How to Pray for Your Wife as a Single Man
A Christian Unicorn
I got married late, at least from a Christian perspective. I was almost thirty! This is partially a joke, I recognize it’s not really that old. In fact, according to a recent study, the average age of a man getting married is 29.8 years old (which technically puts me below the average). However, this statistic doesn’t discount the fact that as a thirty year old newlywed I sometimes feel like a unicorn within Christian communities.
Karla and I lead a weekly small group at our church and most of the married couples in the group are 5 – 8 years younger than us and have been married for multiple years. And most of our-aged friends at church already have children. Yes, plural.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with this. Having now experienced marriage myself, I can say it is a beautiful, sanctifying gift and an amazing opportunity to reflect Christ’s love for us to the world. I am also amazed by, and admire the young men who have had the maturity and dedication to commit to echoing a love greater at such a young age – things I definitely didn’t have. Yet, despite my understanding now, I can’t erase the feelings of loneliness and honestly, failure I felt as a single guy in my late twenties.
I knew the Biblical truths; that I was not more broken or less complete without a wife, that the things I was longing for in a significant other (love, comfort, intimacy, support, and being deeply known) were all things that could and should be found in Christ. I knew that I should pray for my wife, and trust the Lord to provide. But being alone, I struggled to believe these truths. So, before I speak to the unmarried men reading this, I want to speak to the pastors, the leaders, and those who are married.
To the Leaders and the Married
The hardest part of being single in my twenties wasn’t not having a wife, it was the fact that I felt I needed one in order to be part of my local church body. There were so many guys that I connected with and thought would be amazing friends, but I often felt overlooked, and struggled to build friendships and community with them because their marriages and their wives always took priority over me.
Now of course, your spouse is the most important person in your life, so love your spouse, prioritize your spouse, but I plead with you, do not become isolated with your spouse.
Nothing would have meant more to me than to be invited over to play board games, or to have been asked to come over and watch your kids so you could have a night out and then spend some time chatting with you when you got home. The unmarried have a freedom that couples no longer possess, and more often than not are willing to use it to spend time with you – but they need to be given the opportunity to do it.
So my challenge to you (and now myself) is this: Do not close doors to those in a different life stage; invite the single men and women into your lives to be an intimate part of it. Love them, pursue them, make them feel known and connected to the body because they need you. I know, because I needed you.
To Single Men Who Desire to be Married
I know where you are at. I know what it’s like to deeply desire to find the girl you will spend your life with. I know the heart breaking pain that comes when a spark with a new love interest dies out. I know what it’s like to give up, to be passive, and to pursue girls for fun rather than with purpose. I know what it’s like to give in to porn because it’s a cheap and easy replacement for what we think is missing. I know it’s hard. But I want to give you some words of encouragement, biblical truth, and some practical advice.
Words of Encouragement:
You are not alone, you are not broken, and you are not incomplete. Marriage is wonderful and beautiful, and does provide a feeling of being known and loved, but it is not easy. It is not the answer or solution to loneliness and struggles, and I promise you it comes with a whole new world of challenges.
My word of encouragement is this, in this season of waiting, wait actively. The Bible doesn’t refer to singleness as a curse but as a blessing; exercise the benefits of singleness described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35. Press into Jesus, serve your church, be active in your community, and be on mission before the Lord answers your prayer for marriage and your interests and responsibilities become divided.
The desire for a wife is a good thing, and one the Lord often fulfills. Yet, as I mentioned in Lessons from the Last Decade: Dreaming & Planning with Open Hands, our plans and timing are usually different than His. If God has marriage in store for you, you may not know who your spouse will be, but God, who is all-knowing, and who works outside of time does, and He is preparing you and her for each other even now.
This thought poses a unique way to look at “singleness” because in all reality, you are not single. There is someone that you will end up with one day, she has a name, she is living life, she is fighting her own battles and struggles just as you are now, and she is your spouse even now. This should change your entire approach to “finding a wife”. It should change from searching and hoping to praying and preparing for an arrival.
So how do you prepare?
First, pursue the Lord with all your heart. Ask Him to prepare you for marriage by sanctifying you and giving you a better understanding of His love and grace so that one day you may reflect it to your wife.
Second, change the way you pray for your wife. Stop asking God to reveal her to you and start asking Him to do the same things in her life that you are asking Him to do in yours, trusting that when the time is right He will reveal her to you.
How to Pray For Your Wife
There are many ways to do this, but I want to share the method I used to pray for my “future wife” that I found extremely helpful. I encourage you to give it a try as well!
I used to keep various prayer cards in my wallet that I would pray through regularly. One of them was called “For My Future Wife”; it had eight prayer requests for her and here is what it read:
1. That the Lord would be jealous of her affection (Ephesians 1:6)
2. That the Lord would intensify her Joy (1 Peter 1:8-9, Romans 15:13)
3. That God would remind her that she is beautiful and that she is loved (Colossians 1:22)
4. That He would increase her faith (Luke 17:4-5)
5. That He would reveal her gifts and give her the desire and outlets to use them (1 Corinthians 12)
6. That He would protect her from unnecessary hurt (Romans 8:28)
7. That He would prepare her for my pursuit and brokenness
8. That He would teach me to love her well even now
Praying through this prayer card had an interesting effect. It took the ethereal and made it real.
Although I did not know who my wife was, through prayer, I began to love her. I began to desire her good and I desired to honor her although we were yet to meet. It helped keep lust at bay (at least more often) because I recognized I was praying for the woman God was preparing for me. It changed the way I interacted and pursued my sisters in Christ. Rather than pursuing intimacy, I began pursuing clarification because my purpose as a man was to not only honor my future wife, but to honor those women and their future husbands as well.
Today, I’m happily married, and although it was hard, I’m grateful for the season of waiting God gave me to pray and prepare for my future wife. This time gave me a unique perspective and heart for people within this life stage, which has caused me to lean into, engage, and build amazing friendships with some solid dudes. I truly believe this period of waiting was necessary in my preparation for marriage. If God had revealed Karla as my wife the first time our hearts mingled, instead of making me press into Him more, I’m not sure what would have happened. At the very least there would have been a lot more sin and hardship to work through because of the posture of my heart.