A prayer for my unfaithful husband? I’m sure you’re wondering why I am praying for my husband who chose to betray our marriage covenant. Honestly, sometimes I wonder the same thing.
Infidelity in marriage is such a complex form of pain and trauma. Everyone’s story is different and deep no matter what the circumstances of the betrayal are. All stories of marital infidelity, at least the ones I’ve come across, come with a thick layer of anger that relentlessly bubbles to the top. While anger is a prominent feeling when we’re wounded, it is not the root feeling. Anger ignored, no matter the root, will turn to bitterness and bitterness steals our peace.
I recently read in Max Lucado’s book, Anxious for Nothing, that “The path to peace is paved with prayer.” In these days of utter turmoil that healing from betrayal brings, peace sounds very very good. (I find myself pausing here to breathe. Deep, lung-filling breath. In through the nose, hold it in for a second or two and then exhale out through the mouth. Peace. Take a moment for yourself. Do you even remember the last time you took a deep breath? Close your eyes. Be still. Breathe in some peace right now before moving on to read the rest of this article. Peace feels good, right? It looks good on us too. Now, moving on…)
When anger towards my husband begins to grow and consume my thoughts, and if there’s a molecule of strength left in me for an honest look at myself, I will find that I’m not praying for him. It’s impossible to be angry at someone you’re praying for.
Lysa TerKeurst just released her latest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. She broke Psalm 51 down in such a way that allowed its meaning to burrow in. If David, one who committed unthinkable sinful acts, can sing this song asking God for change and restoration, perhaps my husband will be granted the same measure of grace. And what a gift it would be if I have the opportunity to participate in that change and restoration.
Something I don’t want you to read here is that praying for my husband lets him off the hook for his actions. I’ll share five quick things about this.
- Praying for my husband does not excuse or condone his choices.
- Prayer does not dictate the outcome of a relationship.
- Prayer may not soften my husband’s heart but it will soften mine.
- Praying doesn’t mean I stop working on the root of my anger issues.
- Only good things come from praying, no matter what the circumstances.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23 (NIV)
After reading Lysa’s book, I have committed to focus on praying Psalm 51 over my husband. If you are in a season of healing from betrayal, I would like to hug you and tell you how I genuinely wish you weren’t. I wish I weren’t either. But here we are. So, let’s join together and pray Psalm 51 over our husbands. Let’s pray for their hearts to be broken and then to become new. Oh, what a hoped-for day when we see the redemption and restoration of our husband’s whole spirits, souls and bodies as they find their way back to integrity. May our tears of sorrow become tears of redemptive joy. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23( NIV)
Pray with me.
For the director of music. A Psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on (him), O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out (his) transgressions.
2 Wash away all (his) iniquity
and cleanse (him) from (his) sin.
3 For (he) know(s) (his) transgressions,
and (his) sin is always before (him).
4 Against you, you only, (has he) sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely (he) was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time (his) mother conceived (him).
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught (him) wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse (him) with hyssop, and (he) will be clean;
wash (him), and (he) will be whiter than snow.
8 Let (him) hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from (his) sins
and blot out all (his) iniquity.
10 Create in (him) a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within (him).
11 Do not cast (him) from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from (him).
12 Restore to (him) the joy of your salvation
and grant (him) a willing spirit, to sustain (him).
13 (That he) will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver (him) from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God (his) Savior,
and (may his) tongue sing of your righteousness.
15 Open (his) lips, Lord,
(may his) mouth declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or (he) would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 (May his) sacrifice, O God, (be) a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
This post was originally written for TheCourage.com.