Marriage means so many things to so many people. Some refer to it as a business. Others say, it’s about love and some will debate that marriage is about religion or spirituality. I would argue that marriage is all of those things. Most importantly, a marriage IS spiritual. I say this because it is soul-tieing, or at least it should be.
I believe a couple should work to be so close that at some point, the two parties share the same emotions and empathy amongst the two becomes second nature. The only “drawback” to such an ordained connection is the threat of satan.
Couples must understand that when they take on a covenant such as marriage, their union becomes a target. This is why surrounding themselves with the right people is so crucial to the success of it. A person doesn’t have to be religious to believe that there is both evil and good in the world. We know that all things evil serve three purposes: to steal, kill and destroy.
What happens when evil gets into your marriage? When we get married, some of us become oblivious to the idea that our spouses can be the “devil’s mule.”
Here are 5 Signs That Your Spouse is Being Used by Satan…
1. They stop putting the marriage first.
Like the human body, marriage develops in stages. In each stage of the marriage, we learn more and more about what it needs, through trial and error. By the next stage, we’ve mastered those premature needs and now it’s time to learn something new, something deeper. We stop learning or growing as a couple when we put the marriage second or third to all other things.
One can tell when this happens because one or both spouses will start to use words like, “I, my and me.” Their actions will become more self-satisfying and less about the success of the couple. This looks like making financial decisions or plans without discussing them first, or going places that your spouse isn’t aware of.
When you notice this about your spouse, be swift to point it out and don’t be afraid to explore where this thought process is coming from. You might find that your spouse is dealing with some insecurities they can’t quite communicate in any other way.
2. They interact with people who speak against or attempt to divide the marriage.
The biggest “NO-NO” in a marriage is congregating with non-team players. This includes ex-partners, friends, co-workers and family members. Yes, family members can be “haters” too. Some spouses do not realize this, but the company we keep can be a straight pipeline from the devil’s playground to their home.
This looks like, people who work hard to make your spouse feel uncomfortable by making snarled comments, nonverbal gestures and disrespect when they are present; exclusive invites to functions for one spouse but not the other; the inviting of ex-spouses or ex- partners to functions who also don’t support the union, and the sharing of gossip or hear-say.
When this happens, chances are, our spouse has a common interest or thought process that allows them to believe these type of interactions are acceptable. Maybe deep down inside, they have a problem with their spouse too and need allies, or maybe they aren’t strong enough to stand up to evil forces. Either way, it’s dangerous and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The best way to handle this is to separate yourself and let your spouse see that those snakes will soon bite him or her. Take this time to get closer to God as this will be your only protection. The purpose of the ostracization has always been to provoke you, especially if you’re on a path to greatness. Let them have the battle because you’re about to win the war.
3. They downplay your success or minimize your growth
What happens when you wake up one day and learn that your spouse doesn’t believe in you? Or better yet, they believe in you so much, they become jealous. They say “the closest ones to us are sometimes the ones we need to watch the most with that knife to our backs.” It’s devastating to believe that the close one, could be your spouse.
Insecurities exists in all of us but it’s what we do with them that makes a difference. Because of this, having success on one’s own is important before entering a marriage. We all want to know or at least believe we brought something to the table. If a person doesn’t see themselves as adequate or making a contribution to the marriage, they will do things like minimize the impact of the other person’s success. This will look like, referring to their spouse’s career as “nothing” or categorizing a passion as a “hobby.”
When this happens, stay encouraged and ignore the negativity. Get a support system that inspires and separate yourself from the environment that is belittling. Communicate with your spouse that this is what you’re doing and let them know that they aren’t allowed in your personal space until they can add value.
4. They stop showing up for you
Nothing is more bothersome to a marriage than being in one and still feeling, “single.” Togetherness is very important when keeping the Devil out of a marriage because that gap between the two of you stays closed. When the gap is open or there’s too much space in between you two, satan will soon have its way. This looks like one spouse is always at home and the other is not; one spouse partakes in parenting and the other does not; activities and family functions are done separately; award ceremonies or work functions are attended alone.
When this happens, have a discussion with your spouse about the loneliness, explore the separation and make a plan to spend more time together. In the meantime, keep yourself busy and discover who you are without them. While it may lead to a more permanent separation, you might find that the dead weight was slowing you down anyway.
5. Manipulation becomes their new way to resolve issues
Vulnerability is the key to effective communication in a marriage or any relationship for that matter. When people fear that vulnerability will no longer benefit them, they sometimes do or say things to get the desired response. For example, if your spouse fears that saying, “I love you” will result in not receiving an “I love you too,” they may resort to tactics such as, guilt-tripping by saying, “If you love me, you will do or would’ve done…” Sometimes, they may even create scenarios to see if their spouse will get jealous. Either way, this is exhausting and causes a rift in the security of the marriage.
The decision to use manipulation is a tell-tell sign that a spouse doesn’t have a high level of self-worth or assurance. It’s kind of like dishonesty and stealing. People lie and steal because it gives them a sense of control over another person or group of people. If a person felt secure in their presence and sure of themselves, they would put faith in their hard work, decreasing the need to take short-cuts and control the outcomes.
When this happens, don’t engage in the manipulation. Silence or very few words is always best when talking to a manipulator. I’m big on saying, “Yep, you’re right, or whatever it is you say, babe” when someone wants to engage in getting a desired response out of me. It gives them all the control they want, by way of not letting them control me at all. I call it “manipulating the manipulator.”
A manipulator’s goal is to provoke chaos in the spirit. It takes two to fight right? So, if one partner doesn’t engage or surrenders, there is no fight. This isn’t the same as giving in, it’s simply a matter of not answering until your name is called.
Prayer, meditation, deep-breathing and relaxation, yoga, and becoming in-tune with one’s soul is always the best way to gain peace in the midst of a storm. Though it’s not ideal (because you two are supposed to be ONE), leaving the problem with the person who owns it and in this case, your spouse, is the best way to protect your energy. When someone close to you is used to destroy you, this let’s you know that you are doing something right. Keep going, don’t give up and turn up your light one more notch.
Pray for your spouse, pray for yourself and give your spouse resources to help them see that they are being used and not aligned with the marriage. Refrain from blaming or shaming or getting caught up in debates because God is the only entity that can turn this around.
This post was written to provide insight to ways in which our spouses can be used for maladaptive purposes and how to deal with it.
Nya B is an author, mental health clinician, professor and speaker. For more interaction with Nya B, follow her on IG and Twitter @author_nya_b or FB, @Nya B.