6 THREATS CHRISTIAN MARRIAGES FACE IN TODAY’S CULTURE
By Alicia Searl
It isn’t too hard to see that in today’s standard, the concept of marriage has changed and morphed into something very far from God’s design. People are hurting and grasping for love, any kind of love, as a means of validation and acceptance. However, the underbelly is ugly, as evil has become mingled and intertwined with the lustful ways of our sinful nature and flawed flesh.
The truth is our culture is in desperate need of hope and a reminder of the pure, real, and true love God offers. However, today, we see a movement drifting farther away from God’s love, allowing the enemy to slink in and attack. Sadly, the evil plan unfolds right before our eyes as an all-out malicious attempt to sabotage God’s precious creation and rip apart the union of two souls tied together by a solemn vow. Due to this spiritual war on marriage, we can easily see the outcome, and the statistics are disturbing at best. Currently, the divorce rate for Christian couples is similar, if not higher, to that of non-believers. What is going on?
Oh friend, take heart. This is nothing new; the enemy has been plotting to destroy what God created to be good since day one. But, that being said, we must not slip into complacency and fail to recognize the sneaky ways of the enemy. Instead, let’s choose to protect our marriages by understanding the threats we face today and then bring our vulnerable hearts before God and our spouse, seeking ways to stand firm and fight back. Below, you will find nine unique threats that target Christian marriages in today’s culture. While this list isn’t inclusive, it should be a starting point to open up communication lines with your spouse. There are also verses to offer hope and a few tips on how to fight for your marriage and seek hope.
Threat #1: Misguided Views of Marriage
When two people come together “as one,” they are going to bring their baggage along, too. That includes their childhood experiences, hurts, hangups, habits, etc. Meshing two flawed and broken people is bound to cause friction, especially if each holds different values or has higher/lower expectations. We saw this come to fruition in the first year of our own marriage. It happened after we met with family members or friends, and we got all this “advice” and “wisdom” on marriage. While their hearts were in the right place, we realized we didn’t understand what we wanted in our marriage, much less what God wanted for us.
Not really understanding the roles of husband and wife can cause tension. Often, it stems from the misguided use of language or a misunderstanding of what God wants for marriage, especially in today’s society that clings to words and their meaning like gold. The truth is that our words fluctuate in meaning, but God’s Word remains the same. God tells us that both husband and wife are called to submit. Husbands are to honor their wives as Christ did the church, and wives are to respect their husbands, allowing them to lead and provide provision and protection.
Find hope here: Read Ephesians 5:22-30. The only view we should carry in our marriage is that of how God views it. God sees marriage as a holy union and wants us to offer each other our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies as a special gift to one another. Choose to view your marriage through the lens of Christ.
Threat #2: Turning to Technology
Technology has grown tremendously in the last couple of years, and it is still growing. We use it for basically everything, from shopping to connecting with family to work-related issues. The benefits are many, but unfortunately, so are the drawbacks. When boundaries are not put in place, it can cause grave damage to a marriage. Our phones make it super easy to get sucked in and stay there, zoning out for a while. The nature of it is addictive to the core. Knowing this, we should strive to create time to be “on” and time to “log off.” While that may be easier said than done, we must recognize that if we don’t establish face-to-face ties with our spouse, it can create dissonance and distance.
Find hope here: Have a conversation with your spouse about creating boundaries around tech time. Strive to have a face-to-face conversation every day, even if for five minutes, to touch base and check in. Let it only grow from there as communication builds intimacy and a deeper connection. Here are a few Scriptures to lean into when it comes to setting boundaries and honoring your time well – Galatians 6:7-8, Ephesians 5:15-17, and Colossians 4:5.
Threat #3: The Danger of Busyness
The distractions we face on any given day are endless, from the kid’s events to squeezing in dinner to answering that last email and all the issues in between; it can be a lot to juggle. But busyness is the modern-day thief! It proclaims in order to be a decent person, you must do it all. So, we strive to do just that: running ragged, filling every waking moment up with a to-do list, focusing on “stuff” and what we can accomplish. But, the truth is that consuming our schedules with work, events, and honey-dos gives us no time to rest. And sadly, in a marriage that is getting pulled in a thousand different directions, there is no time to connect, leaving each feeling as if they are living their own separate lives.
