Whose voice are you listening to in your marriage?
Married couples are bombarded with advice about how to have a happy marriage, how to be fulfilled, and how to get our needs met. But how do we know what advice is true and life-giving, and what’s ultimately coming from our greatest enemy—the one who wants nothing more than to destroy marriages?
Christ once said of Satan: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). I believe this passage has significant relevance in marriage. As I consider my own relationship with my spouse, as well as the couples I get the privilege of meeting with each week, I’m convinced that Satan’s lies are the greatest attack on marriage today.
For so long, we have determined that issues such as communication break-downs, unmet sexual expectations, or financial tensions are the roots of marital discord. And, all of these are real and often weighty challenges. But truly they are merely a symptom of a much greater underlying issue. The issue is, too many of us have chosen to listen to the Enemy’s deceptions instead of the truth of God’s Word and His promises.
Again, I need only look to my own marriage to see how many points of tension are the result of either my wife or me (or both of us) listening to the voice of the Deceiver rather than the voice of the Holy Spirit. Satan fills my head with the great lies that I am a failure and that I am unworthy of love, both from others and from my Heavenly Father. These lies then fuel my insecurity, which, in turn, escalates my reactions to issues. From this fragile state, I am more prone to get angry, frustrated, bitter, or jealous—the fruit, not the root, of my real problem, which is that I believe I’m not good enough for such a good God.
I know that I am not alone in this struggle. As I meet with couples, I can see this is a reality for many of us, men in particular. This lie of unworthiness, and the insecurity it produces, yields all kinds of vile fruit that negatively affects marriages. I have often said that one of the most dangerous things to any home is an insecure spouse. We react differently when we are feeling insecure—our tempers are shortened, our patience is tested, and the call to love our spouse out of an abundance of the Father’s love seems to be impossible.
So, here is the challenge I have for myself and for all of us trying to figure out who we are in Christ. We must ask ourselves, “Whose voice am I listening to?” Just think about the last month of your marriage. Whose voice have you given authority in your life—the Father of Lies or your Heavenly Father? The voice of God is crying out to His children that we are valued, loved, chosen, redeemed, cherished and forgiven. Do we hear these cries; do we pay attention to these promises? I can tell you from personal experience, I undergo a transformation when I allow the words of Romans 8:31 to ring true in my ear, “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” When I believe this truth, then my value and security, my very identity, in Christ speaks life into my soul and my marriage thrives. And I can remember the promise of 1 John 3:1, which states, “See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” We are children of God—loved and forgiven by Him. And, there is no greater security than this. Any thoughts of failure, insecurity, doubt or condemnation are not from our loving Heavenly Father, rather they are the voice of the Evil One looking to draw our eyes away from our Father’s love.
Ultimately, there is no greater way to bless your marriage, your spouse, and your family than to truly live in the security of the Father’s love. We can choose to focus on our own actions, our spouse’s shortcomings, and the surface of our marital issues, doing our best to solve the problems facing us. But the only real, lasting solution is to love our spouse well by allowing the love of the Father to embrace our own heart so we can hear His voice over all the noise. Our security in Christ alone is what our Heavenly Father wants for us. This and only this will produce real heart change—the beginning of real marriage transformation—and which, in turn, will lead to a change in our actions.
So, if you are looking for “Five Steps to a Better Marriage,” I don’t have those for you. I can only pray and point you to the love of your Father and trust that He will do what only He can do—give you a place of security and love that meets the deepest need of your marriage. If your marriage is hurting, own your part, ask yourself who you are listening to, and run with all the energy you can muster into the loving arms of your Father. Here you will find a “peace that surpasses understanding.” To look anywhere else is just a distraction. Believe the Truth that He loves you, He died for you because He loves you, He is for you because He loves you, and He wants to see your marriage thrive because He loves you. Listen only to His voice and lean into His love.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, no powers, no height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39