January 9, 2015

The Secret to Unlocking Breakthrough In Your Marriage

Gary Thomas — 


Sandy Rayla for post

Guest post by Sandy Ralya..

Have you ever been desperate for a breakthrough in your marriage? I mean, the if-something-doesn’t-change-soon-I-don’t-think-I-can-go-on kind of breakthrough?

Married at nineteen, I didn’t have a clue about how to deal with the emotional, verbal, and spiritual abuse I suffered. When my husband and I drove through our local McDonald’s, I automatically ordered a chocolate shake. Because my husband was usually driving and sitting closer to the drive-through intercom, he’d change my order to vanilla because he thought chocolate would cause me to gain weight and my face to break-out—two things that threatened his pleasure in me. My husband used foul language and degrading words to describe me. When he was unhappy with my actions (or for that matter, inaction), he ignored me. He repeatedly attempted to control where, when, and with whom I could enjoy friendships because he felt threatened and wanted to isolate me.

Because of my own issues complicating our union, I lacked the emotional health and spiritual maturity to deal with my husband’s treatment of me. My responses ranged from accepting blame for the deficiencies he perceived in me to preaching, withholding love, and hurling angry sarcastic words about how he was failing.

In the eleventh year of our marriage, I was desperate for a breakthrough and ready to do almost anything to get it. I hungrily turned to God and dug into the Bible for answers that would satisfy.

Matthew 17 details the story about a young boy held captive by demon spirits. He experienced seizures so severe that more than once, his anxious parents pulled him out of fires and water where the demon spirits would regularly toss him. The boy’s desperate father approached Jesus’ disciples for help, but hope faded quickly when their attempts were unsuccessful. When Jesus showed up, He immediately went into action rebuking the crowd for their lack of faith and exorcising the demon.

What provided Jesus the extra fire-power to route demons that no one else could? Fasting.

After Jesus was baptized and before He began his earthly ministry, he fasted—something his disciples hadn’t been doing. Scripture records the fact that when Jesus entered the wilderness, He was full of the Holy Spirit. When He exited, He was full of the Holy Spirit and power. (Luke 4:14) What happened in the wilderness that gave birth to that awesome power? Jesus had been fasting for 40 days.

The Son of God actually found it necessary to fast in order to thrive on earth. That begs a question: If Jesus found it necessary to fast, how much more should we?

In fact, Jesus expected that His followers would fast. Matthew 6:16 records Jesus saying, “And when you fast…”

All this new information about fasting came together for me when I realized that my fight to save my marriage had as much to do with evil powers that revel in harming innocent children and destroying marriages as it had to do with Tom. I began to fast.

Fasting all food and drinking only water one day a week, I used the time I would normally eat to reflect on God’s Word.

“In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They will be won over by watching your pure, godly behavior”(1 Peter 3:1–2). In place of preaching, I began to live out my faith in God, entrusting my difficult situation to Him through prayer.

Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ (Ephesians 4:15). I began to exchange preaching for speaking the truth in love in as few words as possible.

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else (1 Thessalonians 5:15). On my new path, I chose kindness in place of angry retaliation and I began to establish healthy boundaries.

Fasting unplugs your ears so you can hear God more clearly. It also provides power needed to submit to God’s Word rather than fleshly tendencies.

During the six months I fasted, I experienced greater peace than I’d know thus far. Given the circumstances at play in our marriage, it was clear God was at work in my life in light of the peace I felt.

After just 6 months of fasting, my husband sought out godly mentoring and big changes began to take place in him. Not only was he bringing me more chocolate than I could possibly ingest, but during an emotional ceremony, he washed my feet and stated that he was choosing to be a servant leader in our home.

My story ended beautifully, but my circumstances didn’t improve as soon as I began fasting. In fact, things got worse before they got better. Satan doesn’t want to let go of your marriage and will deceive you into thinking it won’t improve. But the devil is a liar and he doesn’t have the last word. God has a breakthrough for those who diligently seek him through prayer and fasting.

What breakthroughs might fasting unlock in your marriage?

Click here for a free copy of Sandy’s e-Book, Fasting for a Marriage Breakthrough.

