Every day, your marriage enters a battlefield. What are you doing to protect your marriage against the dangers of, porn, workaholism, worry, pride, stress, fear, loss, addiction, comparison, social media, emotional cheating, that girl at the gym, in-laws, hormones, or idolizing your kids?
To win a war, you have to know you’re in one.
If you are reading this blog, you’re probably well aware of those dangers I just listed. You’re probably well aware of the attacks on your marriage. And you probably read that list above and began mentally adding to it…. (I know I am…) So how the heck do we protect our marriages from this daily war?!
How do we love our spouses faithfully, intentionally, specifically, creatively, and daily, in a world that seeks to prevent and destroy our efforts?!
If we are going to fight for thriving marriages, we need to be willing to protect our marriages with diligence and discipline. We need to put on our armor so that we will stand victorious. “What God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9).
Your relationship with your spouse is one of the most important relationships you have, so protecting it should be a priority…
It’s much easier to protect your marriage, than it is to put it back together.
However, we’ve noticed, and even experienced, a conundrum among knowing this. Why is it that so many people only work on their marriage when it NEEDS work?!
We are constantly learning how to protect our marriage, but here are a few tips that have helped us proactively protect our marriage:
Protect your marriage by establishing a date night.
Maybe you work night-shift, or maybe you have 8 kids and leaving at night is near impossible, or maybe by the time 8 p.m. rolls around you’re practically sleep walking… We get it, date night isn’t for everyone, but quality time with your spouse is. During the first year of our marriage, my job required me to work from 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. which made it extremely difficult to go on date nights…. However, we wanted to establish a rhythm of consistent quality time with each other. For us, it was brunch after church on Sunday’s, or sometimes Friday nights if Jeremy didn’t have a weekend photo gig. Spending quality time together is an investment that will appreciate over time. We encourage people to pick a time and day that works for both of you to spend quality time alone together each week! Commit to prioritizing it even when things get busy. Don’t let the tyranny of the urgent take precedence (Hebrews 10:25). Pick something you both love to do, or a place you both love to go. Don’t take yourselves so seriously, and try not to talk about money, work, or the kids… Focus on your relationship, what you love about each other, reflecting on memories, and embracing new moments together. For some ideas, read our post: 50 Summer Dates Under $50!
Protect your marriage by spending time alone with God, daily.
Personal daily time alone with God will build a great wall of protection around your marriage. I would argue, it might be the best protection (and prayer) for your marriage. Failing to meet with God each day, is a missed opportunity to love your spouse better. Spending alone time with God will help you to know His truth, follow His ways, and love His people better. Inevitably, you will love your spouse more, and better. Spending alone time with God also includes praying for your spouse daily (Psalm 91:14-16; Matthew 6:33)
Protect your marriage by never speaking poorly of your spouse with others.
I always cringe when I hear other women talking poorly about their spouse, or when I see them venting about their relationship on social media…. Gossip and venting can often break trust, which we all know can ruin relationships. Don’t do it! Finding a mentor or trusted friend to walk through the hard stuff with is one thing…. but blabbering your husband’s faults and shortcomings to your friends and/or the world is another… Speak highly of your spouse, build them up with respect and love (Ephesians 4:29). They should be known as an honorable, kind, and generous men or women by the words you speak about them. “My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.” (Isaiah 55:11)
Protect your marriage through sex, get naked!
Physical intimacy with your spouse is usually the first thing neglected when the busyness of life abounds… But sex is the glue to marriage. The marriage bond is strengthened and deepened each time you come together in love-making. Make the effort to incorporate physical intimacy into your daily life, not just in the bedroom. A hug, grabbing their hand, a 15-second kiss, a butt grab, or a face hold can all make a huge difference in your sex life. Connecting with your spouse sexually will help you connect with your spouse on all other levels. Don’t miss out! 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, “For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body but the wife does.” Our bodies are no longer our own, we are now one. We should desire to sexually please our spouse regularly. So get naked;) (1 Corinthians 7:5) We got a post on sex coming soon, so be sure to subscribe to our blog at the bottom of this post, and you’ll have it e-mailed to you when we post it!
Protect your marriage through wise counsel (or professional counsel).
Especially if you are in your first decade of marriage, which I am assuming is about 80% of you, seek out wise counsel. Find a couple that you look up to and ask them to mentor you in your marriage. This one has been HUGE for Jeremy and I. We are constantly compelled to love each other better, and more, by following the example of marriages older and more seasoned than us. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in an abundance of counselors, there is victory!” Also, if you are in any type of abusive relationship or if you or your spouse are dealing with addiction or mental disorder, seek professional help. The average couple waits 6 years before seeking help, don’t wait!
Protect your marriage by finding a community that holds you accountable, encourages you, and prays for you.
