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Fighting The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
June 29, 2022 6:00 am

Fighting The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 29, 2022 6:00 am

Jason and Tori Benham struggled with conflict until they realized marriage is a spiritual battle. Fighting together for their marriage rather than against each other transformed their relationship. In this conversation, you’ll hear practical tips about working through conflict, overcoming destructive thought patterns towards your spouse, and reigniting godly jealousy for your husband or wife.

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But in the mornings (really heart of my business and God was blessing you and I was passionate about it. Things are going really well.

One morning as I was praying for my business toward convicted me was like are you enjoying your relationship with your wife as much, as you're enjoying what you're experiencing in business.

Jason Benham joins us today on Focus on the Family along with his wife Tori and share how with God's help, they grow closer in marriage through conflict or hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller, John. Whether you've been married for two years or 20 years or maybe a longer like in our case, you're going to have disagreements from time to time with your spouse and it's crucial to recognize another factor in conflict. There's a spiritual war going on in your relationship and that's actually a healthy place to realize what's going on and in the American church. We tend to under emphasize the role of spiritual warfare. Scriptures clear that you have a real enemy who is working to undermine God's design and that's for your life your relationship. Starting with your spouse. Ephesians 612 says we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. It feels like it goes on to say, but against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.

I guess today will share the important reminder that a godly marriage is a target. You were all under attack at some level intermarriages. Just this morning Jim before I left. I looked at my wife. I said I don't know where we went from happy to some conflict before I leave here, but I've got a leave, I'm on your team, and she looked at me and she said it's not you it's me I'm just struggling right now and I thought all there is something bigger here because I really don't want to be in a struggling against her.

So, I'm so glad we have Jason and interventions. It is the only reason for my search something outside of us that wants to tear us apart. Jason and Tori have been on the broadcast before Jason with his twin brother David today, much better looking counterpart, and certainly been married for 20 years.

They have four children. They have several businesses in the written a book about some of their journey. It's called beauty and battle winning in marriage by waging a war and you can get your copy of that from us here the ministry.

The link is in the program notes or call 800 the letter a in the word family Jason Tori welcome to focus welcome back. Thank you both. It is good that we alluded to it already, but why is it so important for couples to be aware of the spiritual battle going on so easy to fall into the worldly stuff right. She said what you said what, rather going okay.

Someone stare in our hearts are in the wrong direction. Yeah, you know, my dad always used to say that how you see the battle determines how you fight it because of John II look back it what you just said about you and your wife have a little disagreement this morning and I think in that moment. What Satan wants more than anything is to get you fighting face-to-face against each other rather than shoulder to shoulder against him right. He wants you tied up in a personal battle rather than engage together as teammates in a spiritual war and and we see this all throughout Scripture, especially their right at the beginning of Genesis know when Satan was up in heaven and he was he was an angel cursing was Lucifer than he wanted God's authority. He wanted the throne and what did God do.

He obviously wasn't enough item so weak that he sent Michael the Archangel to fight him and they ended up getting into this scrawny and sure enough Satan loses and gets cast down to earth and then God decides it is like a man, and where did he put them in the same spot that he just put his banished foe like and then God didn't give Adam as far as we know any heads-up that Satan was there and God also didn't have Eve alongside them. He let Adam go on his own there and have to deal with taking dominion over the garden without his counterpart. Of course we know why because he wanted to make sure that Adam knew that he needed her. And then God gives Eve to Adam and the whole time. Though Satan is watching this. And Satan has yet to pounce. Satan wants that authority that Adam has. And sure enough, Eve comes along God gives him the greatest gift that he could ever have, because he knows that Satan is about to attack and so when you talk about why is it important that couples understand that there's a spiritual war when you know that the very first couple was placed in the context of a fight that Satan was going to pounce.

