The Power of Love

The worst had happened. I laid awake all night thinking, crying and praying. God, I never wanted this, and I certainly don’t want it for my kids. I wasn’t happy either, but I did not want to break up my family. I wanted to work on my marriage, but my husband had decided he wanted to leave.


I wonder how many people reading this have experienced the same thing. I am so sorry if you have. But I am praying that by writing this I can encourage those who still have a ray of hope, because my story didn’t end by ending.


As I lay there that night praying, I sensed the Lord tell me, “Keep loving him.” The conversation (or you might say argument) continued, in short, something like this:


“What, Lord?”


“Just keep loving him.”


“But how, Lord? I don’t even like him right now!”


“Show him real love. Show him he can trust your love.”


And after a bit more discussion, “Okay, Lord, but you’re gonna have to love him through me cuz I got nothing.”


That’s all God needs, you know, a willing heart. I had to put aside all my anger, resentment, and ill feelings towards my husband. Then I had to trust God. How’s that for faith–I actually had to exercise it, not just say I believed. I had to put it into action. This meant even though I couldn’t see how we could fix things, I had to trust God to do what only He could do. I sure knew I couldn’t do it. I had nothing, remember? No-thing.


I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 ESV


We lived a separation for many months under the same roof. It’s funny how God used our lack of funds to keep us living together—we couldn’t afford two living arrangements at the time.


I continued to pray. I continued to act in a loving way towards my husband, as opposed to acting cold or resentful or not speaking—you know, all the things we do when we’re angry or don’t get what we want. I was determined not to allow things to get ugly.


This was the ultimate test of what I had heard, that “love is a decision.” It sure is, because it certainly wasn’t feelings during that time. Did anyone ever tell you love is not feelings? That’s infatuation. We were way past that. We were in the disillusionment stage of our marriage, along with a lot of other dis’s.


It’s been said there are three stages of marriage: infatuation, disillusionment, and, if you make it through the second one, joy.


A funny thing happened on the way to joy. As I continued to act in love towards my husband, my heart began to soften, and so did his. He began to feel loved and act differently towards me. Amazingly, feelings were beginning to return.


Love makes up for all offenses. Proverbs 10:12 NLT


Then one day, as we met each other at our son’s t-ball game, he called me over to his truck and told me he wanted to work things out.


So the work began.


I won’t tell you it was easy. It was not. Things weren’t instantly fixed that had put us in that predicament. We had a lot of work to do. To be honest, it took a long time. But doesn’t everything worth having? Success doesn’t come easy or without a lot of time, commitment and hard work.


Notice I said success, not happiness. We may be looking for “happily ever after” when we should be looking for success. Can we, and how do we, succeed at this thing called marriage?


I’ll tell you how:




The verb love. The love in action kind of love. The hard-core commitment kind of love. The love that says, “I’m in this for better or for worse. I am not giving up. I will not quit.”


And by all means, continue to pray, for your spouse, yourself and your marriage, because…


God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Ephesians 3:20 NKJV


And here we are, over forty years in. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.


(Grand child number seven was born after this picture was taken.)


That’s the power of love!



Again, I am so sorry if this was not your story. But I hope my story blesses someone who needs to hear it, who may be disillusioned and discouraged in their marriage this Valentine’s Day.

I also want to mention that there was no abuse in my situation. If that is part of your story, please get help and stay safe (National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233).

God bless you. I am praying for you and all who read this.


And I would love to hear from you in the comments here or on social media. Or you are welcome to click the “contact” button above if you’d like prayer or to discuss something privately. I am here for you.


I also invite you to click here to download my FREE downloadable, printable prayer devotion and frame-able coloring page (click and then scroll down til you see it).


Prayer has been a significant part of this story, as well as others in my life. If you would like to know more about prayer, deepen your prayer life and have a more effective prayer life, please consider Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World.

You can learn more here.







  1. Karen Friday on February 15, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    What a beautiful story, Penny. And you didn’t gloss over the hard parts and make everything all rose-colored glasses. Marriage is hard and takes work. How wonderful the Lord gave you the strength to put your feelings aside and decide to love your husband as a choice. Happy Valentine’s Day friend.

  2. Karen on February 15, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    As always a beautiful story and the best time to share with everyone doing the “heart – flower” thing 🙂 I am so thankful for our story ~ a time of lost single girl and met this boy who proposed in 6 hours … and I truly remember you can imagine what I was thinking ! Until I asked God what He was thinking …… yep that’s what He was thinking and doing. I said well then you have to give me the love! Just then I felt it. Not the lovey -mushy – butterfly feeling but the solid firm yes – I’ll love and commit.

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

  3. Your sista, Martha. 🥰 on February 15, 2022 at 2:47 pm

    This touched my heart, Penny.
    So glad it all worked out for you and Harry.

  4. Penny Cooke on February 15, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, Karen. Always good to “see” you 😉
    Yes, marriage is hard, but worth it if we rely on God’s strength. Sounds like you know what I’m talking about.
    Happy Valentine’s Day (week) to you too, Karen! Hugs…

  5. Penny Cooke on February 15, 2022 at 3:06 pm

    I love your story too, Karen! You and Bill are such a testimony! Love you both!
    Yes, Proverbs 3:5-6 is perfect!

  6. Penny Cooke on February 15, 2022 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Martha!! Thanks! Me too. We come from a strong example, right?
    Love to you and John…

  7. Stephanie Pennington on February 15, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you, Penny, for sharing such a tender part of your/Harry’s life. Yes, joy does come, if/when we are committed to trust Him through the difficult times when we have nothing left….except Him. You’re right. He is the key! In Him and with Him, we will celebrate our 50th this May. Love you friend!

  8. Dawn on February 15, 2022 at 11:28 pm

    Thank you Penny. Beautiful example of how God can work when we are humbled.

  9. Del on February 17, 2022 at 1:21 am

    What a story. It’s when we’re transparent, as you are that we can help others and reach down a hand to pull them out of the miry clay the enemy has them in. Perfect time. Perfect day for your story! Thanks for sharing….

  10. Penny Cooke on February 17, 2022 at 2:03 am

    Thank you, Stephanie. I’ll be honest, it was hard press “publish” on this one 😉 But I did get Harry’s okay, so that helped.
    Happy upcoming anniversary! Blessings!

  11. Penny Cooke on February 17, 2022 at 2:04 am

    Thanks so much, Dawn. And thanks for stopping by.

  12. Penny Cooke on February 17, 2022 at 2:05 am

    I do hope and pray it helps somebody. Thanks, Del.

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