Temptation-Proof. That's a mouthful! But it is important for us all to stop and consider whether our marriages are truly protected against the threat of temptation. The recent Tyler Perry movie, "Temptation" brought light to an all-too-common scenario in marriages, even in Christian marriages. When needs aren't met in a marriage (and I'm not talking about JUST physical), it opens to door to dangerous temptation that can be extremely detrimental.
This article borrowed from the Happily Ever After newsletter is dedicated to teaching you how to temptation-proof your marriage. It is my prayer that you will grow closer to God and to your spouse as you strive to protect your marital relationship.
Temptation in Marriage:
Bringing a Taboo Topic to Light for a Healthy Marriage
For many couples, the topic of temptation in marriage, which involves discussion of sex, intimacy, attraction, and faithfulness, is not a popular subject. Some feel too embarrassed. Others feel too insecure. Still others think it could never been an issue in "MY marriage," so they go on their merry, oblivious way until they are faced with the heart-breaking reality that temptation IS indeed an issue for their marriage.
The truth is that temptation is an issue for every marriage and every human being. No human is perfect, except for Jesus Christ, and even HE faced temptation in the dessert! (Matthew 4:1) So what makes us think that we will walk through life without facing it, or without having our spouse face it?
Acknowledge Temptation Exists and Deal with It
In order to ensure our marriage relationships are protected and honored, we must bring this taboo topic to light. Ignoring an issue doesn't make it go away, but discussing an issue can make a big difference, especially if one or both spouses love God and want to honor him with their marriage.
When we think of temptation, we typically think it involves sexual attraction and infidelity. This is true in some cases, but in others it can be an emotional temptation-connecting your heart and emotions intimately with someone other than your spouse.
Being disconnected as a couple, such as living separate social lives, or even being together but not really sharing intimacy emotionally and/or sexually, leaves each spouse vulnerable to both sexual and emotional temptation. Tyler Perry's recent move "Temptation" addressed this issue in an interesting way-a husband and wife over the years developed a distant relationship, enabling the wife to be tempted and leading to an enormous amount of hurt and destruction. Of course, that was Hollywood's version, but similar scenarios happen all around us and, at times, right under our noses.
God Gives Us the Tools to Stop Temptation in Its Tracks
The good news in all of this is: we are not powerless in these situations. By bringing light to this issue, and removing the feelings of fear and inadequacy, we can all admit that temptation exists in the world, and we can tap into the power of Christ and the truths He gives us in the Bible to strengthen our marriages, reestablishing intimacy and love, so we protect the marital relationship from outside threats all the while experiencing a deeper connection with our spouse and with God.
13 For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), no matter how it comes or where it leads has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear. But God is faithful to His Word and to His compassionate nature, and He can be trusted not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will always also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. -- 1 Corinthians 10:13 AMP
As you move forward to strengthen your marriage and protect it from temptation, here are some resources I recommend to feed your mind and spirit:
© 2010 by Jewell R. Powell, Marriage Coach and Author of Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith,
visit us at www.marriage101.us.
3 Big Steps to Temptation-Proof Your Marriage
It makes sense that people don't like to think about temptation from people outside of the marriage relationship. It's an uncomfortable thought, and it really isn't something you should dwell upon, but it is important for you to make your marriage a priority so the risk of temptation is eliminated or at least reduced significantly.
Admitting that all people are susceptible to temptation is a great first step. Acknowledging your marriage needs strengthening is also important, but then following through with the steps to protect your marriage is essential. You can do all the talking and thinking in the world, but unless you take action, it is all in vain.
Are you ready to dig your heels into the ground and get down to business to create a marriage that can stand the test of time while bringing greater honor to God? It may not always be easy. You may sometimes feel like you are the one putting in all the effort. But it WILL be worth it in the end, because you are honoring your covenant with your husband and with your God.
Here we go:
Step One: Spend time together.