And God said, you know what I'm doing need to protect them against this and I'm going to give Adam the greatest thing you could ever have a spouse and where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst and the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church. Marriage is the most organic form of church is also true if you see your marriage is a church now the sudden you and your wife your to figure out a way to work through this conflict as you say so good and I love that illustration of you know that being a stench that marriage is stench in the nostrils of Satan because it was reminding them constantly that God made human beings made man in his image and made them male and female in the two shall become one and that very image is right in the face of Satan. Every day I mean that's why would a dislike for merit. It makes you fight differently you had. Let's get to it because this isn't something knowledge that you're born with nine and had to develop these thoughts get along distance the beginning you you were courting, but it was from a distance and then you got married anyone on your honeymoon. So just wrap that all forests first courtship distance out of that go home again as well. Wiley recording when we're dating Jason was actually getting his masters degree in marriage and family counseling. He's playing with the bottom. I was very attractive to you that he is not what he said about what we need to learn about marriage. So let's just do it this way and felt he began to get his masters and he starts sending me home all his notes and is calling me sending me the box and and were like oh my goodness this is amazing.

God is so good he said is setting is that right yeah and is a FRA planner. I do not plan day and what happened knowing that you were meant for each other on the beginning of the world yet we are so excited. We are thrilled and Jason didn't tell me were going so tell me to pack light, he meant that we are going somewhere warm light happen to be the most monstrous in case there was no era going so I packed his big suitcase and we get we get to the Bahamas and I'm we got to the cruise ship and I immediately am seasick. I had never been on it for honeymoon now and sell you know very quickly realized that expectations were in play a huge role in our relationship and I had gone from this high of you being a beautiful wife at my very best, you know, the week before dipping sick in bed, my very worst, and I just felt so hopeless like this is not the way it was supposed to be. And of course Jason felt the same way and Jason ended up at he said it where we are getting ready Dell and he was irritated he was.

Now all this is not the Jason I know throwing a suitcase I is the caveat of the ship well you know I don't repack was back at it and she said give it to me and I'll packet method. Okay fine and I threw it across the lung getting.

I wasn't a good husband.

I was a new husband. But disappointment is the gap between expectation and reality. And I didn't know that little lesson and so we learned through the trial of fire that conflict is good, it's going to come fast in your to be revealed.

For the junkets inside you and Satan can be laughing the whole time because he will be watching because he wants you fighting face-to-face because he knows how dangerous you are fighting children show people here. You gotta say okay your reading these books you're getting your masters in counseling on marriage what happened. Jason was writing now is real like the people that don't have kids when they see the kids in the grocery store right yeah have their tantrum. You know when I have children. My kids will never behave in God can assist okay to put that over here for a little while know in my studies I discovered that with in any unhealthy relationship. It's typically tyranny by the most selfish person.

So whoever's most selfish in that moment, I happen to be the most selfish person in that moment.

And so I literally became a tyrant. That's essentially what it became, where I control the situation and I wanted to control a lot of guys struggle with one of the things it's so good and you know I think it is a process for young married people to learn, and it sounds like we've all learned this over time. Sometimes it takes some couples longer, but this idea that actually conflict if it's handled well it can improve your relationship you learn about yourself and your spouse learns about him or herself.

But it has to be seen as growth opportunity has come like that job performance review. They are doing all these things.

Well let me give you a couple things to help improve in some areas in the sky like that right where there were some areas that you know I'm not doing as well but speak to that idea of learning through conflict. Well, I think strength comes restrain so Jim if you want muscles as big as John. You know you have to do it on the squat rack it under that benchpress, I only hope that I know God. God purifies us in the context of conflict. We are made for conflict so touring I like to say look. Fighting start fighting the right way because all of us at this table could easily say that marriage is under attack like never before.

The numbers prove it and touring. I would say marriage is made for the attack, God wants to detect because as your marriage gets attacked and you experience that conflict.

Those who suffer together, stay together, it increases your commitment level to each other well and your intimacy, emotion, look what happens to you, you take 120 young men and you send them off to boot camp for 12 weeks and you know as Marines and then you send them off to war and they come back a year later, a band of brothers. You know it's like you've got this the one ring that will always keep you guys bound together as a married couple is not your wedding ring. It's suffering it when you move through that and recognize you know this conflict is not in a terse part where John looks at his wife tonight says you know what you're not my enemy and she says to you, you're not planning. Satan is the enemy working to defeat him together. He wants us fighting against each other because God has a plan for us to fight against him and were not to let that happen right now I want. I guested to get your observation on this when you mentioned in the book Jason began traveling a lot and had the young kids at home. You're kind of going a little crazy girl like and that he probably come home like I would tell you wouldn't believe.

