I’ve already covered a lot of mistakes in this series so far and to be honest with you, I’m feeling the gravity of it all. Looking at things from a whole, create a voice that tries to say things that aren’t true of me or my marriage. But that doesn’t even come close to what they are really trying to accomplish.
What they are really trying to do is contradict the very character of God and His desire for marriage to be the ultimate vehicle for you and I to experience Him. In other words, it would be easy to pick apart and dissect one action from another and make baseless claims on one another in our marriage, but that would never hold up against the narrative of the gospel.
For those who are just now visiting and haven’t been following the Mistakes in Marriage series since the beginning, let’s take a quick breath for a second and do a little recap.
- Mistake #1 taught me that I was not nearly as ready for marriage as I thought I was. Being a bit naive, I quickly went from making one set of spoken vows to another set of unspoken ones that have done more damage than I ever could have imagined. Amazingly enough though, it’s become apparent to me that God lives and still speaks in the dark, hard places of marriage.
- In Mistake #2, I talked about how dulled we can become to the mirror that is presented to us in the judgements and faults we find in our spouses. This creates a blindness that prohibits us from seeing the depth of our own defects and understanding that the only reason we see them in others at all is because they first exist in us. Again though, The Father is gracious, and reminds us that even still He is for marriage, and for us.
- Mistake #3 brings things all too close to home for most of us. We all, at one time or another have dropped the dreaded “D” word in moments of despair and anger. Statistics tells us that every single married couple on the planet has had some sort of connection with divorce, whether through direct relation or extended family members. The most deceptive trick that the enemy performs on our marriages, tricks us into thinking that we are not in this thing together.
So now that we’re all caught up, let me introduce my next mistake that, potentially, could make some of you uncomfortable. This mistake has been made in every single marriage that has ended in divorce and continues to repeatedly rob from mine.
Underestimating the Audacity of the Opposition
The church doesn’t much like to talk about the reality of an enemy these days. It’s not very commercial, doesn’t put butts in seats, and isn’t particularly safe or attractive.
But if you look at both the micro and macro of life, the presence of opposition can be seen in everything and everywhere. Scripture makes it especially clear in 1 Peter 5:8.
You have an enemy. I have an enemy. We all have an enemy. And that enemy, the devil, as Peter calls it, is constantly looking to take us out and destroy the beauty that marriage was intended to be. Through the first three parts of this series we’ve seen how marriage is clearly the metaphor Christ uses to help us understand the context of relationship with which He desires to have with us. And because we also know through the story of the bible, that Jesus was opposed by Satan, (Matthew 4:1-11) how much more does it make sense that that very same opposition would be dead set on causing havoc in our marriages.
There are countless stories that come to mind when I think back over the course of these last 10 years where, like clockwork, I could count on being sabotaged in one way or another. For example, all of the photos that you see serving as the backgrounds above came from our wedding. I’ve already told you little bit about how magical it was but let me let you in on this.
Mary and I have been extremely blessed to have grown up in the most amazing community of friends. Many of them are singers, actors, entertainers, or speakers of some kind and many of them came from all over for our special day. Some of them performed, some sang leading us in worship, and even one very special father figure walked Mary down the aisle.
It was just the picture perfect evening.
One of Mary’s friends, a ridiculously talented photographer, offered to take some photos. We felt very lucky and very blessed. His were the ones we were most excited about. Well apparently, unbeknownst to him, his camera had some sort of malfunction and every single photo he took turned out slightly out of focus.
Needless to say we were devastated.
Now I certainly don’t want to give off an impression that would say I believe that everything that goes wrong or badly in marriage is strictly at the hands of opposition. As you have clearly read and will continue to read as this series continues, I have caused enough opposition myself. I bring into this relationship a unique combination of sin, brokenness and woundedness, that when mixed with Mary’s sin and brokenness, contains the potential for a lethal reaction.
Which is why I have no choice but to turn to the gospel.
Tim Keller, who I love dearly, as many of you already know, says this beautifully when he writes:
“Without a deeply fulfilling love relationship with Christ now, and hope in a perfect love relationship with him in the future, married Christians will put too much pressure on their marriage to fulfill them, and that will always create pathology in their lives.”
Our only hope, my only hope is for the affections of our hearts to be arrested by the gospel, such that when we encounter opposition of any form, we’re driven back to that very same gospel.
Do you readily acknowledge the presence of an enemy who opposes you and your marriage? How do you handle it?
Encourage us all with your comments below!
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