THREATS TO A COMMON-VISION IN MARRIAGE It is pleasant to pen down the inspiration in my heart as I write this third article in the series “Marriage and Vision”. In the previous article on “Preserving a common-vision in marriage”, I gave time to explaining certain principles we are to embrace as a couple in order to preserve the common- vision for our marriage. This month we will be identifying and having a better understanding of certain things that pose a great threat to the common-vision of a marriage. Paul warns “Be not ignorant of the devices of the devil”. Some of the things unraveled in details in this article, creep subtly into homes, damage such homes and then creep on to a new target for destruction. By the reason of divine insight and revelation, we expose and escape such devices of the enemy in Jesus name.
SHORT INTRODUCTION TO SATAN’S MINISTRY Meditate intently on the scripture below to gain divine illumination. “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 sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” Ephesians 2:1-3, NIV Verse 1 Paul talks about the state of a person under the power of transgression and sin Verse 2 Every spiritually dead person (in sin and transgression) follows the ways of the world and is subject to the ruler of the kingdom of the air – Satan. Verse 3 Paul provides details of what happens in the life of person, in whom the devil is at work. Such a person’s desires and thoughts are controlled and manipulated by the enemy. Desires and Thoughts These two are the pivot of a person’s life. A renowned philosopher once said “I think, therefore I exist”. Desires and thoughts are crucial to a person’s life and existence. These two are the major targets of the devices the enemy fashions against a believer. The devil’s lies attack a person’s thoughts and seek to take such a person captive (Col 2:8-9). The truth of God’s word on the other hand liberates a person’s thoughts. When we think of threats to our common-vision, the focus should not be on witches and wizards (of course they exists and we are victorious over them) but on strange ideas, spiritual seduction, principles of living that are against God’s word, destructive value systems, misconceptions, lies, manipulation, blowing of emotions to block clarity of thoughts and vision etc. The enemy’ focus is our desires and thoughts. It is from the place of desires and thoughts that the
enemy controls a person’s life. Likewise God’s word liberates a life, by freeing up his or her desires and thoughts and then realigning them with God’s word. THREAT #1 – Misunderstanding of Marital Roles This is a major threat to peace in homes. The society has painted certain roles (particularly the wife’s) in a home to be lowly and many women who have bought into the lies, have thrown away their God given role in a marriage to be what the society says they should be. How many women (writing from my present experience in Canada) ascribe value to the prestigious task of raising kids and caring for their homes? The number is declining. On the part of men, the role of providing leadership (spiritual leadership in particular) and providing materially is not in many men’s dictionary. For a generation that is getting more and more carnal, the provision of leadership in homes is lacking more and more. Come to think of it: leadership is influence. Leadership is living an exemplary life. In a corporate organization, where people only know you from 8am – 5pm, it may be easy to lead while hiding a lot dark sides in your life. But in a marriage, you are totally open to your spouse and children and as such cannot act out what you are not. In clear terms, exemplary leadership becomes more demanding within a marriage since you have to improve and change yourself instead of masking yourself. Think of how many Presidents, Governors and Politicians have failed in marriage. How could they lead big organizations successfully yet fail to lead a small unit called family? It is simply because the dynamics of these two institutions are different. In a family, you cannot cover your true identity for long; it will be exposed. HUSBAND (FATHER) WOMAN (WIFE) Takes the lead in providing (materially and emotionally) for the home Manages the home. She receives resources provided and builds with it (e.g. a home from a house, meals from grocery pay) Provides spiritual leadership, functions as a teacher and charts directions for the home Contributes to this leadership direction, “adds flesh” to it and presents the direction in details to kids, which she likely spends more time with Of all the many roles, how come I am mentioning only two? I believe all other roles in marriage flows from these two roles. These are the two roles that are explicitly mentioned in the bible. Providing for the Home “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” I Timothy 5:8, KJV “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” I Timothy 5:8, NIV “But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.” I Timothy 5:8, NLT Please note the pronoun “His” NOT “Her” in the KJV and NIV translation. Therefore responsibility lies mainly on the husband to provide for his family. Having said this, does this therefore mean that the woman should sit at home and be expecting money every two weeks? NO! This is where misunderstanding comes in. The husband “takes the lead” i.e. is at the forefront of providing for the household not that he does it solely. Let’s look at the virtuous woman in proverbs 31:13-16 “She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.” So we see that the virtuous woman also providing for the home. BUT once again the husband is to take responsibility and take the lead (This is irrespective of whether the woman has more money) Providing Direction/Leadership for the Home Why does a man lead in a home? Is it because of cultural values or societal expectation? These questions need to be answered correctly and clearly for sustainable mutual understanding in a marriage. If it is due to cultural values and societal expectation then when the couple moves into a new cultural setting with different social expectation, then the likelihood of one party evading leadership responsibility (like some men do) or the other party usurping authority (like some women do) comes up. It needs to be clear that this is not culture or social expectation, this is scriptures, this is God speaking and assigning this role in a home “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:22-27, NIV Does this mean the woman does not have a leadership responsibility? NO! She has to provide leadership for the children. She also takes the lead for the home, when the husband is unavailable due to other temporary engagement. No organization has only a CEO and then followers everywhere. Rather leadership is in layers and hierarchy. The husband is a top leader representing the entire home. However, the wife is likewise a leader; a leader whose leadership activities is within the direction and common-vision charted by the husband. This is crucial and that is why before a woman says yes to a marriage proposal, she must believe in the man and be convinced she can run the course that the man charts for the home. Very Important! THREAT #2 – AVIOD THE THIRD VOICE “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” Proverbs 18:8, KJV “He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.” Proverbs 20:19, KJV “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” Proverbs 26:20, KJV The third voice is the voice of division. It is the voice of discord. It is the voice that enters into a relationship and causes havoc. It is the voice that sows doubts, distrust, fear, suspicion etc. into a relationship. The third voice is primarily the voice of the devil. True to his clever nature, the devil always uses very unsuspecting persons as vessels to convey the third voice into a marriage. To be victorious over this third voice, there are three things to pay attention to: Friendship (Proverbs 12:26) Tale Bearers - Rumour mongers Gossip (Proverbs 16:28) i. Friendship: Many marriages have been ruined by friends. Many people who call themselves friends are actually unfriendly friends – wolves in sheep clothing whose hearts are darkened and do not share in the progress of their colleagues, fellow church members, family member or in-law (or any other person they are intimately connected to). Nobody in life should easily win our trust, irrespective of whether they are blood relatives or Church members. We must deal with people cautiously – loving them yet observing to see if they are trustworthy. The wisdom remains “A righteous man is cautious in friendship . . .” (Proverbs 12:26) ii. Tale bearers: They are very destructive. We must not give audience to people (irrespective of who they are) that carry unproven non-validated messages/stories. Even when the words of people’s lips are true, we need to probe deeper to decipher the motive behind their sayings. Tale bearers can take what is true (facts) and then interpret and communicate it in a manner as to cause damage. Beware of any person who wants to call you apart from your spouse to say things that he or she does not want your spouse to hear or know about. Tale bearers are eager to say things secretly but very reluctant to own up in public to being the source of the information. Even when they own up, they twist the original things they said and tell lies upon lies. Beware of this kind of people – they are dangerous.