I met the president the Sen. the 1M so that help them identify that with your spouses that are mostly at home working in the home had hunted that hitch and then how did you resolve the conflict. Yeah yet so when the kids were really little Jason was traveling a lot and he was gone quite a bit and me know I had my whole life I had had a dream that I would work alongside my husband one day and that was just always something that I thought we would be moving towards and when Jason and David started their business and it kinda took them in a different direction. I am so busy at home raising kids and homeschooling that I didn't even really think about that dream for a while. I was just my hands were full and we are busy and you know II think that at some point it kinda caught up to me that there there was an unrealized dream inside of me that was causing me to just causing a lot of sadness really in my heart and sell as Jason began to travel. I began to kinda pick up these bad habits of dealing with this pain in my heart of him doing a lot of life without me things not being the last thought that they were going to be live expectations that weren't really coming true and and sell at, you know, life just was so busy that I just kinda felt like I just have to keep on going back there was really this real deep longing in my heart to be doing more of life with Jason that I began to just feel really sad every time he laughed and and my way of dealing with that wise will have just got a get strong like Jason is doing great without me and I'm just like barely holding on without him. I just gotta figure out a way to get stronger and the way that I did that was to come. Put up a wall between me and Jason because I was trying to be strong in my own and I knew that God was calling him to you to these different things that he was doing and I want to get into the way of that and so I just began to build this wall as a coping mechanism for these just been a tough feelings. I was in the sadness.

Sadness of him doing so much of life without me every time Jason would come home.

I was just distant and I wouldn't really let him in and during that time I was learning about neuroscience and how our brains work and how our thoughts work and how really fascinating when you look intent to neuroscience and to see that our thoughts are there like pathways in the more that we think a thought.

The more established these pathways in our mind become self.

I think a thought like that of a strong identity this life without Jason and I begin to think he doesn't need me, and he'd email he's totally fine without me, you need to become more independent.

All these thoughts rightly started creating this pathway that I will go down every time he left like that. What was leading me to you is not Jason and I said I began to bring Jason into this and to say no. Some things that a change like I felt like I just I just wanted to distance myself from you to protect myself from the pain that I'm feeling in the season that's great that you're able to open up though and have that discussion because, again, that that 1 Way Rd. yet on your own yet would lead to disaster. Probably right there yeah something right and something unhealthy for your married life in in that was really critical that you were able to pull together, and second this is what I'm feeling.

Yeah, I think this is why I'm feeling it yet why couples read such a better place and just be that open and vulnerable. Fortunately, God gave her a little pattern on how to get out of it. Are you sure that was awesome to speak to what he said. I think that the Lord, the reason I was able to do that is because the Lord had shown as a vision far marriage that this is that the enemy was coming against it and I knew that Jason was my strongest ally.

So what were the things that were keeping me from fighting alongside a fan and I was one of those things out. Every time you travel.

It kinda set us back a few steps, but yeah so as I began to walk through this.

Jason actually was in his scripture reading was reading about Jesus in the wilderness and how he dealt with temptations and he cannot Jason actually spoke this message to our church with these 3Rs which was recognize, renounce, replace that this is how Jesus dealt with these temptations and sell.

Jason started walking me through this and like I really think as he gave this message actors and after the sermon as like I think that's how I need to transform my mind. I think that these thoughts have just I I've established this path that I just naturally jump onto because it like any established path. You naturally go to the established path more than once I have been broken down to where it's the easy way. The path of least resistance and sell. I began to do these steps recognize recognize myself at the foot of that path on going down again all these little triggers Jason down the road I hear all these people. They sound like they're having a great time.

I'm sitting with the kids with macaroni and cheese in my hair again and yeah it's all these little triggers and hype and begin to recognize recognize that Satan was the author of those thoughts.

