How Satan Is Attacking Today’s Marriages and What We Can Do About It
Gordon Parrish, Fairbanks, AK — I really don’t counsel a lot. I have been a pastor for almost 44 years and have pastored the same church for over 40 years. In all the years I’ve been here, I can’t think of one couple that is divorced.
Professional counselors will tell you that people who are ongoing in counseling never get better. They always need counseling. If people can be helped, it’s usually in one, two or three sessions.
If I, as a pastor, can keep people at the altar, helping them and encouraging them to maintain their spirituality, most problems get worked out. That has been my focus. If you try to work with everyone one-on-one, you can only do so much. You only have so much wisdom, so much emotion, so much time.
Aaron Bounds, Zanesville, OH — There’s a lot of chaos when couples are on their phones socializing and spending their time on people they don’t have real relationships with, while the relationships they do have suffer. A lady came to me about problems in her marriage. God quickened me and I asked her if she had been on Facebook up to 3 o’clock in the morning. She said yes. Social media without balance creates emotional numbness, causing couples to feel disconnected with their spouses. It’s not their spouse’s problem.
Young couples are busy, and they don’t know how to prioritize and take time for each other. They have the latest technology, calendars and notifications; yet, somehow, they miss it.
We use a program called Prepare and Enrich. We will not marry anyone who has not gone through the Prepare class. After they get married, there’s the Enrich class. Giving them tools before they get married has helped tremendously. A lot of people have never been talked to about how to have a strong marriage. We also require them to go through Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey.
The best thing the local church can do for marriages is to talk about marriage. At The Anchor Church, we’re very intentional. I do a lot of teaching on marriage. Our Wednesday nights are called Life Groups. We have special classes that pertain to issues the saints are dealing with: marriage, raising children, finances. We are getting ready to start a class on emotional wellness. People say, “I wish somebody had talked about this 20 years ago.”
Robert Coffey, Portsmouth, OH — Jealousy seems to be rampant in many lives today. Some jealousy is founded but a lot is unfounded. Men and women both seem to have problems in this area.
A man or a woman shouldn’t have to always wonder what their spouse is doing or who they are talking to. After praying together as a couple, I recommend that they work on trusting each other. They need to have strong communication and explain to the other what it is that bothers them, so they can work on it together.
I also tell them to identify their problems and work on the problems, not the symptoms.
A marriage cannot survive if there is no trust! A trust broken is hard to get back.
Randy Blizzard, Las Vegas, NV — Money is the number one reason for divorce in our country. Too many see a budget as a punishment plan instead of a spending and savings plan.
Family is the second trouble area because of a lack of understanding of what to expect. Couples do not go into marriage with a good understanding of how to set boundaries with family.
The third problem area in marriage is intimacy. God intended intimacy to be the very thing that DRAWS us together in love. We not only give our bodies to our mate but we give our emotions and feelings. We must make time for intimacy without distractions.
In 10 years of owning and operating the Christian Counseling Center of Las Vegas and helping over 3,000 couples get on the same page, probably over 90 percent of them came to see me with communication problems.
Communication is the key component of a great marriage! I encourage each couple to set aside 30 minutes a day to talk. Eliminate all distractions (especially electronics) and just talk. Each week, have a planning session about what your week will look like and plan your date night weekly.
What is missing in most churches is a good pre-marriage counseling program. It is important that problems be dealt with before you say I do. It is also important to meet with the couple around 90 days after the wedding and again six months later to do a checkup and adjustment, if needed, to keep things running smoothly going forward.
Andre Hunter, Saraland, AL – Churches should offer seminars and classes to prepare people for marriage and celebrate the gift of marriage with couples in the church as often as possible.
Some spouses have separate values and goals. These may include differences that are better for the marriage but may be challenging for one of the spouses. I advise them to accept differences from their spouse that benefit the marriage. I encourage them to develop a marriage together and blend their lives together — their values, goals and finances.
Romance and sex have become self-centered and a reward or punishment for spousal behaviors. Husbands and wives should put their spouse’s sexual desires and needs before their own.
Above all, couples should seek to please God, and in the process, they will please each other.