BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:5-6, NKJV).
In the scripture above, Jesus was talking about marriage institution which God instituted and is recorded in the Bible in Gen 2. After the marriage union of Adam and Eve, Gen 2:24 says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (NKJV).
Marriage was ordained by God to be between one man and one woman but men in their own devices have, over the years, gone contrary to God’s Word. Marriage is meant to last a lifetime but in many societies this has not been so. Satan is a major culprit in the crisis in many homes and many marriage failures. He shoots different arrows at marriages, ten of which I have identified and will discuss in this message.
The truth is that satan hates marriage, and we see this right from the first marriage – the marriage between Adam and Eve. It is significant to note that after that marriage was contracted in Gen 2, the next recorded event in Gen 3 was the visit of the serpent (satan), an unwanted guest, to the Garden of Eden to tempt Eve and the subsequent fall of Eve and Adam. He got them evicted from the garden of pleasure.
Every couple should know that satan hates their marriage, and should follow biblical instructions in their home in order to safeguard their marriage against the arrows of the evil one. It is not enough that you are now married; you must recognize that there is a devil on the loose, who doesn’t want your marriage to last. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-10, NKJV). The Lord will save your marriage from the deadly arrows of satan and give you victory as He has given several others in Jesus’ name.
The Ten Arrows
Below are ten arrows I have identified:
1. Meddlesome interlopers. These are idlers, gossip, busy bodies (1 Tim 5:13, 2 Thess 3:6, 11). They are intruders who interfere in the marriage for their selfish interest. Beware of those who want to give you unsolicited information about your spouse. Beware of uninvited counselors who want to advise you on how to relate with your husband especially if you’re having some relational challenges. Beware of those who come to you to initiate discussion or ask questions about your spouse or marriage.
The serpent was the first meddlesome interloper. Gen 3:1 says, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (NKJV). What was his business about what God told the couple – Adam and Eve?
Don’t entertain meddlesome interlopers. That was Eve’s mistake. Learn to shut out interloper with proper answer.
2. Incessant quarrels and spouse abuse. Disagreement is inevitable between husband and wife but they should be careful not to encourage incessant quarrels which satan will use to destroy their marriage. Satan can influence couples to argue and quarrel over minor and inconsequential issues; they make a mountain out of a molehill and little issue degenerate into serious issues with couples flexing muscles. At least one of the couple should be sensitive enough to see the hand of the devil at work, and take steps to defuse tension. If a spouse is raging with anger, the other should avoid adding fuel to a raging fire so that the conflict does not degenerate into physical assault.
Arguments, insults, nagging, spouse abuse including physical and emotional harm, etc. should be avoided because they cause tension in the home opening doors to the ministry of the devil to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
Prov 27:15-16 says, “A nagging wife is as annoying as the constant dripping on a rainy day. Trying to stop her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or hold something with greased hands” (NLT). No husband enjoys a nagging wife, and vice versa. There’ll be no peace in such a marriage. According to Prov 21:9, “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (NKJV).
Husbands and wives should pursue peace in their marriages (Heb 12:14). Husbands should live with their wives according to knowledge. Husbands should love their wives; wives should submit to their husbands and honour them. Love and submission will defeat incessant quarrels and spouse abuse (Eph. 5:22-28, 1 Peter 3:1-7, Prov10:12).
Nagging or quarrelling over money, children, communications or conjugal rights as well as physical and emotional abuse must be avoided – it doesn’t solve any problem. Disagreement should be settled amicably. Proper and effective communication is crucial to a healthy marriage.
3. Financial Hardship. The devil attacks marriage with financial crises that steal the peace and joy in the home if not well handled. Most quarrels in homes are caused by inadequate finances. Couples must recognize when satan is attacking their finances to destroy their marriage; they should resist the devil and wisely manage their finances while they are trusting God to turn things around.
Not all financial challenges are because of satanic attacks. Some are due to unwise financial decisions, failure to plan, etc. Couples should endeavour to acquire scriptural financial literacy so as to save themselves from self-inflicted financial trouble.
As I’ve said, even for financial crises spiritual in nature, help is available in God. Couples should operate biblical financial principles including paying their tithes, giving offerings, sowing seeds, avoiding impulsive and compulsive purchases, imbibing financial discipline, engaging in saving and wise investment, cultivating a life of hard work (diligence), etc.
