Many contemporary marriages are under threat of disintegration. Actually, many have gone the whole hike and collapsed irretrievably at the altar of divorce.
Divorce rate in the last few years have soared to unimaginable proportions than in the days of our parents and it is quite alarming and disturbing for discerning men and women. This ugly development ought not to be so, especially for children of God. The Almighty God made it explicitly clear that marriage is indissoluble.
"For the Lord God of Israel says that he hates divorce" Malachi 2:16.
Of course God has every reason to hate divorce since it contravenes His initial plans for marriage from the very beginning
“Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” Matthew 19:6.
We, as children of God, must, therefore, do everything to arrest the slide before it destroys the noble institution of marriage as established by God.
One of the major causes of divorce or crises in marriages is the influence of intruders or third parties. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, who decide to come together in matrimony for the rest of their days. The couple is at liberty to decide their fate and how to run their marriage but when they allow other people or third parties to dictate to them what happens in their marriage, problems arise. Intruders or third parties refer to extraneous influences in the life of a married couple. There are a lot of busy bodies out there who meddle in what does not concern them. They make other people’s business, including marriage, their own business despite being uninvited. They could be family members or friends.
A lot of families are under stress because in-laws, especially mothers-in-law, want to dictate what happens in the homes of their sons. When you succumb to such overtures and allow them to dictate to you what happens in your home. It is instructive to know that intruders cannot operate where they are not permitted. The onus is, therefore, on you to discourage intrusion in your marriage.
However, this article is about a much more harmful intrusion than the interference of in-laws, friends or associates, which can be likened to a kid’s play in comparison. Ant that is to do with when a husband or wife strays into illicit relationships
The world we live in has degenerated so much that things that were once sacred no longer matter. Marital unfaithfulness is on the increase and both husbands and wives are involved. It is quite sad and regrettable that this shameful act has invaded even the brethren and corroding the Christian marriage institution. We must recognise this obtrusive plague of intruders and its ravaging effect on Christian homes, particularly, and the church in general and devise strategies to shield our marriage from it.
Anchor On God
The very first thing to do is to understand that the marriage institution is under constant satanic attack. The attack has been ongoing from the very beginning and is not likely to abate any time soon.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” Ephesians 6:12.
That is exactly the reason every marriage should be anchored on the bedrock of Jesus Christ. Only He has the power to ward off all the onslaughts of the enemy.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” Ephesians 6:16.
Of course, we must do all we can to ward off any intrusion from our marriage. However, despite all our efforts to avoid situations that will shield our marriages from malevolent eyes, we must factor the Word of God into whatever we do, obeying His principles and allowing Him to cover us with His abundant grace. That way, intruders will find it difficult to penetrate. After all, they only enter where they find loop holes but if we have given the Lord reins over all facets of our marriage, we become no go areas for their evil activities.
“Has thou not made a hedge about him ad about his house and about all that he hath on every side…? Job 1:10.
“…I will take away the hedge thereof and it shall be eaten up and break down the wall thereof and it shall be trodden down” Isaiah 5:5.
The two scriptural references above are clear enough. Once we are in tune with God, He forms an impregnable hedge around us but once we deviate from His ways, He removes the hedge and the enemy gains access. Therefore, our first move to ward off intruders is to build our marriages on the standards of God.
Intruders get access to our homes innocuously. It is a gradual and subtle maneuvering, which, if not recognised early enough and dealt with, is capable of doing incalculable harm to the marriage institution. In truth, no man or woman actually sets out to have an affair except, perhaps, on few rare occasions when a fling is desired just for the fun of it. Intrusion starts when you get unduly attracted to the opposite sex and fail to take precaution. It may be a colleague at work or fellow worshipper, who readily offers a shoulder to lean on when the home front is under tension. You may find in these people willing ears to which you unburden your hearts, seeking counsel or comfort for your emotional void. From the soothing and comforting acts, which are mostly offered innocently, a different kind of fondness develops and if not checked, would get into unpleasant situations. Be open-minded about the existence of challenges in your home front and be eager to tackle them. Admit that the problem actually exists. It is imperative, therefore, that you exercise caution during the low moments of your marriages so that no marauder takes advantage of your vulnerable situation to intrude into your marriage.
