–by Chuck Lawless

I’ve studied spiritual warfare for more than twenty years, and I’m continually reminded of how the enemy attacks Christian marriages. From the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), he has sought to lure individuals and couples into his traps. He wants to weaken or destroy marriages, and he delights when children are wounded in the process. Without suggesting a “the devil made me do it” philosophy, I list here some of the enemy’s primary tools I’ve seen over the years:

1. Neglect
The same couple that spent all their dating time together, grows apart after the wedding day. The neglect is usually subtle, though – which is the way the enemy often works.

2. Sin
We can’t get around this one. Regardless of what the sin is, disobedience that weakens one’s relationship with God also weakens our relationship with our spouse.

3. Blame
That’s what Adam did in the Garden, and what we often do. “When it’s not my fault, I don’t have to worry about changing. My spouse does.” 

4. Selfishness

Too often, couples commit themselves to one another until “death does us part” during the wedding ceremony, but then live as if the other doesn’t exist.

5. Secrets
Anytime we’re hiding anything – especially from our spouse – the enemy’s winning in some way. Honesty breaks the enemy’s strongholds.

6. Anger
Many of us have lived this experience. Uncontrolled, unleashed anger can destroy the bond between husband and wife.

7. Prayerlessness
A couple that does not pray together misses an opportunity to strengthen their marriage. In fact, their prayerlessness says they can handle marriage without God’s help.

8.Pornography
Increasingly, both males and females struggle with this sin that reduces human beings to an image and implies that our spouses aren’t good enough for us.

9. Financial fights
That happens especially when we live for wealth and security, most often doing so at the expense of spending quality and quantity time with our spouse. 

10. Offspring trouble
From Genesis 4 (Cain’s killing Abel), the enemy has attacked our children. Too often, their struggles result in conflict between mom and dad.

11. Adultery
As satan often does, he magnifies the temporary pleasure of sin over the devastating long-term effects of crossing that line. Families then pay the price for our bad choices.

12. Divorce
Even with the exception clauses of Matthew 19, we cannot conclude that God ever delights in divorce. The enemy does. Join me today in praying God’s protection around our marriages.


CHUCK LAWLESS is a global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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