Freedom in Marriage
By Rex Allison, LPC
Proverbs, the crown jewel of the Wisdom Literature books in the Bible, illustrates the most common of human interactions with the most vivid imagery. Some of these images are pleasing to the mind and some inspire other emotions like apprehension, fear, or revulsion. In fact, you don’t have to read that far into the book to notice an alarming theme emerge in relation to…well, our relationships. That’s the theme of being ensnared or trapped.
“The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin” (Prov. 5:21).
Are your life choices ensnaring you or providing greater freedom?
In Proverbs 6 specifically, three areas are highlighted that at first glance might seem unrelated: debts, work ethic, and marriage relationships.
“My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, and save yourself…” (Prov. 6:1–3a, emphasis added).
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man” (Prov. 6:10–11, emphasis added).
“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes” (Prov. 6:23–25, emphasis added).
Why the emphasis on being captured or snared, and how does that relate to us today? Christ came that we might have freedom and we have to be on guard for that which would seek to ensnare us again, particularly in our marriages.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1).
We want to provide two questions to think through as it relates to the health of your marriage. When you are walking in freedom, you are walking in the power that comes through the Holy Spirit. But when you are ensnared, the power over your life is shared among entities that don’t have your best interest at heart. A marriage relationship that has given away power over finances, over work, and over the sanctity of the marriage bed is a marriage that does not have power over its own future.
And so that leads us to be mindful of the path that our feet are traveling on, another common image repeated in the book of Proverbs. Sometimes it’s not enough to avoid the pitfalls of the path we’ve always traveled. Sometimes it’s time to re-evaluate our paths all together.
In thinking through these two questions, it can help you evaluate the health of your marriages and assess what areas needed to be strengthened.
Who are you giving power away to?
We see in Proverbs 6 that those who are in debt, who have a weak work ethic, and who commit adultery have given away power over their lives to other people. To put it another way, they no longer are operating with self-control.
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Prov. 25:28)
In those weakened states, you and your spouse are exposed to manipulation, pain, and a host of other woes, all due to a lack of boundaries.
Take a look at your own marriage. Who or what has stolen power away from you and your spouse? What has broken into your “city”?
· Sexual temptations/addictions
· Debt/other hidden financial woes
· Lack of boundaries with in-laws
· Lack of boundaries with children
· Other co-dependent relationships
· Toxic work environment
Today is the day to begin to take back control in your life and stop giving away power to these areas of sin, temptation, or negative influences.
Rex Allison, one of our counselors at Morning Light Christian Counseling, is especially skilled in helping couples regain self-control. He has advanced training in helping couples with specific issues such as sexual temptations/addictions, and astutely observes that “marriage requires controlling your own wants for the needs of your spouse. Sometimes that kind of self-control feels like you don’t get to give your opinion, and, you’re right, sometimes you don’t. Marriage is about giving and sacrifice.” Most likely selfishness is an element of what has broken into your city. Now is the time to begin implementing selflessness and sacrifice.
What path are you on?
“Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house” (Prov. 5:8)
Notice that this verse doesn’t say “Avoid the door of her house as you pass by.” No. The author is clear that just turning your head isn’t enough, but choosing another path entirely is what will protect freedom and integrity.
It’s important to evaluate those paths when you are not in a weakened state, which is often when we hand over power and fall into temptation.
Have you evaluated the paths your feet travel on regularly?
· Habits when tired/hungry/stressed
· Thought patterns when anger or frustration arises
· Conversational patterns when vulnerable
Sometimes it can be hard to see the habits we’ve formed in our vulnerable states, but counseling can help you decode those situations and make plans for better choices. By taking an active role in holding conversations with your spouse, engaging in intentional change, and pursuing counseling, you are taking steps to regain freedom in your relationships, to rebuild the walls of your city. We here at Morning Light Christian Counseling are ready to help you on such a journey, giving you the tools necessary to process and effect these life-changing shifts. You don’t have to walk this road alone.
Your marriage and relationships matter. Call or send us a message online to inquire about our marriage counseling services and how we can serve you and your spouse.