Satan recognize that he's in this and he's thrown these thoughts moved into renounce the right renounce the lie.

What is the lie behind us and the Lord began to show as I began to ask God what is what is the lie behind all of this and the Lord began to reveal to me that there was this discontent in my heart and really it stemmed from one day Jason was on the road in the lead out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. And sure enough he calls Wednesday. There's all this in a Dallas excitement excitement and and I just burst into tears and he's like what's wrong and I lash out and I say I just don't think it was very nice, as he said what you talking as I just don't think it was very nice of God. I didn't even dream that big. I didn't have this grandiose dream United I just wanted to do life with you and it wasn't even really that much to ask. I feel like everyone should want this in their marriage and I just don't think it was very nice of him announce the lie that God was mean yeah I mean seriously what is said that that was a lie was believing I wouldn't if I hadn't lashed out and said that I would've never thought that I thought that was unkind, but God is like a lot of the budgets of the heart the mouth speaks and that was in my heart like I really began to believe like maybe God is really for me.

Maybe he doesn't really hear me, Willie and Tori so appreciate the vulnerability that's amazing and just your being into the spirit even in valleys to build SoCal Lord feeling was so important for people to remember and I would encourage people in this way God can take your sorrows yeah he wants to hear that sometimes we even try to hide that from the Lord.

So were kind of pretending in every direction with our spouse. With God better to lay it out there.

Yeah that's what's refreshing about what you did Jason let you off the hook because you know you you had some issues to as a husband and you realize you kind of allowed your marriage to become complacent.

Yes, I do want to have that and so wives and I go you bring that out here to help do want to speak to just want to go but real quick to that recognize, renounce, replace those three steps for any listener out there right now you can apply that in your own heart and mind right now and it will change your your relationships, starting today. It will change it for the better. Recognize that the devil is the one thrown those thoughts in your mind.

Don't buy into those thoughts renounce the lie behind those thoughts and replace it with the truth when you do that you have to do it over and over.

It will help your relationship to the thought that I had their you know even where Paul writes about think on heavenly for that idea that those pathways, God created the brain knows how to use it. And so the idea that we read Scripture that we meditate on his usurer together that we pray together. Those are creating pathways as well. Pathways of troops. Yes, and that's what caught my is okay back to your shortcoming as God had just smacked me a good one. Five years in the marriage here.

I'm a husband I would say on a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate our marriage was six or six or seven, which for most people that's a great we love each other best friends you know everything was great. You know it wasn't everything that I always thought it would be and I think most of us get to that point. At some point marriage but in the mornings I was getting (really heart of my business and God was blessing you and I was passionate about it. Things are going really well. One morning as I was praying for my business. The Lord convicted me was like are you enjoying your relationship with your wife as much, as you're enjoying what you're experiencing in business and I had to be real honest of what I don't think I am, so that I began to pray in the Lord was just reminding me of all those feelings I used to have for Tori before we got married and I'm like what why is our marriage like hovering at a seven which most people would say that is okay. Why can it be a tent. Why can you be and 11 why cannot you just as awesome and hot and as romantic as it was, you know, as we thought it should be when we were dating. So I began to pray and I would wake up every morning really early Jim you're an early morning.I would get right next to the bed next to Tori about 530 in the morning I would lay my hands on her, and I was made sure to keep it above the shoulder so she didn't think I was make an early morning move or anything so I would pray that God would reignite my passion for her and I do that every day for two weeks and then Tori and I showed up at party one evening. Two weeks later and is typical. We walk into this party. You know, just likable birthday party. Bunch of friends there.

I go one way talk to the guy she goes one way talks of the girls. Only this time after about 30 minutes. I was wonder what Tori was. I was a little more hyper focused on her and I walked around the house.

I finally found her in the kitchen.

But I didn't. I saw her through the hallway into the kitchen and she was talking to another guy and this guy was standing awkwardly close to her and instantly I kinda felt this little heat come up in my chest and then I just sat there and I know I hadn't felt jealous in a while. I think there's a lot of guys out there now. They foster jealousy, the protective jealousy for the apple of their eye. And you gotta get that back is so the Lord was about to give it to me and and so I saw him talking.