Mind Your Language
In moments of emotional turmoil, it is important that you pick your words wisely when discussing with your friends and colleagues as regards your family challenges. It is likely you are opening up yourself for hunters or you are exposing your mates to predators, who may consider you game to prey upon. Your so called friends and colleagues may go behind you to disclose your revelations to your mate, ostensibly to mend fences, and by so doing warm themselves into a relationship with your mate. The temptation may be much for you to spill all the beans but you should realise that you gain nothing by spoiling your mate and be adjudged the victim. So, you have to be mindful not to run your mouths too wide and also be careful of our choice of words. Describing your mate in despicable terms does not do you any good either. As a matter of fact, it might even backfire on you as the person you are complaining to could actually see your mate as your victim, who deserves better attention than he or she is getting from you. T at kind of sympathy may result in an affair between them at your unconscious invitation.
Talk It Over
Couples should develop the habit of talking over their difficulties or challenges before seeking outside help. Despite the unpleasantness of such encounters, it will pay you both in the long run if you endure and hear each other out. When you close the door to talk, there is the tendency to go looking for willing ears outside the home to give vent to your grievances. That may be the opportunity the devil has been waiting for and by the time you wake up, your mate may have gone beyond your reach.
You must be open to each other, revealing what you find distasteful and admitting your own foibles. Tell each other the truth and commit to working things out. You may even go the extra mile by revealing your secret attraction to the opposite sex, if any, instead of bottling it up in a bid to avoid trouble. There is nothing to hide; after all, you have not compromised in any way. Revealing your secret feelings could snap your mate to the reality of looming danger and may propel action to redeem whatever has gone wrong faster than anticipated. However, you do not just stop at revealing your secret attraction but also ensure that you break every contact with your secret admirer. It is very important that you do because, sometimes, such people may capitalise on your emotional state and lure you into what you never bargained for and prising yourself out of that stronghold would become Herculean and truly, you are sure to come out of it worsted.
Sometimes, we are too trusting. Sending the opposite sex to your spouse when you are not around is invitation to chaos. When you are not at home or on a journey, it will be careless of you to leave your sibling or friend of the opposite sex alone with your spouse at home or, perhaps, with your little children. Though they may not deliberately plan any mischief, you have yourself to blame for whatever happens in your absence that may even progress to something more sinister, even after you return. It would be advisable to exercise some wisdom in such situations and not to expose each other to undue temptation.
Don’t Flaunt It
Most times, we tend to celebrate the mate we married. We flaunt him or her and never cease to testify to what a wonderful mate he or she is. We flaunt our breakthroughs and accomplishments, thereby stirring envy and jealousy on others. We need to be careful whom we share those testimonies, especially if they are people that are not as fortunate otherwise you would be inviting intrusion to our marriage as they too would wish to experience same bliss as you.
Beware of Friends
Some friends are terrible. They may be jealous and envious of you and could be looking for opportunities to get at you without you knowing. Unfortunately, these are the same friends you run to with tales of what goes on in your home, whether good or bad without knowing you are feeding them with fodder to fortify their arsenal against you. And by the time they release it, you would be wondering what hit you. Well, what hit you is that you were not very circumspect in your choice of friends and were rather too loose with them. Also, couples have run into problems by the choice of friends they keep. If your friends do not have respect for their marital vows, sooner than later, you will become a willing conscript in their army and begin to dishonour your own marriage. Birds of the same plumage, they say, flock together. So, beware!
Don’t Get Too Close
Some of us give more credit to ourselves than we truly deserve. We believe we are too disciplined for certain acts and open our flanks for the devil. When we form the habit of developing intimacy with the opposite sex, we are inadvertently inviting trouble no matter how anointed we are. Some brethren visit the opposite sex all alone and at ungodly hours, even making the opposite sex prayer partners, fasting and breaking fast together, all alone. You may not see anything wrong in this except that we must keep in view that the spirit, not the flesh is what is born again. As much as it is desirable to associate with the brethren of the opposite sex and help needy ones, you should be careful when fostering such relationship or rendering such assistance. If it develops into undesirable closeness, that is invitation to intrusion and the consequence is certainly grave for your marriage. Therefore, exercise great caution when relating with or assisting the opposite sex in any way.
Intrusion is not new to marriages. All that is required of us to put in place safeguards to protect our marriage for our well being and to the glory of God. By the time we put the above measures in place and trusting the Lord, you will definitely ward off every intruder from your marriage.