Updated: Nov 28, 2019
I am currently on this journey to improve my health. Part of that journey is to lower my weight to a healthy level which will require two key elements:
Being selective about what I eat
Increasing my level of activity (exercise)
As I reflect on what I must do to reach my goals, I also am compelled to think about this in the scope of marriage. I believe that many marriages are “unhealthy and overweight” and in this post I want to focus on point one, “being selective about what I eat” or for marriage, “being selective on what we feed” our marriages.
1 Corinthians 15:33 – 34 says, “33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”
So just like bad eating habits impact our natural health, bad marriage eating habits impact the health of your marriage.
Below is a short, not exhaustive list, of what not to feed your marriage.
Lust: A passionate desire for something or a sensual appetite regarded as sinful
When we chase fantasy in any form or have a “grass is greener” mentality in our marriage, it presents the perfect opportunity for deception to creep into our marriages. Lust serves as a distraction and when focus is lost in marriage danger is almost always near.
Fishermen use “lures” to catch fish. They dangle something in front of the fish that looks good and resembles something this fish might want, but in the end what is hidden is a sharp hook to snare the fish and reel it in. More often than not the fisherman lands the fish and dinner is served, but on occasion the fish breaks the line and swims away with the hook still embedded in their lip, a stinging reminder of their tangle with the lure.
The Bible says, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” James 1:14
God gave me this additional definition of lust, “desiring more than what He (God) has provided“.
Pride: The quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance
Pride is a very dangerous adversary alone, but when it shows up in your marriage it really does a job on us. Typically when pride shows up in marriage one spouse is looking down on the other. Someone has elevated themselves in the marriage and expects the marriage to serve their desires, wants and needs, while giving little in return.
The Bible says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” Psalms 10:4. The Bible continues in Proverbs 11:2 to say, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.”
A definition God shared with me for pride is, “Placing ourselves higher than where He (God) has placed us” and as evidenced by the scriptures above pride prevents us from seeking God in any fashion, especially our marriages and pride ultimately brings shame.
Why shame? Because pride eventually causes us to do something foolish. The Bible offers these two final warnings about allowing pride in our lives, much less our marriage:
Proverbs 16:18-19, “18 Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.“
Proverbs 29:23, “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”
Bottom line sin will always have one main ingredient, PRIDE and it has been this way from the very beginning.
One way you can tell pride is in play is when you stop listening to people you once considered wise for no reason or a clearly fabricated reason.
Anger: A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility
Anger in itself is not bad or wrong, but when we allow it to rest in us then it produces issues. Ecclesiastes tells us this when it says, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the bosom of fools.”
Proverbs 16:32 says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that taketh a city. Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us why we must be slow to anger and not let it rest in us, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”
Unaddressed anger will burn us every time and produces its favorite fruit…
Bitterness: Anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; Angry, hurt or resentful because of one’s bad experiences or a sense of unjust treatment
Resting anger (active anger at the going down of the sun) opens the door for the devil to work and plant this most deadly seed.
Hear what the Bible says about bitterness:
Job 21:25, “And another dies in the bitterness of his soul, and never eats with pleasure.”
Hebrews 12:14-15, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”
Bitterness does not allow us to enjoy anything, including our marriage and when it is active the root of it brings about defilement. If you find anywhere marriage has experienced great pain or offense the “root of bitterness” was probably somewhere in play.
So let’s put it all together. When we let anger rest it births bitterness, then lust and pride will cause us to act selfishly in our marriage and our marriages become unhealthy.
In our next post we will discuss what to feed our marriages for them to become healthy.