I was reading Nehemiah this afternoon. In the second chapter when Nehemiah went out and viewed the city he noticed there were no walls around the city. The city was vulnerable. The enemy could come in and attack the city and they would not know what him them until it was too late. I could not help but to think of the marriages that came under attack over the past several years by the Ashley Madison Company. These people let their guard down and now they have been caught. Couples now have to rebuild marriages because their guard was let down. I am not saying that they have to rebuild their marriage because they got caught. I am saying they have to rebuild their marriage because they have let sin enter into it. They let the enemy attack their covenant between them and God.
I think there are several lessons from Nehemiah that we can learn in building our marriage so that we do not allow ourselves to get in this type of situation.
Each partner must be responsible for building their own defenses and doing their part.
In chapter three we see the builders of the walls. Each person had their own portion that they were responsible for. They knew that to keep the enemy out they had to work individually and together to accomplish this task. They were responsible to their selves as well as others in Jerusalem.
In a marriage we have a responsibility to God, our spouse, and ourselves. One of the main responsibilities we have is to build up a wall of defense against anything that might harm our marriage. We have to get away from things that could tempt us to do something inappropriate.
A spouse should never be alone with someone that is of the opposite sex. This has many issues. One if you are building a relationship with someone of the opposite sex and spending time with them alone it could lead to other things. Also if nothing ever happened it could lead to accusations. It is just not a healthy situation and should be avoided.
If you struggle with pornography you must do away with anything that will lead you to it. If you have a computer or smart phone have your spouse put a lock on that type of content so that you cannot access it. You also have to be responsible. You know that what you are doing is not right. You have to stay away. When you are tempted to look at it, think would I do this when my wife is here with me. Stay away from dating sites.Spend time with your wife. The best defense is a strong offense. If you are constantly working on your relationship you will not have to worry about fighting off temptations from outside your marriage.
We must have accountability from others.
We can also see that in chapter three that people were dependent on their neighbors. The neighbors would hold each other accountable. Certain tasks had to be done and people were expected to hold up their end of the bargain. They were expected to be honest and work hard to accomplish what needed to be done.
Many people struggle with temptations. The best way to combat temptations is to have an accountability partner. For obvious reasons this person should be of the same sex. This person should be someone that you can trust and not someone that will go out and tell everyone your struggles. This also should be someone that is going to give you Godly advice. You do not need someone that will lead you in the wrong direction.
We have to fight against any outside forces that want to attack our marriage.
Sanballat became angry with the work that was being done to defend the city. He started ridiculing the people doing the work. He was being used by Satan to get into the minds of the people that were rebuilding. He wanted to discourage them so that they would leave gaps in the wall. This would leave the city vulnerable.
We cannot let this happen in our marriage. In some ways I believe that our culture has become numb to the fact that marriages do not last. Things that are meant to destroy a marriage are so prevalent in society. We see in television and movies things such as adultery and divorce. People flirt with other married people all the time. A lot of times no one even thinks twice about it. It is not appropriate and should not happen.
You have to fight together. These attacks will harm both of you and not just one party. In a marriage you are one flesh. A marriage is not a joint venture. These attacks will eventually harm both parties and should be fought off from the beginning.
We have to overcome discouragement.
There will be times that you face burdens. This is a given in any relationship. The way you respond will be an indicator as to how your relationship will go. If you constantly fight and do not overcome discouragement then you will struggle. Your love will be in danger of slipping away. I am sure that this has caused many affairs and divorces. If you are constantly mad then you are going to look in other places for happiness. If you are not finding that happiness at home, you are possibly going to start trying to find that happiness in other partners. This is going to be more discouragement latter on.
If you can overcome the discouragement you will have a better chance of making your marriage work. In chapter four we see the enemy was getting ready to attack the city while it was still being built. The city came together and protected their city. As a couple the partners have to stand up and fight together. They cannot fight against each other, but might stand together. If you are fighting against each other, it will prove to be counterproductive
Commit to finish strong.
They had finished the wall with the help of God. I read another blog over the weekend. The author said the one thing that surprises him anymore is when couples celebrate their 25th, 50th, or 75th wedding anniversary. This used to be something that you heard of all the time. With divorce so high it will get rarer to hear of these long time wedding anniversaries.
The goal of my wife and I is to grow old together. I hope that we live long enough to celebrate these milestones in our marriage. When I made a commitment to my wife and God I meant it. Things are not always great in a marriage but you have to stick with the commitment. Love is not something that we should ever take lightly. Love will have its ups and downs but we must persevere.
Make a commitment today that you will be in it for the long haul. Decide at this moment that nothing will come between your marriage. Finish Strong.