As you obey the Word of God, I decree deliverance for you from every financial shackle in Jesus’ name. Receive your liberty in Jesus’ name. An end shall come to financial hardship and crises in your life today. I terminate financial storm; be still in Jesus’ name. Receive your divine turnaround as from today.
Delayed conception and bareness. This is another arrow satan shoots at marriages. It causes a lot of tension in the home, pressure on the husband and wife. Some husbands, under pressure from their families, have married second wife while others have abandoned their wives to go into another marriage and raise another family. This is not right.
Abraham and Sarah had to contend with bareness in their marriage. But while waiting for the fulfillment of Gods promise, Abraham, at Sarah’s instance, impregnated Hagar, her housemaid. Thereafter there was no peace in Abraham’s home until he sent Hagar and her son away. Till today, the world is still facing the problem caused by that extramarital relationship allowed by their culture then (Gen. 15:1-6, 16:1-15, 21:1-14).
There was also no peace in Jacob’s home because of Rachel’s bareness. This was made worse because she shared the same husband with her elder sister, Leah, who already had children for her husband. “Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or else I die!’ And Jacob’s anger was aroused against Rachel, and he said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?’” (Gen. 30:1-2, NKJV). Jacob was right. It is God who gives children, and eventually God delivered Rachel from bareness – she had a child, Joseph, but unfortunately, she later died during the birth of her second child, Benjamin. Rachel didn’t have to be envious of her sister in the first instance but that was human.
Hannah and Peninnah had the same issue. Peninnah had children while Hannah had no child. “And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the LORD had closed her womb. So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat” (1 Sam 1:6-7, NKJV). But later, God answered Hannah and blessed her with the fruits of the womb. Hannah’s prayer after the Lord had opened her womb is recorded in1 Sam 2, and she says in verse 5, “Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, and the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, and she who has many children has become feeble” (NKJV). I pray that the Lord who remembered Hannah and opened her womb removing her reproach will visit every family currently in similar situation in Jesus’ name. Your secret sobbing shall come to an end, and you’ll testify.
Husbands must remain faithful to their wives no matter what. They should both hold on to the promise of God and not allow satan to use delayed pregnancies or bareness to destroy their marriage.
Exo 23:26 says, “There will be no miscarriages or infertility among your people, and I will give you long, full lives” (NLT). For children of God who’re currently facing the challenge of delayed pregnancy, I want to encourage you; your baby will come in Jesus’ name. You’re not barren – that’s what the Word of God says. Any evil arrow of bareness the devil has shot at you is removed today and destroyed in Jesus’ name. You shall conceive and have your own babies in the mighty name of Jesus. Delayed pregnancy is a name; bareness is a name. But the name of Jesus is greater than any other name. Therefore, I command delayed pregnancy, bareness, miscarriage, etc. to bow in the name of Jesus, the name that is above every other name (Rom 14:11). Receive your miracle babies in Jesus’ name.
5. Health challenges. Satan uses sicknesses to attack marriages. Husbands and/or wives may be falling sick or be diagnosed with life-threatening diseases that not only siphon their finances but cause anger, tension, loneliness, fear, depression in couples.
Couples must stand in faith to claim healing and not allow the devil to incite them against God like Job’s wife did when Job’s health was attacked. “So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.
Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips” (Job 2:7-10, NKJV).
God wants you to enjoy good health. He is the Lord who heals you (Exo 15:26). Don’t let the devil steal your health and destroy your home. Confess healing and health scriptures, eat well and exercise well. Compared to godliness which is profitable for all things, bodily exercise profits a little (1 Tim 4:8), but we cannot deny the fact that even the Bible acknowledges that physical (bodily) exercise is profitable, therefore couples should create time for it. The body of man is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). Take care of your body; you need your body to fulfill destiny.
Look at the virtuous woman mentioned in Prov 31. Without good health, hardly would she have been able to do all that is recorded about her. The devil would not mind to attack her health so that she would be able to slow her down or frustrate her. Couples must know how to stay open to the anointing for their healing and their divine health. They should support each other with healing words. “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Prov 17:22, NKJV).
I pray for divine health for you and your spouse in Jesus’ name. Your bodies shall not be afflicted with sickness in Jesus’ name. Sicknesses that deny couples enjoyment of their marriage shall be far away from you. Terminal illness shall not be your portion. You will not spend your years of marriage in affliction.
