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The war in heaven is still raging; in fact, it’s escalating as the Second Coming looms. Satan has pulled out all the stops. In their new book, Because We Love Our Marriage, Joy and Gary Lundberg said, “In order to effectively fight an enemy, we must know who he is and be familiar with his tactics. Otherwise, we have no way of winning the battle. Moroni, the great military captain in the Book of Mormon, showed us countless times how important it was to scope out the plans of the enemy. By learning the strategy of his enemies and continually turning to the Lord for guidance, he was able to come off victorious. This concept works the same for all of us. It’s impossible to overcome what we do not know exists. Satan is the enemy, and marriage is one of his prime targets.”
Do we realize that it is not just other people’s marriages that are primary targets, but ours as well? I’m a very senior senior, far down the marriage path, utterly unaffected by many of the temptations that challenge young marrieds. Frankly, I began reading Lundberg’s book as a courtesy, mostly because they are dear friends; but did I need it? I doubted it. I hadn’t gotten far before the principles in the book became very personal. I soon recognized that my marriage could still be in danger in ways I hadn’t even thought about. I began to realize that this book is full of powerful ideas we all need, regardless of our age or stage of life. Don’t forget, too, that the more we are in a position to influence for good, the more Satan focuses on us, attempting to rob family joy. We all need to be fore-warned!
Joy and Gary Lundberg have given us timely, specific warnings and guidelines. The subtitle of their new book is 12 Ways to Safeguard Your Eternal Relationship.
These Safeguards Are for Everyone
If you are new at marriage: Listen up. You can save yourself so much heartache by paying attention to the 12 Safeguards the Lundbergs present. If you’ve been married a long time, never think you are not still susceptible to Satan’s ploys to mess up a good thing! Any amount of effort is worth it to save your marriage.
As so many of us have experienced first-hand, there is no limit to the sorrow of broken relationships and broken homes. If you are in a second marriage, it may be smart to look back, pinpoint the areas of problem that eventually led to the demise of your first marriage and make certain you are walking a different path with your current spouse. Let the guidelines in this book help you. Humans are all too prone to fall back into familiar patterns; awareness is vital to avoid the downward spiral.
A Universally-Needed Example
No one gets up in the morning thinking, “Today I will think and say and do things that will damage my marriage and put me on the road to divorce.” Yet, unknowingly, we may do just that. Only being aware, fore-warned and savvy about danger zones can we safeguard our marriages. If you scan the chapters in Lundberg’s book, I dare you to get through all twelve safeguards without “ah hah!” moments and twinges of conscience.
I sailed through the first few feeling quite safe and smug: then I read Safeguard #5: “Speak Positively about Your Spouse,” and I was nailed. I knew I could do better. (As I continued reading I found several things I needed to be made aware of, but for the sake of this example, I’ll talk about only this one.) In a society immersed in negativity, fault-finding is the norm. And since every spouse is imperfect, faults are always available, waiting to be noticed and commented on. And since our words come from our thoughts, we need to guard our thoughts about our spouse as well.
Where is our focus? Do we spend our days in the “appreciation” room or the “depreciation” room? Both rooms house truths. However, focusing on the things that bug us about our spouse, and even worse, broadcasting those things to family and friends will take us down a path we simply don’t want to be on. You can’t pick up only one end of a stick, and the other end of the stick of focusing on our spouse’s faults and shortcomings is heartache at best, divorce at worst.
On the other hand, miracles can happen when we choose to focus on the positive. Joy told of a woman named Susan who called to cancel the marriage counseling appointment she had made because she had concluded there was no way to save her marriage. Joy challenged her to try an experiment for two weeks before she made that decision. Susan was reluctant when she learned that the experiment was to say nothing negative to or about her husband, but to comment on everything positive. She said there was nothing positive, but Joy asked her a couple of questions that made Susan re-think that perception, and she agreed to try. You can guess the outcome.
Determine to Outfox the Enemy
Lundbergs said, “In one Church News article, members of the Church were given a warning about the reality of Satan. ‘Warning about the mission of the adversary, the First Presidency of the Church said years ago, ‘He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. . . Just knowing that there is an entity trying to lead the children of God astray is a powerful revelation because not believing an enemy exists puts one at a severe disadvantage.’ (Church News, March 6, 2016).”
Because We Love Our Marriage reveals “some of the methods and strategies Satan uses to destroy marriage in today’s world and what we can do to safeguard our families. When we know the plan and methods of the enemy, we have a far greater chance to defeat him and thereby fortify and protect our marriage and children.”
Marriage—Our Priceless Gift
Elder F. Burton Howard of the First Quorum of the Seventy said, “If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new . . . Eternal marriage is just like that. We need to treat it just that way. I pray that we may see it for the priceless gift that it is.” (“Eternal Marriage,” Ensign, May 2003)
One way to show how much you value that priceless gift would be to open Lundbergs’ book today. Become fore-armed by being fore-warned. This is a war we can’t afford to lose.
Author note: On the amazon.com link to Lundbergs’ book readers can take a “Look inside” where they can read the introductions and part of the first chapter, which really gives the flavor of the book. Here is the link.