By Becky Beresford, Crosswalk.com
I will be the first to say I never thought I would fight this hard for my marriage.
During our engagement days I had starry-eyed dreams of my future husband and I coming together in perfect unity the moment the wedding ceremony ended. The only baggage following us would be the fun luggage we would use on our honeymoon. These were high hopes really. Common hopes.
What I’ve come to find is that marriage is both a blessing and a battle – a gift and a giving away of yourself, all of which can bring about God’s glory. Marriage cultivates on holy ground, where two become one and both are coupled to Christ. At least, this is how our kind God designed it to be.
But we know we live in a fallen world, one where relationships are imperfectly scarred and hurts run long and deep. Marriages have the capacity to dissolve in the aftermath of continued disappointment. I know mine was on the track leading to divorce for over a decade. If it weren’t for the mighty workings of our faithful God, we may not be together today.
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Are We Listening to Our Father or Our Foe?
We have a strong Father who fights on behalf of His kids and brings about miracles (like the restoration of my marriage) every day. Absolutely nothing is impossible with Him, if we open our hands to the Spirit’s transformation and embrace His tender healing.
But we also have an enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy what God has brought together out of love. He will pull out all the stops in order to lead our marriage toward divorce, and he usually knows the exact strings to pull. He knows the wake of heartache that comes from tearing two hearts apart, as well as the ripple effect it can have on our kids.
So listen closely, Dear Friend.
We can choose whose voice we will let in and whose words we will allow stick.
Our God is for us, but the sacred journey He takes us on is rarely easy.
Our enemy is against us, but he will try to make separation seem like the smoother path.
Remember, it’s a lie.
Satan doesn’t want you to lean in to God and fight for your marriage.
He doesn’t want you to stand up for your family and persevere through trials of fire.
He wants you to quit.
He wants you to feel the heat and run.
He wants you to back down because marriage is too damaging to his dark and dying kingdom.
He doesn’t want God to get one hint of glory from any redemption story.
The question is, are we willing to let Satan have his way? Or are we ready to let God have the final say?
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Why Your Marriage Worth Fighting For
It’s encouraging to remember that while we are fighting for our marriage, God is the real One who is going to battle for us, and He’s already won the war. He is the source from which we gain our strength. Victory is never dependent on our striving but is established on His saving. We can take heart in the fact that God is moving mountains on behalf of our marriages. With all of heaven on our side, we can walk forward knowing our Creator is able to do far more than we can, if we boldly take a stand and allow Him to work.
Here are 3 reasons your marriage is worth fighting for:
1. Marriage Transform Us into Christ
Trust me, I do not say this lightly. I think a close second is parenthood, but marital relationships still take the cake. It’s hard, heavenly work to love someone unconditionally, no matter what they’ve done. Our culture likes to push what I call ‘the happiness doctrine’ in matrimony. If you aren’t happy or the feelings disappear, you can bail. But God never turns away from His kids, and we are called to follow His lead in steadfast devotion.
The Bible makes it clear that marriage, along with any authentic relationship, isn’t a walk in the park. It takes intentionality and investment in order to make a marriage work. Words like sacrifice, servanthood and forgiveness are played out in our everyday married lives. It’s important to remember, the main purpose of marriage is not to make us feel good. It’s to make us look more like God and seek intimacy with Him.
Jesus never ‘falls out of love’ with us. He repeatedly extends His arms of grace, even if we turn away. It’s a choice to love our spouse, regardless of the presence of romantic feelings. I can personally attest to God’s ability to perform miracles. He softened our hearts, helped me see my husband with new eyes and brought our dead relationship back to life. There is nothing too big for Him to accomplish, no one too gone for Him to resurrect. There is always hope, dear friend – even when your heart is hurt and breaking.
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2. Marriage Messes with the Enemy’s Schemes
The devil toils over ripping marriages apart and the reason is simple. Christ-centered marriages mess with his agenda. The Bible says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” In marriage two people are always joined together in Jesus’ name, which means Christ Himself is in the midst of them – wherever they go, whatever they do. Can you imagine a three-strand cord bound so tightly together, with power from their Savior at the core? It would take a violent force to tear them apart, and that is precisely what Satan tries to do.
He knows it’s much easier to deceive someone if they feel isolated and unseen, especially within marital relationships. Where the enemy can divide, he can destroy. He uses the same tactics he used in the Garden: blame, bitterness, fear and shame. Satan wants us to fight against each other, but God wants us to fight for each other – and then side-by-side for His Kingdom. A united marriage undermines the enemy’s schemes because they can support one another in their struggles and go on the defense when the other is feeling down. The power of their prayers over their family, their home, their work, and their impact for the gospel is exponential. Marriages founded in Christ are an authoritative force to be reckoned with. And no relationship frustrates the enemy more.
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3. The Reward Is Worth Fighting For
I have never been in a war physically, but I understand that soldiers who fight together create a special bond. When you go through the trenches with your spouse and come out on the other side, there is a sense of closeness that cements you securely as one. You’ve been through the fire and now you can offer hope to others who are in the midst of the flames. It also presents a clear picture of agape love to our kids, in comparison to culture’s version of lust and love.
Probably the greatest reward for persevering in marriage is representing the passion and heartbeat of our ever-pursuing God. Marriage is used in the Bible multiple times as an illustration of Christ’s relationship with the Church. It’s also the most sought-after relationship – the one people pray for and hope for since childhood. Humans want this close form of intimacy, commitment and partnership. By comparing our relationship to Christ through the lens of marriage, God is telling us He is the closest relationship we will ever have. He is the One who will always remain loyal. He is faithful and dependable and will never let us down. Nobody is able to love perfectly, but our God can. Marriage emphasizes the passion of our Creator as He longs to be with us. And He desires for us to choose Him in return.
Marriage shows the world, as well as our own children, salvation truths demonstrated in everyday life: Reconciliation. Restoration. Redemption. All point to the heart of our devoted God. And our connection with our spouse invites others into unity with Him.
A Final Note on Marriage
I feel I need to end with a disclaimer. I believe there are times divorce is called for, like with continued unrepentant adultery or abuse. God will never force someone to change or make loving choices. But regardless of our pasts, we have the ability to move forward with Christ and forgive. We can ask the Healer to bind up our wounds and redeem our countless tears.
This article was written as a lens of hope for those who are struggling with their spouses, in opposition to the happiness doctrine being preached by society. Real love is not just about ourselves. It’s about loving others the way Jesus loves us and partnering in life through thick and thin.
Marriage will always be a blessing and a battle.
And it’s worth every ounce of fight God empowers us to give.
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