When You Feel like Your Spouse is the Enemy

Disputing couple. 

It’s often so hard to see what’s really going on when we’re in the middle of the struggles in life.

Can I get an Amen?

It’s like that metaphor for life that the apostle Paul used in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “We see but a poor reflection as in a mirror …” and if we could see clearly, we’d know what we’re truly up against when we’re in the moment.

What are we up against? 

Who are we in a struggle with?

It’s easy to think it’s with our spouse

But it’s not really.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” –Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

So the next time your spouse …

  • Says something that’s critical or offensive, remember that Satan may be convincing your spouse of lies that propel this cascade of hurt out of your spouse’s mouth toward you.
  • Ignores your needs in favor of his/her own needs, remember that Satan may have just tempted your spouse to focus on what’s self-centered and your spouse took the bait.
  • Acts in a loving way but your interpret it as unloving, you may have just focused on your own feelings—giving in to the chaos that Satan creates as background noise and distraction.

I’m not here to take away the personal responsibility we each have in our own choices and actions, but we must remember there’s a third party in day to day life who constantly tries and often succeeds in deceiving us. And the further we move toward Satan’s deceptions, the more people in our lives get hurt and the deeper our marriage wounds grow. So we must remain alert!

Thankfully, there’s a fourth and preeminent party – Christ, who is able to give us the victory in every spiritual and relationship battle.

One way to know the difference between Satan’s victories in battle and Christ’s is that Christ’s victorious battle won’t be about you, but will point to God in His glorious goodness and love.

What spiritual battles have you been facing lately?

How has knowing who you’re really struggling with helped you in your time of need?

Photo by educationdynamics

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Linking up with – NOBH, Momma Notes, Marriage Mondays, Marriage Moments Monday, Making Your Home Sing Monday, Living Proverbs 31, Playdates with God and Marriage Monday

  • Barbara Isaac Croce

    I like how you made it clear that Jesus’ victory points to Him and Him alone, hallelujah!

    • Yes, I always want to be careful to highlight Christ’s power in contrast to Satan’s limited power. I’m so grateful for the victory we have in Him, Barbara. Thanks so much for stopping by and encouraging me!

  • Barbara Isaac Croce

    I like how you made it clear that Jesus’ victory points to Him and Him alone, hallelujah!

  • GailBP

    Good point about our 3rd and 4th parties. And yes, I’m sure that Satan is often behind my irritations with my husband, not only affecting his actions but my responses.
    Good reminder to me that I don’t always see things clearly nor do I know my husband’s specific pressures.

    • I fall into these same traps–forgetting that a spiritual battle is going on, Gail. I just thought others might identify and I’m so glad you found it helpful too, my friend! Thanks for stopping by. Love seeing your smiling face in the comment section! 🙂

  • GailBP

    Good point about our 3rd and 4th parties. And yes, I’m sure that Satan is often behind my irritations with my husband, not only affecting his actions but my responses.
    Good reminder to me that I don’t always see things clearly nor do I know my husband’s specific pressures.

  • OutnumberedMom

    GREAT reminder. It’s easy to forget there are two other parties in the equation, and we have choices as to who we’ll side with. I can recall a FEW times I’ve remembered this and chosen to give love even when I didn’t feel it was coming my way, and it made a huge difference. Thanks, Beth.

    • Isn’t it so amazing when we see that battle for what it is, Laura Lee … and choose to trust Christ and align with Him and His power and grace? I’m glad you highlighted that aspect of this struggle. I hope others can experience that joy in the difficult moments of our journey. Thanks, my friend. Love to you!

  • OutnumberedMom

    GREAT reminder. It’s easy to forget there are two other parties in the equation, and we have choices as to who we’ll side with. I can recall a FEW times I’ve remembered this and chosen to give love even when I didn’t feel it was coming my way, and it made a huge difference. Thanks, Beth.

  • Thank you for sharing this wisdom with us this morning. This is the 2nd post I have read on the subject today — obviously God wants me to listen up to this message.

