Yes, we know what you are thinking...finances, lack of communication, not enough sex, etc. While those are marriage killers, we are focusing on some additional killers that are just as lethal, but are not talked about enough.
Coming in at #1....
Let’s face it, we are at a stage in our lives where we are making moves; career moves, achieving educational goals, starting families and more. We are just busy people! As the scriptures remind us, “there is a time for everything” - Ecclesiastes 3:1. We have to set priorities. In the book, Play the Man, Mark Batterson urges husbands (this applies to wives as well) to evaluate “who/what is getting the best of of you, and who/what is getting the rest of you.” There should be no doubt in your spouse where they fall in your priority list. But, we can't front like that this is easy to do. We have experienced an extreme level of busyness just in this last month due to several changes occurring simultaneously. One thing that we are being intentional about is conversational prayer in the morning and connecting at least once or twice a day before coming home.
Make an effort to check in with your spouse, and seek their input as to how you are balancing life and marriage and brainstorm areas where you both can grow. Newlyweds, this is definitely important as you build your foundation (learn to say no early!)
This can drag a marriage down fast and feel so defeating when you think you are making progress, but then the same issue keeps arises. Both of us have our unique way of addressing conflict in our marriage, but one thing we have learned to do is take our time to approach/address one another which allows anger to subside (pausing does wonders). At that point we can articulate how we feel more clearly and allow room for the spirit of God to soften our hearts to receive forgiveness from the offender.
As hard as it may be, you have to have those tough conversations (check out this wonderful Have the Conversation Journal), SEEK forgiveness, and GRANT #forgiveness because according to Ephesians 4:32, it is in the will of God.
Its important to note ...
#1 - the offender seeks forgiveness
#2 -The offended spouse grants forgiveness
Throughout the scriptures, we see how selfishness is at the core of our sinful nature. In fact, this is the very thing that Jesus' ministry focuses on: how to kill our self-centered tendencies. Jesus instead commands us to focus on GOD and all else will fall into place (Matthew 6:33). What are we saying? Having a selfless servant spirit is not natural to us, but only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. It should be our daily prayer that GOD gives us the strength and courage to serve our spouse unconditionally.
Make it your lifelong mission to outserve your spouse. You will see your marriage transform.
We encourage you to read and meditate on Philippians 2:3.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of infidelity? Does cheating, betrayal or affair come to mind?
We encourage you to think deeper and broader because that is only one part of it. Infidelity is not only cheating (emotionally and physically), but it is anything that causes trust to be broken. This is why we include pornography under the umbrella of infidelity. Pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate by more than 300% (Barna Group and Covenant Eyes).
Watching sexual acts of another person is a lustful act, desensitizes the mind, provides a false sense of intimacy, and is used as a tool to satisfy sexual desires. The bible says, a man shall leave his mother and father, cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh (Matthew 19:5-6). Furthermore, sex was designed by God to be enjoyed between husband and wife only (Hebrews 13:4). When other people (including actors in the porn videos) are introduced, destruction is inevitable.
So how do you protect your marriage from these 4 killers?
1. Stay in community with village-minded, marriage-minded, and kingdom-minded people.
2. Develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
3. Have open and honest conversations with your spouse.
4. Invest in your marriage with coaching, counseling, retreats, books, etc.
Joseph & Marissa