Resisting the Enemy’s Foothold in Your Marriage

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Resisting the Enemy's Foothold in Your Marriage from Jennifer at Satisfaction Through Christ

My husband is training for a new job, and today my heart was full of thanksgiving for the way he works hard in obedience to God, providing for our family through his employment.

Until I remembered something that happened yesterday.

Something that hurt my feelings and injured my pride.

Something he humbly and sincerely apologized for soon after.

Something I forgave him for (almost) immediately.

Why would the memory of that offense plague my love for my husband today?

I’m really not sure.

It could just be my own self-centered flesh rendering its ugly head.

But I also wouldn’t be surprised if it has something to do with an enemy plot against my marriage. Why else would that thought come out of the blue in a moment when I was reveling in warm and happy thoughts toward my husband?

After all, if Satan can discourage me in my marriage, he has the potential to affect my self-worth, my motivation, and my intentional pursuit of faithful stewardship.

Not to mention the even more destructive effects caused by giving into these thoughts habitually:

bitterness…

rage…

divorce…

disintegration of our family as we know it and as God intends it to be. Which will have staggering effects on our children and on many others within our realm of influence.

Am I just being melodramatic to make such a big leap from a tiny squabble on a Sunday morning to a divorced marriage and devastated children?

God’s Word has something to say about this:

Keep your heart with all vigilance,

for from it flow the springs of life. 

Proverbs 4:23

“Keep with all vigilance.” Those are powerful words. Vigilance already bears the meaning of utmost care and watchfulness. How much stronger the admonition becomes when we’re admonished to use all vigilance!

And why am I to keep my heart with all vigilance?

Because it affects everything.

My heart is Satan’s prime target for those teeny entrances the Bible calls “footholds” (Ephesians 4:27). And I think it’s tiny whispers in my ear like the one I heard this morning that give Satan room for his big toe. Which he often takes as an engraved invitation to set up camp for a while.

Someone has said that a key to joy in the Christian life is to stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself. To stop listening to the inner grumblings and complaints of our flesh, and to start talking to ourselves about the truth — the truth about grace and God and love and forgiveness and abundance and joy.

And so this morning, instead of listening to myself grumble about yesterday’s squabble, I started talking to myself about how my husband asked for forgiveness.

And about how I granted it.

I reminded myself of the many ways I’ve sinned against him.

Of the grace I’ve been given…from God, and from my husband.

I reminded myself of all the wonderful traits my husband has, and all the ways God has blessed my life through him.

I started talking to myself about how entitlement is when I start to get the wrong impression that I deserve more than a cross…when I expect and demand certain treatment, growing stingy instead of generous with the granting of that same grace that’s been lavished so freely on me.

As I stopped listening to myself and started talking to myself, I denied Satan the foothold he was seeking. And you know what happened? He left me in peace to bask once again in thankfulness for my husband.

How do you practice resisting the enemy’s foothold in your marriage? May God grant us grace to keep our hearts with all vigilance!

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Resisting the Enemy's Foothold in Your Marriage

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Loving child of Almighty God, adoring wife, and homeschooling mother of three, I am active in teaching and music ministries in my local church. I am passionate about encountering my Savior and about encouraging other women to do the same. It would be an honor to have you visit me at A Divine Encounter!

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Comments

  1. says

    I have only been married a year but I couldn’t agree more! We must catch and destroy little thoughts of resentment and bitterness as soon as they start. Otherwise we will collect the wrongs and let them build up into a big heap of hurts that can ruin our marriage. And you’re right; what if he kept a list of how we wronged him? We must be merciful as God is merciful to us. Thank you for this post!

    • says

      It sounds like you’re off to a great start in your mindset as a wife, Melissa! I urge you to hold fast to that attitude as the years go by. Thanks so much for identifying with me in this post!

  2. says

    I’ve been married for 12 years. The first few were very rough. I think that’s because we weren’t in it together with God. Since my husband and I have had a good relationship with God within the past three years it’s helped us to see things we couldn’t before and to realize when Satan is trying to rob us of our joy.

    • says

      Having Christ as our foundation in marriage changes everything, doesn’t it? I’m so glad you’ve been able to see God’s sustaining, gracious hand in your marriage. Thank you for sharing this testimony of God’s faithfulness!

