Today’s blog post about spiritual warfare comes from Beth Steffaniak and her website, messymarriage.com
Today, I’m continuing to unpack my series on spiritual warfare in marriage—focusing today on how Satan loves to divide us as couples when we pursue good and godly things. Whenever the Enemy can’t divide us from God, he goes the roundabout way by dividing us as couples, which often divides us from the Lord when all is said and done.
As a pastor’s wife and former pastor’s child, I’ve seen this in my own marriage and my parent’s marriage more times than I can tell you. I think Satan takes a heightened interest in attacking and defeating ministers and their families because they stand as examples to the rest of the church.
It’s like aiming for the jugular and watching the church bleed out.
How does the Enemy divide us in pursuits that are good and godly things?
1. One spouse wants to do God’s will, while the other wants to do something that “makes more sense.”
One very clear example of this was in the marriage of Abraham and Sarah. They started out wanting to do something good by conceiving the son that God had promised them.
Wouldn’t that be a fun way to participate in God’s will and work?
At first, they both believed God would give them this long-awaited son. But at some point Sarah grew impatient—feeling as if what made more sense was for them to “help God out.” So she told Abraham to sleep with her servant, Hagar, in order to secure the son they both wanted.
A good question to ask here is . . .
What am I tempted to do that makes more sense to me than trusting what God wants us to do in our marriage?
2. We want to spur one another on to good deeds—like reading our Bibles, praying, ministering, as well as where and when we go to church, etc.—but judge each other’s efforts or preferences as not enough or not as godly as our own.
The best picture of this in Scripture comes from the Pharisees who Jesus condemned for their self-righteous attitudes (see Matthew 23:4-12).
In the early days of my marriage, I also became like the Pharisees. Due to all the spiritual practices I had been doing, I came to believe that my husband just wasn’t as spiritual as I was. What an ugly picture, and one that I’m not proud of at all now!
The question here is . . .
In what ways am I giving in to the thought that I’m more spiritual or better than my mate?
3. We pursue “rightness” rather than righteousness.
Again, I’ve been a perfect example of this, especially in times of conflict. I might be right in my opinions, but when I condescendingly try to put my husband in his place, I’m wrong in my approach.
That’s when . . .
I swallow Satan’s lie that my opinion matters more than how I’m treating my husband.
God says this . . . “I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” ~Jeremiah 31:3b
If God draws our hearts to His truth with kindness, shouldn’t we do the same?
The question here is . . .
Do I try to convince my mate of how right I am, especially in times of conflict?
4. Start out doing something good together, but it becomes an all-consuming focus that distracts us from each other and God.
I notice Satan tempts couples in three common ways here . . .
- Build our lives around our children—making sure to get them involved in every sport or activity that they desire. Then we end up running ourselves so ragged that we have little time for our marriages or important spiritual pursuits.
- Become too heavily involved in serving at our churches or other charitable organizations.
- Become too focused on our jobs and finding fulfillment there.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t serve in these good ways, but when our involvement distracts us from pouring into our marriages and, foundationally making God our highest priority, then we’ve allowed Satan to divide and conquer us in marriage.
The question to ask here is . . .
What “good pursuits” are distracting me from my marriage and/or pursuit of God?