One day, my husband and I were relaxing in the bedroom when we started hearing Braxton barking. It was unusual. He was barking so hysterically, hitting his food bowls down and jumping up and down crazily.
My husband and I exchanged looks and he decided to go check what was happening.
As soon as he stepped out, he screamed ‘Darling, come!’
‘Ah, what is the matter?’ I scurried down the bed, slipping into my slippers.
‘Snake! It’s a huge snake. Very huge.’ He screamed back.
‘Sweetie, a huge snake? How long?’
‘About five feet. C’mon, come out!’
I chuckled uneasily as my heart started racing.
‘I should come out and do what? A five-foot long snake is there and you want me to come out and do what?’ I retorted, disoriented.
If anything, my husband sure knew how much I hated and feared snakes. I was so shocked to see he couldn’t handle it on his own but was calling out to me.
‘I need you to come and keep an eye on it from a distance while I get a spade to kill it.’ He said.
‘Erm, that makes sense’ I thought but I just couldn’t imagine myself watching a whole huge snake. So, I ran to the door and turned the key twice.
‘What are you doing? Locking the door? Locking me out?’
‘Kill the snake, dear. You are the man. Please’ I said.
‘I can’t believe you, dear. I need a tool’
Confused, I paced around.
‘Just hit its head with the dog’s food bowl or something.’
‘It’s about slithering away, Bella! Do you want it to get lost in the house? What is wrong with you? I need a weapon and you say the dog’s food bowl?’
He started banging the door of the bedroom.
‘Open this door, let me come inside. No need for us to kill the snake then. Let it do its worse, àbí? Let’s both remain in the room. Open the door!’ He roared, obviously angrily.
‘How can I open the door? You must kill the snake o. What if it disappears into the kitchen or something? Kill it o’
‘Open the door and let’s be selfish together!’ He thundered.
Braxton’s barks went louder and louder. There was silence from my husband. Then I heard him ask out of fear:
‘Braxton! Where is the snake?’
Braxton barked louder.
‘Oh gosh! Where has it disappeared to? Where?’ My husband lamented, overturning the tables and chairs.
My heart started thumping.
‘If only I had watched for a few seconds for him to just get the weapon’ I regretted.
I opened the door finally and looked around the disorganized sitting room like a soaked puppy.
‘You are my worst nightmare, woman! You are unbelievable! I can’t believe you allowed the snake disappear’ He lamented.
‘Don’t blame me o. Other men will protect their wives from such animal but you wanted me to come face it?’
‘Face what? Just for you to stay and watch from afar while I quickly pick a spade?’
‘You could have just gone to pick the spade without me. What if it spits into my eyes?’
‘What if it bites me too? Stop thinking about yourself alone, woman! Think about me, also! Do you even love me?’
‘Well, do you even love me? You should just leave, pick the spade and attack the snake. What’s so difficult in that?’
‘I know you are short of understanding, so I will explain to you.’
‘Insult me na’ I retorted and hissed.
‘I knew if I left to pick the spade, it might slither away and it might be difficult to know where it is hiding. Just like what happened now. Just for me to turn and knock the bedroom door, it’s escaped. If you had been outside, you would have kept an eye on it and showed to me when I arrived with a weapon. Now, it’s gone. What if it wounds any of us now? What if it goes to the children’s room?’
‘Ah!’ I exclaimed, quite horrified.
‘You are just unbelievable, Bella. Very unbelievable!’
‘Stop blaming me o, abeg. Let’s just go call the neighbors or something to come and conduct a thorough search o. I can’t sleep peacefully, knowing a big snake is around somewhere o’ I complained, somewhat guilty, somewhat angry.
I heard a loud hiss and before I could turn around to see where it was from, my husband let out a shrill shout.
‘Jeessuuuuussssss’ He screamed.
I turned to look at him and behold, there was the rattlesnake wrapping itself round his two legs, hissing excitedly as it did.
‘Jesus!’ I screamed, so shaken from the hair of my head to the sole of my feet.
‘Get help, woman!’ He cried in agony as he struggled to break free from the reptile that had started to squeeze itself round his legs tightly.
While I hesitated, Braxton hurriedly pushed the glass door open and ran as fast as its legs could carry it, barking as he went, seeking help.
Before I could run outside, join Braxton and bring help, the rattlesnake had bitten Eddie in four different places.
