Today’s post from our long-time friends at America’s Family Coaches is a great reminder that steering a marriage away from temptation takes intentionality. Which of the steps mentioned at the end of this article could your marriage use right now?
Temptation is everywhere—on TV, at work, in the theaters, and on the front page of every magazine. Temptation to look at someone across the room lustfully, to watch a movie or look at a Web site loaded with sexual sin, to put your family second to your own desires or dreams, to rely on yourself instead of the strength of God. The biggest temptation we see today is the temptation to run from problems in marriage and find temporary satisfaction through a divorce, an affair, work, silence, busyness, or any other escape route.
The result? We fall fast and hard, and we usually hurt others as well. All sin has negative consequences that will spread through your life circle like ripples on the surface of a pool, touching your emotions, your relationships, and, most significantly, your intimacy with God.
Are you trying to find someone or something to fill your emptiness? Is your marriage in a rut? Are you held captive by a sin? Is your mate stuck in sin but refuses to recognize or confess it? How do you deal with temptation in your marriage?
By failing to walk or run from temptation, you lose. You lose strength, self-respect, health, security, and safety. You embrace a life of regret. You believe the lies, such as: Life is passing me by. I may not have this opportunity again. I deserve it. I won’t regret it. Others are doing it. Life is short; seize the day! Following God is dull. I’ll never experience life unless I do that.
Everyone has emotional needs. Unfortunately, if the needs aren’t met in the marriage, people often will then try to meet those needs in other ways, such as ministry, church work, and obsessions with appearance, food, and money, or even emotional or physical affairs.
So how can you guard your marriage? Seek to meet your spouse’s needs, realizing that only God can truly meet his or her deepest needs. You cannot be God to your spouse, but you should do what you can to be there when you’re needed. If you are finding that your spouse is not meeting your needs, realize that only God satisfies emotionally. God wants to reside in that deep place of your soul. Ask God to meet your needs.
Remember, you are never alone in your temptations. You have a mighty God who has the transforming power to change you, make you godly, satisfy your deepest needs, be your greatest defense against the enemy, protect you, and deliver you from evil. Your victory has already been won through Christ.
Here are some ways to defend against temptation:
Be Committed to the Task
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart.” Don’t let down your guard. The threats to your marriage are real. The dangers are even more dire for those who don’t realize they are under attack. If you think you are wavering in your commitment to the task of guarding your heart, take a moment to catalog everything you stand to lose if you fail to protect your innermost heart.
Ask the Lord to Protect Your Heart
Spending time daily in God’s Word and in prayer are vital to keeping your connection to Christ. And by protecting your relationship with Christ first, you can avoid falling into traps. Daily obedience to Christ is the best defense you have against the enemy of your heart and your marriage.
Establish Openness with God
Do you have an open relationship with God that allows him to examine your heart and point out where it needs to be guarded? When you allow God to search your life daily for wrongdoing, and when you confess and turn from that wrong as soon as God brings it to your attention, you establish a habit that offers powerful protection to your heart.
Keep Short Accounts with Each Other
It is crucial to resolve all the hurts and anger in your marriage. When you hang on to hurt and withhold forgiveness, it makes you bitter—and the heart of a bitter person is exceedingly vulnerable to attack. Keeping short accounts is more important than your pride and ego. Just think how such an approach would keep the air clear in your marriage.
Gary has a close relationship with five men who ask him the tough questions. He has met with the same small group of men since 1979. These guys have carte blanche to ask him anything they want about his life. His accountability partners can pelt him with honest questions about guarding his heart in every area of life, including marriage. These guys are his trusted advisors. They encourage him to follow God’s best.
Your marriage and your legacy depend on winning this crucial battle for your heart in order to affair-proof your marriage.