Sandy Ralya is a marriage and mentoring expert, author of The Beautiful Wife and Fasting for a Marriage Breakthrough, national speaker and founder of Beautiful Womanhood, an organization that helps women grow healthier marriages, bringing them deeper fulfillment in their faith and relationships. Sandy has been married to Tom for 34 years and enjoys life with her husband on their mini-farm where they enjoy gathering eggs, chasing sheep and tending horses with help from their 6 grandchildren.

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10 responses to The Secret to Unlocking Breakthrough In Your Marriage

  1. Please pray for the Clarke’s family. My wife and I got married 4 years ago kids came in the picture half year later because she was pregnant with my daughter during the wedding. Shortly after my second daughter came, (9 months apart) all the pressure of marriage and parenting were sudden, therfore we didn’t really get to enjoy one another company. She held on to many of the issues we went through at the start and she doesnt want to let it go she told me. A old crush came around the time we were at our lowest and now She says she wants to date other people and experience different things without any remorse. I know it’s a demonic strong hold because my face was full of tears when I pleaded multiple times to keep the family together she laughed and was very heartless about it. I was very hurt because I worked with her for months to heal our marriage but she is unforgiving. I didn’t do anything to her to deserve this. It’s definitely a strong hold because I know it’s not her, she’s acting so different and now she went to color hair, buy all different kinds of jewels, looks and acts completely different. She already booked the ticket to see the guy in one month so I’m asking you all to help me as I intercede and pray that God wrecks the enemy plans and open her eyes to show her the path of destruction she’s heading to.

  2. we don’t live in the same house at this point..and we have 2 daughters aged 8 and 6..I still love my husband..please help me

  3. Abigail Cunanan June 9, 2016 at 1:22 am

    im fasting for the reconciliation of my marriage because at this point my husband doesn’t have the peace of mind he don’t know if he still loves me..please add my husband and our marriage in your daily prayers..Thanks and God bless

  4. Thanks for sharing your story. We have a lot in common. I too was married at age 19 and have been married for 34 years. I thought my husband’s alcoholism was the demon in our marriage. I have filed for divorce twice because of this but recanted both times. But on Jan. 20, 2015, I got the biggest blow of my life, after I was excited that God had delivered my husband from Alcohol, I found that he was cheating on me. I asked him to get out and 1 week later I filed for divorce again. Wow, words cannot explain how I felt. After I stood by him 33 1/2 years until he got his act together, taking on two jobs at times when he could not provide for the family because of his alcoholism. Now this. I thought with our 4 children grown and the good job that God had given to him that we were now living the good life. I felt that my labor was now being enjoyed by another woman who he moved in with. A woman who destroyed many marriages. I told friends that if he had physically taken a knife and stabbed me in the heart it wouldn’t have hurt any worst than what he did to me. Well, after 3 months of separation, he asked for counseling and we reconciled on our 34th anniversary. It’s not easy, as he is still involved with the “mistress”. She seems to have a strong hold on him. She is clinging to his Mother, who he will move heaven and earth for. She visits our church every Sunday, sits with the Mother-in-law, sometimes she and her son will dress in the same color as my husband. He sees no wrong in this, always having an excuse. He’s told our Pastor that he cannot tell the woman what to wear and that she helps his mother alot. The thing is I’m one of the worship leaders in the church who has to see this every Sunday. The Holy Spirit really uses me to minister so she is not stopping my praise. God has shown me dreams, even during our separation that she became blinded when she came into my presence. I’m still waiting on God’s deliverance for my husband. While we were separated, He showed me I was in store purchasing one item but when the clerk had to put all my items in boxes. She then helped me bring them to my car. That’s when “mistress” passed by me in car going the opposite direction. She stopped dead in her tracks, covered her eyes, then started searching her purse for eye drops to put in her eyes. This dream was in March, in July God told me that the one item was my prayer manifesting into many answers that the angel (clerk) was delivering to me. When she passed me she could not stand in my presence. I was wondering what was taking so long for the deliverance to come forth. But I realized that I need to fast to clear the pathway for the angels who have to fight through demons to deliver my packages. So today, my children (who is so hurt in this situation) and I have decided to fast and do corporate prayers for this matter to end. I’m excited about God’s breakthrough in this situation.

  5. Wow. What a testimony to a wonder-working God who responds to people like us! Sharing this post with the Future Marriage University (FMU) community at https://www.facebook.com/FMUniversity where we hope wise individuals learn truth like this BEFORE they fall in love.

