"Love always protects." --1 Corinthians 13:7
From the time I was a little girl, I've always wanted someone to protect me. Don't get me wrong--I like putting off the image of being tough, strong, unphased...but if I'm honest with myself, I love the idea of someone protecting me. Like Eric protected Ariel from evil Ursula, I desire a man to protect me from the evils of this world. And evils do not stop at terrorism, bullying, and other actions that go against God and His love for us. Marriage can be a battlefield. Sometimes within the home, but always on the outskirts. "There are some battles you should be more than willing to fight; these are battles that pertain to protecting your spouse" (Kendrick).
Unfortunately, all marriages have enemies. We may not feel them every day, but they are there. It could be a pretty young women flirting with your husband, or a personal trainer helping your wife get back to the physical shape of her teens. It can be pornagraphy, a romance novel--it can be work if it is consuming and gets in the way of loving your spouse and meeting their needs. Your husband/wife needs your constant protection from things like: harmful influences such as the internet or television shows that bring in destructive content and drain away precious time with your family. It could be a work schedule that keeps you separated for long hours. You can't protect your home when you're rarely there, nor when you're relationally disconnected. Unhealthy relationships not only encompass inappropriate friendships with the opposite sex but also perhaps your closest same-sex friendships. Not everyone has a good perspective on commitment and priorities, and those 'friends' that would ever give you the advice to just 'walk away,' do not deserve the title of 'friend.' Anyone who undermines your marriage does not deserve that title. Not to mention that "you must be on guard at all times from allowing opposite-sex relationships at work, the gym, or even the church to draw you emotionally away from the one to whom you've already given your heart." Shame is something you should strive to protect your spouse from, which includes protecting their vulnerability by never speaking negatively about them in public. Generally speaking, love hides the fault of others. It covers their shame. And lastly, parasites are to be guarded against. "A parasite is anything that latches onto you or your partner and sucks the life out of your marriage...if you love your spouse, you must destroy any addiction that has your heart. If you don't it will destroy you."
Do you recall the story in the Bible of the shepherds feeding themselves and neglecting their sheep. Not staying on guard towards the wolves. We should never grow so tired in standing guard of our marriage that we let our beloved be attacked by wolves. The devil prowls like a roaring lion, waiting to snatch up any not ready for battle. May God be gracious enough to keep Zane's heart, and mine as well, in the palm of His hands, granting us wisdom to protect each other and our marriage from the enemies that seek to destroy.
Dare 23: Remove any addiction that is hindering your relationship. To be honest, Zane and I could not think of any...our addiction was driving 1 1/2 hours to work, working, driving 1 1/2 hours home, eating, relaxing, going to bed, then repeating. But, we have been encouraged to pray more for each other, that God will be our strength against the enemy, as well as praying for ourselves, that God will protect our heart, keeping it sealed for one another.
Dare 22: Love your spouse. Period.
Dare 21: Be satisfied in God.
Dare 20: Commit to love Jesus so that you can love your spouse.
Dare 19: Pray for God to change your heart.
Dare 18: Study each other.
(For previous dares, refer to earlier entries.)
--Inspired by "The Love Dare"