The first two Beatitudes in this series were general concepts meant for any marriage, regardless of religion. This next one is slightly different. This Beatitude shows the foundation our marriages should be built on.
Blessed are they who thank God for their food and who set aside some time each day to read the Bible and pray.
This Beatitude actually has nothing to do with marriage… yet everything to do with marriage. Why do I say that? Because marriages work best when our relationship with God is at its best.
Let’s look separately at the three parts to this Beatitude:
- Thanking God for your food
- Setting aside time each day to read the Bible
- Setting aside time each day to pray
Thanking God for your Food
As parents, we often teach our children early on to pray for our food. But I don’t think this is referring to a habitual saying of “grace” before meals. I believe the main purpose is to be in a state of thankfulness for the provisions God has given us.
The more thankful we are, the more content we can be! Instead of criticizing your husband for having a low-paying job, thank God that he has a job. Rather than demeaning your own cooking skills (or lack thereof!) be thankful that you have food to cook! God has richly blessed us with a roof over our head, food on the table, and (some) money in the bank… let’s not forget to thank Him!
Think you have nothing to be thankful for? Perhaps your husband lost his job, your house went into foreclosure, your family’s health is fading, your marriage is on the rocks, or some other calamity has come your way… The apostle Paul knew how bad things could get. He was stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, beaten, and afflicted by some bodily illness (his “thorn in the flesh”). Yet this is his response:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)
Paul’s secret to contentment is relying on the strength of Jesus Christ. Start by thanking God for what you do have, and let Him take care of the rest.
Setting Aside Time Each Day to Read the Bible
In the beginning of our marriage, Jason and I tried to sit and read the Bible together. We found that, in waiting for each other, we often neglected our own personal reading time. I think it’s great if you can read the Bible as a couple, but it is important for your relationship with God and your husband for you to have your OWN personal time.
Why is reading the Bible important? Well… for starters, it’s God’s love letter to us, His Bride. Why wouldn’t we want to read it?
Picture your husband leaving to go overseas for a year where there is no phone or internet. After a few weeks, you receive a letter from him. Would you toss it onto a shelf and say, “Wow, he wrote me a love letter,” but never read it? Would you display the envelope prominently in your house, but never open it? Of course not! You would tear it open and devour every word, reading and rereading it, memorizing each line.
Unfortunately, the former is what we do with our Bibles so very often. We put our big Bibles on display, or sit them on a shelf with all our other “important” books. We forget that what is on the inside is the most important. It’s God’s heart, written down in love letter format, preserved through the years, and fully available to us! Just as we wouldn’t ignore a letter from our husband, we shouldn’t be ignoring God’s letter to us. We should be tearing into it, devouring every word, reading and rereading it, memorizing each line.
Let’s look at it another way as well. Think back to when you first met your husband. Chances are, you didn’t know at that moment that you were going to marry him, but perhaps you were intrigued by him. Or perhaps he pursued a friendship with you. Somewhere along the line, you started to get to know him. You talked to him, asked him questions, heard his stories. The more you learned about his childhood and family, the more you learned about his character. The more you talked to him, the more you loved him. Am I right?
Well, it’s the same way we build a relationship with God! We get to know Him through His stories in the Bible. His past tells us about His character. The more we read about Him, the more we love Him. Would you have fallen in love with and married your husband if he never talked to you, never shared his life with you? You can’t expect to fall in love with God either if you never read His word.
So take the time to cultivate a relationship with God by reading the Bible. If you’ve never done it before, start with one of the Gospels (I’m currently reading Mark now, and it’s a great narrative of Jesus’ life and ministry; Jason is reading Luke, which is a detailed account of everything Jesus said and did). Get to know Jesus, then move on to other books of the New Testament for some life application.
Encourage your husband to read with you. Perhaps you can both (separately) read the same book of the Bible, or (like Jason & I are doing) read two similar books and then compare. It will help you both grow spiritually on your own, and spark new areas of conversation in your marriage.
Setting Aside Time Each Day to Pray
Prayer is a conversation with God, and it is crucial to your daily life. Prayer guides us, teaches us, and helps us grow in our faith and walk with Christ. Praying together as a couple strengthens the bond between you (it’s very intimate). Praying for your husband daily can help you love him more (especially if that’s an area you struggle with) and can do so much more for him than your nagging ever will.
If you’re not sure how to get started praying, check out Stormie O’Martian’s book The Power of a Praying Wife. It has helped me immensely both in knowing how to pray for my husband, and why it’s so important.
I hope this Beatitude will be our attitude for many years to come… always being thankful for everything God has blessed us with, reading His word, and praying daily. God will truly bless you for being faithful to this!
Keep on Striving,
PS - Have you noticed any changes in your life/marriage after putting any of these into practice? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!