Marriage is made up of many things, including joys, sorrows, successes, and failures. But when you think about what you want marriage to be like, the furthest thing from your mind is a battleground. However, there are some battles you should be more than willing to fight. These are battles that pertain to protecting your spouse.
Unfortunately your marriage has enemies out there. They come in different forms and use different strategies, but nonetheless they will conspire to destroy your relationship unless you know how to ward them off.
Some are clever and seem attractive, only to undermine your love and appreciation for one another. Others try to lure your heart away from your spouse by feeding you unhealthy fantasies and unrealistic comparisons. It’s a battle you must wage to protect your marriage – when love puts on armor and picks up a sword to defend its own. Your mate and your marriage need your constant protection from things like:
Harmful influences. Are you allowing certain habits to poison your home? The Internet and television can be productive and enjoyable additions to your life, but they can also bring in destructive content and drain away precious hours from your family. The same thing goes for work schedules that keep you separated from each other for unhealthy amounts of time.
You can’t protect your home when you’re rarely there, nor when you’re relationally disconnected. You have to fight to keep balance right.
Unhealthy relationships. Not everyone has the material to be a good friend. Not every man you hunt and fish with speaks wisely when it comes to matters of marriage. Not every woman in your lunch group has a good perspective on commitment and priorities. In fact, anyone who undermines your marriage does not deserve to be given the title of “friend.” And certainly you must be on guard at all times from allowing opposite-sex relationships at work, the gym, or even church to draw you emotionally away from the one to whom you’ve already given your heart.
Shame. Everyone deals with some level of inferiority and weakness. And because marriage has a way of exposing it all to you and your mate, you need to protect your wife or husband’s vulnerability by never speaking negatively about them in public. Their secrets are your secrets (unless, of course, these involve destructive behaviors that are putting you, your children, or themselves in grave danger). Generally speaking, love hides the fault of others. It covers their shame.
Parasites. Watch out for parasites. A parasite is anything that latches onto you or your partner and sucks the life out of your marriage. They’re usually in the form of addictions, like gambling, drugs, or pornography. They promise pleasure but grow like a disease and consume more and more of your thoughts, time, and money. They steal away your loyalty and heart from those you love. Marriages rarely survive if parasites are present. If you love your spouse, you must destroy any addiction that has your heart. If you don’t, it will destroy you.
The Bible speaks plainly about this protective role, often using the analogy of a shepherd. God warned, “My flock has become prey … food for all the beasts of the field.” How so? “For lack of a shepherd.” Not because these men were too weak to perform their duties but because they didn’t pay attention. Instead of watching to make sure that the sheep weren’t being picked off by predators, “the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock” (Ezekial 34:8). They took extra good care of their own needs and appetites but gave little thought to the safety of those under their supervision.
Wives – you have a role as protector in your marriage. You must guard your heart from being led away through novels, magazines, and other forms of entertainment that blur your perception of reality and put unfair expectations on your husband. Instead you must do your part in helping him feel strong, while also avoiding talk-show thinking that can lure your attention away from your family. “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1).
Men – you are the head of your home. You are the one responsible before God for guarding the gate and standing your ground against anything that would threaten your wife or marriage. This is no small assignment. It requires a heart of courage and a head for preemptive action. Jesus said, “If the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into” (Matthew 24:43). This role is yours. Take it seriously.
Remove anything that is hindering your relationship, any addiction or influence that’s stealing your affections and turning your heart away from your spouse.
You will be restored if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent. (Job 22:23).
"Unfortunately your marriage has enemies out there. They come in different forms and use different strategies, but nonetheless they will conspire to destroy your relationship unless you know how to ward them off.
Some are clever and seem attractive, only to undermine your love and appreciation for one another. Others try to lure your heart away from your spouse by feeding you unhealthy fantasies and unrealistic comparisons. It’s a battle you must wage to protect your marriage – when love puts on armor and picks up a sword to defend its own."
This passage could not be more true and really should be viewed as a daily reminder to everyone out there who is in a marriage or a committed relationship.
The enemies of my marriage come in all shapes and forms. Of course there are the obvious enemies, the ones who try and steal our hearts and our imaginations by telling us they could make us happier than our current situation. The ones who flirt to continually keep themselves in the forefront of our minds and those who will try and drive negative thoughts in our minds about our spouses. These obvious enemies are all around us each day and take an army of angels to keep them at bay.
However, it's the enemy that comes wrapped in clothing of a friend who is the especially dangerous one. Like this chapter mentions friends who claim to be your friend yet turn on you by revealing your secrets, concerns and weaknesses to benefit their agenda are your enemy. It's the friend who will fill your mind with suspicion and doubt and eat away at your sanity little by little but always proclaim they are just looking out for you that you don't see coming. These are the enemies that are most harmful to me and honestly, have done the most damage in my own life.
I have since learned that not everyone out there who claims to be my friend is really all that supportive of my marriage. This does not mean that they wish ill harm on me or for me to divorce my hubby and I honestly think the harm they try and inflict is not intentional. I just really believe that these individuals lack love in their own life and regardless if they want to admit it or not they do not know how to be happy in a marriage and they do not understand the forgiveness that love can provide.
That being said after years of roller coaster rides with these people I have finally learned that I can not have them in my life and contributing to my marriage in any way. I have had to remove these harmful relationships from my life and had to create new boundaries for them. A few of them I have let go entirely and a few others I have just changed the dynamics of our friendship. I no longer talk about my marriage in anyway to them and I no longer seek a sounding board with anyone. Marriage is hard enough with all the day in and day out temptations, challenges and emotions to have a third party in the mix trying to give their perspective on your life when they do not live your life. This was a painful mistake I had to learn the hard way.
I heard something last night that was a great reminder to me. "GITG" Give it to God. This is where I should be turning for strength, support and wisdom. I need to mentally put my issues, my pain, my fears and my questions into a box and give it to God. It is God who will see me through this, it is God who will give me the direction I need to be in and it will be God who makes my marriage stronger, not anyone else.
I will guard my heart from being lead away from my hubby and I will protect my perceptions of reality by getting on my knees and giving it to God. This is how I will vow to grow stronger as a person, a wife, and a mother.