Evil wants to take out your marriage because it wants a clear shot at your kids.
I know many couples whose relationships are straining under various outside pressures and internal afflictions. Men and women alike too easily blame their spouses for the failures they perceive to be playing out in their marriages. Unfortunately, many of us fail to dig beneath the surface of the things that bother us the most in order to uncover what subtle and subversive forces may be driving the wedge between us.
Back in 2000, a very close priest friend of mine shared a sobering spiritual reality with me during a tour of Europe. He tied tight an analogy between the spiritual life and a football game.
He said that the devil was not interested in the spiritual spectators; he likely already had those folks under his thumb. Nor was he interested in the folks who played on the B team. Instead, he was interested in the first stringers. He wants to devastate and take out the impact players…the difference makers.
More than anyone though, the devil is after the quarterback. He isn’t satisfied with just sacking the quarterback either. No, he is in relentless pursuit to take the quarterback… out of the game!
If you are a husband or wife, the stark reality is that you and your marriage are marked targets. You would be wise to recognize that there is a bounty on your head.
I get it. It’s not Halloween, it’s Christmas! However, no matter the time of year, it is vitally important for married couples to see themselves as the foundation upon which family is built. It is easy to fall into bad habits and get lazy. There is nothing easy about standing post as parent, especially these days.
The devil is real but is often caricatured as some cartoon character or limited to a convenient scapegoat when we have no one else to blame for the dumb things we do. His cunning schemes can easily mess us up and twist our thinking. I can recognize his lame tactics more easily now.
Have you ever made note of how our country bands together when the chips are down or we’ve been attacked by a terrorist group or some other rogue faction that has a vendetta against the United States? It is as if all our differences melt away and all of those things that divide us aren’t any where near as strong as what unites us.
Nothing is as sobering and gets us all fighting a common enemy like getting punched in the mouth by some group that is out to get us. What if we employed this same unification strategy with our spouse? Powerful marriages are a clear force for good and give rise to happy and healthy families. If you wanted to mess the world up, wouldn’t the family unit be on the short list of beachheads that MUST be taken?
We are all tempted to attack and/or withdraw from one another. When things unravel, which they can do from time to time, it is easy to panic and start the blame game. Fatigue easily sets in as do the other common pressures that weigh us down and chip away at our frame of mind. Rather than focusing on the person with whom we shave every morning, we fire-up the “Why can’t you be more like so and so?” or the “You always or never!” Gatling gun.
We intentionally or unintentionally attempt to lay waste to the person we inarguably love the most. It is crazy-making stuff and of course, the only thing that happens when slinging mud is that we lose more and more ground with one another. I have been married long enough that I see the pattern of dysfunctional communication emerge. As tensions mount between us, balance and focus in our marriage has a good chance of being restored if we run toward rather than away from one another.
Each of us can jump to conclusions about our spouses based on a very limited number of inputs. Will you admit to how much you are able to infer from a single off-handed comment? The things our spouse doesn’t say or some other perceived personal slight can unravel us in no-time flat. We act as though we know what our wife or husband is thinking, when most times we haven’t even the foggiest. Apparent to me is the fact that most of the conflict that does exist between my wife and I is based more on my distorted feelings or the conclusions.
Things go so much better when we more readily view each other as advocate… not adversary. We keep our cleats more tightly laced when we remember that the devil is always busy trying to undo us from behind the scenes; trying to dismantle us both from the inside out. First, he isolates, then he desolates!
No parent wants anyone to have a clear shot at their children. Nobody intentionally lets their guard down to let the enemy in. We get too easily preoccupied with other things and we lose our focus. There are just too many insignificant things competing for our attention these days.
This week, can you take time to inventory the unique things it takes for you to stay in your game; to keep moving the chains? Be on guard for the blitz and the cheap shots levied by a ruthless and unforgiving opponent. Sometimes the things that can damage us the most, appear on their surface to be harmless.
Keeping evil at bay is a grueling endeavor, one that takes everything we can muster, even beyond the point at which we no longer feel like blocking and tackling. I am renewed in my strength when I remember that being aligned with my wife is what evil hates more than anything else. I keep my wits about me; I can’t afford a costly sack and injury that will take me out of the game that matters the most.
Thomas “TD” Dierker
Live like you’re dying…. cause you are!