The Honeymoon Ends—Be Prepared
You may have left adversity off your guest list for the wedding, but it'll crash your marriage anyway. There are a number of reasons for that. For one, many couples go into marriage ignorant of or choosing to ignore a simple but profound truth: we are all sinners married to sinners trying to do marriage in a broken world. On top of that, we have an Enemy who hates God and will do all he can to destroy what God calls good—especially marriage.
This Enemy, Satan, has a typical approach to disrupting God's work in the world, as seen in his temptation of Eve in the garden (see Genesis 3:1-6). This story highlights four of his tactics you and your spouse should be prepared for when the honeymoon ends and everyday life sets in:
Tactic #1: He challenges God's love. How many times has Satan whispered to a married couple, "God doesn't want you in this relationship if it's painful or hard. He wants you to be happy, and the happiest way is out"? The truth is that God is good, sovereign, and loving, which means He both allows and uses the hardships in our lives to grow us in our relationships and shape us more into the image of Christ.
Tactic #2: He challenges God's Word. If Satan can get you to question the authority of the Bible, he will win. Continuously doubting God's Word, especially when it comes to His blueprint for marriage—"Why would I listen to such an outdated book?"—will eventually lead you to wonder why you should go to church or spend time with Christian couples. There's a direct correlation between major marital issues and a couple's lack of time spent with God reading His Word and praying.
Tactic #3: He substitutes a lie. If Satan can successfully challenge God's love and dethrone His Word in your life, he'll then insert his own lie in their place. Shifting God out of His proper position as Lord of your life creates a vacuum that's easily filled by the false wisdom of the world or your own untrustworthy feelings.
Tactic #4: He employs incessant temptation. Satan is like a woodpecker: he finds a weak spot and keeps coming back to break through to the vulnerable stuff beneath to get you to sin.
The fall is a reality. So is Satan, and so are the struggles every marriage must face. But by being aware of Satan's devices, anchoring yourself to the bedrock truth of God's Word, and inviting the Lord into your marriage each and every day, you can experience victory. With God in the equation, you and your spouse are more than equal to the task.
Tip #4: The happiest marriage is the union of two forgiven forgivers. When you know how much you've been forgiven by God, you can then extend forgiveness to your spouse on a regular basis. Otherwise, anger and unforgiveness will burn a hole in your heart and eventually explode in some unexpected way. So learn to let it go. Practice saying, "I'm sorry." And "do not let the sun go down while you are still angry" (Ephesians 4:26, NIV).