Last fall my marriage hit a rough patch. It was the most intense season my husband and I had experienced in our five years of marriage. With the birth of our third child, we found ourselves the parents of three children under 3, and our stress levels hit an all-time high. I felt like a failure as a wife and my husband’s apparent lack of care for me made me angry. I knew these thoughts were straight from the pit, but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t seem to fix things. One morning it hit me: Something bigger is going on here.
The Bible is clear about the spiritual battle around us. Paul writes, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12 NIV). But in the heat of the moment, when tensions rise and feelings get hurt, sometimes I forget about those unseen forces who are trying to destroy what God has established.
Maybe you feel as if your marriage is under attack. Here are a few things you can do to invite God’s relief and healing:
Don’t underestimate the enemy and his tactics. When your marriage seems in peril, it’s easy to start focusing on the ways your spouse is letting you down or you are falling short. Remember that God has put the two of you on the same team, and it’s Satan that wants to pull you apart. First Peter 5:8 states it vividly: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV). If it feels like your marriage is being devoured, recognize you’re under attack and run to God for help and deliverance.
Pray. This one may seem obvious, but if you’re experiencing marital challenges, talk to God about them. As you pray for your spouse, confess your failures, and tell the Lord about the hurt you’re experiencing, you invite His presence and power into your relationship.
Seek support. After one emotional blowout, my husband called a pastor at our church and asked if he would pray with us. After church, this man—who has been married longer than we have and certainly understands our struggle—prayed for God’s peace to reign in our relationship and home. Like Aaron and Hur lifting Moses’ arms during an important battle (Ex. 17:12), this man lifted us up when we were exhausted and at the end of our own resources.
Focus on truth. During those tense days, Kevin and I clung to the truth that God had brought us together in this covenant called marriage and that He would sustain us. His desire was for us to love each other well and join in His kingdom work together. A friend says that during stressful times in her marriage, she focuses on who God has called her to be: someone who prays for her spouse, forgives, exhibits the fruit of the Spirit, and has the mind of Christ.
Thankfully, that season of spiritual attack let up, but I’m confident there will be others. The enemy is good at identifying our weak spots. Fortunately, God knows them too and offers us help, protection, and healing in times of struggle.
Dr. Stanley shares how we can defeat the enemy in every area of our life in his message, “Satan’s Strategy,” airing today on radio.