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Amanda Beth

Marriage Series: We Need Each Other

 

MARRIAGE-PIC21

 

This is the third message in my marriage series “Two Are Better Than One.” Follow this link if you missed the last two messages. Last Monday, I shared how my husband and I first met, and how it took God over a year to draw my husband’s heart to mine. We were married on July 20, 1996, less than a year after my husband asked me to officially be his girlfriend (July 21, 1995). We originally planned on waiting another year to have a big wedding. But with some division between our families regarding the financing, we decided to get married that year with a small wedding and reception.

Looking back now, I believe God led us to get married that year, because I don’t think we would’ve made it another year. The night before our wedding we got into a big fight and didn’t talk to each other until we met at the altar the next day.  I never imagined “I’m Sorry!” would be the first words I’d say to my fiancé at the altar on our wedding day.

After our ceremony, we had a reception at my parent’s house. It was nice until a few family members showed up intoxicated and started brawling with each other. Annoyed, my husband and I left to escape to our small, newly rented one bedroom apartment.  When we got to our new home, we opened our cards and counted the cash we received to see if we had enough money to pay our bills and take a honeymoon. After putting aside money for our bills, we had only three hundred dollars left to go camping up north along Lake Michigan.

Though we didn’t have a perfect wedding and reception, and camImage0004ping wasn’t our dream honeymoon, we were excited to start our new life together. As I shared last week, my husband and I separately accepted Christ at Vacation Bible camps when we were kids. But because we didn’t seek Christ further, and have a relationship with Him, we unknowingly were an open target for the devil. After our honeymoon, it didn’t take long to reap the effects of living without Christ, as our insecurities, hurts and past relationships began to affect our marriage.

The devil knew our pain and weaknesses. He knew we followed the ways of the world and not God. He knew which situations to lead us into to bury us deeper into sin. He knew which bait we’d take that would lead us into his trap. And for the first five years of our marriage, he did everything he could to try and split us apart.

The devil wants to split up our marriages because he knows God’s ultimate plan is to transform us and glorify Christ in us. It’s a lot easier to knock us down and keep us down when we are separated and don’t have each other to lean on for support.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

When a couple has Christ in their marriage, they have strength and knowledge to stand up against the devil’s attacks, because greater is He that is in them than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). My husband and I had no knowledge that we had an unseen enemy pursuing to take us down. We saw each other as the enemy. In our eyes, the only way to resolve our conflict was to get away from each other.

Thankfully my husband feared divorce. He didn’t want to be the first in his family to get a divorce. So he made up his mind that he would do whatever it took to stay together. My husband’s commitment to our marriage gave God time to pour His love into our hearts, and lead us out of the devil’s trap and into a relationship with Christ

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:1-10

God has a specific plan for each of us in Christ. He’s given us our spouses to help fulfill His plan. We need each other more than we often realize. Even though God gives my husband and me different works to do, we need each other to accomplish those works. For example, since God called me to write, He has blessed my husband’s job and brought him increase to provide for me to publish and give away books to those He has prepared in advance to receive. My husband isn’t called to write. And I am not called to be our financial provider. But we need each other in order to accomplish God’s will for our lives. Without my husband, I wouldn’t be able to continue publishing books. Without me, my husband wouldn’t be reaping the blessings and increase in his work.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:19

God has a plan for you and your spouse. You need each other to fulfill that plan, even if you don’t see your spouse seeking God’s will. When my husband and I came to know Christ, I had a deeper passion for seeking God than my husband did. I’d often complain to God that my husband was a hindrance to my growth since he wasn’t as committed to following Christ as I thought I was. God eventually showed me how instrumental my husband is in my growth, and how instrumental I am in his growth. God uses my husband’s weaknesses to work things out of me, and He uses my weaknesses to work things out of him. God uses my husband’s strengths to strengthen me, and He uses my strengths to strengthen my husband.

God uses our weakness to draw us closer to our spouses. Satan uses our weaknesses to lure us away from our spouses. God uses our strengths to support our spouses. Satan uses our strengths to convince us we are better off without our spouses. Knowing that we need our spouses, and they need us, should encourage us to stand firm in our faith and not allow Satan to succeed in splitting us apart.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

1 Peter 5:8-9

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for giving us our spouses to accomplish Your will for our lives. Help us to stand against the devil’s attacks and  not let him split us apart. Help us to stop viewing our spouses as our enemies. Continue to use their weaknesses and strengths to work in and strengthen us. And continue to use our weaknesses and strengths to work in and strengthen them.

In Jesus’ faithful name, we pray. Amen!

 

*My husband and I are giving two couples a $50 dinner gift card for Brinker restaurants (Can be used at Chili’s, On the Border, Macaroni Grill, or Maggiano’s) and a signed copy of my book “You Can Have a Happy Family – Steps to Enjoying Your Marriage and Children” If you live in the U. S., enter to win in the comment section below. Just leave your name and how long you’ve been married.  The first winner will be announced on our wedding anniversary (July 20th). And the second winner will be announced on our dating anniversary (July 21st). Every marriage post that you comment on through July 19th you will receive an additional entry into the drawing.

