Now, maybe you're wondering, "What's so special about my marriage that the devil himself is out to ruin it?" Here's the bottom line: Your marriage is God's creation, and your family is God's joy. And that's why the Devil is out to destroy it. It is vital that you guard your hearts and your marriage from the devil's ongoing assault.
Throughout the Bible, God uses marriage as an object lesson for his desired relationship with humankind. Solomon's love poem illustrates the kinds of relationship God wants between you and Himself – and you and your spouse. It says, "I am my lover's, and my lover is mine" (Song of Songs 6:3).
That's what your marriage is supposed to look like: a husband and wife totally devoted to and absorbed in one another. When you love your spouse sacrificially and unconditionally according to the guidelines of Scripture and when he or she loves you the same way, you are modeling for all to see the essence of how God wants to be involved with us.
God wants your marriage to paint a true picture. He wants your kids to see a dad and mom so devoted to each other and to them that they say, "Wow! So that's how much God loves me." He wants your neighbors, work associates, and friends to see how you humbly serve one another and say, "Amazing! So that's what it means to serve God." No wonder Satan wants to deface this image by ruining your marriage – or at least keeping it from becoming all it can be!
How does Satan seek to devour your marriage? One of his primary weapons is the godless culture we live in. You can talk all you want to about America as a "Christian nation," but there is a lot going on in American culture that is working against the health and success of your marriage. And if you fail to guard against these subtle – and sometimes blatant – influences, this world will drain the vitality and passion from your marriage relationship. What influences are we talking about?
The media. When was the last time you flipped on a television drama, viewed a movie at the theater, or read a secular novel that didn't glorify adultery or an illicit affair in some manner? And even when infidelity and dishonesty in marriage isn't glorified in these presentations, it is at least accepted and condoned as "normal." At the same time, wholesome, monogamous marriages are often pictured as anemic or boring.
The lives of the "rich and famous," the people our culture idolizes and seeks to emulate – movie stars, television personalities, recording artists, and politicians. Yes, there are a number of people in the public eye who are known for staying married and remaining faithful. But these are not the couples who get the media coverage. Rather, we are bombarded with the sordid details of celebrity "bedroom bingo": who is sleeping with whom, who is cheating on whom, who is divorcing whom, who is having whose "love child" out of wedlock, and so on. You can't get through a grocery store checkout line without the headlines glaring at you from the sleazy tabloids.
Pornography. Countless numbers of magazines, books, videos, adult "superstores," and Internet Web sites promote unbridled sexual expression. Through it all comes Satan's dark, diabolical suggestion: "Why work so hard at building a marriage when you can spend your life in pleasure with all these toys?"
You may say, "We're Christians, so the culture doesn't influence us that much." If Satan's influence through the culture didn't affect believers, we wouldn't need the clear instruction found in 1 John 2:15-16, which is written to Christians: "Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the lover of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world."
The devil probably knows he can't convince you to dump your spouse and run off with another man or woman. But he will try to keep that option looking attractive to you through the media and other means. He will do his best to stoke the fires of lust enough to distract you from full devotion to your spouse. And if he can keep you distracted by the world's view of marriage and sex, your marriage will be much less than it could be – which suits him just fine.
We're not advocating that you take a sledge hammer to your TV, torch all your paperback novels, or swear off attending movies. But as a couple you must exercise guarding love by holding each other accountable to verses like Romans 12:2, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think."
We are stuck in this world for now. But as Jesus said, we are not of this world any more than he is of this world. The distractions are strong and plentiful. But guarding love find a way to make it through together without being devoured by Satan. Solomon's instructions in Proverbs 4:25-27 are key: "Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil."
Portions of this article were adapted from "Renewing Your Love," Copyright 2003 by Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg, all rights reserved. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., www.tyndale.com. To order this resource or to find our more about Dr. Gary and Barb – Your Marriage Coaches, visit www.drgaryandbarb.com or call 1-888-608-COACH.
Married over 30 years, the parents of two adult daughters and four grandchildren, Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg, your marriage coaches, have a unique blend of insight and wisdom that touch people of all ages. Together with Gary's 25,000 hours of counseling experience and Barbara's gift of encouragement and biblical teaching, they are equipping thousands of families across the nation through their interactive daily radio program, conferences, and marriage and family resources.