Marriage Warning Signs
By: Rebecca Barlow Jordan
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. - Proverbs 22:3 NLT
Remember our parent’s warning? “Look both ways before crossing the street.” And we repeat the same message to our kids. We’re not trying to spoil their fun; we just don’t want them to get hurt.
As adults, we encounter warnings daily. When severe storms approach the area where we live, we usually receive a weather alert by phone or text. Hurricanes bring warnings for cities to take necessary precautions, even evacuations, to escape possible life-threatening situations. And if heavy rain floods our streets, city road workers set up warning signs and roadblocks that remind us to “turn around; don’t drown.”
Traffic signs flash red and green for stop and go, but include yellow lights to remind us to slow down. Railroad crossings fling slender poles in our path with a blinking red light to signal the danger of an approaching train. Stop signs, yield signs, pedestrian crossings, and even work zones and speed limits suggest one thing: Be alert; take caution; danger ahead; pay attention.
The ones who ignore these kinds of warnings usually get hurt. Some won’t live to tell about it.
Since the beginning of time, God has also cautioned His people. First, he warned the first couple, Adam and Eve, not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But they didn’t listen to Him. As people populated the earth and ignored God more and more, God convinced Noah to take precautions against impending world danger. Noah obeyed, but others ignored the signs and perished.
As the centuries passed, God warned His people of potential dangers to their physical, emotional, and spiritual lives. He spoke through chosen godly men and prophets, through dreams and through divine intervention. But God never cautioned us to limit our joy or freedom. In fact, He sent Jesus—God With Us—to fulfill our joy and help us find true freedom in Him. After Jesus’ death and Resurrection, God sent the Holy Spirit so His presence could be with us always—teaching, comforting, helping, and yes, warning us of impending dangers.
That same warning system is in place in our marriages. God teaches us through His Word how to become the kind of husband or wife He wants us to be. He sets up standards, values, and cautions not to limit our marriage joy, but to make sure we enjoy it fully and completely as He designed. He doesn’t want us to get hurt.
Sometimes God uses a friend, coworker, or Bible teacher to warn us, one who can see where we’re heading, even when we can’t. Other times He allows us to see the result of pain and suffering in other marriages with couples who refused to listen. He may even use our spouse or children to warn us that danger lies ahead.
God further nudges us to listen to the Holy Spirit’s “voice” inside that serves as our conscience. Little by little, we may ignore the warning signs and cross over into the danger zone. We may quench God’s Spirit and His whispered cautions and turn excuses into reasons: It won’t hurt. Just this once. I deserve this. He did it first. I don’t have time. My work demands more. We need this money. No one will even care—or notice. I can handle it. The whispers are unique to our personal situations, but we can all identify. And if we try to run around the roadblocks or ignore the stop signs, we’ll suffer the consequences.
But God says the prudent or wise couple, both together and as individuals, will pay attention to the warning signs. In fact, they take necessary precautions before it’s too late. They become proactive. They slow down; they turn around before they drown in temptation; they keep talking and praying with each other, and they keep looking to God’s Word for guidance.
Our wise Heavenly Father wants the best for us, just like we want that for our children. He loves and cares for us too much not to warn us. But His Word not only counsels us about upcoming danger; it also directs us to hidden treasure (Psalm 19:11 MSG). As married couples, when we listen to Him and take His cautions seriously, we’ll experience wealth not measured by money. We’ll discover God’s path to a special treasure and what He’s wanted for us all along: a sweet marriage relationship.
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is a bestselling inspirational author and day-voted follower of Jesus who loves to paint encouragement on the hearts of others. After five decades of marriage, she and her husband are more passionate about marriage and family than ever. Rebecca has authored and contributed to over 20 books and has written over 2000 other articles, devotions, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. She is a regular Crosswalk contributor whose daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is also available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can sign up for Rebecca’s free ebook and find out more about her and her encouraging blog at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
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