You are not alone. Chances are whatever you are going through in your marriage, someone else has been there before. Find a community that can walk through the trials and triumphs with you, and that holds you accountable to loving, respecting, and honoring your spouse. For us, we have a house church made up of a group of 10 families that call us out on our faults, encourage us with truth, and pray for and with us. If you don’t have a community like this, we cannot stress how important and impactful it can be for your marriage, and both of you as individuals. It takes time and effort to find a community and commit to it, but it is sooooo worth it.
Protect your marriage by safeguarding your relationships with friends of the opposite sex.
Of course, you can be friends with other couples together, but it’s just not wise to build a close relationship with someone of the opposite-sex. Couples who end up in an affair never set out to have one. Don’t kid yourself. There IS such thing as emotionally cheating, you don’t have to have any sort of physical attraction or physical relationship with a friend of the opposite sex, but your relationship with them could still be robbing you from having the best relationship with your spouse. You can read our post about, “How Opposite-Sex Friendships Can Ruin Your Marriage.” >>HERE<<
Protect your marriage by prioritizing your relationship with your spouse.
Your relationship with your spouse should only come second to your relationship with Christ. Yes, that means your spouse comes before your kids. We don’t have children yet so I can only imagine the temptation to put my kids before Jeremy, but I have witnessed the reality of these circumstances. Jeremy and I have watched marriages fail because one or both spouses put their kids before their marriage. They would do anythinggggg for their kids, but hardly so much as the dishes or a quickie for their spouse…. Yes, I just said that.
Protect your marriage through Navigator’s Council.
We protect our marriage from sin, hurt, bitterness, misunderstanding, poor communication, and lies through something we call, “Navigator’s Council.” If you have been following us for any length of time you have probably heard us talk about this in just about every single thing we post. Navigator’s Council essentially puts out the fires before they become destructive flames. Each week we ask each other six simple questions, record our answers in a journal, and end our time in prayer. You can read more about Navigator’s Council and what our 6 questions are >>HERE<< p.s. We are creating Navigator’s Council Journals for purchase, that should launch sometime this summer! More info coming soon!
Protect your marriage by setting boundaries in the workplace and on work in general.
Maybe that looks like not having lunch with a co-worker of the opposite-sex alone, or making sure that you aren’t alone with the opposite-sex when traveling on business, or perhaps just simply being transparent with your spouse about all your workplace relationships. This goes hand in hand with our post about having friends of the opposite-sex. But also, think about setting boundaries on work in general. Nowadays, you don’t have to go to the office to go to work. Work is on your iPhone in bed with you… We have been told to not let work into the bedroom, and to pick a time of night to shut down and be present with your spouse and family.
Protect your marriage by sharing everything.
I am not just talking about sharing your home, bed, bank accounts, and friends, although you should share those things, I’m talking about sharing your life with each other, all of it! Think about this for a moment: If your spouse loves something, there must be something to love about it! Let’s say you hate sports but your husband loves them, be willing to go to the gym with him, or commit to watching the NBA finals and take an interest. On the flip side, let’s say your wife loves to read and you can hardly finish chapter one…. Be willing to read their favorite book, or read a book that will help you understand more about why your wife is the way she is. There is so much power in sharing. This principle of sharing is taken from our favorite book, “A Severe Mercy.”
Protect your marriage with honesty. No secrets.
Be transparent with your spouse. Let them in on the real you, and hold nothing back. There should be no secrets between you and your spouse. Share your thoughts, emotions, struggles, dreams, and desires with them. Honesty is vital to building a relationship based on trust, and trust is vital to protecting your marriage.
Protect your marriage by doing the little things.
Thank them for something they did, encourage them with a word of affirmation, give them an unexpected hug or kiss, do something for them that will lighten their workload, give them a foot massage, leave them an encouraging love note, ask them how their day was, send them a passionate text, or just look them in the eyes and say I love you. The simple things can go a long way.
Protect your marriage by praying for your marriage and your spouse.
Someone once told me, “The true test of your love for someone, is if you pray for them.” Do you pray for your spouse daily? It’s one of the best ways you can love them, and one of the best ways you can protect your marriage. Often times I wake up and begin praying the Armor of God over Jeremy.
“Father God, give place on Jeremy’s head the helmet of salvation to guard his thoughts and mind in Christ. Place on his chest the breastplate of righteousness to guard his heart and keep it pure. Wrap around his waist the belt of truth to prevent any lies from creeping into his thoughts or hear, and keep him far from temptation. Put the sandals of peace on his feet to keep him walking bravely and courageously without fear or worry. Give him the shield of faith to trust in your leading Lord, and the sword of the Spirit to fight against the fiery arrows of attack. Cover him with your full protection and armor as he enters the battlefield today. In Jesus name. Amen.”