31 Days of Prayer for Marriage

Walking in Sacrificial Love (Marriage Challenge – 31 Days of Prayer)

Day 7 - 31 Days of Prayer for Our Marriages

Today is our seventh day, marking a complete week in this challenge. Are you still with us? Good!

I’m happy to report that I’m witnessing a revival. Over 3,000 participants have joined up for the challenge, and I’ve had several people telling me that they’ve experienced a change in their marriage already. God is good, Amen?!

As we continue to move our way through this challenge, let’s not forget the importance of fervent prayer. It’s easy to give up on something once the excitement wears off, therefore we must challenge ourselves to press on.

Marriage can be much the same way. A wedding ceremony, a honeymoon, being a newlywed, buying your first house, starting a family… those are exciting things that give you a reason to smile, but once that newness wears off we must challenge ourselves to keep building our marriage throughout the years.

We Never Stop Building

This afternoon as I was driving in the car I heard a message on the radio from Gary Thomas of Focus on the Family. He compared marriage to a house reminding us how important it is to keep building throughout the years.

Our home was custom built so we had the opportunity of watching it go up day after day. If they would have stopped working on our house halfway through it would have been destroyed long ago. The roof, the shingles, the siding, and even small details like downspouts and soffits are there for a reason. They keep the house safe. Can you imagine if they didn’t shingle our roof? Our house would have deteriorated from the water damage alone.

In addition to that there’s maintenance. After ten years of living in this house I started to notice that things aren’t working as well as they used to. For example, our furnace has been kicking out in the winter and our air conditioner in the summer. If we don’t have a working furnace, the pipes could freeze, burst and flood our home.

Fuel the Furnace Every Day

There’s a furnace in the heart of a marriage that’s fuelled by love and respect. If we want to keep that furnace burning bright we have to add to that fire daily. That’s where the challenge comes in.

I’m reminded of my father-in-law’s cabin. For decades all that they had was a wood-burning stove. I spent a couple of weekends there in the winter. I loved the cozy feeling and the smell at night, but the mornings were freezing cold. Nobody wanted to get out of bed to light the fire, and even then we waited until the cabin warmed up.

The question was, who would make the first move? Who was brave enough to face the elements of winter to go stoke a fire? Who would step out of the comfort of a warm bed to make everyone else happy?

My husband always did it without question, before I even opened my eyes.

Walk in Sacrificial Love

That’s what love does. It calls us out of our comfort zone to walk in sacrificial love. Not just today, not just tomorrow–each and every day of our lives.

It’s easy to say, “Love isn’t 50/50, it’s 100.” But are we willing to live that way? Or do we expect to get as much as we give? Walking in sacrificial love isn’t popular. We live in a world where it’s more important to defy your age than it is to defy your sin. We live in a self-centred culture where the most important thing in life is that you’re happy, and the least important thing is that you’re holy.

We’re all ready and willing to say “I do,” just as long as things don’t get messy. Just as long as we’re getting a good return on our investment.

In chapter four of Messy Beautiful Love, there’s a section called, “Love is Not Self-Seeking.” I write,

Marriage isn’t fifty-fifty. Love isn’t about taking turns, waiting to be served, or keeping track of who apologized last. Why not? Because true love seeks to please another more than itself. When you love someone, you want the best for them, and you hope for the best. Love gives up its right to be right and steps down so that others can shine. 

Chime in: Would you like to leave a comment or an encouraging thought? Click here to join the discussion.

It’s never too late to join the challenge! Click here for details. 

You are loved by an almighty God,

Darlene Schacht
The Time-Warp Wife

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  • Christy Parker

    Wow what a way to start the day! My favorite line today was “Love gives up its right to be right and steps down so that others can shine.” Incredible not only to teach ourselves, but our children as well! I LOVE this!!!

  • Linda

    Thank you for doing this prayer challenge…..I find myself being much kinder to my hubby! In turn, he’s being kinder to me! We are growing!!

  • Peggy

    My husband and I don’t have large issues, thankfully. We have what I considered the normal ones, of two lives continuing to learn to live together, and continuing to be shaped by God. We have been married a short time, and have gone through a lot as a couple. We’re learning how to communicate better, which we should have known beforehand, but better late, than never!

    Thank you for this, I can’t tell you how thankful I am, that this is coming to me daily. It’s reminding me to pray with intention, for my marriage. To protect it, and nurture it above any other earthly thing. 🙂 It’s also helping me to be nearer to God as well, which is never a problem.


