God created marriage, and He has a great passion for it.  It is His means of extending goodness to society, and of expressing His gospel to a lost world (Ephesians 5:22-33).  Because of marriage’s cherished nature, Satan seeks to destroy it.  This is seen in Scripture as early as the Garden of Eden.  His initial temptation of Adam and Eve was an affront against God’s ordained structure for the home (Genesis 3:1-12).  Ever since that time, he has been aiming to tear down God’s sacred institution.  We see his stratagems at work today, as the government of the United States of America has attempted to redefine what marriage is.  We also see them at work through the plethora of temptations which the Devil throws at the average couple.  Busyness, misplaced priorities, materialism, career advancement, extracurricular pursuits, and inappropriate relationships seem to constantly tug at the average marriage, beckoning men and women to settle for a stale marriage.  How can Christian couples be on guard?  Let me share three tools that will help.

Stay spiritually sensitive. 

Our personal relationship with the Lord is key to maintaining a good relationship with our spouse.  Peter indicated as much when he advised husbands, saying, “Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).   The apostle’s instruction should not be viewed as a legalistic threat.   His point was that our spiritual life will inevitably affect our marriage, and vice versa.  To have a healthy marriage, each should first take care of his or her relationship with God.  Daily devotional reading, Bible study, and personal times of prayer help cultivate a heart which is strong towards one’s spouse.

Set some safeguards. 

Concerning the adulteress, Solomon advised, “Now, my sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth.  Don’t let your heart turn aside to her ways; don’t stray onto her paths” (Proverbs 7:24-25)  In Job 31:9-12, Job shared his commitment to guarding his marriage.  It used to be that Christians were more careful in this matter.  When I was a new pastor, an older pastor taught me to never ride in a car alone with another woman, and to make sure I always had a window in the door of my office.  Nowadays, safeguards of the past are often regarded as restrictive rules from fuddy-duddy religious folks.  We would be wise to resurrect some sanctified safeguards for the sake of our marriages.

Seek after your spouse. 

A passionate pursuit of your significant other is of utmost significance.  Why is it that some of us don’t exert much energy in growing closer to our spouse?  It’s no wonder that love grows cold.  Scripture teaches that one naturally values things in which he or she makes investment.  If you don’t invest in your marriage, you will grow cold towards marriage.  Follow the advice of Solomon. He told his son to “take pleasure” in the spouse of his “youth” (Proverbs 5:18).  Date your spouse.  Spend time with your spouse.  Work at growing closer.  It’s amazing how much more passionate you can be about your spouse, when you actually pursue your spouse!

Dr. Patrick Latham

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