6. Marital infidelity. Sexual immorality is a sin, and therefore marital infidelity is a sin. “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor 6:18-20, NKJV).
Verses 1-5 of 1 Cor 7 go further to say, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (NKJV).
Couples are supposed to be faithful to each other and not to share their bodies with someone else other than the person they’re married to. But because of uncontrolled attraction to the opposite sex, unsatisfied sexual need, marital crisis, desire to get even with an unfaithful spouse or similar unjustifiable reasons, a spouse may get involved in marital infidelity which erodes the trust of the betrayed partner in the relationship. Heb 13:4 says, “Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery” (NLT).
Except there is genuine repentance on the part of the guilty spouse and forgiveness from his or her partner together with proper counseling, extra-marital sex destroys marriage. Couples should not keep relationship with the opposite sex not known to their spouses. A spouse should be sensitive to cut off from any relationship with the opposite sex in the work place, church, community, etc. that is drawing him or her closer in an emotional entanglement that can result in extramarital sex. “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28, NKJV).
Every married person should be wary of being caught in a compromising position with the opposite sex especially one who is a willing accomplice. The devil can set up a man or a woman with the opposite sex who from the outset is lusting after him or her for extramarital sex, and to such agent of the devil, it’s not a big deal; it’s actually what the person wants. Prov 6:25-29 says, “Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent” (NKJV).
Marital infidelity has destroyed many marriages, and sometimes the couple couldn’t explain what went wrong. It was spiritual. The devil shot the arrow of marital infidelity and a wife or husband who had been faithful all along began to lust after another man or woman, and soon fell into temptation of engaging in sexual immorality. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15, NKJV).
Temptation to engage in marital infidelity may come, but like every other temptation; you don’t have to fall into it. Bind that demon and cast out the sinful thought. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are” (NLT). If you think you are standing strong, be careful so that you don’t fall into the same sin others have fallen into (1 Cor 10:12).
In the name of Jesus, you shall be faithful to your spouse. The Lord shall keep you; you shall not fall into temptation of sexual immorality; the snare of seducers shall not catch you.
7. Wrong friendship. Friendship is good – it has great benefits. But friendship with the wrong persons equally has great repercussions. When the devil wants to destroy someone, he sends wrong people into his life who influence him or her negatively. It is not good to be alone but it is better to stand alone than move with wrong friends. Prov 13:20 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (NKJV).
Wrong friendship in marriage brings a spouse under negative influences which lead to wrong behavior hitherto not part of his or her life. “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor 15:33, NLT). A spouse who hitherto was not keeping late hours outside suddenly begins to do so. A spouse who used to be caring begins not to care again because of the influence from new friends. Wrong friendship can turn a spouse to a wife beater, a drunk, an unfaithful spouse, a nagging wife, etc. “Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul” (Prov 22:24-25, NKJV).
Couples should not be sentimental about friendship. Not every person can be your friend. Friendship is not by force but by choice. As a child of God, if you discover that someone’s belief, values or behaviour is at variant with that of the Bible, don’t hesitate to keep some distance from such a person before he or she begins to influence you negatively, and destroy your marriage. It doesn’t even matter that such a fellow claims to be a Christian. “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person” (1 Cor 5:10, NKJV). Prov 14:7 says, “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge” (NKJV). This is wisdom.
The Lord shall separate you from any relationship that is dangerous to your marriage. Any company that is inimical to the well-being of your marriage, the Lord shall deliver you from it.
8. A sick church life. Every couple should be planted in a Christian assembly where they are ministered to and they also serve. There are different ways satan can attack a couple’s church life, and when a couple has a sick church life, this will negatively affect their marriage because the church is supposed to minister to every department of a Christian’s life.
For instance, separation from pastoral care is a sign of a sick church life. Every Christian and every marriage need to be under pastoral care. Because satan knows the benefits of pastoral care, satan sometimes attacks marriage by separating couples from pastoral care. Couples who have been under pastoral care before may, due to one reason or the other, severe or disconnect themselves from pastoral care. They may remain a member of a Christian assembly but not be consistent in attendance; they may be consistent but become overly critical of what the church or leadership is doing thereby not responding to ministration. They may refuse to seek pastoral counsel concerning some challenges in their lives or even outrightly quit fellowship and stay back at home thereby violating Heb 10:25 which says believers should not neglect meeting together with fellow believers.