 

 


 

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8 comments on “Marriage Series: We Need Each Other

  1. Mark Hunter on said:

    Hi Amanda,

    My wife and i came under tremendous stress and pressure leading up to wedding and after. Luckily unlike some couples we both knew the true origin of this but, simply knowing you are being attacked, is only half the battle. I have to confess, in the early days, that i had no idea being a Christian would be such a brutal affair. I have spoken of it on occasions in my own blog and on twitter. I was alarmed over the brazen and vicious tactics of the enemy.

    Your final paragraph about strengths and weaknesses really rammed it home for me. That is so true, which is both a comfort and a worry, in equal measure. For me though, ultimately, my marriage to my wife was a total victory over satan. He did his utmost to stop it, even on the day itself, and ultimately (and indeed, unsurprisingly) failed. I continue to pray and fast for the strength to keep up the good fight.

  2. Warren Baldwin on said:

    The devil exploits our weaknesses to break our marriages; God uses them to build them. So true.

    You marriage is a great testament to the idea of staying in there and working it through. So many couples give up during the difficult times and, sadly, never discover the good that God has on the other side of those problems. I know your experience is encouraging many.

    Good post.
    Warren
    http://www.warrenbaldwin.blogspot.com

  3. Amanda Beth on said:

    Praying for strength for you and your wife, Mark!:) I can now see all the things the devil did to try and keep my husband and I from getting married too. And those attacks increased even more once we came to know Christ. Revelation 12:17 tells us that Satan wages war against us who have the testimony of Jesus. In Christ, the victory is already ours. So now no matter what the devil throws at us, God will turn around for our benefit. There’s nothing he can do that will take our victory away, unless we lay down and submit to him. Praying that we stand firm and keep fighting the good fight of faith.
    Thanks for sharing your story. Blessings to your marriage! :)

  4. Amanda Beth on said:

    Thanks, Warren! I pray it encourages couples not to give up. God truly knows what’s best for us. I look forward to sharing your marriage message in this series. Blessings to you:)
    Amanda

  5. Kerry Johnson on said:

    I love this message, Amanda! Thank you for sharing. It’s so very true. Satan will find a weakness and make it his foothold, and dig away until he breaks the marriage apart or through Christ’s strength we pull through. The devil is very good at making the grass look much, much greener on the other side of the fence. I’m so thankful for God’s mercy and grace and that you and your hubby hung in there. God is so good!

    This paragraph really spoke to me, as it closely parallels our marriage, too…. “God has a plan for you and your spouse. You need each other to fulfill that plan, even if you don’t see your spouse seeking God’s will. When my husband and I came to know Christ, I had a deeper passion for seeking God than my husband did. I’d often complain to God that my husband was a hindrance to my growth since he wasn’t as committed to following Christ as I thought I was. God eventually showed me how instrumental my husband is in my growth, and how instrumental I am in his growth. God uses my husband’s weaknesses to work things out of me, and He uses my weaknesses to work things out of him. God uses my husband’s strengths to strengthen me, and He uses my strengths to strengthen my husband.”

    I needed and appreciate the reminder, and this marriage series. I know it will bless those who read it!
    Hugs,
    Kerry

  6. Joyce Glass on said:

    Amanda,

    I have been married for 22 years. Many years have been an emotional struggle for us. As you have mentioned in the post and the comments, the closer I draw to Christ the more the enemy works to cause strife and discord in our marriage. It took me a long time to realize the work of the enemy. I finally did. We are in a better place than we have been, but still not the place I would love for us to be.

    Last week God asked me to fast this week for my marriage. As I complained to God, about what my husband has not done to help our marriage grow, He gently asked me what I have done to help the marriage grow. Humbled…. not as much as I could. So, today I read about praying through in The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. As I was posting a quote from the chapter on G+, I noticed your post and another post about marriage. Divine Timing!

    Off to pray for my marriage. I know, me included, many of us do not pray for our marriages as much as we complain about them!

  7. Amanda Beth on said:

    Hi Joyce! That’s a wonderful reminder and so true “many of us do not pray for our marriages as much as we complain about them!” It’s true for our children too and just about anything else. We often complain more than we pray. I’m happy God spoke to your heart. I love when God puts something on our heart, He confirms it many different ways. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Blessings and prayers to your marriage! :)
    Amanda

  8. Amanda Beth on said:

    Thanks, Kerry!:) I’m so thankful for God’s mercy and grace too! My husband and I regularly talk about where we’d be right now had God not stepped in and rescued us. We are so humbled by His love! Thanks for being a part of this series. I look forward to sharing your post next week “Love’s Blind Spot.” I’ll be posting it on the 15th. I’ll send you an email shortly.
    Hugs to you:)
    Amanda

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