Have you heard this phrase in your marriage?
“Your man doesn’t have what it takes.”
When you hear it, it sounds like your own voice and perhaps the voice of one of your parents. In the spiritual battle, the tactic here is division. Consider how many ways you’ve been tempted to diminish your husband’s value in front of your peers and your parents.
I entered marriage as a good Christian girl who didn’t know that the Philippians 4:8 “think on these things” was an effective marriage defense training tool. And I suppose God’s “honor your husband” instruction for wives was obscured by the thrill of being chosen.
Regret floods my mind as I recall the years I spent rehearsing what seemed to be wrong with my husband. Unfortunately the rehearsal moved beyond my mouth and into my conversations with my parents and close friends. I was unknowingly committing treason—forsaking the vows I made before God to love, honor, and cherish him. I was completely clueless to the spiritual attack on every marriage, and I certainly didn’t know I was cooperating with the Marriage Destroyer.
Your Marriage is a Strategic Target
The union of marriage is God’s design. It’s His life-sized illustration of His commitment to love you and me forever. But it’s more than just for our own personal benefit. As you and your spouse love, honor, and cherish each other, the world around you sees a reflection of God loving them. But if your commitment to each other is destroyed, what will the world know of God and His enduring, merciful love?
Satan, the Marriage Destroyer, wants to shine a dishonorable, untrustworthy light on his opponent. He wants to influence as many people as he can. His schemes are aimed at destroying belief in God. He does not get to live in the perfection of heaven, and he doesn’t want anyone else to either. He wants people shaking their heads in disbelief that God’s Word is truth. And he’s happy to use you and me to make it happen.
Think about Potiphar’s wife and her attraction to Joseph. When you read Genesis 39, it sounds like she’s living the sweet life with everything she could ever want. So, why do you think she wanted Joseph all of a sudden? Her pursuit of him was relentless. Did she marry Potiphar planning to cheat on him? I doubt it. What about Joseph? We don’t hear any hint of wrongdoing in his character. He represented the character of God, and he enjoyed God’s favor. He was a strategic target.
Is Your Focus Fear or Faith?
That’s why I am writing to you. I want you to see the reality behind the divorce statistics. There is a backstory that is as old as Lucifer’s fall from heaven. He is a subtle but pervasive enemy. You’ve seen some of his victories. I saw his destructive nature in my parents’ divorce. It opened the door to influence the demise of my first marriage. And it threatened my current marriage to David.
My first marriage ended because I was focused on what was wrong. The fears of what might go wrong and what we might live without far exceeded my faith in what God could do. The advice I heeded was all focused on saving myself from heartache.
Five years into my marriage to David, those same fears were suffocating me. It took far too long to arrive at the conclusion that I was the common denominator in the two marriages. That morsel of humility helped me begin crying out to Jesus for help. The simple “Help me Jesus” prayers were the beginning of a beautiful story of healing and restoration.
God answered my prayers with opportunities for biblical counseling and extended Bible study. Time in His Word revealed a God I could trust. I had learned about God for thirty plus years, but I had not been relying on Him the way Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego modeled for me. I had not been honoring Him the way Daniel chose to when he risked his life by praying to Him. But today, I believe with my whole heart that nothing is impossible with God. And I’m positive that doing marriage His way is the only way.
Marriage, The Land of Promise
In the last ten years, God has transformed my perspective. He sent His Word and healed me. He revealed Himself as the One I could trust.
In my first marriage and early in my second, I saw the challenges and felt like a powerless grasshopper. Marriage, the land of my promise, looked impossible—hopeless. My fears were so much bigger than my faith.
Do you remember the story? Moses sent twelve spies to scope out the Promised Land. Ten of the spies acknowledged that while the land had so much to offer, there were enemies that made them feel as small and as powerless as grasshoppers. They counted the cost and said, “No, thanks.”
Caleb and Joshua were the only ones willing to go into the land anyway. The “we won’t go” boys were focused on their own abilities, and the “we can do this” fellas were sure of God’s power and ability to protect them (Numbers 13–14).
The threats (mostly my imaginations) to our marriage have been scary to me. I am still a grasshopper. But now I am excited about the great things God has planned for our married life. And I truly love being married to David. I’m standing in the land of my promise with assurance that God’s presence and power are epic forces in the spiritual battles ahead. Now I know from experience that He is able to establish us and guard us against the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3). I’m joining the “we can do this” team and inviting brides to find God able to do more than they can ask or imagine in their marriage.
Show Up, Surrender, and Salute
A good soldier trusts the commander and obeys the orders. Our Marriage Commander has provided the armor and the training we need. It’s our job to fall in line and salute Him. Obedience to God’s Word sounds like a drag when you are more interested in doing your own thing. But when you have faced the enemy and seen yourself as a grasshopper, obeying God becomes your lifeline.
God used Isaiah 32:17 to shepherd me into his armed forces.
“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.”
As I read those words, my heart cried out to God. “I’ve never had peace and I want it. I want to live in obedience to You, God.” And with that prayer, I gained a supernatural desire to do what God said to do. As a result, my mind and my marriage are healthier than I dreamed was possible.
Prayer: Our Most Powerful Weapon
Prayer is one of the most significant ways God has shepherded me in marriage. I found praying His Word to be my effective offense and defense in the spiritual battle.
Fearful thoughts of not being enough circled my mind like vultures. My insecurities chipped away at our intimacy. But God lovingly worked the reality of 2 Corinthians 12:9 into the fabric of my heart.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
God promises to fill in the gaps. He is not weak. And He offers to bring His power to my weaknesses and yours. He promises that if we will take a posture of humility, own up to our shortcomings, and acknowledge His wealth and power, He will supply what we lack.
So Jesus, our intercessor, inspired me to pray this prayer:
“God, You can satisfy all of David’s needs. So please rest Your power on my weaknesses and use me as a vessel of Your love for my husband.”
I knew God wanted David to enjoy me as his wife. With faith I drew near to God and with faithfulness, He drew near to provide for me. He is the source of the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control I need to be a great wife to David.
As often as I ask for His help, God replies with supernatural proportions. There is often a wait involved in receiving His answer. And it is revealed when I see myself responding to David in a brand new way.
Another very important prayer I learned to pray is:
“God help me to see my husband as You see him.”
God wants to answer that prayer for every wife because He wants us to succeed in honoring our husbands.
As God reveals His perspective of David to me, I am strengthened to lift up my shield of faith against the fiery darts that scream “your man is not enough.” This amazing God establishes me as David’s wife and enables me to stand under His command.
“Seeing Your Spouse as God Sees Him” is one of the most important chapters in my book Prayers for New Brides: Putting on God’s Armor After the Wedding Dress. You can download that chapter for free here on my website. In it you will find more of my testimony, Bible teaching, prayer prompts and an action plan.
May God shepherd you under His command and arm you with His Word so that your marriage will be a light to the world.
Jennifer O. White is the author of Prayers for New Brides: Putting on God’s Armor After the Wedding Dress and Marriage Armor for the #PrayingBride. You can join Jennifer in an online Bible study for brides. She is a natural encourager offering hope from the truths from God’s Word at her blog, Prayerfully Speaking. With every blog post, Jennifer is exalting the One true God who can empower us to do more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). For more from Jennifer, you can follow her at her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.