In every great story, there is love -- and danger. What is the one way the villain can cause pain to his foe? Through the hero's beloved, of course. You are part of a much larger story, that goes back to the dawn of time. There is an enemy seeking to devour that which is most precious to the One who made all. We are His beloved. The enemy of our souls is the villain. Elohim, El Shaddai, El Elyon, Yahweh, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah-Raah, Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Shammah, Jehovah Tsidkenu, Jehovah Mekadesh, Jehovoah Jireh, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Sabaoth -- He is the One who created all, and He is the Lover of our souls. What better way for the enemy of our souls to grieve God than to attempt to steal, kill, and destroy the very thing that personifies the intimacy of our relationship with Christ -- our marriages here on earth.
My heart aches at the growing number of divorces even within the circle of people I know. Add to that the number of people teetering on the edge, those contemplating a potential separation or divorce. We don't wrestle against flesh and blood, ladies (see Ephesians 6:12). We must rise up and defend our marriages. Be proactive, and above all, gracious.
There is no shortage of temptations and distractions these days, and it takes a real purposing of heart to stay invested and cultivate our relationships daily. Marriage is a gift. Truly a gift. Don't drop the ball on this one. Make the time to water the plant and keep the flowers in bloom. Like a beautiful garden, if we don't nurture and tend it, the weeds will come and choke the life out. We can easily become so consumed with our own endeavors that we begin to lose touch without even realizing it. Look, we're all busy. Our to-do lists are growing. Our laundry baskets are overflowing. We're juggling babies and calendars and paperwork and demands. Some seasons of our lives are more tiring and overwhelming than others, and can leave us feeling disconnected. But don't be discouraged. Even the simplest, most subtle gestures can massage the heart and awaken the senses.
Today I want to encourage you to discover and rediscover...to go deeper than you've gone before...become more vulnerable than you've been before. Pray for your spouse, pray with your spouse. Smile. Smile more. Kiss more. Embrace more. Cook a meal together, dance in the kitchen. Unplug when you're together, fully engage. Speak encouragement, avoid sarcasm and negativity (and criticism and nagging). Did I mention smile more? Take a walk, listen to old music, build something together. Pick up a copy of The Love Dare, and try it. Make a conscious effort to practice "the one anothers" *(see below). Don't wait for the other person to initiate, take action now!
Whatever you do, don't let "them" get in the way. The critics. The cynics. The world. Watch for the wolves. Protect your assets. At the end of the day, only God can meet the deepest needs of your heart, but your marriage is sacred and valuable. Make it a decree to "never tear us apart." "What God has joined together, let no man separate" (Matthew 19:6).
30-day list compiled by Marriage Missions International:
Day 1: Love one another deeply (see 1 Peter 1:22)
Day 2: Greet one another with a kiss of love (see 1 Peter 5:14; 1 Corinthians 12:16)
Day 3: Do not deceive one another (see Leviticus 19:11)
Day 4: Live in harmony with one another (see Romans 12:16)
Day 5: Don't judge one another (see Romans 14:13)
Day 6: Accept one another (see Romans 15:7)
Day 7: Teach and admonish one another in all wisdom (see Colossians 3:16)
Day 8: Wait for one another [be patient] (see 1 Corinthians 11:33)
Day 9: Care for one another (see 1 Corinthians 12:25)
Day 10: Serve one another (see Galatians 5:13)
Day 11: Be kind to one another (see Ephesians 4:32)
Day 12: Forgive one another (see Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13)
Day 13: Be compassionate towards one another (see Ephesians 4:32)
Day 14: Encourage one another (see Hebrews 3:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Day 15: Submit to one another (see Ephesians 5:21)
Day 16: Bear with one another (see Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)
Day 17: Stimulate love in one another (see Hebrews 10:24-25)
Day 18: Offer hospitality to one another (see 1 Peter 4:9)
Day 19: Minister gifts to one another (see 1 Peter 4:10)
Day 20: Be clothed in humility toward one another (see 1 Peter 5:5)
Day 21: Don't slander one another (see James 4:11)
Day 22: Don't grumble against one another (see James 5:9)
Day 23: Confess your sins to one another (see James 5:16)
Day 24: Pray for one another (see James 5:16)
Day 25: Fellowship with one another (see 1 John 1:7)
Day 26: Don't be puffed up against one another (see 1 Corinthians 4:6)
Day 27: Carry one another's burdens (see Galatians 6:2)
Day 28: Honor one another (see Romans 12:10)
Day 29: Prefer one another (see Romans 12:10)
Day 30: Comfort one another (see 2 Corinthians 1:4)
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