Marriage is no joke. It requires patience and perseverance.
I’ve sat with many couples to advise them before they took that long walk down the aisle. I do not say this with joy, but I have denied more couples from marriage than I’ve approved. This means I refused to marry them because they were unfit—according to the standards of the Word of God—to be married. Some were unequally yoked; others simply refused to change. Ultimately, I could not support their union. Most of them decided to get married anyway. Despite my initial opposition, I only desire for them to prosper and have longevity. Their marriage needs all the encouragement it can get, as does every marriage.
Personally, I have seen just how hard marriage can be. It is difficult because it requires work. It requires change, and that is not always easy. It requires compromise, selflessness, and every fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23). It requires effective communication, constant forgivingness, and mutual respect. These are not easy to give. Our world is lawless and full of rebellion; therefore, it is important to remain in prayer and continue studying the Word of God.
I have read many books about marriage. My wife and I also wrote one, which is entitled FIGHTING TOGETHER. Ultimately, I have concluded that no marriage is safe from the attacks of the wicked one. He desires to ruin your marriage before it gets started. I do not care who you are, how much money you have, how wise you are, who you know, or where you live because he is coming after you and your legacy. Samson was a physically strong man. In fact, he was stronger than everyone, but he was not strong enough to deny the temptation to lay his head in the lap of Delilah. David was referred to as a man after God’s own heart. He was a warrior, a fighter, a champion, and a king, but he was not strong enough to fight the temptation to have sex with another man’s wife—Bathsheba. Solomon, David’s son, was wiser than anyone, but he was not wise enough to avoid the 700 wives and 300 concubines. They were strong and wise men who were too weak to avoid temptation! And the day will come when temptation will hit your house, if it has not already.
Understand that every marriage struggles. There’s not a perfect marriage. There’s no such thing! There’s only two willing people who refuse to give up on their covenant. They simply will not allow their covenant to go down without a fight! Are you willing to fight for your marriage? Are you willing to give it your all? I’m not referring to how you feel when everything is going right. I’m talking about when everything is falling apart! Are you still willing to fight when you don’t like your spouse; when you feel as if you married the wrong person; when you feel like your spouse hasn’t been there for you; when finances are tight; when emotions are high? Are you willing to fight when you find out that your spouse has a secret pornography addiction? How about when you find out that your spouse cheated on you? Are you still willing to fight in sickness and in health; in richer or for poorer; til death do you both part? Those questions must to be answered! They must be answered, and only you can answer them!
Sadly, my wife and I have seen many of the couples we’ve started with end in divorce. I’ve sat in front of too many couples who’ve spoken these words, “I want a divorce!” We looked up to their marriage and sought to emulate their good works. The couples provided us strength and hope. We listened to their counsel, took them out for dinner so we could sow into them, and adored their love for one another. Unfortunately, as it is in every marriage, the enemy was at work behind the scene. He was planting seeds of doubt, lust, and discontentment that would one day mature into divorce. My heart breaks for them and their family. It breaks for their children and generations thereafter.
Ultimately, no marriage is safe, NOT ONE! I do not care about the person’s influence or affluence. I have witnessed the most profound people who were able to be successful in everything else fail in their marriage. Please understand that I do not seek to condemn them for their divorce. My desire is to encourage those who are getting married to understand the covenant they are entering and challenge those who are married to fight together. Remove divorce as an option! My encouragement to you is simple; don’t quit on your spouse. Just keep fighting! Please keep fighting together, not one another. Settle petty arguments immediately. Find a local church home and serve together. It does not have to be the same ministry (it’s preferred), just make sure you two are serving together. Communicate regularly. Take time out for each other. Get around other married couples who love each other and are serious about their walk with God. Grow with them. Build community with them! They will be there to help you through your toughest times. Have sex regularly so you do not give the enemy an open door. Submit to one another. Have fun; laugh. Remember the fun days you had together before all the stresses of life. Simplify your life. This means instead of being upset with each other because of finances, lower your expenses and get on a budget. Find a marriage retreat and attend at least one a year. Invest in your marriage! Do whatever you have to do. Just fight together.
My wife and I are praying for you, as I hope you are praying for us. We need strong marriages in our society today. This is because strong and godly people build strong marriages, strong marriages build strong families, strong families build strong communities, and strong communities build strong nations.