    • Hmm, I find that happening quite a bit to me as well, Lyli. I am grateful for the way God uses our messages and weaves us together in this beautiful tapestry of His power and grace. And I’m grateful for you coming by to encourage me, my new friend!

  • Thank you for sharing this wisdom with us this morning. This is the 2nd post I have read on the subject today — obviously God wants me to listen up to this message.

  • anonymous

    Are we to just let our faith and love for Christ be our joy while the years go by and our spouse has no faith and love for Christ and we take what we are given in hopes that our faith will change him? Is this to be a life long journey for the mistakes we have made? How do you know when God is going to jump in and you are going to love each other and the hurts are going to stop? How do you know when enough is enough?

    • My first thought is that I gave you–a parched and thirsting sojourner in a desert–a drop of water and you need pitcher of God’s love to flow down and “rehydrate” your weary soul. This is simply a small way to walk in the journey of life. It sounds as if you are really struggling and I hurt for you in that pain and probably loneliness. I’m lifting you up in prayer and if you’d like to email me for a deeper conversation on this, please do so. My email can be found at the contact tab. Thanks for being brave enough to share your struggle here, my sweet friend!

    • rboerner

      I am so sorry that you are struggling in this area. When I read your reply my heart hurt. I have been where you are -not exactly where you are because our stories are all different- but I have experienced lots of pain because of the spiritual differences my husband and I share. A book I read early on that was EXTREMELY helpful in my current journey was “Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch” by Lee Strobel. A truly insightful and encouraging read. I also will be praying for you. Beth(Messy Marriage) is a great resource and has been a huge blessing in my life. Keep reaching out to others for encouragement as you walk through this time. PRAYING!

  • Thank you again, Beth, for an insightful post. It can take daily reminders of how we are to love one another and who the real enemy is before we change our habits of blaming our spouse. And that is why just about every morning at Longings End Michael and I read 1 Corinthians 13 and some verses in Ephesians (all from JB Philips translation) to help us remember. Blessings to you, my friend. And thanks again for your sweet comments on my post today!

    • That’s so great, Sheila. Reading scriptures daily with your husband is such an amazing and powerful ritual. It calibrates your hearts together on God and His purposes and love. If you haven’t already written on this subject, I encourage you to do so in the future. Powerful stuff and I’m so glad you shared your encouragement and wisdom here at my place, my friend!

  • Thank you again, Beth, for an insightful post. It can take daily reminders of how we are to love one another and who the real enemy is before we change our habits of blaming our spouse. And that is why just about every morning at Longings End Michael and I read 1 Corinthians 13 and some verses in Ephesians (all from JB Philips translation) to help us remember. Blessings to you, my friend. And thanks again for your sweet comments on my post today!

  • My husband and I were a little snippy with each other this weekend so this is a timely post for me to remember he is my best friend–never my enemy–and he is for me. Thanks, Beth.

    • Yes, it’s always easier to see this spiritual problem in the rearview mirror. Right, Lisa? 🙂 I’m working on identifying in the rearview mirror and seeing it as it’s coming. Both can be challenging, but God is helping open my eyes. Thanks for sweet comments here, my friend. I always look forward to hearing from you.

  • My husband and I were a little snippy with each other this weekend so this is a timely post for me to remember he is my best friend–never my enemy–and he is for me. Thanks, Beth.

  • Yes, I always want to be careful to highlight Christ’s power in contrast to Satan’s limited power. I’m so grateful for the victory we have in Him, Barbara. Thanks so much for stopping by and encouraging me!

  • I fall into these same traps–forgetting that a spiritual battle is going on, Gail. I just thought others might identify and I’m so glad you found it helpful too, my friend! Thanks for stopping by. Love seeing your smiling face in the comment section! 🙂

  • Isn’t it so amazing when we see that battle for what it is, Laura Lee … and choose to trust Christ and align with Him and His power and grace? I’m glad you highlighted that aspect of this struggle. I hope others can experience that joy in the difficult moments of our journey. Thanks, my friend. Love to you!