  3. Cassandra says

    This post is a huge encouragement to me. I have been fighting evil thoughts about my husband for the past couple weeks and I am realizing that I have had a sense of entitlement. I was getting upset because he wasn’t treating me the way he was supposed to, well atleast in my mind. Thank you for sharing this! It has helped me greatly!

    • says

      Hello, Cassandra! What you’re describing is so common; I’m glad this post encouraged you, and I just took some time to pray for you as God continues to work in your heart. I often pray this simple prayer: “God, please change my heart.” It doesn’t always happen instantaneously; sometimes it’s a process over days or weeks or even months. But God is faithful to cleanse our hearts when we ask Him to. Thank you so much for reading!

  4. Angie says

    Hello, so enjoyed this article. I have been married for almost 24 years now (Jan. 2015). My husband has a kind heart toward everyone. He works in a hospital where there are women out numbering men by far. In the past there has been a few situations where his “kindness” has been misunderstood by some ladies. My husband and I have discussed the boundaries when it comes to these situations. The enemy always seems to try and put doubt in my mind. I love and respect my husband very much. The enemy always seems to creep into my mind and sometimes in my dreams when I am at my lowest from being sick or stressed. Yes it is true what you said about Satan discouraging me in my marriage also directly affects my self-worth, my motivation and definitely mine and my husband’s relationship. I have experienced bitterness and rage also. I am going to start talking to myself when I am under attack, proclaim victory over these thoughts and remind myself how wonderful my husband is to me and how much he loves and admires me. I will thank the Lord for his true blessing of my husband. I am sorry other women are experiencing these attacks but it is helpful to know that I am not the only one that struggles with these thoughts driven by the enemy. Thank you so much for this article.

    • says

      Hi, Angie, and thanks so much for taking the time to share so transparently. It’s a true joy to hear of how women are blessed by what I share from what God is teaching me. You’re demonstrating a heart of true submission to the Lord and love for your husband as you’re seeking to overcome destructive thought patterns. I believe clear-cut boundaries for acceptable behavior is one of the most important things we can do to safeguard our marriages, and I applaud you and your husband for taking the time to talk about this issue. Beyond that, since your husband hasn’t given you any reason to distrust him, you’re wise to see how damaging jealousy and lack of trust can be in a marriage. I praise God for His Spirit working in your heart and in your marriage, and I pray for many more years of joyous union for you and your husband as you serve the Lord together. Thank you again for getting in touch!

  5. says

    I’m here on the other side of the computer screen saying ‘Yes, and amen’. Oh my! Such truth! Have you ever done Jennifer Rothschild’s study, “Me, Myself & Lies”? It speaks to the things we say to ourselves in our thought closets. Hugely convicting study when I did it a few years ago. I highly recommend it for every woman, because we talk pretty badly to ourselves sometimes. Wonderful post!!

    • says

      Hey there, friend! It’s so meaningful that this post struck a chord with you. I’m not familiar with that study, but I’ll put it on my list and make sure to check it out! I’m a firm believer in the importance of knowing the truth so we can recognize the lies that plague us; so often we’re completely oblivious, and this doesn’t have to be the case. I praise our God for His Word! What a good gift He gave us, with its unchanging, unwavering, uncompromising truth!

  6. Elga says

    Thank you for this post. Like many of the other readers, I too can identify with what happens when we fail to guard our hearts, feel a sense of entitlement in our marriages, and just simply listen to the lies of the enemy about our sense of worth. It is a struggle sometimes to even take hold of the word of Faith that is within us once the enemy gains a foot hold. We begin to question what we know to be the truth of God’s word for our lives and our marriages, and we begin to listen to the lies of the enemy! What a wake up call this post has been! Thanks to the reader who also posted the comment about speaking to ourselves rather than listening to the lies the enemy is whispering to us. I came across this post in my attempt to find bible verses for our marriage. Verses that we can memorize together and declare over our marriage daily. We will celebrate 7 years next month, but the past several months have been very challenging for both of us. This post has reminded me of the responsibility we have to guard our hearts, and protect each other’s reputation in our own eyes. To consider what our lives would be like without our heavenly father’s forgiveness an unconditional love. Thank you again! And God bless you and all of the readers who took the time to share and encourage readers like me who are seeking to make their marriages better through a closer walk with God by seeking to do things His way and not our own.

