Monday, November 17, 2008

Love Dare - Day 23: Love Always Protects

So, Insurance companies do not offer Marriage Protection - have you ever wondered why? Well, I am gonna tell you. It is because protecting your marriage is YOUR JOB!!!!! Not to mention, it is a job that should be taken more seriously than any other job you have.

Believe me when I say that there is a lot of "stuff" out there looking to undermine, harm, or even destroy your marriage - and I bet there are a few of them in your house. Things that, in and of themselves, are not harmful, but given the chance, could prove fatal. Things that seem safe, and even fun, can prove to be the biggest danger of all...

"(Love) always protects." - 1 Corinthians 13:7

Your marriage has enemies - enemies that come in various forms, that apply themselves in various strategical ways and that are all set on destroying your relationship. Now, I realize that that may sound like I am harboring some kind of conspiracy theory, but you can believe me, those enemies ARE out there. I have seen them. And, if we do not do our part to ward them off, no insurance company in the land can save us.

Here are just a few of these "enemies" -

Harmful Influences - TV and the internet might seem fine, but if given a chance, they can get out of hand. If you watch the wrong things on TV, you can find yourself lusting after another and comparing yourself, or worse, your spouse, to people on the screen. It can also lead to wanting - wanting that car, that house, that dress, THAT LIFE!!! Just watch your child watching commercials at Christmas time and then look at their lists ... they didn't come up with those items on their own, those ads between WonderPets and Backyardigans helped!!! And the internet can be a harmless passage of time and a way to contact friends and relatives - even a way to MAKE friends, I know I have. However, it too can lead us astray. You only need to watch the evening news to know the dangers of Myspace and other internet sights for kids today. Well, kids are not the only ones in danger. Lurkers and perverts aside (I hope we would know how to avoid them!!), the internet can become an addictive distraction that takes time away from what should be our main focus - our spouse and our family. So can TV for that matter - and I am sure that there are others (books, telephone, etc...) that we must be guarded against.

Unhealthy Relationships - It is an obvious reality that we should protect ourselves from unhealthy relations with those of the opposite sex (see day 22 for more on that!!), but you may not realize that we must also guard against friendships of the same gender. Not every woman at church is going to be a positive influence on your marriage. Some women have been hurt and can harbor harsh feelings about men in general, and they will look for any and every opportunity to show your man for the louse she is sure that he is ... do not be fooled! And, men, not every hunting, fishing, golfing or even Bible Studying pal is knowledgeable when it comes to marriage - take their "words of wisdom" with a grain of salt!

Shame - You are meant to be your spouse's biggest cheerleader - and vice-verse (sp?!?). You know each other inside and out, and that knowledge is given and accepted in trust. You must refrain from joining those husband bashing/wife slamming conversations and guard your spouse's pride. Now, for me, this is one I have to strive for. Not because I do not have immense respect for my man - I do! - but because sarcasm is a family trait! I have to be very careful to not throw a zinger, all in ggod fun, aimed at my man in mixed (or any) company. And sadly, I am not always very mindful of that fact. We must remember to BUILD UP our loves, not tear them down in the interest of stimulating conversation! AND, we must guard their secrets with our lives - unless they are endangering us, our children or themselves - at all costs!

Parasites - This is anything that latches on and sucks the life out of your marriage, or you. They usually come in the form of an addiction - gambling, alcohol (or worse), pornography and the like. They start off pleasurable, but soon begin to steal the joy from everything and everyone. I have know of two marriages in my life that were endangered due to parasites. Both marriages survived, but only because the parties involved took their spouses (and themselves) to task, took control of their marriage and did all that was necessary to rid their homes and their lives of the nastiness. Sadly, all too many marriages are not as strong. It is in us to fight it, and it is up to us to DO IT. Call on the Lord for the strength you will need and start exterminating!

The Bible very clearly tells us what our roles are to be in marriage. Wives are to be attentive and protective of our love - build him up, respect him and love and support him in everything. "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands." Prov 14:1. And, men are to be the head of the home. You are called upon to be the guard and protector against all evil - spiritual and otherwise. Stand at the ready to protect against any and all prey.

Remove anything that is hindering your relationship, any addiction or influence that is stealing your affection and turning your heart away from your spouse.

This is OUR responsibility. I am watching a very dear person to me deal with the loss of her husband right now. No, he did not die, rather he fell prey to old sins and addictions. She tried to save him, did all in her power to pull him away to safety, but he does not want to be saved. She is feeling the loss deeply, because she took her marriage vows as sacred promises before God (as she should), but in order to protect herself from being pulled in, she has had to walk away from the pit. We all thought that he was freed from his demons, but we were all wrong. No one can free him if he does not want to be free, a lesson my sweet friend is learning the hard way. We must protect ourselves, as well as our loves.

I am praying for you!

see ya tomorrow!

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