  • Kelley

    Once again, you hit the nail on the head with this one. Consistency has been one of my biggest obstacles throughout my marriage, whether it be getting exercise, cleaning house, cooking healthy, or what have you. I always start out good, but then I gradually taper off and drift back into old habits. The same with my husband. The order is supposed to be God, husband, kids and I am forever getting that messed up. The result is that my husband feels neglected and unloved. After a while, he’ll bring it up to me and I’ll do better for a while, but then I slack off again. I’ve finally realized that it is so important to be proactive and tend to our marriages every day, not just when trouble comes. I’m praying that God will help me make this a permanent change and that my husband will see that it’s different this time. He has good reason to be doubtful, so maybe God will speak to him on my behalf. Thank you so much, Darlene, for being the vessel of His word!

  • Tabitha

    After being married for 26 years I made a decision that has almost derailed my marriage. I took a job in a town that my husband didn’t really want to move to. He agreed at first, but then he decided that no, he wasn’t going. I had a contract, I had to go. Long story short is this-God put me here, by myself to see that I messed up big time. I didn’t put my husband first and walk in sacrificial love, I put me first and it’s been a disaster. God is fixing this and I am going to pay to get out of my contract and go home. I feel like this study is perfect timing in where God has moved my heart. thank you so much! Prayers appreciated 🙂

  • Chris

    These are truths that sometimes take a lifetime to learn, because life is soooo daily. The road is long and hard. It truly is doable, though, because God is faithful. If we ask Him, He will help us think of ways to love our spouse. Then it’s up to us to go the extra mile, day after day, to show that love. Even when they are the most unlovable, if we act on those simple ways, we are truly being Christ to our spouse. For instance, last night my husband came home tired and sore from digging a trench for 6 hours. I cleaned up the dinner dishes, then took a shower, and grabbed the lotion. I rubbed his feet first, then his legs, back and shoulders, even his arms and hands. He LOVED it! He talked about his day the whole time. I hope it made him know how very much I appreciate his hard work. I have done this same act when he was grumpy and irritable, though, too, and it is much harder to have a good attitude about it then. But God can and does give us good attitudes ( the sacrificial love you talked about) when we seek God’s help to love our spouse.

  • FD

    That’s a little hard today. I need your prayers. Things are getting worse and messy for us. My wife said quite a few hateful things to me last night. She does not care what the Bible says about marriage. Talked about leaving the church. She almost left us last night. Some how convinced her to stay but she slept on the couch. She is angry, hurting and needs healing upon her heart. I need help to stay strong for myself and our daughters.

  • Deb

    We have been married for thirtytwo years. Our marriage has had some challenges and rough spots but God has blessed it so much in recent years. I think God showed us how important prefering one another and putting the other ahead of ourselves is for a thriving marriage. This past year my husband was such an example of Ephesians 5:26 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” I had been having serious health issues that my physician figured were caused by environment and my health would not improve until we moved out of that state. My husbands first response is we will figure where you can live safely and move even if that means my finding another job.
    I knew Joel loved me but to love through his great sacrifice that he made without any qualms or second guessing and shown me sacrificial Christ like love like I had never witnessed previously. God blessed his efforts and he was allowed to relocate where we needed to be while keeping his job. Our home sold for full price in ten days and we were relocated two and a half months after the doctor suggested we move.
    We have been in our new home state of Colorado since end of April. We have plugged into a sister church of one we attended previously. My health is so much better! In late August my hubby’s company which has half the income it did the previous year made deep cuts and Joel was among the layoffs. This Friday is his last day of employment.
    Joel’s attitude in this is that God provided him to stay at the former company to move me quickly out of a situTion that was so bad for my health. He tells me how he was willing to look for new jobs last February but not having to then sped up our relocation and how thankful he is for that. Last week he found out he qualifies for Colorado unemployment as of October 5 which is more than double the unemployment in our last state!
    We are resting in God’s peace remembering His past workings in our lives and His faithfulness. We laugh how none of 2014 was in our plans! God has drawn us closer as a couple through our utter dependency on God and the cherished feeling of sacrificial love.

  • Leslie

    I love this….Because true love seeks to please another more than itself. When you love someone, you want the best for them, and you hope for the best – Lord, please let me park my mind here! I want to park my mind here instead of the “little things” that creep up during the day. I love my husband and want him to know and feel this love every day!

  • shannon

    I am really enjoying this! I have a group of ten young wives that I am sending the prayer to starting today they are excited to have such wonderful encouragement. Thank you so much Darlene!

  • Niki

    Thank you. Good reminder to press on with fervent prayer as it’s easier in the beginning but we need to have endurance. This challenge is helping me spend time daily praying and reading bible verses and getting closer to God. It’s amazing how he has time for all of us, so wondrous. That puts a smile on my face! Praying for all involved with this challenge, every day.

