When working as it was created to, marriage is a gorgeous thing. It represents the sacrificial, give-and-take love between Christ and his Bride, the Church.
satan knows this.
satan hates marriage.
satan attacks marriage.
All marriages are under attack. My first marriage was under attack and it was destroyed. My new marriage is under attack, and I’m ticked off and tired of it. (The irony, of course, is that all I’ve ever longed for – since I was a little girl – was a quiet love and relational peace.)
My marriage has felt under attack since about the day after we got back from our honeymoon. Here are a few ways:
- We got married in early May. Ten plus months later and we still don’t live together full-time. Stress and strain on our new marriage left and right. Missing key moments in each other’s lives, attempting to become one from afar, trying to communicate mostly through text (which means having to occasionally try to resolve conflict through text). Yuck.
- Early on, we were verbally attacked by a few people. This left us feeling unsure, weak, vulnerable, shaky. Life is messy and we’re human and we hurt people so very deeply (we so desperately didn’t mean to) and then we were hurt so very deeply.
- I have noticed over the years that when I am in an intense season of ministry, the spiritual heat is turned up under me. I can think of specific seasons in my life – when Unraveling came out, when I have had big speaking engagements, when I have launched my virtual courses, even when Richard and I were leading an Unraveling small group last Fall – when just plain more bad things have happened to me. And I have been taking on one ministry venture after another since we got married, so, frankly, I’m not all that surprised.
- Outside influences. This is a tough one for me. I have never considered myself to be a jealous person, but it has occurred to me recently that I have never loved someone the way I love Richard, and I have never been more terrified of losing someone than Richard.
So here is what I’m doing.
I am praying. I wasn’t taking this seriously at first. But now I’m realizing that we are being waged against and that we have an enemy that wants us to not make it to the finish line. But I’m not going down at all, let alone without a fight. (She may be little, but she is fierce, to quote Shakespeare.)
Here are just a few of the specific prayers I’ve been praying lately:
Jesus, I lift up our pasts to you. You know every detail of both of our lives. You saw the ways we hurt our first spouses, you saw the moments. You were at our first wedding and you were at our divorce date. You walked us through everything. I ask that you will sever all emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical ties between each of us and our ex-spouses. Amen.
Jesus, I lift our baggage to you. We both have so much. (You know, you’ve seen it.) Please shine your light of holiness and righteousness over it all. Please expose every dark corner. Please help us bring everything out into the open with each other, sharing our burdens and keeping nothing secret. Help us not to treat each other the way we treated our first spouses. Protect us from being triggered when something happens that reminds us of the pain of our first marriage. Build up our trust of each other. Keep us focused on the now and on our future, together. Amen.
Jesus, I lift up our oneness to you. Protect us from anyone or anything that seeks to encroach upon our relationship, that seeks to steal time from us, that seeks to destroy our unity. Help us become each other’s safest place, closest companion, biggest fan, best friend and lover. Help us put each other first above all others. Place a protective barrier around us and strengthen our unity from the inside out. Let no man put asunder what you have brought together. Give us both the desire to fight for our marriage. This can all be really hard but it’s so worth it…we need you. Amen.
I am being aboveboard. My husband has all my passwords. He can grab my phone anytime. My computer sits out and open in the kitchen. I have nothing to hide.
I will say something if I need to say something. I have been noticing my boldness quotient going up and to the right lately. I am saying things that I never would’ve said five years ago. (Example: a male acquaintance came up to me recently and asked, ‘Do you remember me?’ And I said, ‘I sure do. When we met, you called me honey and touched me inappropriately.’ Go, Beth. Needless to say, after he got over being stunned, he apologized.)
But I will also say something to a woman if I think she’s crossed the line, as in, “Stop texting my husband,” unless I’m included on the text. Or, don’t Facebook-message my husband, unless I’m included on the message. Or don’t email my husband, unless I’m included on the email. Or – if you only know me and don’t actually know him – don’t send him a Facebook friend request. Or don’t Facebook-comment how handsome my husband is. (He is, but you don’t need to say it.)
Listen, would you want me doing any of these things to your boyfriend or husband, let alone without you knowing? For three seconds, just stop and think about this. No, of course you wouldn’t want that. Let’s honor each other, let’s honor and uphold and protect marriage (ours and all others). Treat only your boyfriend or your husband like a boyfriend or husband with flirting and affection and attention; treat all other men like a kid brother.
(All of my closest friends are women. I’m friends with their husbands, but if I text or email their husband for something, I add them to the conversation. Or on the rare occasion that one of my friends’ husbands texts me, I show Richard. Honors everyone involved.)
So, let me say from the mountaintops once and for all: I know my husband is hot. (I mean, c’mon…) And sweet. And generous. And thoughtful. And supportive. BUT HE IS FREAKING TAKEN. There are no Plan B’s for us. There needs to be no line forming outside our marriage waiting to see if this thing is a flash in the pan and falls through one of these days so y’all can swarm in. Find your own man. Leave mine alone. Basically, I think it’s safe to say I am not above going all Fatal-Attraction boiling-a-bunny if it came down to it, in a Jesusy way of course. He’s mine and I’m his.
And satan, back the HELL away, and I mean that in the most literal sense.
Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together. -Matthew 19:6
If this post resonated with you, you will want to pick up a copy of my newest e-book, Dating after Divorce.