  • Hmm, I find that happening quite a bit to me as well, Lyli. I am grateful for the way God uses our messages and weaves us together in this beautiful tapestry of His power and grace. And I’m grateful for you coming by to encourage me, my new friend!

  • My first thought is that I gave you–a parched and thirsting sojourner in a desert–a drop of water and you need pitcher of God’s love to flow down and “rehydrate” your weary soul. This is simply a small way to walk in the journey of life. It sounds as if you are really struggling and I hurt for you in that pain and probably loneliness. I’m lifting you up in prayer and if you’d like to email me for a deeper conversation on this, please do so. My email can be found at the contact tab. Thanks for being brave enough to share your struggle here, my sweet friend!

  • That’s so great, Sheila. Reading scriptures daily with your husband is such an amazing and powerful ritual. It calibrates your hearts together on God and His purposes and love. If you haven’t already written on this subject, I encourage you to do so in the future. Powerful stuff and I’m so glad you shared your encouragement and wisdom here at my place, my friend!

  • Yes, it’s always easier to see this spiritual problem in the rearview mirror. Right, Lisa? 🙂 I’m working on identifying in the rearview mirror and seeing it as it’s coming. Both can be challenging, but God is helping open my eyes. Thanks for sweet comments here, my friend. I always look forward to hearing from you.

  • Mia

    Dear Beth
    Oh, I can just see in my minds eye the proverbial little devil and little angel standing on the shoulders of both the husband and wife sitting on that couch! Their faces speak of such stubborness not very unlike my own. Oh, that our Lord will fill our hearts with His love for our spouses!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    • Yes, doesn’t this photo capture the stand-off we often make with our spouses when we’re angry with them, Mia. And I repeat your sweet prayer–that our Lord would fill our hearts with His love for our spouses! Perfect! Thanks so much for coming by and adding to the discussion, my friend! Hugs to you!

  • Mia

    Dear Beth
    Oh, I can just see in my minds eye the proverbial little devil and little angel standing on the shoulders of both the husband and wife sitting on that couch! Their faces speak of such stubborness not very unlike my own. Oh, that our Lord will fill our hearts with His love for our spouses!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

  • Nan

    I think it helps us remember who the real “enemy” is, so that we don’t vilify someone too much. We remember that none of us are perfect and thus, are more willing to give grace to them because we need grace so much for us!

    Great post, my friend! We must remember not to infer evil where none is intended, too!

    Thanks for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party! 😉

    • Good point, Nan. We have that tendency, don’t we as human beings–vilifying those who threaten or hurt us. I’m glad you found this reminder helpful. I need to remind myself of it often. Thanks for your sweet friendship, my friend. I do plan to respond to your comment over at your place soon. I’ve had a very hectic couple of days! Whew! 😉

  • Nan

    I think it helps us remember who the real “enemy” is, so that we don’t vilify someone too much. We remember that none of us are perfect and thus, are more willing to give grace to them because we need grace so much for us!

    Great post, my friend! We must remember not to infer evil where none is intended, too!

    Thanks for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party! 😉

  • I was just thinking along these lines yesterday, Beth! As we put our stake in the ground at the end of August for our move to TN, we have folks who we joke have joined the 2013 Disappointment Tour.

    We let one get to us yesterday, someone very close to us. Instead of leaving our house closing kicking our heels up in a happy dance—yay! last big piece of the puzzle to fall into place—we allowed them steal our joy. It’s not really them, though. Their message at the core is that they love us and will miss us terribly.

    Thanks for the reminder. This was an important read. xo

    • I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve felt the sting of someone’s words and fears. I’m certain you’re right about what the core issue is. I can only imagine how hard it would be to let you, such a great friend, go so far away! But if you’re moving close to your brother in Tennessee, let me know. When we go through there, I’d love to get together with you for coffee. In fact, we’re going to be there Aug. 4th – 11th. Any chance you’ll be there that soon? Hugs to you!

