Anyone who has been married longer than a few days will tell you…marriage is hard. Living 24/7/365 with someone of the opposite sex, for decades is extremely hard. I will go out on a limb and even say – “it’s impossible”.
Why? Because there are forces that war against our being happy, complete, fulfilled in our committed relationship. Here are my top 3: (these are actually mentioned often in the New Testament).
1. The World – the world we live in is fallen, without God and marinated in sin. The religion of the world is “to do what you want”, “do what feels good”, and no one should have the right to tell you otherwise. The world tells us there is no God, there are no absolutes (rules, morals) and that this life is all we get. Whatever years you have on this planet should be spent enjoying and fulfilling yourself, because there is nothing after this life.
This philosophy has given birth to seeking a life of pleasure. Everyone loves pleasure and if there are no morals and no God and no afterlife – then why not experience as much of it as possible. The internet and advancements in telecommunications and media have made such seeking so convenient and “private” that you can pursue pleasure from the smartphone in your pocket.
Pornography is rampant among Christian men, and is abducting them at an increasingly younger age (again, thanks to technology). Television and music are saturated with sexual images, innuendo, explicit language and provocation. It is seriously difficult to insulate yourself and your family from the forces of this world that shout to us daily.
2. The Devil – Jesus calls this fallen angel the “prince of the power of the air” and the “god of this world”. If you wonder what (or who) is behind the forces in the world we just mentioned – look no further. Satan’s goal is destruction and his weapons of choice are deception, lies and temptation. His primary and most powerful lie – is that he is not real and that there is not a spiritual war going on in our lives, our marriages and homes and in the world around us every day. If we fall for that lie (and most of the world has), then we will remain dumbfounded at the chaos around us and try our best to deal with the seemingly constant barrage of “bad luck” or “circumstances” that seem to plague us.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is full of history and truth regarding our spiritual foe. More on this – From the Garden of Eden until he is cast into the lake of fire by Jesus, Satan will be hell-bent on destroying our lives, our marriages, our children and families, our reputation and our heritage. While a formidable threat, Jesus clearly tells us that we have been given “authority over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19), and have superior armor and weapons with which to win the battles we face. See 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and Ephesians 6.
1. You. – Did you think I was going to say “your spouse”? Nope. He/she is not the problem, and never truly the #1 problem. The #1 enemy of your marriage is none other than yours truly. Selfishness is the primary killer of marriages and families in our culture. We are born selfish and even as a Christian, we wake every morning with our mind focused on ourselves and our agendas. You see, we get to choose (just like Adam and Eve) whether we will accept God and His Word as the controlling influence of our life, or turn our back on Him and live life on our own terms, our own way. Will we follow our Creator God, or seek to be the god of our own destiny?
Many a Christian has professed faith in Jesus Christ, has attended church on a regular basis, has read the Bible and taught Sunday School – only to fall for the temptations of the world and the devil…because they chose to. The devil doesn’t make anyone “do” it…we decide to sin. We decide to watch, to listen, to flirt with sin and we are no match for the dark side when we do. We think we can “have our cake and eat it too” – but that too – is a lie.
Read the gospels and the Book of John and see for yourself how desperately Jesus lived. He modeled for us what a life surrendered to the Father looked like. He didn’t have supernatural powers that we don’t have. That would have been unfair for us to try to emulate. He lived in a state of daily desperation. Desperate to hear His Father’s voice, to seek His wisdom and direction, and to obey what He said.
That is what He asks of us. We will never have the life we desire or the marriage we are created to enjoy, until we learn to walk the same way. Jesus said “without Him we can do….nothing”. Don’t fall for the lies anymore….. seek Him tomorrow, listen to Him and do what He tells you.
Then, do it again the next day.