Fighting for your Spouse
Weddings can be sort of magical, can’t they? Being ten years out from planning one (and very nearly forgetting the stress of it), I really love weddings. All the glitter, and gauze, and lace, and diamonds - all the pomp and circumstance of the day - mirror what happens when two souls tie the knot. I think they showcase what God is doing inside the couple, the wonderful miracle He weaves that the audience doesn’t get to see.
Because I firmly believe that that the “mystery” Paul references in Ephesians 5:32 is really a miracle of knots. When we say “I do” and covenant before God to sacrificially love another sinful human no matter how many times they are late to dinner, or disrespect us with their words, and later when we consummate that covenant with our bodies, God ties our souls together. It’s a mystery - because we say the words and allow the intimacy - but God does the tying. It’s unseen, but it’s real, and it’s felt, and it even has physical outcomes. Consistent sexual encounters with the same person rewire your brain to choose that person and to be kind to that person over and over again. Spouses who have been married a long time often start to look or act a little bit alike. Our minds and bodies represent what our soul knows is happening. We are becoming one - a mystery.
And I think it’s important that we acknowledge that unseen but powerful mystery because, if we don’t, we risk not protecting it. It’s hard to protect and cherish something we don’t notice. The rest of verse 32 tells us that our oneness is meant to represent Christ and the Church. Marriage isn’t the first place this type of bond is mentioned. Right before His death, Jesus prays, “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one — as you are in me, Father, and I am in you (John 17:21).” Just like the Son is in the Father, the Church is in the Son. And so the world will know Jesus’ power and glory. But in case the world didn’t notice the Church, God sent another example - marriage - to represent His love and design. He makes us one so the world will see Him.
But the mortal enemy of our souls hates oneness. He is described as a murderer, a liar, a thief, sowing discord and slandering God’s children. His work this side of the cross is to rip apart what God has knotted together. And, I hate to say, he’s done a pretty good job of convincing us he’s capable of it. The divorce rate in and out of the church is 1 in 2. Indiana (the state NEB was founded in) has the 6th highest divorce rate in the nation, and 3 of our counties make the top 10 list of county divorce rates across all 50 states. The lion has prowled, seeking to devour, unleashed his roar and attempted to consume marriages.
And friends… we. let. him. Just as the knotting together of our souls is unseen, the battle for them is also often unseen. And we are such an out-of-sight-out-of-mind people. So we let our spouse leave for work, with a target on their back, and we go about our day, forgetting that the enemy schemes against us.
I hadn’t thought a lot about that word, “schemes,” until watching a video recently. Scheming implies intent. To scheme against someone you have to watch them, know things about them, and then plan something malicious to foil them. Satan and his network of evil agents aren’t just casually tripping people up by throwing stones willy-nilly. They are sniper-skilled at watching and waiting for the right moment to unleash one deadly arrow that can derail a whole life.
I could go on about wearing your armor, learning to fight back and resist the devil and his schemes, but I want to remind us that if we are one with our spouse, we have to have their back spiritually. Because ultimately, their back is our back. Their victory is ours, and so is their defeat.
How do we defend an invisible bond against an invisible enemy with invisible weapons? We pray. We pray God’s covering over our marriages and our spouses. His protection. His shield. When we see our spouse falling into patterns of thinking that lead them into darkness instead of light, we speak truth to them, and then we pray that truth over them. And when the enemy’s roar deafens their senses, we pull them close and into God’s presence with us, and ask the Spirit to speak to them even as we speak to the Spirit.
Moreover, we pray like we know we’ve won. This is not a request, not a humble plea. This is saying back to God “make real the thing You’ve already done - this battle is won in Your throne room, make it won here, too.” Because, ultimately, His throne room is where we sit. Next to Jesus, in the heavenly realms. This world is more of a mirage than we realize, and when sin and brokenness direct our eyes away from the truth we ask the Spirit within us to actualize the truth before us. And we stand bound together in that truth.
The miracle of our oneness fortifies us in battle, and makes us a dynamic team to fight, not only for each other, but together for the cause of Christ. See past the mirage, seek the unseen, and defend it like it’s all that matters.