Adam and Eve were the first people to experience the gift of marriage. They were the first husband and wife to experience the power of unity in marriage, and yet it didn’t take very long for the enemy to declare war on them. Satan saw right away the impact a husband and wife can make when they are unified as one and are devoted to following God. He understood the impact they could make in effectively building God’s kingdom. The enemy is convinced that if he can stop or destroy a marriage after God, then he can stop the effectiveness God can have in this world.

1. Fear

What you fear has the most power in your life. If you fear failure, then you will never try anything you “might” fail at. The devil wants you to be afraid of what lies ahead on the road God has for you and your spouse. He wants you to quiver powerlessly and hopelessly in the face of the overwhelming tide of unknowns. He wants your marriage to be overshadowed by distress and worries. He wants stress and anxiety to consume your thoughts, so you forget to go to God in prayer.

The only way to combat fear is to fear the only One who is worthy to be feared, God. The One who speaks things into existence from nothing. The fear of the enemy causes paralysis; the fear of God brings power and effectiveness. Fear God and nothing will ever shake you or stop you.

Stop right now and ask yourself, “What fears am I entertaining? What fears have kept us from pursuing God’s plan for our life and marriage?”

2. Lies

We are sure you have a list of phrases in your head with many “unique-to-you” lies that the enemy has whispered to your heart and mind. Let us not forget who our enemy is and what he does.

How can we spot the lies, especially when they seem so convincing? There is only one way to distinguish lies from truth, and it is by testing everything according to the Word of God. Replace the lies with the truth that is in God’s Word and meditate on it. You must know what God says about you in His holy Word and believe it, so that when you are told something contrary, when you feel that rush of doubt or insecurity overwhelm your heart and mind, you can recognize it for what it really is, a lie.

Ask yourself right now, “What lies have I been believing about myself or my spouse? How does knowing the truth guard our effectiveness for God?”

3. Scoffers

When we launched in March 2011, we had no idea what kind of response we would receive. After publishing only a few articles, I received a comment that was so destructive and hurtful, I immediately begged Aaron to shut the website down. This commenter didn’t know us personally, and I assume she didn’t consider the impact of her words, yet that didn’t stop her from telling us how ungodly my husband and I were for being open and transparent about our marriage online. We were almost derailed by her words.

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There will always be scoffers, those who are jealous, bitter, angry, skeptical, and just plain mean. The enemy uses scoffers to incite fear, doubt, and insecurity in an effort to derail faithful servants of the Lord.

The solution to combating these attacks is to be confident in what God is doing in and through you, and in and through your marriage. Whether scoffers question your marriage relationship, your parenting, your business, or any ministry efforts you are pouring into, remind each other of what is true of the purpose you are pursuing together, and continue to encourage each other. Also, surround yourselves with a community of believers who will not only encourage you and walk alongside both of you as the two of you remain faithful to the specific mission God has called you to fulfill but also exhort you and hold you accountable to the truth in love.

4. Division

Jesus warns us, “No city or house divided against itself will stand” (Matthew 12:25). If the devil can divide you and your spouse, then he can conquer your marriage, stripping away your effectiveness for God. Why do you think there is so much divorce in our generation, even in the church? The enemy knows that he can destroy our effectiveness if he can divide our most sacred covenant, next to our relationship with God.

Division almost never happens overnight; rather, it is something that starts with all of the seemingly insignificant situations and disagreements. It comes in the form of bickering and arguing, lack of communication, busyness, misplaced priorities, and unmet expectations, just to name a few. Division comes when selfishness is the motivation and pride is the platform from which the two of you interact and engage with each other.

When division ensues and a husband and wife refuse to reconcile, they are either choosing to remain forever inwardly focused, responding to each other from a place of self-preservation which leads to an unhealthy and brittle relationship, or the couple will experience the complete death of their marriage. However, the antidote to division in marriage is humility in the hearts of a husband and wife, motivating them to choose to lay aside their pride so that they may be reconciled. If they do this, they will be reunified and their effectiveness for God will remain.

The antidote to division in marriage is humility in the hearts of a husband and wife, motivating them to choose to lay aside their pride so that they may be reconciled.Click To Tweet

We Can Win the Battle

This is not an exclusive or exhaustive list of the flaming arrows that our enemy uses to dissolve or dilute our effectiveness, but it is a start to knowing the enemy’s tactics. As Christians, we must be able to recognize his tactics and then actively fight against them.

Taken from Marriage After God by Aaron & Jennifer Smith. Copyright © 2019 by Aaron & Jennifer Smith. Used by permission of Zondervan.

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