It was one of the darkest seasons of my life, yet it should have been one of the happiest.
We had just celebrated a beautiful wedding by the beach. Our wedding. We had all our family and friends in attendance. Everything went off without a hitch.
Then we moved across the country from our warm California weather to face the stormy ones in a small town of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Little did we know we’d be facing our own marital storms as well.
I was in the midst of battling depression, felt isolated from friends, and was trying to figure out my career for the future—it really was the perfect storm. This storm ripped open weak points in our newly married bliss, opening seams in our relationship that were painful to discuss. Without even realizing it, I slowly began belittling my husband, disrespecting him with my words and attitude, not necessarily meaning to, but for some reason everything he did was “the problem.” He was what was wrong with our marriage and why I was feeling the way I felt—unloved, unfulfilled, lacking—right? What I didn’t realize is that there was, and is, always another force at work.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12).
Did you know that there is an enemy who seeks to destroy your marriage? This enemy tricks you into thinking that you are wrestling against the flesh and blood standing before you, such as your husband, instead of wrestling with the “spiritual forces of evil” that seek to rob you of your wedded bliss and intimacy in marriage.
Did you know that the real enemy you might be facing has nothing to do with your husband? The real enemy is the unseen force that creeps into your thinking and promotes thoughts of bitterness, anger, and resentment towards your husband. The real enemy is the evil force against your husband telling him that he is: insignificant, has no worth, and doesn’t have what it takes to be a man. The real enemy is the one who says that you need to retaliate against your husband and take revenge against him, seek judgment for his ill-pointed actions towards you—like the saying in the older movie Fried Green Tomatoes “Towanda!” as you strike back with your so-called “righteous anger.”
But can I tell you something friend-to-friend? This harshness, bitterness, and disrespectful attitude towards your husband is only going to make things worse. I know this from personal experience that this way of reacting doesn’t work towards repairing or securing your marriage. And I know this to be accurate by the truthful words of the bible which tells us to love, respect, and do good to our husbands all the days of our life (Proverbs 31:10-12). Put on the fruits of the spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and self-control—these characteristics will win over manipulation and snide remarks every time (Galatians 5:22-23).
When I started to see things through a difference lens and gained a new perspective about what was really transpiring against us—that the real enemy wasn’t of flesh and blood but was of the unseen evil spiritual forces against us—I saw my husband and our situation in a different light. The real enemy is the enemy of the devil himself (1 Peter 5:8).
He likes to sneak his way into our thoughts as we seek to feel justified, saying our perfectly crafted cutting remarks against our husbands, because our husband said something unloving towards us. He likes to steal our intimacy in the bedroom making us feel less-than-sexy or cloud our mind to remove all desire for him as our husband approach us with kisses and hot-felt desire. He likes to destroy our marriages by making us feel insecure or unloved in our marriage, thereby making us turn to thoughts-which-turn-to-actions towards an intimacy outside of marriage. The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy us (John 10:10).
But did you know there is a higher power that can help us? A higher power that, as believers, we can turn to lies within us. There’s hope and power in the name of Jesus—the Triune power of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit which dwells in the hearts of those who believe (Acts 1:8, Philippians 2:9-11).
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
My marriage is stronger than it’s ever been by submitting everything to God—my frustrations, my disappointments, my loneliness, my aching heart, my callousness, my snide remarks, my marriage—which He takes upon Himself (just as Jesus took all our sins upon the cross), and restores my heart to one of love, joy, forgiveness, wholeness, compassion, respect and humility. God continues to transform my heart from the inside out. He gives me new clarity to the situations at hand so I can stand firmly rooted in my beliefs—bestowing love instead of hatred—which wins every time.
There are times I unintentionally retaliate by planting seeds of bitterness in my heart, allowing them to grow and fester until they explode later on into poisonous blossoms. However I have gained a clearer perspective now by submitting my marriage (and myself) to Christ, which allows me to see and remove those seeds of bitterness before they grow wildly out of control.
So take a step back, look at the aerial view of your marriage, and ask yourself the question: are you fighting with God or against God? Remember the battle before you might be of a different nature all together.
PLEASE NOTE: Even though my husband had angry moments towards me, I never feared for my life or was ever physically threatened. If you are in a situation where your husband is threatening you with weapons, or you fear for your life, PLEASE speak to someone about this—counselor, friend, hot-line—call out for help! If you feel threatened in your marriage, please discuss this with your pastor, wise Christian counselor, or simply call 9-1-1 to have certain restraints put in place (perhaps for a period of time or more permanently) until necessary treatment/counseling can be established for you and your husband in your marriage.