Wednesday, 18 June 2014

When interesting things are actually predators {guarding our marriages}

Last week, my older boys were out helping me in the garden one evening.  As boys tend to do, they got distracted by something interesting (other than tidying the garden!)

Quick, Mum, come here and see what I have found", said Josh.

"It's an amazing, red beetle!"

(I think we have better pictures, once we've uploaded from the camera..)

Right enough, there were three, fascinating looking, red beetles, on my lily plant.  So very distinctive, and colourful.  We had never seen anything quite like them. We went and got the camera, and spent some time trying to take the best picture we could.  When we were done, we walked away, thinking nothing else of it.

Thankfully, Grandma was in the house the next day, and we told her all about these fascinating, red beetles.

"Were they on your lilies?", she enquired.

"Yes, why?"

"You need to kill them!!! They are lily beetles, and they will destroy your lilies!"


Off we went, toot sweet, and I picked all three off, and squished them, without a qualm.

Lilies are my favourite flower. I truly love them. I love their beautiful shape and colour, and I LOVE their scent.  As much as we found the bugs interesting, the flowers mattered more.

A truth hit home to me, as I thought about those lily beetles.

Our marriages are like those lilies.

 Precious, beautiful, sweetly scented.

They should require tenderness and attention to keep them healthy.

Sometimes, however, intriguing, fascinating and deceptively beautiful things can come along - things that we consider to be important if you look at them in the wrong light.

They can be as seemingly innocuous as immersing yourself in fiction.   It could be repeated opportunities to spend time with your friends, over spending time with your husband.  It could be reading or seeking worldly, and ungodly advice about marriage.  It could be indulging in an unhealthy lifestyle.  It could be the belief that keeping silent on issues is actually the beauty of submission. Spending a lot of time online.  Pandering to your children, and giving them more attention than your husband. Having men who are close friends.

So many things, which are dangerous in a marriage, can seem harmless at first glance.

On closer inspection, they will destroy our marriage - one "bite" at a time.

God has given us our husbands - they are a gift.  We promise, at marriage to be faithful to each other. It should be our earnest desire to build our marriages, and not tear them down.  It doesn't always happen in the obvious, extreme ways.

Immersing yourself in fiction can lead to comparing your husband to the fictional, perfect men in the books, and giving you a false standard which you can easily start comparing against.  Reading isn't bad - not reading sensibly, is.

Spending more time with your friends, than with your husband, takes you away from the one person we should feel closest to on this earth, and can give opportunities to stray from our marriage vows. It can make us more likely to start griping and complaining to others, or just simply leave our husbands lonely.  Friends are good - friends in unequal measure with husbands, is not good.

Seeking advice about our marriages from a source that seems to be wise, but is not founded upon the Word of God, can be dangerous.  Opinions based on worldly standards will not be the same, invariably, from the standards we find in scripture. Godly advice is good, ungodly advice is harmful.

An unhealthy lifestyle can cause a multitude of health issues, which can ultimately eat away at our marriages.  Too many cakes and "treats", which may taste amazing and satisfy for a time,  can damage hormone levels, energy levels, and other organ functions.  It can make us more likely to suffer from depression.  All these things can put a strain on intimacy, and also our emotions in a marriage.  Eating treats and being moderate in our indulgences is lovely, lacking self control is bad.

The belief that a wife has no entitlement to share her point of view, or enter into discussion with her husband, is completely un-scriptural, and can be very damaging.  We are all created equal before God.  Our perspective and wisdom on matters can be very helpful in a marriage, whilst still being submissive, in an entirely Biblical manner.  It doesn't mean we are forceful or belligerent about out opinions, or that we sulk if we don't get out own way all the time. It doesn't mean we can't express things, though, and any man who doesn't allow that of his wife, probably doesn't understand his role as head of the home. Sitting silently, all the time, means your husband doesn't know how you are thinking on matters, and the bitterness that could creep up in your heart, because you think you shouldn't ever say anything, can cripple a marriage.    Being silent when you have said your part, or not arguing and nagging is good - thinking you have no right to ever voice an opinion is bad.

Being online can be a very valuable tool.  There are many opportunities to read things that are beneficial, and find things to help us be a better woman.  However, if it takes you away from your duties, causing you to neglect your home, and your husband, then it can quickly become destructive instead of edifying.  I would rather you didn't read my blog, if it is keeping you from doing what you SHOULD be doing! Husbands will get riled rather quickly, if they continually come home to find a wife on the web, instead of a wife with her life under control!  Being disciplined about our internet usage, and gleaning wisdom from our time is good - spending all day there is bad.

Our children are another gift from God.  The Bible tells us that quite clearly.  However, the world we live in is trying to place their wants and wishes ahead of anything else in life.  They are being encouraged to be egocentric and selfish, and if we pander to that - giving them more attention and effort, than we do our marriages - then it can be devastating.  Husbands can see if they are being shoved to the side.  If we don't nurture our marriage, then we cannot fully nurture our children.  Yes, they are VERY important, and we do well to carefully raise our children, but never to the neglect of our marriages.  If our marriage breaks down, our children will be harmed - without a doubt.  Children are a precious, precious thing - but putting them above everything else is almost idolatrous, and bad.

I know that people will say that you can have a platonic friendship with a man, and it won't cause any harm. I don't agree. We tread on very dangerous ground if we think that nurturing a friendship with a man, other than a husband, is going to end anywhere other than disaster.  You have to ask yourself WHY you think it's something you need.  I'm not talking about having friends, who are a couple.  I'm talking seeing a man, on your own, other than your husband.  You are opening yourself, and the other person, up to emotions and situations where your marriage vows could be compromised severely.  It's just not healthy. Having men who can counsel you and your husband, together, and be friends as a couple, is good.  Seeking to spend time alone with other men, is bad.

I could add endless more.  It all comes down to wisely examining everything we do, and making sure it will build up our marriage and not tear it down.  Don't start excusing your own situation, and trying to make exceptions of things you KNOW deep down could be harmful.  Be ever wise, and prayerfully consider, whether what you do is good, better and best.

Oh, and don't be a woose.  I know some people, had they found out that they had red beetles on their lilies, would have told their husband, and hoped THEY sorted it out.  It may never get done, for whatever reason, and your lilies would be devoured.

Our marriages are the same.  If you can see issues arising, which are in YOUR power to sort out - DO IT! Don't start looking to what you think your husband should or shouldn't be doing, or say "once he sorts out X, Y or Z, then I'll see  to my problems". NO NO NO!  We are only ever accountable for OURSELVES!

Today, I am going to prayerfully look at my marriage, and see if there are any predators that need to be squashed - I can already think of some, that would try and creepy crawl their way in.

" Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion (red, lily beetle!), walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: "
II Peter 5:8

1 comment :

  1. Oh, you are spot on! So many things can look harmless (even beautiful, like the beetle), but if they're not kept 'in their place' , or even completely annihilated, then we can be in major trouble.

    I am SO with you on the 'you can't be friends with a man' rule. Definite no-no, I'd say. We'd be mad to go looking for trouble, when sin can find its way into our hearts so easily without us even trying ....
    A x