24 Dec 2009
Is it possible to fireproof your marriage?
Being married is wonderful; it is also the hardest thing in life that you encounter on a daily basis. It takes learning each others expectations of what being married is all about. It takes understanding, as well as learning to love each other after the “feelings” have worn off. It takes commitment and devotion to each other; it takes a lot of work. With the right foundation, it is possible to fireproof your marriage.
The creators of “Flywheel” and “Facing The Giants” will be releasing a new film titled, “Fireproof.” The movie is about Holt (Kirk Cameron) , a hero fire captain whose constant mantra to his team is, “Never leave your partner behind, especially in a fire.” When his wife tells him she wants a divorce, Holt realizes the contradiction between his commitment to run into a burning building to save a stranger but falling short in his marriage. With the help of his father, Holt takes up the challenging -– and often discouraging — challenge of reviving his marriage.
After seeing the trailer, and knowing how many people are struggling with relationship issues I felt impressed to add my thoughts on the topic. There is so much on the internet, TV, and day to day interactions that encourage divorce. It is time to spread the word that there are other options to just “giving up” on a marriage.
First let me make it clear, I am in not an expert on relationships. I have unfortunately gone through a divorce and pray for God’s will in restoration of my covenant relationship. In doing so, I have had much time to reflect on what I could have done better as well as mistakes I made.
No marriage is perfect, and no one in a marriage is perfect. It takes two to make a marriage and two to break a marriage. That is not to say that each person is equally responsible for all the problems in the marriage or the failure, it could be 50/50, 70/30 or even a 95/5 split, either way, each person holds some level of responsible, each person makes mistakes, after all we are human. At some point in time, when living with another individual you will hurt them, not intentionally, but it will happen. You have to acknowledge that hurt, correct it, and sincerely apologize and make it right. Without doing so, you are igniting a spark.
Why is that important to understand when it comes to fireproofing your marriage? I have had several people say to me “yes I am divorced but it wasn’t my fault” or “I am divorced but I did nothing wrong, my spouse just couldn’t handle being married.” When we refuse to acknowledge and take responsibility for our actions, we fail to heal properly and are unable to learn from the mistakes and improve in areas that need improvement. Even if the mistakes you made are as little as five percent compared to those of your spouse, they are still mistakes that must be acknowledged and corrected so the future of your relationship or restoration of your marriage will be on improved terms rather than repeating an unhealthy cycle.
Good comes from bad and unwanted events. Use these events to grow from the experience and improve who you are as a person.
So how does a couple fireproof their marriage? First, and foremost, the primary focus must be on God and prayer. Both on an individual basis as well as together as a couple. Pray for each other, and the relationship. Continually pray for a hedge of protection around your marriage. Satan is a professional when it comes to destroying marriages. He plants thoughts in your mind, and sends the wrong people onto your path to get you to think about other things that distract you from your marital commitment, doubt yourself and your spouse.
Satan knows how to make you “think” you deserve better. He can make you “think” and then “believe” that you have the “right” to “hang out with the boys” or “go out with the girls” every night of the week leaving your spouse home alone or alone to deal with the kids. He makes you “think” that it is okay to spend long hours at work after all you are “supporting your family.” There are no limits to the ways he can deceive you into thinking you are justified in neglecting your spouse, regardless of the form of the neglect. He can make your feel so discourage and such a failure that you are almost paralyzed when it comes to being a contributing partner to your marriage. He knows which buttons to push for each person that will affect your marriage. Your button may be very different than my button, but satan knows how to play and where and when to hit.
Satan can make you “think” that your spouse “doesn’t understand you”, and therefore you begin to shut down, stop sharing with your spouse, breaking the emotional intimate connection between the two of you.
He makes you “think” that person at work “understands you so much better than my spouse.” Satan can even convince you that “God sent that other person and it is okay to walk away from your marriage”
God will NEVER give you a reason to walk away from a marriage. That is not to say there may be a season where you separate for your own safety and protection of your family, or to recover from a substance abuse problem, but your focus should be on resolving the issues at hand, your marriage is at stack, do what ever it takes to save it.
That is also not to say there are not Biblical reasons for divorce, infidelity (Matthew 5:32) and abandonment (1 Corinthians 7:15). However, just because there is a Biblical reason for divorce, does not mean God likes it. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and would prefer you to work through your issues and restore relationship.
Remember the vows you spoke to each other and to God? Through sickness and health, good times and bad, rich or poor? Marriage is a commitment to each other and God, not a whim. If you focus on that, with God, you are fireproofing your marriage, it will be hard work, but worth it.
Satan is very clever, he has had years of practice breaking up relationships, he likes it because it causes so much hurt and pain, to each spouse, the kids, in-laws, the list is endless. When a marriage fails it touches everyone. Many times it even effects how you function at work; there is no limit to the destruction satan can produce in your life from a failed marriage, if you let him.
Did you catch those last four words…”if you let him.” This convincing
does not take place overnight, it takes, months, sometimes years, many
years before his tactics work. There are some marriages that fall to his
tactics after 37 or more years of marriage.
Do you see the pattern? Marriages are ending because that is what satan
wants, and we, you and I have let it happen by taking our eyes off of
Christ which opens the door for satan to step in.
