She was mad at me. I was mad at her. We both started handling that emotion in our own sinful ways. And then I realized something, namely, an abnormal pattern. If there is anything I’ve learned as a detective it’s that if something seems out of place, it’s out of place for a reason. Things that aren’t normal are the normal indicators of an inconsistent element. So I found that two months into my marriage, the abnormal quality was a poor handling of quick hurt; both of those things were abnormal. The poor handling (which usually comes because of emotional fatigue) and quick hurt (which comes from a lack of trust) were not familiar or welcome guests in our home.
I’ve also learned through law enforcement to avoid tunnel vision. Once you recognize the abnormality, you should take a few steps back and get the bigger picture. When you see all of the elements that should be there, the one that stands out like a sore thumb suddenly makes a lot of sense in regards to why it shouldn’t be there. When I stepped back from these sinful reactions that my wife and I were having towards each other, I saw what was happening. We weren’t experiencing problems in our marriage. We were experiencing spiritual attack. I suddenly realized that the war had already started.
I knew from past experience what war on marriage was like. Every marriage (for the most part) starts out just fine. Husband and wife are set up for success because God loves and blesses their union. As would be expected, satan quickly begins his work of ending that marriage. Perhaps the only thing that can save a marriage long term is for both spouses to realize soon and often, that they are not each others’ enemies. They have one common enemy. When satan can convince a husband that his wife is his enemy, that husband will not only fail to pursue unity with her, he will actively build a wall up between himself and her. Once that happens, it is very difficult (but not impossible) to come back from.
The only successful way for a marriage to stand against that enemy is to bring into light what he is trying to do in darkness. The couple should start by asking the question, “Is this normal for us? Why does this feel wrong? What is keeping us from unity right now?” Second, they should separate the real issues that they should work on improving for one another, from the lies that satan is throwing into the mix. Do I need to work on my timing when bringing up difficult or sensitive issues to my wife? Yes. Is bringing those issues to her wrong? No. But my real enemy wants me to think that I can’t trust my wife with those talks, and that I should keep them to myself. The lies insert themselves effortlessly and subtly.
Third, the couple MUST stop and turn to the Word of God. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you…” Jesus resisted him with Scripture. So should we. Fourth, stop and pray. Ask for protection and wisdom and discernment. Fifth, have a calm, humble conversation about any real issues that need improvement. Sixth, do something right away to pursue unity. Go on a long walk holding hands, go grab a bite to eat, have sex, lie down and hold each other, or whatever it is that suits the couple. These things will not only keep marriages from going to bed angry, but they will prevent marriages from decaying into an endless cycle of misunderstanding, mistrust, and misuse. There is a war happening against every marriage – especially Christian marriages. As a man I am called to tirelessly defend my wife from the attacks. It is not easy work. It takes much preparation and training. That is done in the Word and the prayer closet.
I am so grateful that I have a God I can trust. He has promised to glorify Himself with my marriage. He has promised me that Gina was perfectly created for me. He has promised me that the difficult days are for our refinement. They serve a good purpose. War is a good thing in this case. It keeps me sharp and focused. It keeps me from laziness. It makes much of Jesus as He fights the battle for me.