Acts 20:28 says, “And now beware! Be sure that you feed and shepherd God’s flock — his church, purchased with his blood — over whom the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders” (NLT). That is the job of shepherds but the sheep must cooperate. Satan causes couples not to flow in fellowship with other believers in an assembly either because of offence or disagreement with non-fundamental issues in order to prepare the ground for his main goal. He wants to cut them off from pastoral care so that he would be able to carry his mission in their lives without support from fellow believers.
James 5:14-15 says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil I n the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (NKJV). A couple satan has separated from pastoral care cannot benefit from this ministry. Such a couple will face their health challenges and other challenges alone because they have isolated and insulated themselves from help that is available in the church. A healthy church life contributes greatly to sustaining a marriage because church ministers to every department of members’ life including marriage.
9. Separation and Divorce. God’s ordination is that marriage should be for life – till death do couples part (Rom 7:2). “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24, NKJV). The Bible says God hates divorce. “But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce” (Mal 2:15-16, NKJV).
Although divorce was being practiced by Israelites till the days of Jesus on the strength of Mosaic Law in Deut 24:1-4, Jesus explained that divorce was not intended by God from the beginning. “The Pharisees came and asked Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ testing Him. And He answered and said to them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.’ In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. So He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery’” (Mark 10:2-12, NKJV). Also in Luke 16:18, Jesus said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery” (NKJV).
From Jesus’ teaching it is clear that God’s ideal is that marriage should last a lifetime. Paul also followed the teaching of Jesus emphasizing keeping the marriage vows (1 Cor 7:10-16).
However, satan scatters marriages by shooting the arrow of separation or divorce which other arrows earlier discussed may be preparing the ground for. Whereas divorce is the judicial dissolution of the marriage, separation does not dissolve the marriage but the court only separates the parties to the marriage and orders their living apart or the husband and wife themselves agree to live separately. Neither separation nor divorce is the will of God for marriage but they do happen for different reasons. Most victims on either side never imagined they would go through separation or divorce.
Before a marriage ends in separation or divorce, such a marriage may have previously come under the satanic attack of meddlesome interlopers, incessant quarrels and marital abuse, financial hardship, delayed conception and bareness, health challenges, marital infidelity, wrong friendship and a sick church life. If couples don’t deal with these forerunners by watching and praying, divorce may be a fait accompli.
Though God hates separation and divorce, the devil hates marriage hence husbands and wives must know that the devil doesn’t want their marriage to succeed and therefore should not be ignorant of his devices (2 Cor 2:11). They must protect their marriage against any arrow that he may want to shoot to cause their marriage to fail. What God has joined together, satan must not be allowed to use any device to put it asunder (Matt 19:4-6).
10. Premature death. The devil sometimes attacks marriage with the arrow of premature death of either of the couple. But God’s promise for you and your spouse is long life. He says, “With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation” (Ps 91:16, NKJV). He says He would fulfill the number of your days (Exo 23:26). His Word says you shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD (Ps 118:17). But satan is always lurking around to cut short the lives of couples or either of them.
Couples must be aware of this strategy and arrow of the devil. They must bind the spirit of death and speak life, long life, upon themselves. They should confess for themselves and for their spouses the promises of God concerning long life. They should also mind their tongues. They may desire life and be speaking death – this is wrong. Prov 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (NKJV). Couples must avoid cursing their spouses with death or wishing them dead out of provocation lest the devil should hold on to such words, and attack them with premature death. They should renew their minds daily with the words of God (Rom 12:2).
CONCLUSION: As I have said, the devil hates marriage, and that was why he moved against the first marriage in the Garden of Eden causing Adam and Eve to disobey the Word of God.
Protect your marriage by living your life in obedience to the word of God. Obey biblical principles, be sensitive to the enemy’s devices and watch and pray. Part of your prayer should be request for wisdom, and God shall give it to you (James 1:5).
Every arrow that satan may want to shoot or is already shooting at your marriage shall be destroyed in Jesus’ name. His arrows shall not hit your marriage; your marriage shall be preserved. It shall not fail; it shall not crumble.
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523