To Win at Marriage … You Have to Lose

One of my big realization in my 30s has been that “easy” isn’t life’s default setting. Easy, hard, boring, exciting, hopeful, discouraging … these are all seasons that come and go. For those of you in a hard season, then today’s thoughts from Kimberly Williams are for you. This post originally appeared at our partner site, Live Your Best Marriage

In a few weeks my husband and I will celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. It’s been an exciting and glorious journey that began when we were just young kids. We’ve grown up together not only in age, but in our Christian walk. We’ve raised 3 children and walked, hand-in-hand, through this life leaning on the Lord. Our marriage has been filled with laughter, tears, joy, pain, dreams, disaster, anticipation over the future, and fear for the unknown. Sometimes it was too easy to be true and other times it was harder than we thought we could bear. We learned early that fleshing out “two becoming one” sometimes gets messy. And we recognize that the sin nature we all have, along with living in this dark world, often makes marriage difficult. It’s not easy and having a God-honoring marriage is even harder.

If you and your spouse are striving to live in a way that honors God, be prepared for a spiritual attack. Biblical marriage points people toward God. He ordained marriage and was there when Adam and Eve were first joined together. It is a picture and witness to this world of Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:31-32). It is good and holy. And Satan hates everything about it. He wishes to destroy your marriage (along with your life, testimony and family). This isn’t to scare you, but to remind you to be watchful. Your adversary, the devil is as a roaring lion, walking about seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He often uses the troubles of this world to divide a husband and wife. He’s crafty and knows how to tear couples apart. And He would love nothing more than for you to give up on each other, throw in the towel, and say to the world that marriage is too hard.

This has been one of those hard years for us. One would think that after 25 years life should be smooth sailing, but that is not always the case. We’ve felt the attacks from the enemy and have become weary in the process. Instead of planning for an anniversary trip to some luxurious resort on the beach and dreaming about toes in the water, we’ve been drowning in hard times and trying to just stay above water. In the past 12 months we’ve dealt with health issues, having to put the home we love up for sale, 2 corporate layoffs, and months of unemployment. In addition, ministry has been hard with struggles of its own. The enemy is against us; the world is against us; and our own weak flesh battles against us. To be real and transparent for a moment, it’s been tempting to live in defeat.

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But as Christians, we don’t have to live in defeat.

In Christ we are victorious! He has already overcome the enemy (Revelation 20:10). Those that are born of God have overcome the world (1 John 5:4). And even our flesh has been defeated (Romans 6:6). We can walk from victory unto victory if we choose.

Even though his world has thrown a lot at us this year, we are overcomers. Through it all, we’ve grown closer to the Lord and each other. Our love is deeper and stronger with each trial. And we’ve learned the important aspect of hating, losing and fighting in our marriage.  That’s right, you didn’t misread this. To be victorious you must first learn how to hate.

Did you know that love and hate go hand in hand? If you love children, then you will hate to see children abused or murdered in the womb. If you love freedom, then you will hate bondage and slavery.

If you love God, then you will hate the things that are against God.

To have a strong, godly marriage you must hate how the world has tried to distort marriage. You must hate divorce. You must hate the things that tear marriage apart and you must both stand on that conviction when marriage gets hard.

You also must learn how to lose. I know, we live in a “win-at-all-cost” society, but a couple who lives victoriously will lose. They will lose their pride. They will lose their selfishness. And they will lose any and all things that try to pull them away from God and each other.

And finally, you need to fight! When troubles come, and life gets hard, our eyes often become fixed on our problems. Words get spoken in haste and fighting begins. Sometimes it may even seem that your spouse is the enemy. But, dear Christian, our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Don’t fight each other. Work together. Build your marriage on the foundation of Christ. Position yourselves at the door of your home and press back against the darkness of this world. Fight the enemy with the Word of God. Stand with conviction, be committed to the cause, and take courage, dear saints. When life gets hard, remember that the battle is the Lord’s.