He had to be confined in a wheelchair for two years. But thankfully, he is back on his feet.
I almost lost him to my foolish self-centeredness that day.
THE REAL ENEMY OF THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
The story above is deep, right?
There were two major enemies threatening the peace of Eddie’s family. Do you know the two?
You might say ‘The woman and the snake’
But, that was SELF and THE SNAKE!
Those are the two main enemies of godly marriages, dear family!
SELFISHNESS IN A CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
Self was what made Bella not go out to help with attacking the intruder that had come into their home!
Self was what made her lock the door of the bedroom, not considering the danger the man was facing alone with the evil reptile.
Self was what made the man who had seen the danger turn his back on it to turn on his wife and give her a piece of his mind.
Self was what made them undermine the danger that that evil animal was!
Self poised itself as fear and bound the woman!
Self was what made them to not focus on killing the serpent first but on dealing with each other.
And of course, they reaped the reward of SELF!
Self will make you both unable to unite to fight the common enemy – the snake!
Self would make you push blames!
Self is one very terrible enemy of marriage today.
Despite the Holy Spirit’s warning (dog’s barks), they turned deaf ears and only focused on each other. Till the snake struck!
The Devil made them to see each other as the real enemy to attack, instead of itself!
Self is wicked!
Self is destructive!
Many homes today are being destroyed by self.
If many Christian couples today can humble themselves and decide to do away with self in their individual lives, oh how Heavenly their marriages would be!
‘That’s not how we do it in my own tribe and that’s it!’ – self!
‘I will protect myself from getting hurt. No man can hurt me like my dad hurt my mum. Never!’ – self!
‘What concerns me with any man? I am only in this union for my kids’ – self!
‘If you don’t let me have my way or try in any way to prove you are a man over me, I will leave the marriage for you’ – Self!
‘I love my own mother to death. But why should my husband show a little love to his mother? He is a momma’s boy!’ – Self!
‘My mother-in-law talks to me anyhow. She is the real enemy of our home. If she can just die, we will have our joy restored’ – Self!
‘See, you treat me like a queen, then I regard you like a king. You give me trash, I give you double!’ – self!
‘If you don’t love me, I won’t submit to you’ – Self!
‘I love myself. I come first. I regard myself high’ – Self!
‘I hate nonsense!’ – Self!
‘How dare you talk to ME like that?’ – Self!
‘My husband is the problem in this marriage. I am the one putting in all the efforts every time’ – Self!
‘Stop trying to have the final say, Mr. Man. If you cannot listen to my terms, there won’t be peace in this home’ – Self!
Self is at work in so many homes without the homeowners knowing!
And self is sin!
Nothing good comes out of self!
But these days, self is being taught and promoted and exalted above all.
So many people come out now to even say you should value yourself so much.
Love yourself so much.
Don’t have children, they will kill YOUR dreams!.
It is your body, woman! You are not a baby machine. If he needs more children, let him go adopt!
If he insists, kick him off your life! You need your peace, sis!
‘I just need my me-time’ Some would say.
‘Do not sacrifice for anybody, not even your husband! He is not a baby!’
‘Don’t make sacrifices to love or care for someone, even your children. In the future, they would ask if they were the ones that stopped you from pursuing your dreams. In the long run, nobody can love you as you love yourself!’
‘Sis, if you die today, he will go and marry another woman tomorrow. Better prioritize yourself!’
‘The church I attended when I got married was so bad. Even though my husband was just so full of himself and trying to control me, dictating how many children he wants, when I wanted none; how I should spend my money, how I should breathe, how I should live, the church only kept telling me to submit! I asked for divorce counselling several times, but I was castigated and judged. I was heartbroken and left wounded. Until the Lord brought me out of that church into another. There I found light!’
‘ There I was taught the truth. It was a church where MY PEACE was prioritized! The pastor even helped with my divorce papers and soon, that man was out of my life forever! Oh what peace! What joy! What freedom!’
*And guess what? I found love again! This man is the softest man I have ever met. He already has two kids, so, he isn’t bothering me about having kids or something. He prioritizes MY PEACE. He makes me make MY OWN DECISIONS and loves me. I am so glad to the Lord for a second chance.’
This is the preaching these days!
And if you see comments on these kinds of posts ehn!
They gather a lot of support! They’d call it ‘women supporting women’
‘Oh, what a brave woman you are!’
‘I’m glad you got your peace back!’