  7. Amber says

    I just found this post linked from pinterest and it really touched me. My husband is currently in a Christian rehab program trying to overcome and rebuild his life after problems with addiction. Despite all of the difficulties and the fact that as newly weds we “stumbled out of the gate,” we are trying to follow God’s will and stay together by rebuilding our marriage on Him as our foundation. We often end up in arguments the few times we get to see each other and we often just can’t seem to have a conversation without one of us ending up angry or hurt. This post has just revealed to me exactly what those feelings are, Satan trying to get a foothold and get back into our lives to weaken us! He doesn’t want us to succeed. He wants my husband weak and separated from God to take back over him and he wants me angry and insecure so that he can keep me from serving the Lord. Now I really understand what I must do to combat those feelings of fear when he steals my peace and hope. Thank you so much for this post that gave me illumination – a wise Christian mentor told me the more we try to follow God’s will the harder Satan will attack us and so I have to keep my heart guarded against him.

    • says

      Oh, Amber, I’m so glad to hear that this post provided some insight for your marriage! I believe a Christian marriage is one of Satan’s biggest targets; he knows that the family is foundational to the Church, and he will do anything he can to destroy marriages and families. I will take some time to pray for you and your husband – that God would continue to teach you to grant each other grace as freely as you’ve received it from God, and that He would protect your hearts and minds, growing you both up in Him, both individually and as a couple. Thank you for reading, and for sharing your heart with me!

  8. Ted says

    Hello Amber! I am dutch so please forgive my clumsy words sometimes. First of all i wanna thank you for your posts. Great articles Amber. But i have a question! In one of your other posts i have read about Jeremiah 17:9, a deceitful heart. What is the difference between a bad thought out of the heart (Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:21, Jeremiah 17:9) and a thought of the enemy. What’s the difference between seeing a bad thought as something God showed us in a situation as something what He wants to change and a bad thought Satan puts in our mind. If i see it as a bad thought from the outside i may not have to think about repentance. Is our heart a battle field and God wants to take over those hostile parts (those bad thoughts)of it? Is to see Satan as the only reason for bad thoughts also deceitfulness?

    • Amber says

      Honestly, I think it can be hard to tell. I feel like you have to keep seeking the Lord and if the thought comes from Him, He will reveal all with more clarity. As it turns out, my former husband had no intention of changing and this was revealed to me through finding out his communications with another woman and God not allowing the thought of getting away from my husband to leave my head. I think it’s all about finding wisdom that wisdom from your walk. If you are really seeking when God is ready for you to make a change, you will have no other choice.

      • Amber says

        Also you have to reply on the fruits of the spirit. God will never want you to do something that directly goes against his character.

  9. Michelle says

    I have been married just over 2 years. My husband actually brought me to the Lord, and I have been a believer for nearly 3 years. 1 and 1/2 years ago my husband told me he had an addiction to pornography. just 2 months ago I found a naked picture of a woman in his email timestamped April 2015. I continue to doubt his merit, to not even value his place in my life because of the pain he has caused me. It is especially challenging when I idealize a better man (even when there isn’t another man), when I focus on the pain, when I feel like the man who brought me to the Lord was a liar… I don’t know how to move forward, how or why I should forgive him… Please help me.

    • says

      Oh, Michelle, my heart aches for you. I’m so sorry that you’re enduring this hardship in your marriage. Please know of my fervent prayers for you and your husband. I would urge you to seek biblical counseling from someone you trust – if your pastor doesn’t offer counseling, then ask who he would recommend. If your husband is willing to join you, that’s all the better. Situations like this are complicated, and you would benefit from someone who can talk with you at length.

      As an additional resource, I’d like to point you to this blog. This is a writer who shares transparently about her own marital struggles and betrayals, while at the same time displaying hope and faith in a God who restores all things. Thank you for taking the time to share so personally, entrusting me with the details of your precious marriage. I will be upholding you in prayer.

  10. says

    Just asking for prayers for our marriage. 19 years in August and we have hit a wall (unfaithfulness and dishonesty). I pray daily for my husband and I because I know we can fix it with Gods help!

    • says

      I will surely pray for you and your husband, Dawn. I would encourage you to seek biblical counsel from a pastor or trusted friend. Nothing is impossible with God, and I pray that He will restore your marriage.

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