Neither had specifically gone looking for someone else.
Yet they left the back door of their hearts unlocked.
When situations presented themselves — at a time when their partner was not paying attention, loving or respecting the way they needed too — the front door to temptation opened and satan slithered in.
While these temptations involving the very respectable Lord and Lady Grantham of Downton Abbey fame did not result in full-blown affairs, they injured their union for a time.
Robert and Cora, in separate instances, had focused on their own self-interests and needs relegating their mate and their marriage to a subordinate position.
And none of us are above such temptation in our own marriages.
The enemy is always on the prowl seeking to devour and if we leave the door open a crack he pushes in. Hating marriage, the forces of darkness insidiously set us up to stumble if we are not on our toes. Daily we enter a battle, the stakes of which are mighty and high and holy. Daily we must don our spiritual armor and stand arm-in-arm with our husband or our wife.
Protecting our marriage and prepared to fight whatever poses a threat.
And sometimes the greatest threat is our very own lack of due diligence.
My Michael and I, both divorced more than once, don’t take this marriage we share for granted. After nurturing and growing our individual and collective relationships with God, we are constantly tending our marriage, our minds and our hearts. After many sinful starts we are more awake and alert, willing to sacrifice self for the sake of the One who saved us. And each other.
While we don’t watch TV we are rather addicted to Downton Abbey.
The life and love issues of the Crawleys, the aristocratic English family whose fictional lives have unfolded on the screen against the historical backdrop of the early 20th century for the last five years, provide sparks that ignite deeper, probing conversations.
As we discussed how Robert and Cora came to such precarious predicaments in their marriage we realized three things that we as a married couple must remember to help our unions stay safe and strong.
- Whether male or female your spouse needs daily attention and affirmation. They need to know you find them attractive both physically and mentally. That you want to be with them. That you want them. They need your time and full eye-contact interaction. They need hugs and sexual intimacy. Time to talk together, to relax, and laugh and have fun. Just the two of you. And in paying attention to them you have their back, being alert and ever praying. And staying fully engaged, day by day, in your lifelong love affair remembering that little things are truly the great things and when practiced regularly breath new life into your marriage.
- Thoughts — as well as your heart — about your spouse must be guarded for if thoughts are not positive and honorable they lead to choices, words and actions that have the potential to tear you and your spouse asunder and set you up for sin that can wreck a marriage. Almost without you thinking about it. So be fully present. Be sober. Be vigilant. In marriage you are always wanting to move closer together. Let go of any grudge against them. Choose forgiveness. Refuse to be dismissive or flippant when their thoughts and opinions are not yours. Hold your mate in high regard — they are your one flesh. I am my beloved’s and he is mine…
- Choosing anything besides God as first above your mate will put your marriage at risk whether it’s too much work, elevating children to the place of your spouse, exhausting yourself volunteering at church, or spending excessive time alone with your hobbies, at the gym, with friends. All these things chip away at the precious and few moments you may have with your spouse each day. God doesn’t expect you to do everything for everybody but He does ask that you love Him well and your neighbor, too. Your closest neighbor is the man or woman you married.
Marriage is a wonderfully rewarding and at times terribly hard adventure for life. It’s God’s perfect design to soothe the inherent loneliness within men and women.
It’s precious in that a good marriage shows the world a glimmer of God and how He loves us.
But if we are not careful it can all slip away, sometimes slowly with a series of small slights. Other times devastatingly fast due to affairs, abandonment and divorces.
So stay on guard. And we will, too.
Be grateful for the man or woman whom God has entrusted to your care. Pay attention to them each day and never forget to tell them how much you love them and how grateful you are to be married to him or her.
And then show them.
Kiss like you mean it. Dance in the kitchen after dark. Light some candles and share an enchanted evening of intimacy.
This man or this woman is your best friend, your lover, your partner for life.
And life is a vapor…
You can catch up with the Crawley’s here.
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