Are Any of These "Termites" Destroying Your Marriage?

Our recent termite tenting was no party—especially for the termites! But I was glad to kill off those critters who dared invade our home. I imagined the termites clutching their throats, gagging on the toxic fumes.

Termites are nature's "recyclers." Breaking down dead wood in the forest is a good thing. But not in my home.

I thought of ways lies—from Satan, our flesh or the culture—might destroy a marriage. The lies are just like "T-E-R-M-I-T-E-S." I believe God's Word can help us "kill off" these destructive invaders.

T: Temptations

The Lie: "I can view pornography on the Internet, read suggestive material, or watch adultery and promiscuity on TV and the movies. It won't affect my marriage."

The Truth: The Bible tells us to flee immorality (1 Cor. 6:18). Ephesians 5:3 says we must not allow even a "hint" of sexual impropriety. We might think we're free to do these things, but God knows how falling into sinful patterns can harm us and our relationships. How much better to think of loving, creative ways to share healthy sexuality with our spouse?

E: "Entertaining" Thoughts

The Lie: "I can entertain thoughts of unfaithfulness and it won't affect my marriage. I can flirt with men and engage in sexual fantasies, as long as I don't 'act' on my thoughts."

The Truth: The Bible describes women who flirt with the intent to attract men (Isa. 3:16). Many impure relationships have begun when a woman intentionally chose the clothing, body language, and attitude to attract other men. We cannot entertain fantasies of unfaithfulness and expect our marriage to stay strong.

Thoughts always lead to beliefs/attitudes, which in turn lead to behavior/actions. The truth is, a married Christian's body is not his/her own in two ways (1 Cor. 6:19–20; 1 Cor. 7:3–5); it belongs to God and the spouse. We must never entertain adulterous thoughts (1 Cor. 6:15).

R: Resignation

The Lie: "I've thought about my marriage and even talked to counselors and there's no hope it can be fixed. I give up."

The Truth: Satan uses this destructive, devastating lie to make us believe God cannot do the "impossible" in restoring a marriage (see Matt. 19:26). There is always hope. Remember: it takes two people to dissolve a marriage. Don't "resign" to Satan's lies. Embrace hope, trust God, and stay in the battle to fight for your marriage!

M: "Mistake" Thinking

The Lie: "I married the wrong person—an unbeliever, not a good match for me, etc.—and God wouldn't want me to stay in this marriage."

The Truth: Most people know what they're getting into when they marry. But even if we don't find our so-called "soul mate," we shouldn't seek to justify divorce for our comfort. One bad choice does not give us the right to make another bad choice. The Lord calls us to love our spouse sacrificially. God will continue to work (Rom. 8:28), but we must determine to love Him and commit to following His biblical guidelines for marriage.

Ask God for His perspective on your partner. Allow Him to transform your thinking (Rom. 12:1–2). There may be consequences for sin—and God can give grace for that—but the Lord can fix your marriage and make up for past failures (see Joel 2:25). Forgiveness is often the powerful key that opens doors to freedom (Col. 3:13).

I: Incompatibility

The Lie: "We're just incompatible." (It's too hard living with my spouse's weaknesses, flaws, etc.)

The Truth: God brings two flawed people together in every marriage. Often, God brings opposites together, with all their strengths and weaknesses, to help a couple change and grow as they rub shoulders in marriage. That "rubbing" may cause friction, but when we remember how God helps us grow in struggle (Rom. 12:12; James 1:2–3), we can patiently embrace the differences and learn the lessons God has for us. He invites us to respond in godly ways (Col. 3:12–13) and to love and accept our partner as God's gift to us to help us become more like Jesus.

T: Termination

The Lie: "If I stop loving my spouse, I can just get a divorce."

The Truth: Love's strength grows and wanes in all marriages; but in those times when our human love shuts down, we can turn to a love beyond us. God's love is strong and enduring. It never fails (1 Cor. 13:4–8a, 13). Even if a partner does not respond, a believer can still continue to choose and rely on godly love, which wells up from the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5b).

And remember: ending your marriage will affect others—especially children. There are serious consequences that may not show up for years later: lack of trust, fear of marriage, etc.

E: Expectations

The Lie: "I have a right to expect my spouse to _______ (fill in the blank).

The Truth: Love isn't based on performance. We can't expect our spouse to live up to all our expectations. There are some expectations your spouse or marriage will never meet. They are only met in the Lord. Marriage can't, for example, cure your boredom or loneliness.

Perhaps you want to remake your husband into your own "image" of a man. The problem is, God might have a unique plan for your man that doesn't fit your expected image. Let your expectation (your hope) be in the Lord alone (Ps. 62:5). Trust Him to work on your partner for His glory—just as He is working on you!

S: Selfishness

The Lie: "My personal happiness is the crucial element in our marriage; if I'm not happy, this isn't going to work."

The Truth: God has a higher purpose in marriage than our individual "happiness." We were created to glorify and enjoy Him (Col. 3:17) and reflect His character in our lives—and that includes our marriage. A marriage also reflects Jesus' relationship with the Church (Eph. 5:21–33; 1 Pet. 3:1–7).

When we live with selfish thinking, demanding that our partner make us happy, we fail to focus on God's purposes for our marriage and home. Every marriage experiences times of trouble and frustration, even conflict. But God calls us to joy in the midst of life's circumstances, and joy is far better than shifting, unstable "happiness."

Are any of these terrible TERMITES eating away at your marriage? Which truth from Scripture can help you destroy that termite "lie" today?

About the Author

Dawn Wilson

Dawn Wilson

Dawn Wilson has served in revival ministry and missions for more than 50 years. Dawn assists Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with research and works with various departments at Revive Our Hearts. She is the founder and director of Heart Choices Today, … read more …

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