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?
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.