‘Let him go find the woman who will be his doormat! The church is full of men like that’
‘Glad you were brave enough to come out of Hell!’
I see comments like these and I sob from within!
People prioritize themselves over the very Word of God!
People taking with levity, the vows they exchanged at the altar, before God and man!
People trivialize the sin of divorce and remarriage when their first partners are still alive! It doesn’t matter if it contradicts the Scriptures but if it tickles self and the flesh, way to go!
Lovers of self!
Promoters of self!
Do you know that I can find no single Scriptures that talk about you loving yourself and making your life about you????
I can’t find any!!!
Because the gospel is not about self!
It is never about satisfaction and gratification of self!!!!
Let me show you this in the Scriptures:
2 TIMOTHY 3 (TLB):
3 You may as well know this too, Timothy, that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian.
2 For people will love only themselves and their money; they will be proud and boastful, sneering at God, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful to them, and thoroughly bad.
3 They will be hardheaded and never give in to others; they will be constant liars and troublemakers and will think nothing of immorality. They will be rough and cruel, and sneer at those who try to be good.
4 They will betray their friends; they will be hotheaded, puffed up with pride, and prefer good times to worshiping God.
5 They will go to church, yes, but they won’t really believe anything they hear. Don’t be taken in by people like that.
6 They are the kind who craftily sneak into other people’s homes and make friendships with silly, sin-burdened women and teach them their new doctrines.
Did you see the Scriptures????
This prophecy is coming to pass now!
The world is all about self now!
Follow your heart!
You are enough!
If it makes you feel good, go for it!
Verse 6 says, these people would not only have all these terrible ‘self doctrines’ but would also sneak into other people’s homes and find women that are not being watchful, that can embrace anything, teach them these terrible lies and raise disciples of these women!
Little wonder this self-love doctrine is fast growing even in the church!
Choose you over any man!
Choose you over any child!
Choose you over any parents or siblings!
All contrary to God’s Word!
God wants us to love in such a way that we can even lay down our lives, loving!
Dear wives, so that the doctrines of selfishness you might have swallowed will be flushed out of your system, marry the Bible!
So that if the arrow of selfish doctrines come against you, they won’t prosper, hide in the Scriptures!
Self is one main enemy of marriage today, fam!
The Devil went to Eve and tempted her with self!
Genesis 3:6 (GNT) says: The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it.
Even though she knew the Word of the Lord, she chose to believe the Devil, chose what was appealing to her flesh and self, and also transferred the disobedience!
So many ‘preachers’ are out there, selling their self-appealing disobedience!
It will destroy your marriage!
Self destroys things!
Let us see a few verses of the Scriptures quickly:
Romans 8:8 ESV
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God
Romans 8:6 ESV
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Galatians 5:16 ESV
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh
Romans 8:5 ESV
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit
Romans 8:13 ESV:
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live
Romans 8:7 ESV
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot
Galatians 5:17 ESV
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do
Galatians 6:8 ESV
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Can you see?
The flesh cannot please the Lord!
The flesh cannot do His Will!
Marriage requires that God be in us but if the flesh is fully alive in us, then, the marriage cannot stand!
The antidote is for self to die!
It is for the spirit to come alive in us!
Sister, how much flesh do you still have at work in you?
Do you daily go to Calvary to strengthen your spirit?
Don’t have a serious prayer time with God for a whole month and you will see how many mistakes you would make in your marriage.
You will speak your own words!
Protect your self-worth!
Think your own thought!
Find it hard to forgive!
Do your own regrettable actions!
Go your own ways!
But be soaked in the Lord! Be prayerful and soaked in the Spirit sincerely for a whole month. And you will see a great change!
Your speech would be renewed!
Your thought process would be holy!
You would forgive hurts easily
And so on!
Paul said ‘I die daily!’
So, this is the part I have been screaming about for the past few weeks.
Let us die to ourselves and let the Spirit take over us. Oh, how much change we would record in our homes, dear sisters.
But that’s not the only enemy though.
INTRODUCING THE REAL ENEMY OF THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
There is the real enemy who enforces self!
This real enemy would sneak in but wouldn’t want you to see him. So, he would tickle the flesh to act for him so you can start fighting the wrong people.
He would go tickle your husband to say hurtful words to you.
He would make you hurt your husband and disrespect him.
He would make your siblings stir up a problem that can cause problems in your home.