  6. Thank you for this article. Sandy, I believe that I know you from the home school group in our area in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was adopted at the age of 13 from India, re-adopted at 16, and joined another family at 19 along with my brother because I was not ready to live on my own. To make a very long story short, I married a man from India, and I did not think it through because he was a brand new believer. It was a eleven year abusive marriage with emotional, verbal, mental, and spiritual abuse and sometimes physical abuse with several affairs with no remorse. We have two kids, and because of my past I did not know how to handle it even though I was a believer since I was 16. I moved out in mid 2013 and our divorce was finalized in the early part of 2014. My desire has always been for reconciliation and was hoping that he would turn to God and pursue his family. He instead turned away from God and has been rebelling completely to the point that even his non-believer family from India are unhappy with him. I have grown more spiritually this last year than I have in my whole walk with God. I have been asking God for a miracle, and I believe that my next step is fasting and praying for him. Thank you for your article. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Please stand in prayer with me. Gary, I have done the Bible study for Sacred Marriage. Thank you for posting this article.

  7. Gary and Sandy,

    Thank you for sharing this post with your readers. Since my ‘trial’ is on-going, this is a tool I can add to my arsenal of weapons. 🙂 In January 2011, my husband was put on Testosterone even though his count was not below normal. It was on the low end of normal and the doctor stated “we’ve got to fix this….this is your manhood!” Sadly, once a man is put on the drug, their bodies stop producing testosterone altogether so it is something they have to continue to take the rest of their lives. This ‘medical’ treatment changed my husband. He became harsh, brutal and so very abusive…….verbally, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. There were days that I thought death would be a welcome reprieve from the deep hurt he inflicted on me. The abuse wasn’t just occurring at home. He was turned in to HR by all of his co-workers for his behavior, he burned bridges at church, he was kicked out of his mother’s home and he ended up getting fired from his job after 19 years with the company. He was blinded to his faults and lacked a filter on his speech. I cried out to God time and time again, only to feel my pleading was ignored. My husband, who is usually insecure and timid in his speech, now felt bold. I bravely told him the testosterone didn’t make him bold, it turned him into a bully. I asked God, “What is it you want me to do?” “What is it you want me to learn in this?” For four years now, I’ve learned much more about myself and more about God than I learned in my entire life. Many of my own faults have been revealed. Much darkness in my own heart has been revealed. I’ve had to learn that a gentle answer does turn away wrath and I’ve had many opportunities to practice this. I’ve had to learn to love the unlovely, to bless him who hurts me, to pray for him, to forgive him and to apologize for my wrong responses. I’ve had to learn that I am accountable for my responses just as much as he is held accountable for his actions. I’ve had to learn that a wise woman builds her home while a foolish one tears it down. I’ve had to learn what unconditional love truly is and how to give it sincerely….no matter what. I now know what commitment is and I’ve learned how to put feet to my faith. I have been stretched beyond what I ever thought I would be. I’ve had to learn how to be quiet and be still, to trust and obey, knowing that the LORD was in control. I could go on and on with all that the LORD has shown me. Things are much better now with the addition of another medication for my husband – one that calms his rages and his anger for the most part, but not entirely. My husband is on permanent disability for his mental state. We are together every day all day long and our days are good. The difficulties in life are opportunities for spiritual growth if we lean into Him and allow Him to work in us and through us. Every spiritual tool we are given is beneficial, including fasting. Where sin increased all the more, grace increases.
    Love deeply and unconditionally, forgive freely and seek His face always. The LORD will reward His children for their obedience and their perseverance through the trials.

    By His Grace,
    Jill *name changed to protect the identity of the parties in this comment

    • Jill,
      Thank-you for sharing your story.
      I recently read that ‘problems are ordained to minister to us’. They’re ordained ministers of God’s loving kindness and grace. They are costly treasures that allow us to taste and see MORE of the Lords goodness.
      Heaps of Continued Blessings,

    • I wanted to respond Jill, but I think Sandy said it better than I could! Bless you, and thank you for sharing such a moving testimony of love, perseverance, and faith

  8. “Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup….If only I had known you better, I’d have come running with a bucket.” Nancy Spiegelberg. When you fast, your expectations shift from your husband to Christ for your breakthrough!