  • Nancy

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this with us all! I just found it yesterday, through Lisa Jacobsen’s Club31 Women site. Got all caught up on past days & today’s post was waiting for me. Praying with you. Then my husband was listening to Gary this morning on Focus on the Family. What a GIFT! Can tell God was touching his heart too. May He keep pouring out His blessing in you & through you!!!!

  • Candice

    I’m very much enjoying this prayer challenge. We have a pretty good marriage so when I told my husband I wanted this book and was going to be doing this, he thought I meant that I thought our marriage needed help. But I assured him I wanted to strengthen it even more. However I have to tell you Satan has started attacking us since I started, so keep me in your prayers. BUT thankfully my trust and strength and JOY comes from the Lord and this is just proof that I truly needed this! Otherwise Satan wouldn’t be trying to come against me. So THANK you!

  • Kelly

    Thank you for this post today-and the video on “giving up your right to be right’. My husband and I have been working on this and sometimes it is really hard pushing though that feeling of wanting to hold onto not budging and to be the first to step down, but when we do, the rewards from this are like a healing salve. Today when my husband comes home from work, I’m going to greet him with a warm and exuberant smile and a hug and let him know that I really appreciate him loving and walking with our Lord, being the spiritual leader in our marriage and striving to do better in our marriage together as we obey the Lord.

  • Nancy

    It is so hard sometimes to give up being right. There is one issue in my marriage that I am so convinced that I am right, but in trying to get him to see it, I end up being so wrong. I pray often to get past this one issue and to be thankful for the many blessings God has bestowed on me.

  • Kelly

    Thank you for this post today-the video on “giving up your right to be right”. My husband and I have been working on this and sometimes it is really hard pushing through that feeling of wanting to hold onto not budging and to be the first to step down, but when we do, the rewards from this are like a healing salve. Today when my husband comes home from work, I’m going to greet him with a warm and exuberant smile and a hug and let him know that I really appreciate him loving and walking with our Lord, being the spiritual leader in our marriage and striving to do better in our marriage together as we obey the Lord.

  • Tia Seloti

    Thank you for this day’s (7th) prayer for sacrificial love. It is encouraging me to continue serving my husband without complaining and counting how many times I have to cover for him. I believe that in God’s time, we will have better communication and I would learn to approach him so we doesn’t jump every time I try to say something.

  • Katrina

    Being selfless in my marriage is so important to me, so these encouraging words are soaking in. I want to be that Proverbs 31 women, and striving for that daily with my whole heart. Thanks, and pray that God leads me to be the wife that he wants me to be.

  • Chrissy

    Dear Darlene
    I thank you for your wonderful site and the encouragement you so freely give to others – My eldest daughter’s marriage hasn’t been in good shape for many years – she has left her husband three times – unfortunately she suffered two bouts of post natal depression and now suffers from anxiety disorder.
    She is only staying in the marriage for the children – yes there were major problems but I believe that our Lord Jesus Christ can turn this marriage around not only for the children but for Kim and her husband Dean. I started sending the prayers and emails but was told to stop them as she will not read them or say the prayers -I am praying these prayers for her – God always listen to a praying Mother and I know in my heart that He can change this marriage completely for the better
    God Bless xxx

  • Peggy

    Oh Darlene … what a perfect analogy and beautiful complete post on “walking in sacrificial love” — just as Jesus sacrificially walked to Calvary, we too have our part to do and keep that furnace ablaze and our “house” in ship shape. As I was reading this, it reminded me of a book that Max Lucado wrote on the Our Father prayer compared to a “house”. Your video was the icing on the cake. I’m still with you and fervently praying … all I can say is I wish I was the “Peggy” that commented up above and that our marriage was like that without issues …nonetheless I will call it as God sees it … on the road to redemption and with HOPE, I declare to see God restore and build my marriage on His Solid foundation -the Rock of Jesus! Thanks Darlene for leading and guiding us, sharing these wonderful prayers and wisdom for our marriages.

    AMEN! (I also love how in your book you walk us through 1 Cor. 13 LOVE! Beautiful!!! Thank you and God bless you!)
    Peggy (from MN but living in MX) that’s how you’ll know which Peggy is writing…

  • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    Sacrificial love isn’t popular, but it is necessary for a loving relationship. The part I have seen so beautifully in my own marriage is that when we put the other person first, they usually respond in such a way that our needs and desires often end up being met. It is a beautiful, Godly truth. Thank you for leading us in praying for our marriages, Darlene.

