Chris and I have been married for five and a half years.
Recently (the past few weeks) I’ve had this feeling that we are under attack. There is a FrankPeretti-style spiritual battle raging for our marriage and my eyes are being opened to it. And as they are, I’m getting pissed. The dumbass devil thinks I’m going to sit back and let him have my marriage. He’s WRONG.
The older I get, the more I realize how timing is never a coincidence. Take yesterday, for example. Yesterday the battle got real. See, we were scheduled to meet with our Marriage Coaches that night. (Yes … that’s a thing.) We were scheduled to do something proactive to invest in our marriage. Apparently someone didn’t want this to happen. And so this is how yesterday went down.
Chris and I had a rough day. (Sadly not uncommon.) Started out the day with a fight. Neither of us felt well, physically, mentally or emotionally. Couldn’t get on the same page about, well, anything really. All day I felt frustrated that we hadn’t connected. Chris had a particularly bad day at work. He sent me a text on his way home to warn me that he was not in a good place. So when he came through the door, I knew what I should do. But instead, I was quick to go to self-focus and self-pity. Definitely not what he needed.
After a few tense exchanges, I left for the gym in tears. When I finished my class, I didn’t want to go home, so I stopped by the grocery store.
There I was standing in the checkout line at Sprouts. Staring me in the face, right at eye level, was the latest issue of Men’s Fitness. On the cover was a black and white photo of a well-known celebrity (one I’m kind of partial to), doing what I can only describe as “the sexy pose.” Thumbs hooked in worn jeans. Black tank top, accentuating tattooed-covered arms. A few days worth of stubble. Smoldering eyes. A “come hither” look.
And for the first time in my married life, I was tempted to let my thoughts linger on a man other than my husband. (Okay let’s just call it like it is … lust.) The realization simultaneously shocked me and intrigued me.
But here’s the part that woke me up.
As I was looking at the magazine, I (so clearly it could have been audible) heard this voice whispering to me “You should buy that magazine. Chris doesn’t have to know – you have your own fun money. He doesn’t check that debit card. You deserve this, especially after the day you’ve had. Just splurge this once.”
You guys, that voice did NOT come from me.
And I almost did. But then the checker asked if I was all set and I said yes and completed my purchase. No magazine.
But the enemy wasn’t done with me.
As I walked out of the store, I saw another man about my age standing at the deli counter. Tall. Very good looking. We made eye contact. We smiled. And I heard the voice again. “What do you think he’s like to be married to? I bet he wouldn’t treat you the way your husband does. Maybe you need some deli meat.”
I am not making this up.
If only I heard God’s voice as clearly as I heard the devil’s voice.
Married people, we have an enemy who wants desperately to destroy our marriages.
Look around. Marriages are falling apart all over the place.
The arsenal of the enemy is incredibly diverse: fear, rage, depression, anxiety, lust, selfishness, control, insecurity, jealousy, comparison, apathy, laziness.
We have to fight.
We cannot sit back and just hope our marriages survive. We have to actually engage in battle. In fact, I am convinced that one of his most effective tactics is to make people forget about the battle.
BUT IT’S REAL. Here’s how I know it’s real.
Because the more “stuff” that Chris and I do to fight for our marriage – counseling, small groups, mentors, prayer, conferences, books – the more blatantly the enemy attacks us. (I mean, seriously? Deli meat?)
It’s like we step up our game, and so does the destroyer of all good things. He is feeling threatened and so he fights harder and more desperately.
I will keep fighting for my marriage. No matter how bloody the battle gets.
Who’s with me?
I wrote this post not to share our junk. No one wants to read our junk. I wrote it because I thought someone could relate and that maybe my experience – my pain and struggles – can help someone else in the midst of their junk.