Find hope here: If your marriage feels the heavy burden of busyness, pause and take a step back. As a couple, look over your schedule and build in time to rest as a couple, to convene and commune as one. Maybe that is in the evening after the kids go to bed or first thing in the morning as you take a walk together. But, build time to be together so that the enemy does not have the leverage to take a foothold. Read Matthew 11:28-30 and Psalm 46:10.
Threat #4: Lack of Communication
As I have met with friends over the years and we talk and pray about our marriages, one thing always stands out to me, and it is this comment, “I wish he would just listen to me.” After twenty years of marriage, I have learned that men and women communicate very differently. Men tend to lean towards facts, understanding goals, and seeking to solve a problem. Whereas women tend to lean towards feelings, a longing to be understood, and are more interested in a sounding board. As you can see, when these two unlikely forms of communication come together, conversations can get rather sticky and messy. This is exactly where evil loves to sneak in and divide us.
Find hope here: We can resolve this by taking the time to listen actively to one another and hearing each other’s side, without interruption. Realize a man’s need to gain facts and problem solve is his way of helping his wife, and a woman’s need to tap into feelings and gain commonality is her way of connecting to her husband. Both sides bring beautiful and meaningful ways to grow and learn about one another, adding value to a conversation. Knowing this may help keep the line of communication flowing. Read Ephesians 4:29 and Proverbs 12:8
Threat #5: Unraveling Unfaithfulness
This topic is always hard to discuss, but it is one that must be addressed. Now, maybe more than ever, marriages are falling apart due to the vast amount of information that nearly everyone has access to, thanks to the World Wide Web. From the simple act of getting reacquainted on social media with an “old friend” to landing on pornography sites, it is not only easy to find, but a ton of it is out there, making it super easy to stumble upon. Sadly, this is affecting many faithful couples in the church as well as older couples who have been married for quite some time. Needless to say, nobody is immune. We all must protect our marriage from the enemy’s tactic to woo and sway us visually or by entertaining the deceitful ways of our flesh. When we go down that route, we not only become consumed with selfishness and break a special promise to our spouse, but it also breaks our covenant with God. That is because God sees infidelity as a severing of ties and a brutal ripping apart of the two that He joined together.
Find hope here: Friend, if you get nothing out of this article, hear me when I say this – we have got to guard our hearts and minds and set firm and strict boundaries in order to protect our marriages. You can put several safety measures into place so you or your family members don’t land on unsafe sites. You can also join social media sites as a couple, so you are not hiding anything from one another, by also portraying your openness to others. Discuss boundaries as a couple to keep your marriage intimacy pure—a few Scriptures to lean on: Hebrews 13:4, 1 Corinthians 6:18, and Matthew 5:2.
Threat #6: Spouse Isn’t Your Priority
Let me lay out a concerning statistic – the leading cause for divorce in both believers and non-believers is the lack of commitment. Saying “I do” was the easy part; actually living that out is a whole other story. The truth is, we all carry a bunch of different roles, from being a parent to a son or daughter, brother or sister, to a friend, and so forth. It’s easy to feel as if you are pulled in many different directions, tending to the children, working with colleagues, or dealing with family drama. But this is exactly where Satan loves to meddle in our business and place wedges between a husband and wife.
Find hope here: Pause and reflect on your marriage. Does your spouse know they are worth your time, energy, and effort, and more importantly, that you are invested and “all in”? How can you show them that they are a priority? Matthew 22:37-38 tells us to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds. Start there, and then let Him direct on loving your spouse better. Then, devise an action plan to carry out, whether that is to schedule a date night or find ways to show your love and appreciation. Put your spouse at the top of your list.
Prayer for Your Marriage
Thank you for the blessed gift of marriage. You are so good to us and provide us with such a beautiful example of how to love each other unconditionally. Please lead and guide us as we strive to love our spouse the way You call us to. Give us the courage to fight against the threats we face and the strength to stand on what is true, noble, honorable, and right. Amen.