Strangely close to each other and then he busted a joke and I'm sitting there watching this getting madder and madder than to my horror, I saw him reach out. Give her a hug and she actually reciprocated and put her head down on his chest and I have never felt anything like that was like somebody poured hot boiling level on my chest.

I took off on a full out sprint. I jumped across the kitchen island food everywhere. I jumped up with my fist like I was going pop and right in the chin and then I woke up it was a nightmare and you know your body doesn't know if you it really happened or not is a nice bedroom. It was a bad dream.

While it was a right smack down and I wanted I woke up. Listen, I was dripping sweat. I sat up in bed and I looked over at Tori who was sleeping peacefully, having no idea that she was in love with another man and I just knew that something was going on right that I got up and I wasaround and I woke her up with that honey you got to what's going on. I just had a dream that you were cheating on me. Course you know the guy give her a hug or whatever she's like, no, nothing prompts calm down minutes okay alright so I went to the bathroom, wash my face off in my heart rate started to slowly go down and then I I went over next to her bed. As I had for two weeks and I started to pray for again and the Lord hit me. I gave you that dream because you forgot how to pursue your wife and I want you to pursue her like that guy in your dreams, pursuing her. And I remember saying, but how you don't like when we're dating we don't need a how-to manual on how to win the heart of our group, we figured out, but how and God took me a revelation to talk to the church of Ephesus, the church of Ephesus had a first love and their love had grown cold and God said, you need to do three specific things when you look at Revelation 2, verse three things that popped out. He said remember how far you fallen repent and redo the things you did it first. Remember, repent, redo, God dropped out on me. Remember how much are you still think about Tori all the stuff we used to do before we were married and dancing in the kitchen, a country music and country music is God music all these things. Remember that repent for not doing it anymore and redo the things that you did at first to win her heart and I'm telling you what for the next coming ever since then. That was five years in a marriage with convertibles 21 years now and it's a great reminder of how God uses the metaphor marriage. Our relationship to him him to us us to one another.

There is that strong indication about how how he wants us to pursue him him one another in a marriage. I mean, it is what he wants for us. We've got remember God is not just our father.

He's our father-in-law was the father level. If you want to say I love you father-in-law. What is your father-in-law. The term I don't care my daughter take care my son that's really good. This is been awesome. What a great book beauties in battle, and the idea that you're fighting together, not at each other and I so appreciate the thoughts and the many things we talked about today and I hope if you're in a spot where you are not fighting together.

You're fighting against each other get a copy of this book. If you can send a gift of any amount that monthly or one-time gift will send it as our website. Thank you for being part of the ministry. If you can afford to do that were gonna trust other people will cover that as we want to get it in your hands were Christian ministry. So that's our goal. If you need it. Call us and we'll get it to you. And there's also current Christian counselors that you can contact here at Focus on the Family. Typically they call you back because I gotta put you in the queue and they'll do that, but after over 40 years of ministry and not to surprise us. I think we've heard it all and you just him to be vulnerable and that if we can help. We want to help. So get in touch with us. Contact us today. The link is in the program notes or call us. Our number 800 K in the word family 800-232-6459 Jason Tori.

This again is been terrific thank you for just that openness and vulnerability and working hard to show that you were both created in the image of God and that the two shall become one thank you thank you will enjoy this. Thanks so much and thank you for joining us next time. Author Susie Larson shares about the importance of seeing yourself the way God sees you when God looks at you. His heart's chest So much. If you're shy and that you have less to say something if you think you're less than absolutely okay if you live your life trying to think yourself a whole.

Jesus loves you. You know better than the on behalf of of Jim Daly in the entire team. Thanks for joining us today. I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time. As we once again help you and your family thrive in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision on abortion are you ready for what comes next and how should we respond as emotions run high as Christians we need to be ready. Focus on the Family can help you prepare. Join us every Monday to hear inspiring stories from people who face their own pro-life moments and experience God's love to learn more moment that's moment

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