Marriage is a picture of Christ and His bride and in many ways can be quite enjoyable. However, marriages are far from perfect. A.W. Pink said the following about marriage: “A word of warning is, perhaps, not quite needless. No matter how carefully and prayerfully one’s partner be selected, he will not find marriage a perfect thing. Not that God did not make it perfect, but man has fallen since, and the fall has marred everything. The apple may still be sweet, but it has a worm inside.”
It is no secret that all parents are sinners. Roman 3:23 tell us “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Unfortunately with today’s practice of casual dating, most Christian parents have entered holy matrimony with a lack of sexual purity. Although we are promised that the Lord forgives our confessed sins, sex before marriage can complicate family relationships and may increase the likelihood of future infidelity. Sexual sin can easily become habit forming and continue after marriage. The experienced seducer or seductress before marriage all too easily continues in his promiscuous habit when opportunity arises after marriage.
Temptation Can be Lethal
Husbands and wives face temptation to sin. God created us to be attracted to the opposite sex, and marriage does not end that attraction to some outside the marriage. Satan wants to destroy your family, and the best way to destroy your family is to destroy your marriage. Presently more than half of all Christian marriages end up in divorce, and many of these divorces are a result of adultery.
Generally speaking, unfaithfulness happens when members of the opposite sex become too familiar with one another. Increased exposure, especially while alone, increases temptation. This same problem occurs when children and teens become too familiar with one another at school or even at church. Temptation left unchecked can quickly lead to destructive sin. There really is no limit to the ways or places infidelity can occur: in the workplace, at school, through social networking, among friends and neighbors, and even with former sexual partners.
Ten Ways to Reduce Sexual Temptation in Marriage
You and your spouse need to develop a strategy to prevent infidelity. Here are some things that can help.
10. Love your neighbor as yourself. Betraying your spouse reveals that you love and value self-gratification over your spouse. You are practicing hate toward your spouse and toward your children by inviting Satan into your family. You are also practicing hate by inviting Satan into your sexual partner’s family. Loving your neighbor means denying selfishness.
9. Confess your sins to one another. Discuss with your spouse where your areas of temptation are most likely to occur. When you fall, confess your failure to your spouse. Give one another permission to ask questions at any time about areas of temptation. Use software such as Covenant Eyes to guard you from online temptation.
8. Prayer for protection from the enemy. Jesus modeled for us in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Follow the Lord’s example of praying for yourself and your spouse; you will both need it. Regularly pray with one another for protection from sexual temptation.
7. Avoid becoming too familiar with members of opposite sex. You must be on guard about spending time with anyone who is not your spouse. If a member of the opposite sex compliments you or makes any kind of advance, mention your spouse and end the conversation. If temptation enters your mind, like Joseph, flee the scene.
6. Employ the “principle of twos” used by Jesus. When Jesus sent His disciples away from the flock, He sent them out in twos. He said “I send you out as lambs among wolves.” Wolves separate a sheep from the flock in order to devour them. Dr. Billy Graham has never allowed himself to be alone with a member of the opposite sex; follow his example. Always have at least one other family member or trusted person with you when you leave your “flock.”
5. Accountability and transparency. You must be completely honest and open with your spouse. Only as you and your spouse are transparent can an environment of trust and accountability be established. If you are on social networking sites, establish one account in both of your names with a photo of you together. Join a church that practices church discipline, and make yourself accountable to the church.
4. Listen to one another. Don’t give the devil a chance to establish a foothold in your marriage because you won’t listen to your spouse. Take the time to be together so that you may listen to one another and give yourselves to each other as well.
3. Express your love regularly. Marriages can get into trouble because one or both spouses are not working hard at loving and serving one another. Express your love daily to your spouse. Make sure that Christ is first in your heart and that you are following Him in your marriage relationship. There will be times when your spouse is not acting in a loving manner toward you. If you are following Christ, it won’t become a crisis. You will love your spouse regardless. Keeping a marriage strong is hard work, but it is possible. Keep working on it, and you will establish a sound foundation that will serve you well in discipling your children.
2. Make time together a priority. Spend lots of time together. Do fun things together. Go on date nights. The apostle Paul instructed couples to not deny one another; we are to render affection to one another (1 Cor 7:3). Sexual affection is one of the greatest blessings of marriage; take full advantage of that blessing! I read about one young couple with children who put on a video for the children on a frequent basis when the dad arrived home from work and had a brief intimate encounter. Discuss the needs of one another and work hard to meet them.
1. Die to self. Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church; to give themselves up for them. Christ loved the church so much that He literally died for the church. Loving your wife this way means more than being willing to physically die for her. It means that you’re willing to die daily to yourself. Loving your wife enough to die to your own selfish motives will give her joy and enable her to better fulfill her God-given role. If you truly love your wife as Christ loves the church, she will be more inclined to submit to and respect you. Wives are commanded to submit to and respect their husbands. Loving your husband this way will give Him great joy and enable Him to better fulfill His God-given role. If you submit to and respect your husband, it will be easier for him to love you as Christ loved the church.
Paul told the Corinthians to imitate him as he imitated Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). We want our children to do the same. Setting a Christ-like example in our marriages is foundational. After all, we are discipling our children with the hope that they will make disciples of their own families one day.