When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11
There is so much goodness in childhood! Purity, innocence, a joyful soul, and an easily forgiving heart.
Have you ever wondered why we lose so many of these great attributes as we grow into adulthood?
It starts with steady, painful cuts to our soul that increase over our lifetime.
Parents may get divorced and the family dynamic shifts. Friendships become fleeting. Love and relationships don't hold up to our expectations. People we love pass away. Lifelong dreams are no longer an accepted currency for the lives we want. Our sparkle diminishes. We give up our ideals and standards. We succumb to lukewarm Christianity and stop making our relationship with God the priority.
Those pure and bright hearts we possessed as children have become battered and bruised in adulthood. We've officially lost our "innocence."
At first, marriage can renew our weary souls. The fire of love and romance rages wildly in the hearts of an affianced couple. We enter into our marriage like children, full of hope and wonder. We dream big dreams. We're consumed with vitality for each other. We're eager to start families and have sweet little babies to snuggle.
However, if the enemy is able to penetrate a couple's marriage, the result can be disastrous! A relationship intended to be sacred with our spouse can become toxic and unhealthy. If we aren't vigilant about protecting the sanctity of our marriage, it won't be long before infidelity can make an appearance.
Have you seen the enemy at work in marriages around you? In today's society, it happens more than we'd like to admit.
Do you know someone that engages in frequent pornography binges? Is he being psychologically rewired by what's on the computer screen? Does his wife feel like she needs to compete with an adult film star?
Do you know a friend who gossips about her husband and complains that he can't do anything right? Does she humiliate him openly and disregard his feelings?
Do you know a husband that acts like the perpetual bachelor? Does he check out other women and disregarding the one he married? Does he act like a wolf on the prowl?
Do you know a wife who frequently indulges in obscene books, like Fifty Shades of Grey? Is she open and shameless about her sexuality, sharing with anyone who will listen?
If this is your marriage or one you've witnessed, don't fret. We've had difficulties in our marriage too! This isn't about judgment, it's about awareness. Our relationship was once so infiltrated by the enemy, many believed our marriage was about to become another statistic. Thankfully, God said otherwise!
Some of us can identify with these behaviors because we've acted out in similar ways or deeply care for someone whose actions are related.
However, don't let society fool you into thinking these are "healthy" behaviors. Deviant sexual behavior (engaging in pornography or adultery), humiliation (degrading our spouse), and disrespecting (engaging in any behavior that causes physical, emotional or psychological damage) to the people we love has the potential to do great damage to everyone.
Friend, it is never acceptable to bleed pain all over the people God intended for our lives. But, even in your darkest moment, there is still reason for great rejoicing! God wants us to work in partnership with him to take back our destiny!
Remember those days when we actually believed we had the power to be unstoppable superheroes and brave princesses? We lose more of that each time we surrender to destructive behavior to fill our emptiness.
The immaturity in me kills the innocence in you. In John 13:34-35, we are commanded by Jesus Christ to love and honor one another. This is not a suggestion.
Love the people the Lord has intended for your life and let Him quench what is thirsty in your soul.
Husbands, do not grow idle in pursuit of your wife’s heart. Resolve to be a man whose life depends on Jesus.
Commit to being a man of virtue and humility - regardless of what society tries to dictate to you.
You were chosen by God to have your love be a guiding light for your household and the generations that follow.
Be mindful of careless words and cruel actions against your wife. That grown woman at your side was once a little girl with big dreams, a heart full of trust, and a playful spirit. She entered into this marriage covenant with God and you.
In the heat of the moment, when you’re frustrated and angry at her, remember you were her choice.
Wives, be mindful of the criticism and conflict you bring against your husbands. Do not grow idle in pursuit of your Husband’s heart. Resolve to be a woman whose life depends on Jesus.
Commit to being a woman of integrity and compassion - despite what popular culture tries to dictate to you.
You were chosen by God to have your love protect, nurture, and inspire your household and the generations that follow.
That grown man beside you was once a little boy with big dreams, a heart full of trust, and a playful spirit. He entered into this marriage covenant with God and you. In the heat of the moment, when you’re frustrated and angry at him, remember you were his choice.
If any point has to be made with disrespect, carelessness or cruelty - it isn't worth making. Anytime you need to use these things to “win” an argument, it’s the enemy pulling your strings.
Need proof? Here's God's words:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Make a commitment together to read God's Word and place trust in Him for your marriage!