Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:12-15
It has been a hard couple of weeks. My mom and I have talked to several people struggling to see hope for their relationship. We have a real enemy who wants to destroy your marriage and the marriages of many others. Do you remember a time when the hopelessness was overwhelming?
How do two people who once loved each other now see an enemy when they stare into the face of their spouse? It is a slow fade. The addiction doesn’t happen overnight. The arguing and hateful talk didn’t just appear one day. The selfishness didn’t turn on like a light switch. It is usually a slow fade of two people putting themselves first, above God and their spouse.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
Another common denominator we often see is a person turns their back on their marriage around the time they turn their back on their spiritual life. If I don’t eat for a while, I am going to be starving and desperate. Things I normally wouldn’t eat, I may gobble up out of pure despair. The same could be said of sin. When we aren’t walking with the Lord by spending time in the Word, prioritizing time at church with other believers, and focusing on the things of the Lord, we leave an opening for our enemy to come and deceive us.
If you were attempting to cross the street and a car was heading your way, I would warn you, so let me give you a word of caution today. Don’t ever stop fighting for your marriage. Never. Don’t ever stop praying for your spouse. Don’t ever stop working on your marriage.
Here in South Florida, we need to cut our grass every few weeks. If we don’t stop and do the minor maintenance of pulling weeds a couple of times a month, we notice that without much attention, our yard and gardens have been overrun with weeds. The strangest part to me is that often those weeds have the cutest little purple flowers on them. At first, they may appear harmless, but when you look closer, you notice that it is in fact, a weed. The devil knows we would notice a red-flashing light alerting us to sin, and he is not that obvious. Instead, he and his demons tempt us in subtle ways. We may think we see a beautiful flower, but instead, it is a weed.
Be willing to do the hard work in marriage and pull those weeds out of your relationship. Instead of waking past conflict and shutting down, hoping it will resolve on its own, be a couple who handles minor offenses and issues immediately.
What are your triggers? When do you see tensions rise? Do you argue over finances? How can you get in front of that? Could you make a budget together and agree on how each dollar will be spent? Do you get irritated with each other over disciplining the kids? How can you decide on discipline guidelines in private before you are in the heat of an exchange with your children? Seek to understand your spouse.
I want your restored marriage to last a lifetime. It can, and we have seen that happen with so many people, but it won’t last if you stop working on it.
Do you have some weeds in your marriage that need to be removed?