      • Not quite by then. 🙁 We expect to arrive in TN around end of August. Yes, we are moving very close to my brother. Very excited! Thanks for your sweetness. We will get together at some point, I have no doubt!

        • Well, if it’s not this next week, we’ll be back around Christmas, maybe then. 🙂 And congrats on the house selling and moving closer to your dream!

  • I was just thinking along these lines yesterday, Beth! As we put our stake in the ground at the end of August for our move to TN, we have folks who we joke have joined the 2013 Disappointment Tour.

    We let one get to us yesterday, someone very close to us. Instead of leaving our house closing kicking our heels up in a happy dance—yay! last big piece of the puzzle to fall into place—we allowed them steal our joy. It’s not really them, though. Their message at the core is that they love us and will miss us terribly.

    Thanks for the reminder. This was an important read. xo

  • rboerner

    I am so sorry that you are struggling in this area. When I read your reply my heart hurt. I have been where you are -not exactly where you are because our stories are all different- but I have experienced lots of pain because of the spiritual differences my husband and I share. A book I read early on that was EXTREMELY helpful in my current journey was “Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch” by Lee Strobel. A truly insightful and encouraging read. I also will be praying for you. Beth(Messy Marriage) is a great resource and has been a huge blessing in my life. Keep reaching out to others for encouragement as you walk through this time. PRAYING!

  • A good reminder, Beth. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget we are on the same side. Our enemy is not of flesh and blood…

    • Yes, it’s one I need to remind myself of too, Laura. It’s just one of those important perspective shifters that we need to view our situation through from time to time. Thanks for coming by and encouraging me, sweet friend!

  • A good reminder, Beth. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget we are on the same side. Our enemy is not of flesh and blood…

  • What a great post Beth. I want to blame my husband for some things that happened but I realize it is just the plot of the enemy. I love that you stated, “Christ’s victorious battle won’t be about you, but will point to God in His glorious goodness and love” Just stopping by from living proverbs 31.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words to me, Delora. I appreciate you joining the discussion and taking the time to encourage me!

  • Delora Peters

    What a great post Beth. I want to blame my husband for some things that happened but I realize it is just the plot of the enemy. I love that you stated, “Christ’s victorious battle won’t be about you, but will point to God in His glorious goodness and love” Just stopping by from living proverbs 31.

  • Yes, doesn’t this photo capture the stand-off we often make with our spouses when we’re angry with them, Mia. And I repeat your sweet prayer–that our Lord would fill our hearts with His love for our spouses! Perfect! Thanks so much for coming by and adding to the discussion, my friend! Hugs to you!

  • Good point, Nan. We have that tendency, don’t we as human beings–vilifying those who threaten or hurt us. I’m glad you found this reminder helpful. I need to remind myself of it often. Thanks for your sweet friendship, my friend. I do plan to respond to your comment over at your place soon. I’ve had a very hectic couple of days! Whew! 😉

  • I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve felt the sting of someone’s words and fears. I’m certain you’re right about what the core issue is. I can only imagine how hard it would be to let you, such a great friend, go so far away! But if you’re moving close to your brother in Tennessee, let me know. When we go through there, I’d love to get together with you for coffee. In fact, we’re going to be there Aug. 4th – 11th. Any chance you’ll be there that soon? Hugs to you!

  • Yes, it’s one I need to remind myself of too, Laura. It’s just one of those important perspective shifters that we need to view our situation through from time to time. Thanks for coming by and encouraging me, sweet friend!

  • Thanks so much for your kind words to me, Delora. I appreciate you joining the discussion and taking the time to encourage me!

  • Not quite by then. 🙁 We expect to arrive in TN around end of August. Yes, we are moving very close to my brother. Very excited! Thanks for your sweetness. We will get together at some point, I have no doubt!

  • Well, if it’s not this next week, we’ll be back around Christmas, maybe then. 🙂 And congrats on the house selling and moving closer to your dream!