Some women who have been sold out to the Lord, broken and surrendered might still not be able to win their husbands’ hearts!
They might still have a problem here, a terrible frustration there!
Enmity from a family member here, deadly envy from an in-law there!
Losses, limitations, delays, and lacks might continue to plague the marriage.
That is because the main enemy to conquer hasn’t been put under!
He is still in control!
It is one thing to be a self-controlled woman. It is another thing to have dominion over the snake!
If you conquer self and leave the snake slithering around your home, sooner or later, he will strike!
The enemy is the snake!
The evil guy!
When God asked Adam what had happened after the disobedience, he left the snake, the real enemy, and evil one but blamed Eve for the sin, indirectly blaming God for giving him his wife.
That’s what the devil does!
The Devil never wants to be seen as the villain. He puts a human personality forward and makes he/she seem like the enemy, then, when you are busy fighting that human agent, he strikes!
Many times, when we buy Christian books on marriage, we get to see a whole lot of things. Submission, love languages, fulfilling one’s partner’s needs in marriage, improving one’s communication skills, or resolving marital conflict and so on.
I have never come across any Christian marriage book that touches on the issue of spiritual warfare before!
So, from reading any of these books, one would never know that spiritual warfare is a vital issue in marriage and the family but it is!
Can you open your spiritual eyes to see???
To see the real enemy of your home!
Satan is “the god of this world” who blinds and deceives the whole world.
He is the head of a vast, powerful, organized, and malicious army arrayed against Christ and the human race.
Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross and His resurrection decisively defeated Satan and his domain yet those united with Christ are still engaged in spiritual warfare.
Ephesians 6:12 says:
For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.
Satan hates marriage. He hates Christian marriages in particular because believers dramatize Christ and the church powerfully displays the gospel in their marriage.
Satan thus aims to destroy Christian marriages because such opposition hinders the witness of Christ to the world!
That is why the Bible says ...those who marry will face many troubles in this life…” (1 Corinthians 7:28)
To counter Satan’s attacks, we must understand God’s design for marriage, Satan’s strategy against it, and how to stand firm in our marriages.
The snake at The Eddie’s was certainly an unexpected intrusion! That is an illustration of spiritual warfare, fam- those times Satan sneaks into our homes!
I wish the Lord can open your eyes to see how many times the devil has entered your home to cause problems!
Or maybe he doesn’t even just visit, maybe he has made your home a habitation! Where it lives and probably has laid many eggs that would be hatched into more snakes, more troubles!
As with the dog barking uncontrollably and the loud rattle and hiss of the snake, warning signs alert us when the Enemy threatens our lives.
What and how we react to those signs determines how victorious we will be in fighting the Devil’s schemes!
For many of us, our alarms are dead!
We have no spiritual sensitivity to know when the devil is the one trying to do something!
Many of us have been inspired by Satan to say things to our husbands without even knowing!
Peter was saying in this verse, ‘Oh you are Christ!’ This and that. And Christ told him ‘Oh, the Spirit revealed this to you. On you, I will build my church and the gate of Hell shall nor prevail over you’
And in a few verses after, the Devil entered and spoke through Peter to Jesus. He was trying to use the one person he loved so much to stop him from fulfilling his purpose on earth.
Jesus took Peter and rebuked the devil out of him!
‘Get thee behind me oh devil!’
But many of us, don’t care about the barking of the dogs that signify a great trouble.
We are deaf to the hissing of the snake. We will deal with our spouses first and pay attention to those ones thereafter.
So many homes are under satanic attacks.
They appear to be fine but the snake is there ready to strike them in different parts when they are not watching.
They think the daily quarrels are normal not knowing the Devil has stepped in!
They think their husbands not being attracted to them is because they have increased in sizes not knowing that the Devil has introduced a smell, a veil that makes them irritating to them.
They think that their barrenness is a result of infertility, not knowing that the Devil has a hand in it, just to make the couples frustrated, question God, and remain in that state for a long time.
The Bible says Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy. The apostle Paul urged the church at Corinth not to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes because when we are aware of the tactics of the Enemy, we will be better equipped to stand against his devices.
When the snake slithered into that house and the wife refused to come out, the man erroneously believed his spouse was his foe.
Fam, recognizing the real enemy is Satan, not your spouse, is a vital step to take in spiritual warfare.
As Eddie called out to Bella urgently so they could face the enemy that had come in, the right thing to do is to respond with urgency and great intensity!
