I have only been married for three years. To most, we are still newlyweds, still learning and loving and new to this whole marriage thing. It’s true. But being in a military marriage has definitely given us extra challenges that civilian newlyweds usually don’t have. Our brave adventure, otherwise known as a year of separation while Travis was stationed in Korea, put us through the ringer. I haven’t shared a lot about the ups and mostly downs of that time, but I’ll be honest and say our marriage almost didn’t make it through.
We have learned a lot in these three years of military marriage, and I think one of the things we have learned most is how important it is to protect our marriage. I honestly believe all of our marriages are being tested, challenged, tempted — however you want to say it — the enemy is doing everything possible to destroy marriages all around us. And he seems to be winning.
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate. – Matthew 19:6
It is up to us to put up shields, grab our swords, and fight. Protect our marriages and even the marriages of those around us with everything we have. Here are five ways we can protect our marriages.
5 Ways to Protect Your Marriage
You can do this together or separately and then come together, but you must create a list of boundaries for your marriage. This is a list of things you should and should not do. Think about instances that could give a friend or stranger the wrong idea or give them the opportunity to tempt you. Think of anything that makes your spouse feel uncomfortable or suspicious. The goal here is to strengthen and maintain the trust between you and your spouse.
The only way this will work, though, is if you both wholeheartedly agree to follow these boundaries. You should be willing to do anything to protect and keep your marriage — even if it means no longer hanging out with a friend.
As an individual, you should be praying for your spouse as often as possible. You should also be praying for your marriage and for yourself as a spouse. Pray for God to protect your marriage and fight for it. Pray for yourself to be kept from any temptations and to love your spouse more and more each day. Pray that your spouse can feel your love, for open communication, and that God will keep them from any temptations.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16
You should also be praying together for your marriage. One of the most intimate things you can do as a couple is to pray together to your Creator. Read more about ways to pray together as a couple.
Fight for your marriage as if every day someone else is trying to win your spouse and break up your marriage. The fact is there is someone trying to do just that — Satan. He loves to destroy marriages.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy … – John 10:10
We must commit to our vows every single day. Marriage doesn’t come easily. We are all born with selfish desires, and we often see just how ugly those desires are once we are married. But it is up to us to choose each day to put aside our selfish wants and put our spouse first instead. It is up to us to agree to our vows once again, day after day.
The best person to truly fight for your marriage is you! Maybe that means sacrificing your me-time for us-time, maybe it means planning a monthly date night, maybe it means no longer flirting with that co-worker, or picking up your socks off the bathroom floor. You are the only one who can decide the best way to fight for your marriage, and you are the only one who can commit to following through.
I think a great way the enemy works to destroy marriages is by surrounding us with other marriages that are also crumbling. It is so easy to get caught up in complaining about our spouses with our friends. It is easy to find comfort in someone other than our spouse, especially when it seems our spouse is the one causing the problems.
Instead, we must surround ourselves with people who want to support our marriage. People who want your marriage to last. People who will pray for your marriage, give wise advice, and will hold you accountable to the vows you made. You can find a specific accountability partner — someone you can be truly honest with when you are tempted or struggling, but also someone who won’t let you keep those behaviors. Find someone who will truly pray for you and your marriage.
Another great idea is to find another couple to be your marriage mentors. Perhaps an older, more experienced couple who understands the struggles that come with life can be there to talk with you both — together or separately. Perhaps you do dinner together once a month, and coffee dates once a month where the wives meet together and the husbands meet together. Your mentors can listen, give advice, and most importantly pray for your marriage.
You’re doing this one already by reading this blog post — way to go! There are tons of resources out there for solid, healthy marriages. Look for them and use them. One way I protect our marriage is by reading a ton of books on marriage. I find that I can grow and learn through others’ wisdom on marriage. You can also find a couple’s devotional to read together.
Another way we have used resources to protect our marriage has been to attend a marriage retreat. We went to one to learn ways to show each other love using our love languages. They even had a special night set aside for a date night.
Another idea is to get marriage counseling. Many people think you only need to go to counseling if your marriage is totally falling apart, and that’s not always true. We take vitamins to protect and build up our immune system so we don’t get sick. Marriage counseling can be a great way to build and protect your marriage so it doesn’t fall apart! Travis and I went to marriage counseling (even doing it through Skype!) during that hard year. I found it to be incredibly helpful, and I think it was a huge part of saving our marriage.
What other ideas do you have for protecting your marriage?
You may also want to read:
- 8 Tips for Making Your Marriage Last
- How to Handle a Disagreement in a Healthy Way
- Loving Your Husband When Your Own Love Tank is Low