We all have free will and have the ability to choose good over evil, God over satan. We all can choose not to accept satan’s temptations. He is very clever and can actually temp you in ways you don’t realize is satan. He can do this over time, building little by little until he finally achieves his goal of drawing you farther and farther away from God and eternal life.
Did you know that you can say aloud and command Satan to leave in the name of Jesus Christ that Satan leaves? That doesn’t mean he won’t try to come back, but God is mightier than satan, and the evil one knows he can’t defend himself against the name of Christ.
If you are reading this and rolling your eyes and saying “another bible thumper” and think what I am saying is not true, than that is exactly the type of thought satan wants you to think.
Fifty-one percent of Christians surveyed believe that there is no satan. Think about it, if you believe there is no satan, how easy is it to be deceived? You can’t protect yourself from something you “don’t think exists” right?
So back to the topic at hand, marriages end from the free will and actions of each spouse. If the relationship is not built on strong foundation of Christ, trust, commitment and with daily devotion, prayer and praise to our Lord, how is it possible to properly repel the advances of the evil one?
Have your heard the saying “you are what you eat”, same holds true with your mind. Garbage in, garbage out.
Think about this:
If you wake in the morning, suck down some caffeine (which is a drug), watched the news on TV then on your drive to work listen to the Gomer and Goober morning show on the radio, when you get to work start talking smack with the girls or guys in the office about what a louse your spouse is, where do you think your mind will be focused all day? Godly things or things with a negative slant?
Now what if you got up in the morning, had a piece of fruit and some juice and read a small morning bible passage or devotional, said a small prayer before leaving the house, listened to praise music or an audio CD of a Christian inspirational book on the way to work, then talked to the girls or guys about what a nice time you and your spouse had last night playing games or working in the yard together or just spending time with each other, how do you think your focus and mind will directed? Open to positive Godly things or negative things?
How often have you looked at your spouse and thought to yourself “he is too fat” or “she doesn’t dress the way I want her to dress, this lady at work dresses nice all the time” or “I hate it when he reads the paper when I am trying to talk to him.” These thoughts are surface thoughts, that may seem harmless but will begin to break down how you view who your spouse really is, and opens your mind to compare your spouse to others around you. Overtime these negative thoughts start you to think a little deeper, maybe start thinking you could do better, that you don’t love your spouse anymore and eventually leave, ending the marriage, maybe for that other person who you “think” is so perfect.
By the way, nobody is perfect, but the evil one may have thinking that way. There are those who are “perfect for us” but they are not perfect. There is a difference. Also, as mentioned above, God will never send you another to replace your spouse, but satan will send you a counterfeit, a fake to deceive you further. Satan may even have you deceived in thinking you are so perfect or such a failure, that no one is good enough for you or you are not good enough for anyone and you are better off being alone.
It is so easy to focus on surface issues. It allows you to point the finger at someone else rather than looking at yourself. Surface issues are hard to resolve, because once one surface item is resolved, another surface item will come up. Satan will continually tell you that you are not satisfied, not content with the person you married or the person you left your spouse for, or with what you yourself are doing to find happiness. Sadly, you will never be satisfied if this is your thought process. Not with someone else, somewhere else nor with yourself.
Once you have broken your marriage, it will be that much easier to break the next marriage, and so on. Why? Because what you are searching for will never be found in an individual or within yourself. It will only be found and satisfied with a real relationship with God. From there your earthly relationships will thrive and survive.
If you and your spouse have a strong relationship with Christ, does that mean that the two of you will never have struggles or argue? Not at all. There may be times when satan may temp you even more so, as this is a challenge for him, he hates happy marriages. The difference is you have a strong foundation through Jesus Christ.
Practice this for a month:
Instead of thinking about all those little surface issues that you think are “so bad” about your spouse, think about those deep qualities of your spouse, the qualities that really matter in a spouse. Such as their commitment to God, their devotion to you. Think about the character of your spouse and their good work ethic. What about their parenting skills, which is a talent in and of itself to be thankful for. Are they a stay at home Mom or Dad? That is hard work. Think about how they took care of you when you were sick. Or how they help out your parents, their in-laws. What ever it is, all spouses have good deep qualities, those that really matter in a relationship. Those characteristics and qualities that make them who they are, the qualities that satan makes you forget. Those are the same qualities that attracted you to them in the first place. The qualities that you fell in love with and committed yourself to through marriage.
As I mentioned above, I am not a relationship expert, I have experienced hurt and pain and share these thoughts in hopes that it may provide some support and encouragement to not take the easy way out of a marriage by divorce. To avoid the devastation a broken marriage brings to the whole family unit. To fireproof your marriage with the a foundation of Christ Jesus, prayer, and satan repellent.
If your marriage has already ended, or you are separated, please visit RejoiceMinistries.com and sign up for Charlyne Cares daily emails, they are full of encouragement as well as biblical direction to help you build a relationship with the Prince of Peace, Christ. Rejoice Ministries was created by a couple who went through bad times and eventually divorced only to remarry two years later. They are living proof that, God does heal hurting marriages and that Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).
Republished from July 2008
I am pleased to announce this article has been featured on the following sites: The Sixteenth Edition of the Carnival of Improving Life