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Bravery for Course Correction

I ran barefoot out the door to find my prayer book. Harsh words attempted to replay as I retrieved my quiet-time bag from the car. My husband had departed for an appointment after a heated disagreement between us. How could he leave, knowing things were so unsettled between us? Anger consumed me as my mind began piling on the perceived history of our points of contention. I felt wounded, and the bitter seeds of resentment were threatening to plant themselves deeply in my mind.

He is always discounting me. My needs don't matter to him. I didn't want to forgive, I didn't want to love him, and I certainly didn't want to pray for him. Yet, like a person desperate for water in a dry desert, I opened my prayer book and began to pray God's protection, guidance, and love over my husband. I spoke each prayer out loud through constricted throat and hot angry tears.

Meditating on the scripture that went with each prayer, I prayed at first out of habit. Then, as my tense muscles relaxed, I prayed with the knowledge that God is faithful to complete his work in my husband and me. That choice was a few weeks ago. Looking back I was surprised to recognize that my decision to pray for my husband was a moment of bravery that has led to openness between my husband and me. I trust God more deeply and am not letting hard moments fester.

Bravery doesn't just show up in the big moments, where lives are on the line. Bravery exists in the small course changes I make to align myself with the will of God. In fact, those smaller unseen moments, the ones where I practice faith, grow in wisdom, choose to forgive, and face fear, cause me to stand firm in the larger battles where the stakes seem larger. Bravery requires integrity. Integrity is the quality or state of being complete or undivided (Merriam-Webster). Holding onto my anger would create a fault line in the integrity of my marriage.

I've experienced that before. Early in our marriage, there were so many outside forces pushing us apart that our inability to show compassion, and to allow the other person to be in the process, almost ruined us. The consequences of holding a grudge lead to a lack of communication and built an invisible wall to insulate me from further pain. My heart hardened toward my husband and God.

Now, I truly desire to remain open to God and my husband, even when it hurts. I have years of sweat equity in my marriage. We have cultivated integrity through these moments of angst. God desires me to love my husband, rather than holding onto what I think he has done wrong. By choosing to pray for my husband, I was able to let go of controlling the outcome.