Elizabeth and I have been working on the last several chapters of our next book, A Couple After God’s Own Heart. I have to say, it’s been quite an exercise! It reminds me of being told, “Don’t pray for patience because you’ll have to go through trials to get it!” Well, all I can say is, don’t study the subject of marriage unless you’re willing to let God work you over as a husband or wife. That’s exactly how it’s been for Elizabeth and me during our writing process on the topic of marriage. Ouch!
One of the couples I researched is Ananias and Sapphira. Did I ever get a fresh jolt when I read Acts 5:3 where Peter made this shocking statement to Ananias and his wife, Sapphira: “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” What a wake-up call! All I could do was shake my head and think about the spiritual warfare that’s going on in Christian marriages. It’s incomprehensible to think that this couple agreed together to deceive the early church fathers by lying about their offering, and Satan was right in the middle of their evil actions.
Immediately, I wondered, “If something like this is possible, how can a couple–including Elizabeth and me–defend themselves and their marriage from the schemes of Satan?” And then I remembered the apostle Paul’s solution, to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10).
“Put on the whole armor of God.” God has given me and my wife a set of armor, but He expects us to put it on daily. I am responsible to put on my armor–no one else can do that for me. And, although I can’t make Elizabeth put on her armor, one of my greatest acts of love is to do all I can to insure that she, my fellow soldier and mate, also arms herself each day.
As a former Army Reservist, I see my role as a last minute equipment check for the upcoming battle of today. For example, Elizabeth’s brother was trained as an Army Ranger. One of the areas of his training was parachute jumping. The last precaution made before a Ranger jumps out of the plane is a “buddy check.” Each soldier checks the equipment of the man in front of him to make sure they are ready for the jump.
It’s the same for you. Every morning, you and your mate must get ready for your “jump.” One or both of you are going off to work, or to take the kids to school, or to tackle any other endless number of couple actions one of you takes throughout the day. You jump, like that paratrooper, into a free fall. You don’t have any idea what you are going to experience as you “fall” through your day. You are blown about as you drop toward your objective of making it home safely at the end of the day.
But the level of the safety of that jump goes up when each of you, as partners in marriage, has been cleared for the jump by your buddy. I hope you see the analogy. Your mate is your buddy. Your greatest act of love toward your spouse is to encourage one another to “put on the whole armor of God.” Your responsibility toward the love of your life is to make sure they are ready to do battle against the forces of evil. Can you commit to put on the armor for yourself, and to buddy check your spouse? And can you both commit to do this for each other today, tomorrow, and all the tomorrows of forever?