows all about your husband. Your marriage is a gift from Him, and can bring God glory and you joy when you surrender your marriage to Him. Start today by trusting God, and see what happens as you allow God to transform your marriage.
One simple question for you after reading this: Will you take the step of faith and trust that Melanie took and surrender your marriage to the Lord? You may have done this before, but maybe the Lord is calling you to surrender anew. If so, the following is a suggested prayer. You can pray this by yourself, just between you and the Lord. And please make it your own. The words are not as important as the desire of your heart for true surrender:
Dear Lord, thank You for my spouse and for putting us together in marriage. I want the marriage You want me to have, Lord. I confess that I’ve tried to make it into what I want it to be, and not necessarily what You created it to be. At this moment, I fully surrender myself and my marriage to You. I trust You that You have great plans and purposes for our marriage. Give me the desire and strength to be the kind of spouse You want me to be. Help me to walk in the power of Your Spirit, and not in my own strength. Help me to accept and love my spouse unconditionally, just as You love me. In the Name of Jesus!
And husbands, if you prayed that prayer of surrender by yourself, I want to challenge you to share that moment of surrender with your wife, in true humility. Then ask her if she would join you in praying that prayer of surrender together as a couple. You can lead in this or she can join you. Whatever works for the way that y'all pray together. Thanks for taking that challenge.
Follow-Up Steps: Once you have prayed that prayer of surrender individually or as a couple, then here are a couple of suggestions for next steps: (adapted from same post by Melanie Chitwood)
A Pastor friend loves to say that “everything in our life as Christ-followers is about faith”. Your surrendering your marriage was a step of faith and trust in the Lord. Ask the Lord for His next step of faith for you with your spouse and then obey what He tells you!
In Colossians 3: 14 we’re told to “put on love.” What’s one specific thing you can do today to show your spouse that you love them? (Maybe think of a way you can serve or help them, not expecting anything in return, not even a “thank you”.)
Sometimes we hesitate to fully surrender to God because of our fears. Can you identify any fears you have in your marriage? First, ask God to reveal these to you. Then, ask Him to take away your fears and to replace them with His truth. Finally, share these fears honestly and humbly with your spouse and pray together about them.
Link to Melanie Chitwood's Post: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/surrendering-your-marriage-2/ Written by Glen Solberg, Marriage Revolution 2017. All Rights Reserved.