  • Ronda

    This message really hits home. I am working hard & praying hard that God will help me to stop thinking “me first”… my new motto has became “I am third”… God is first, my husband is second & I am third… today I had a minor set back but I had to remind myself I am human & I may get my feelings hurt but I don’t have to wallow in despair & lash out at my husband for hurting my feelings… a month or so ago I would have pouted for several days & purposely tried to make my husband “pay” for his wrong doing even though he didn’t know what he done wrong… God is so patient with me & He’s not finish with me yet… I will have to remind myself of your phrase to give up my right to be right… thank you for the encouragement through these lessons

  • mn

    Oh my. Your ministry is so timely. My relationship with my husband is struggling to keep afloat in my court as I have lost over 15 kg trying to figure out how to handle the very painful issues we are having.
    Thanks to God I am able to see the different experiences of women of old testament. Dealing with infidelity has been crazy, please pray with me. Am glad that you take your time to study and share the truth of God in such a relatable manner.
    Thank you

  • anne

    A week ago I thought I would do this as a fun bible study…so I coulearn more about being kind. Here I am screaming at my husband about things I want him to do for me because they stress me out. I do not like asking for help. I do not like letting anyone do anything for me. We are 20 weeks into our 3rd pregnancy and he tells me I need to calm down and atop stressing out. So in turn I ask him one simple request-plase call the insurance company to make sure the midwife referral is authorized. I’ve only been calling for over a week now, not sleeping and throwing up because of the lies they tell me…not from the pregnancy. I’m so frustrated I could just drive off into the wild blue yonder…but alas how does one even do that with 2 toddlers at home, still nursing, wih clothes to fold and lunches to make? I don’t mean forever. I mean just for a day. Go for a drive and sit someplace and just do nothing. That will NEVER happen. Moms never do nothing. Ever. We are constantly in charge of it ALLLLLLL. We never get a break. I’m so angry that he tells me to stop stressing out but then refuses to do the one thing to ameliorate my situation!!! Hypocrite? I need a back rub a foot massage a pat on the back a shoulder squeeze. Something anything!!! He sleeps with our sort of grown up toddler who is transitioning to his own room…so I get. .NAda. no one to kiss goodnight. I get a cranky 2 year old stuck to me like glue so I can’t even throw a load of laundry in by myself before bed. I just don’t know what to pray! I listen to K Love. I think about how lucky my life is. How blessed we are. But sometimes I need physical attention. Hold my hand. Hug me. I got nothing here. I’m tired of doing it all. When I ask for help it’s like it’s a burden…so why do I even bother? I’ll just do everything myself, burn the candle at both ends, KNOW it got done, and be so exhausted I can’t function…but guess what? It will be done and no one will complain but me. How do people live like this? This isn’t right. God says I don’t have to be perfect or in charge. Well then who will be in charge? My husband acts like he wants me to be in charge. I want him to be in charge. I’m so tired emotionally and physically. I’m begging for him to step up and be the man of the house. The leader of the family…but he doesnt. How do I get him to take control? I’m tired of being in control. So tired. So so tired. I don’t even know what words to pray. Jesus, help me. Just please help me trust my husband. And help him to do something for once that isn’t a garage or driveway or backyard task. Help him see me as a woman and wife and pregnant mother and be kind to me instead of working on anything requiring to or machines or ear plugs or eye protection. Jesus, I want to let it go. I want to forgive. I want to trust someone besides myself. Help me.

    • Darlene Schacht

      Anne, I’m so sorry to read there. There is a lot of pain and frustration in your words. Be reminded that this is a season of your life. A very tough season. Some days it feels like you will never get a break and even if you do it’s so short. I used to wonder if I’d ever have a moment to relax again. A minute to just have some quiet time. And yes, time flew by faster than I ever imagined. My kids are teenagers now and I have that freedom. Seems like just yesterday they were babies.

      I just finished praying for you asking that God would give you strength, wisdom and peace through this season.

  • Lisa Maria

    Loved the post and all the comments that followed! Thank you so much! What Heather above said is so true…sacrificial love isn’t popular, it’s also not natural to our human nature. Being the one to step up can get really old, really fast. It brings on feelings of resentment, bitterness and the feeling of being taken advantage of. What this all speaks of is PRIDE…that dirty little word that always breaks through the barriers. Again, this calls for us turning away from ourselves and to our God who gives us strength to do what isn’t natural to us! Thank you Darlene for the encouragement to keep on.

  • Tiffany

    The words I typed into the search engine that lead me here were, “I’m in awe of good marriages because mine isn’t.” Over a decade and most of it bad. I feel like God is working in my life, however. I am ready to leave, just can’t, yet. I will add these prayers as I bide my time.

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