If you don’t move swiftly at the first feelings of resentment or unforgiveness toward your spouse, you may find contention hiding in your home!
I found something worth sharing online, written by Cindy Wright:
“Satan called a worldwide convention of demons. In his opening address he said, ‘We can’t keep Christians from going to church. We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their Savior.’
“Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their churches. Let them have their dinners, but steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.’
“‘This is what I want you to do,’ said the devil. “Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!’ His demons shouted back, ‘How can we do this?’ ‘Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life. And invent as many schemes as possible to occupy their minds,’ he answered.
“‘Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. And as their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!
“Over-stimulate their minds so that they can’t hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio [or CD player] whenever they drive—to keep [different types of media] and their PCs going constantly in their homes. And see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds. Plus it will break their union with Christ..
“Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes. This will also keep them too busy to read their Bibles and other Christian literature that could help them in their everyday lives.’
“Keep pictures of skinny, beautiful models in all the magazines and on TV and everywhere you can so the wives become dissatisfied with their own bodies. This will also help their husbands to believe that outward beauty is what’s important. Then they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives as well.’
“Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night. Give them headaches too! If they don’t give their husbands the love they need, they’ll begin to look elsewhere. (And the reverse can be true as well.) That will eventually fragment their families!’
“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted. Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead. Keep them busy all the time they’re awake!’
“And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, help them to leave with troubled consciences. Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus. Soon they’ll be working in their own strength. They’ll be sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”
“It was a great plan! The demons went eagerly to their assignments influencing Christians everywhere to have little time for their God their marriages or their families, and little or no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives. I guess the question is—has the devil been successful at his scheme? You be the judge!”
That is how the devil operates against the Christ marriage!!!
Little by little, the wall is broken!
Little by little, the love is dilapidated!
Little by little, the marriage is destroyed!
The Devil is out on a rampage. The Devil is fighting!
The Devil isn’t resting and feasting, only the Christians are relaxed!
Spiritual warfare against the Christian marriage is real, fam!
A missionary once shared his experience:
“Sometimes I’d be talking with my wife from another room, and she would burst out in tears. When I came around the corner and asked her face-to-face why she was upset, she said she had heard me say something deeply insulting. The problem was the words she had heard weren’t even close to the words I’d said. After it happened several times, we realized something demonic was going on.”
Can you see?
Can you see that sisters?
But you could even swear that you heard him call you ‘an idiot’!
But he says he didn’t say that! How can I call you that?
Then, to you, he’s turned a liar!
To him, you’re someone who only wants to believe what she wants to believe!
Your marriage is under attack!
Even when things are going well, when romance is high and communication is flowing, there is an assault being planned, sisters!
Your enemy is not your spouse but the enemy of Christ!!!!
Satan and his forces!
They will do all they can to neutralize the effectiveness of your marriage partnership for Christ, fam!
You cannot continue to be blind!
You cannot continue to sleep!
Even if they cannot ultimately destroy your marriage, they will have accomplished their purpose if they can distract you from each other and from your impact for Jesus.
Fam, we can’t allow this!
Sis, when you experience roughness in your marriage, like fights, arguments and constant quarrels, it is good to sit down and discover who the enemy really is!
When you recognize who the enemy is then your battle strategy will be well-targeted.
If the battle is spiritual, you will do well to fight with spiritual weapons because your physical weapons will be of no effect.
The physical weapons of arguments, fighting, quarrels, cursing and silent treatments against your spouse will not in the least handle the battle between you and your spouse. You need some spiritual weapons.
What are a few signs your marriage is under spiritual attack?
SIGNS YOUR MARRIAGE IS UNDER SPIRITUAL ATTACK:
- Busyness, Stress And Neglect
- Flaring Tempers And Irritability
- Remembering The Pasts/Bitterness/Resentments
- Dreams, Visions, Revelations
- Lack Of Communication
- Sicknesses And Barrenness
- Extended Family Problems
- No desire for Studying The Word!
HOW CAN YOU FIGHT BACK?
- Get down on your knees daily, woman!
- Take joint prayers with your spouse very seriously even if you are apart!
- Study the Word of the Lord and memorize striking verses!
- Pursue unity and friendship with your spouse!
- Don’t act, react or talk without pausing to think!
- Desire and ask for spiritual insights and understanding!
- Pursue your relationship with God hungrily!