Not doing the bills, or eating a meal with the family, or sitting on the couch with your individual electronic devices. Do something with just the two of you where you can be present, able to listen and communicate while looking at your spouse. Take a walk. Play a game (i.e. strip words with friends) together. Sit on the porch/deck and share your favorite drink/dessert. Pray together. Of course, making sure to have time for sexual intimacy is also incredibly important. This is where the Bible clearly tells us that the enemy will come to destroy a marriage if there is no sexual intimacy. First Corinthians 7:2-5 tells us:
It's good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality-the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights." Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it's for the purposes of prayer and fasting-but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. (MSG)
Schedule it in if necessary. Discuss this part of your relationship together and decide on a number of times each week you should be sexually intimate to meet each others physical needs. Physically connecting with your spouse is essential to a healthy, happy marriage.
Step Two: Pick a hobby to do together.
It is very common for husband and wife to have different interests and hobbies, and that is perfectly healthy and normal. However, determining to share a hobby together will create a deeper intimacy. When you have fun together, this is solidifying your bond. You learn to enjoy time together even more, which goes a long way toward fighting off temptation from the outside world! Whether it is playing a sport together, working toward a fitness goal, listening to music, going to concerts or theater, or cooking up new recipes together, find a hobby you can do to bring some fun into your relationship. This type of togetherness will help you both to stay emotionally connected to one another.
Step Three: Honor one another.
Do you respect your spouse? Do you feel honored by your spouse? By taking action to make your spouse feel honored, you can create an atmosphere of love and respect in your relationship. What does this look like? Place value on your spouse...how he feels...what she says...what his hopes and dreams are. Don't just say he is most important and the #1 priority but then put everything, including children, in your life before him! Take action. Put his needs first, even before your own. Do something he likes to do. Value his opinion. When you dishonor your spouse, you dishonor God. But when you honor your spouse, you bring massive honor to your Heavenly Father. Spiritual intimacy is lacking in most relationships yet is so important because marriage is built on spiritual principles.
Follow these three steps in your marriage on purpose and you will be amazed by how God will bring the two of you closer. In Genesis 2:18, we know that God himself said that it is not good for man to be alone. It is for this reason, He created woman. This is the design for your marriage, so focus on building unity and it will be a natural antidote for temptation.
|Nuggets for All Couples|
For couples who are engaged, it is important to begin now, temptation-proofing your future marriage by building a foundation of holiness and purity in your relationship today. It isn't always easy as an engaged couple, waiting to enjoy sexual intimacy until you are married, but God has created a beautiful thing for you to experience as husband and wife, and it is important not to short-change yourselves by becoming intimate too soon, making your relationship impure. Hebrews 13:4 explains: "Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex" (Message). God will give you strength to remain holy and pure and will help you to build a strong foundation for your future marriage if only you ask. Pray together, and seek His strength! It is well worth it.
While the common idea is that newlywed time is a time of bliss, many of us who have been there can attest that it isn't always blissful! Just because you are newlyweds doesn't mean that temptations will not touch your relationship. Fight against possible temptations by devoting yourselves to God and to each other, solidifying the union you have on a daily basis. Proverbs 5:15-17 gives advice on establishing a temptation-proof marriage: "Drink water from your own well-share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in public, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Don't share it with strangers..."
Couples Being Challenged
Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer." Hard times inevitably come in your marriage, and this may leave you or your spouse more vulnerable to temptation. What can you do to protect yourselves during these challenging times? Pray, be together even when it is hard, and continue to meet each others needs for intimacy. The world around you may seem to be crumbling, but you can remain a safe place for each other. In 1 Corinthians 7, God gives us clear instructions on what our sexual intimacy should look like and how essential it is to meet each others needs at all times, and this remains true during times of crisis or challenge: "...Each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband...the wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.
The Bible provides evidence that in biblical times some couples were sexually active in their later years. For example, we read in Genesis, "Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, 'After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?'" (Genesis 18:11-12). Communication is so vital to seasoned couples trying to work out sexual intimacy issues. Pray together and discuss what your desires are for sexual intimacy. Continue to temptation-proof your marriage by meeting each other's needs and maintaining intimacy.
Lewis & Jewell R. Powell
You and your spouse are in my prayers as you work together with God to temptation-proof your marriage. Although we live in a world where marriage is devalued and temptation is seemingly at every turn, with God's help we can keep our marriage bed's pure by establishing and maintaining true intimacy with our spouses. God will honor our efforts and send the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us strength to do what He has asked of us in our relationships!
In His Service,
Jewell R. Powell
The Marriage Coach
Originally posted in the
'Happily Ever After' Newsletter