“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” –1 Peter 5:8
6 Ways to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage
In the beginning, God created a marriage. Not a government. Not a school. Not a committee. A marriage. This intimate relationship is the foundation on which God chose to build all other human relationships. God performed the first marriage, and from one marriage came the world’s inhabitants. But as with all the holy and precious things God creates, the enemy is quick to level crushing attacks against it, and your marriage is no different.
Even if your marriage is near perfect, it’s important that you go out of your way to protect this most sacred of relationships, which is only second to your relationship with God Himself. First Peter 5:8 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Indeed, the enemy relishes any opportunity to devour marriage, as it is the foundation of all human relationships. So, how can you “stay alert” in regard to your marriage? Here are six practical truths that can help divorce-proof your marriage.
Remove Divorce From Your Language
“Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.” –2 Timothy 2:16
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” –Proverbs 18:21
The Bible reminds us constantly that our words hold great power, and just like with anything else, the power of life or death for your marriage is in your tongue. Don’t even joke about divorce, don’t use it as a threat, and certainly don’t entertain divorce as a “Plan B” or an escape route. While it may seem inconsequential, when you speak words about the death of your marriage, which is divorce, you give the ‘divorce weed’ a chance to take root in your marriage. Rip it from your vocabulary like you would a weed growing in your garden.
Remember That Marriage Is Not Intended to Complete You
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” –Psalm 63:1 (NIV)
“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, ‘Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, “‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.”’” –John 7:37-39
Constantly expecting a marriage relationship to make you whole puts undue burdens and unrealistic expectations on you and your partner. Only God fully completes us and satisfies us. Take a step back and examine your desires and expectations for your spouse. Are you expecting your spouse to fulfill a role that only God can fill? If so, it’s time to adjust those expectations to line up with God’s Word. Begin by looking to God, and only Him, to fill the dry and parched places of your heart with the Living Water of His Spirit.
Believe the Best About Each Other
“She bears up under everything; believes the best in all; there is no limit to her hope, and never will she fall.” –1 Corinthians 13:7 (ISV)
Many marriage battles are fought in the mind before they ever manifest in tangible words and actions. Errant thoughts shoot into the mind like flaming arrows, and if they aren’t dealt with immediately, they can cause mass destruction. Thoughts like, Did he really just say that? Doesn’t he know how much that irritates me? That’s just like her to do that. A guy can’t catch a break.
Sound familiar? In most circumstances, your spouse isn’t out to “get you.” Always assuming the worst about your spouse over a misunderstanding is a tiring way to live, and the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:7 that love “believes the best in all.” If you married your spouse in good conscience that this was indeed who God had for you, why would you assume the worst about him or her? Your spouse, just like you, isn’t always going to be perfect, a fact that isn’t going to change this side of heaven.
Our lives follow our words (and thoughts!), so what if our first reaction over a misunderstanding with our spouse is to tell ourselves, “Well, this wasn’t what I was expecting to happen, but I trust their heart toward me”? How might our relationships improve? Further communication and resolution may still need to happen, but how much healthier will our attitudes be toward our spouses? And how much more prepared will we be the next time the enemy launches an attack against us if we always believe the best?
Tackle Tough Conversations
“The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice.” –Psalm 37:30 (NKJV)
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” –Proverbs 27:17
While it is important to believe the best about each other, tough topics like purity, children, money, failures and weaknesses can’t be avoided. To be an adult is to have the courage and grace to hold those tough conversations. But here’s the benefit: Small conversations in the present build bridges for future problem-solving. Such talks build trust, encourage openness and strengthen the bonds between husband and wife. If you and your spouse rarely circle back to these topics, or if you never even had the conversations to begin with, then it will be much tougher to address them when problems do arise.
Pray for Each Other
“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” –James 5:16 (AMPC)
Building a solid prayer life has its challenges. But there is one person you should remember to pray for every day—your spouse. Shower your spouse in prayer. Prayer accomplishes exponentially more than you can see or imagine. Prayer has the power to align your will with God’s, to change your attitude toward your spouse, and to defend against the enemy’s attacks. Whether in a calm season or a stormy season, set a hedge of prayer around your marriage. “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God” (Philippians 1:3).
Set Appropriate Boundaries
“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.” –Hebrews 13:4
Did you think that boundaries are only for dating couples? Think again! Whether it’s technology, money, time or friends, every couple has areas that threaten to weaken the marriage. Because of the time invested in holding those tough conversations, you should know which areas are struggles for you and your spouse. Own up to those areas, and place some life-giving boundaries in your marriage. Boundaries used in the right way don’t restrict life, but open it up for more love and freedom.
Put these six steps in place to help you stay alert to the attacks of the enemy, and you’re on your way to divorce-proofing your marriage. A marriage takes constant care to carry it through all of the seasons of life. If you find yourself in a joyous season in your marriage, may this encouragement further strengthen and deepen your roots. But if you find yourself walking through a dark season, do not give up! With God anything is possible! Read our article, 4 Faith Truths That Can Save Your Marriage. Surround yourself with the Word of God, with prayer and with those who will stand in faith with you. Your marriage is worth it!
We care about your marriage. If you’d like someone to pray with you, call us at +1-817-852-6000.
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