Updated: Aug 29
“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:6-9 NIV
Have you ever wondered why the enemy works so hard to divide what God establishes? He is relentless in his pursuits to bring destruction and death to the institution of marriage. Satan knows that if he can destroy this sacred union, he can disrupt the very fabric of the family. Why the family? Because this is where God has given his divine authority to rule and have dominion in this world. If His authority is distracted and destroyed, we are not able to carry out God's purpose for our marriages and our lives.
Jesus gives explicit instructions when it comes to the union of marriage, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Mark 10:9). He gives this response to a group of Pharisees about their questions of divorce. They were trying to catch him speaking contrary to what was spoken by God concerning marriage in the Old Testament (Genesis 2:24). "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Satan will try all sorts of schemes to drive a wedge in the covenantal commitment between God, Man, and woman. He deceivingly tries to give the illusion of something better than what God has already provided. When we are fully aware of his tactics, we understand that God has armed us with his word to combat his efforts.
The ending of Mark 10:9 states, "let no man separate." The question we should ask ourselves is "how" can we be separated? There are three areas where I feel Satan works the most to drive a wedge in our relationships to bring about separation:
1. People - Genesis 8:21 tells us, "....the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth." Peoples intention are not always pure and good for us when we encounter them or let them in our space. As a couple, it is imperative that we are prayerful and vigilant to relationships we establish. Whether it is a family member or random individual, we must remember who is a priority in our lives - God, spouse. The fall of man could have been prevented if Adam and Even never entertained the suggestions of the serpent (Gen. 3). Not every person is happy for you and your relationship. We should pray and ask God for his discernment when we meet people and wait for his guidance in the development of that relationship.
2. Pursuits - We live in an age where it is normal to have both parents pursuing their selective careers. No more are the days of the husband being the primary breadwinner, and the wife is at home raising the kids and cooking dinner. Much progress has been made to ensure women are considered equals amongst all professions and society in general. With this, women are more prone to seek their careers and self-worth. However, all this pursuit of perfection and promotion from both parties can strip the very purpose and existence of marriage. Becoming "one flesh" as stated in Genesis 2:24 should encourage us to work as a unit keeping the team concept in mind. Our professional pursuits should never replace or become the primary focus of our existence. They should be discussed, prayed about and waited upon God's response before we engage them.
3. Pleasures - I'm an avid golfer. I would probably play every day, all day if I could. Not only is that not possible but it's also not smart. One, because putting anything before God is wrong but also putting it before your spouse is just as bad. Exodus 20:2 states, "You shall have no other gods before Me." We all have hobbies, past times and events that we thoroughly enjoy to participate in to relax or stimulate us. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having something we enjoy. The problem comes when we appreciate it more than our relationships with God and spouse. Moderations is critical when engaging in activities apart from our spouses.
Now that we know what Satan throws our way to cause division, let's take a look at what keeps us focused:
4. Priority - Our first and foremost commitment must be to God. God is the source and reason for our existence. He and he alone is what keeps us going every day. When we follow him first, it will put all other things into perspective. Satan does his best work when he takes our hearts and minds away from who matters most. His goal is to steal our time and attention. John 10:10a states, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;" As a couple, it is imperative that we remember the structure and order of our relationships. When we strive to seek God first "together," we'll surprisingly become closer to each other and know how to guard, keep his covenant.
5. Purpose - The second clause of John 10:10b states, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." It is essential for us to understand that the source of everything we need; to have a loving, functional and fulfilling marriage can only be found in Jesus Christ. When we as a couple fully understand the purpose for our marriages which is to proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ in all that we do, we'll combat every effort of the enemy to tear down the most sacred institution established.
May we all continue to stay focused and let "nothing" come between us!
Dr. Stephone A. Berry is an Associate Minister at Christian Faith Fellowship in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated with a Master of Divinity in Ministry Studies and earned a Doctorate of Ministerial Leadership from Columbia International University.