Sin is at the center of every crumbling marriage. If every husband and wife focused on making Christ the center of their lives, there would be no more separation or divorce. The troubled marriage pandemic in this country would end. Anytime spouses experience high conflict amongst themselves, both people need to examine their hearts for disobedience to God.
Maybe you already have identified the part you played in the breaking down of the marriage. Or maybe you still believe that it was 100% your spouse’s fault. It’s possible that they contributed more, but the truth is that there are two people in a marriage and the only one that we can answer for is ourselves.
It says in Romans chapter three “there is no one righteous, not even one” and “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If each spouse identified and turned away from their own sin instead of focusing on their spouse’s sin, well we really wouldn’t have any need for this website. Ask God to convict you so you do not continue in willful disobedience to Him.
Adam and Eve’s Disobedience
Open your Bible to Genesis chapter two for an illustration of disobedience within the first marriage. We see in Genesis 2:15-17 that God put Adam and in the garden and gave him a commandment: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Eve was not present to receive the instructions from God. It is not until verse 22 that the woman is created out of Adam’s rib, to be a helper suitable for him.
Soon after the serpent arrives in Genesis chapter three and is said to be “more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God has made.” The serpent targeted Eve by trying to deceive her and manipulate her to choose sin. Ultimately the serpent was successful; It tempted Eve and she chose to be disobedient to God by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
We see in Genesis 3:6 her attempts to rationalize her sin: She believed that the tree offered good food, it was pleasing to the eye, and it would give her wisdom. Though the evil serpent was very cunning in its deception, in her own self-centeredness and desire for power Eve chose to trust its lies instead of the truth from her creator.
Adam was never tempted by the serpent; he knew what God had commanded and yet he stood idly by as Eve ate from the tree and then offered some to her husband. Adam too chose to eat the fruit and then used Eve’s actions as an excuse for his own disobedience. He blamed his wife for his sin, telling God, “The woman You put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it,” in Genesis 3:12. When Eve was then confronted by God in verse 13, she blamed the serpent’s deception for her own disobedience.
Adam, Eve, and the serpent all received individual punishments for their own sin. God did not accept excuses or passing of the blame. He didn’t tell Adam, well your wife gave you the fruit and that’s not really your fault, so it’s cool. He didn’t tell Eve, well the serpent deceived you and you didn’t know any better, so you’re off the hook. He made each person that sinned take responsibility for their own actions and face the consequences, no matter what or who tempted them to disobey.
Lessons From Adam and Eve’s Marriage
When I read Genesis two and three, I can’t help but notice similarities between Adam and Eve and my own marital conflict. The enemy attacked our marriage and tried to deceive me. In my own self-centeredness and pride, I believed his lies and I chose to sin and be disobedient to God. I wasn’t putting Christ at the center of my life and I wasn’t thinking of my husband; It was all about me and my feelings, and our conflict only escalated from there.
I tried to rationalize my actions just as Eve did: I thought it would bring me happiness, it would fulfill me, it would improve my life, and I was so convinced that I was right about all of that. As my eyes were opened to my sin, I blamed the enemy and my husband blamed me. It was only after the Holy Spirit truly convicted me did I see the error of my ways and take full responsibility for my actions.
When we are tempted, we ultimately have the choice to sin or to to tell the enemy to be silenced. In the same way, we can not use someone else’s sin as an excuse to sin ourselves. Whenever your spouse sins against you, imagine it as the enemy trying to tempt you to retaliate. We will only be responsible for our own sin when we reach heaven. You can not be accountable for your spouse’s actions, but you are responsible for how you respond.
Satan’s Mission to Destroy Marriages
Satan still tempts us to sin today like the serpent tempted Eve in the garden. He is craftier and more cunning than ever and absolutely delights in destroying marriages. The enemy rejoices in victory when we are disobedient and our primary ministry of marriage suffers. As God’s first ministry, an illustration of the relationship between Christ and the Church, marriage is a prime target. Satan knows that the more individual marriages he can bring down, the more people he can tempt into the darkness, the more God’s kingdom suffers.
Satan is looking at the big picture: His goal is to make separation and divorce a global pandemic to cover the entire earth with the demonic forces of evil. When Christians are so consumed with our hurt feelings and self-centeredness and pride we lose sight of what really matters: Victory for God’s kingdom. When we’re so busy blaming our spouses and continuing in sins of unforgiveness, anger, and bitterness all the way to the divorce court, it’s not us that wins. It’s not God that wins. It’s Satan.
In 1 Peter 5:8-9 it says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
This is why we must remain steadfast in prayer, study of scripture, and seeking God first in our life and our marriage. So when the enemy does come to tempt us, and trust me he will, we can be prepared to recognize and defend ourselves against his evil deceptions. In the same way, we can also be understanding and offer forgiveness to our spouse because they are also experiencing temptations.