In my last post I discussed our ‘propensity for poison’ and covered the first P that can poison your marriage. If you haven’t, I encourage you to read it first, as it prefaces this post and sets a solid foundation. With that said, let’s dive right in to the second and third Ps that can poison your marriage.
The Three Ps That Can Poison Your Marriage (continued)
Sex and intimacy are huge parts of marriage. I’d even say that intimacy is marriage (relational, spiritual, and sexual). Specifically, God created sex as a physical confirmation of a spiritual truth – a way to express the nakedness and vulnerability of our souls through our bodies. Sex is a gift, and sex should be thoroughly enjoyed within marriage.
However, if our view of sex and intimacy is perverted – twisted or misconstrued – it will begin to poison our marriage from the inside out. All perversion stems from sin and selfishness. The definition of perversion is worth visiting:
per·ver·sion | pərˈvərZHən | noun
the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.
Perversion is distortion and corruption of “what was first intended”. Let’s allow that a moment to sink in…
The most prevalent form of perversion in marriages today is a distorted view of sex due to pornography addiction or sexual abuse.
Porn addiction can cause one or both spouses to place pressure and expectations on the others’ sexual behavior. Continued pressure and manipulation may coerce one spouse to do potentially degrading sexual acts. This poisons marriage by chipping away at trust and is the complete opposite of selfless love.
(If this is making you uncomfortable, you’re not alone! Let’s take a breather, this is a pretty heavy topic…)
Sexual brokenness can lead to other forms of perversion. I mentioned sexual abuse earlier, and unfortunately it’s a very real thing in many marriages. One or both spouses may have been sexually abused earlier in life, which can cause a misconstrued view of what sex is and its role in a healthy marriage. I’m definitely not a psychologist, but from what I’ve read, sexual abuse often leads to fear, insecurity, and problems with intimacy & vulnerability.
I don’t say this to condemn those who have been abused, but rather to identify the brokenness and illuminate the need for restoration. Don’t let sexual addiction or any other perverse views of sex & intimacy poison your marriage. Seek godly wisdom, get help from a therapist, and start revealing and removing any area of sexual distortion in your marriage.
If you or your spouse is addicted to pornography, get honest with each other and get some real accountability. It will be a challenging process, but God can bring you through to a place of purity and flourishing in this area.
Let’s talk about the third poison.
Pride doesn’t want to lose arguments, especially when we’re right. Pride doesn’t want to apologize. Pride doesn’t want to serve. And pride sets itself up as the most important thing and seeks self preservation at all costs. See where I’m going here? We are all prideful.
Pride is the most wicked poison I can think of in a marriage. It’s both subtle and blatant – settling quietly into the cracks and flaring up when challenged.
Here are a few examples of what pride looks like in a marriage:
- Being right is of primary concern over showing love
- Forgiving is difficult if not seemingly impossible
- Not submitting to leadership in or outside of the marriage
- Not humbling oneself to study the Bible or attend church regularly
- Compromise is like nails on a chalkboard
- Arguments never resolve, they just sputter out and go underground
- “Why should I apologize if I’m not wrong?”
- There is a lack of transparency
- “I can handle this myself.”
- Hearing words without hearing hearts (perpetual misunderstanding)
- Selfish financial decisions
- Quickness to anger and frustration
- “It’s not my fault!”
- (This list could literally go on for days…)
Pride acts as a wall that blocks intimacy. If left unchecked, the poison of pride will leave both spouses out in the cold – to fend for themselves against attacks and hardship. Humility, on the other hand draws you and your spouse closer together through vulnerability and honesty.
Humility disarms tension and deflates the self – it removes the unhealthy sense of self importance, and places our primary concern on the other person. Humility reminds us that we desperately need grace, mercy, and forgiveness, so how can we possibly not give them freely?
- Pride controls. Humility relinquishes control.
- Pride is defensive. Humility removes defenses.
- Pride is a sign of weakness. Humility is a sign of strength.
- Prideful people are resistant to God and view others as the problem. Humble people respond to God and others.
See a pattern here? Let’s be humble, it’s just better.
Jesus. Jesus is fully righteous, fully in control, fully loving, and fully humble. When we focus on him we inevitably realize that the only ground we have to stand on is in him alone.
As you take inventory and assess the presence of poisons in your marriage, the only permanent fix is the person of Jesus:
- Pennies: Jesus promises that God will supply all our needs. (Matthew 6:25-31)
- Perversion: Jesus assures us that we are a new creation and our minds will be renewed. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Pride: Jesus shows us the ultimate example of humility and selfless love on the cross. (Philippians 2:8)
If you’re at a loss on where to start, the best first step is prayer:
You are so good and I am not. You are so powerful and holy. I need your help to rid my life and marriage of sin that doesn’t honor you and can hurt me and my spouse. Please show me areas where I need correction, and please make my heart soft. I’m sorry for creating idols in my life. Please forgive me. I need your grace, mercy, and strength to face these poisons in my marriage head-on. And it’s only by your grace that I can be better.
May my marriage glorify you through and through. Purify me, I am yours. Bring me and my spouse closer to you, and may you use us to extend your glory to those we meet.
In Jesus’ name,