Dealing with External Influence in Marriage
Pastor Priji and Rashmi have a conversation on importance of identifying and sorting out the negative influences from outside your marriage!
Welcome to this morning’s episode of marriage talk with Pastor Priji and Rashmi.
Pastor Rashmi: Any good relationship requires a lot of work and effort. We are thankful to God to have mentors, spiritual parents and good role models who have helped us in our journey.
Pastor Priji: Today we are going to discuss about the influences in your marriage that can have positive or negative effects on your marriage and how to deal with them. In our own marriage, we have struggled with surface level challenges which upon digging further, we realize is due to a discouraging word or lie from someone which we then project on our spouse. We forget that our spouse is not our enemy in those situations.
Pastor Rashmi: An external influence can be defined as anything or anybody that is outside of the triangle of God, you and your spouse.
Pastor Priji: The Bible says a 3 braided cord is very hard to break. Anytime there is a 4th influence, it’s called an external influence. Not all external influence is bad. How do you differentiate between the two? By looking at the fruit of the relationship – is it causing your marriage to be drawn apart or to be healed and drawn together?
Pastor Rashmi: Any influence that keeps you as a team is good; anything else is negative. As examples, external influences could be parents, in-laws, pastors, friends, or even children! All of them can be both good and bad, depending on how you view them and how much they are speaking into your marriage. In today’s podcast we are going to talk specifically about the bad influences.
Pastor Priji: The best example is in the Bible – the first marriage of Adam and Eve and God’s voice. The 4th person who spoke into their marriage influenced their decisions. As a result, they began to blame each other, grew distant and ran away from God who is the 3rd person in a marriage. Negative external influences can make you bitter towards each other and towards your relationship with God. If we look at Isaac and Rebecca – an exemplary marriage, but their influence was their children. The father wanted to bless the first son whereas the mother favored the second child. Build a holy guard around the voices that speak into the closeness of your marriage.
You should seek help if you are struggling in your marriage but even in those situations, your primary allegiance should be towards your spouse; not to your mentor or pastor. Set your priorities right. Don’t talk in a way that puts your spouse down in front of others. That sets a precedent for others to do the same.
Pastor Rashmi: We are brought up in a very competitive environment and marriage can become a competition between you and your tribe against the latest addition, your spouse. In such cases, everything becomes a fight to project oneself as important to the other person. We forget that even in our disagreement, God sees us as a team. We work in corporate set ups with people we often disagree with, yet we still achieve goals together. Use the same principle in your marriage. When God brought you together, He brought you as helper, especially the wife. You cannot help someone you are against. Remember that you and your spouse are one team, one force. You are one in the eyes of God.
Pastor Priji: Sometimes you need to redefine some of your relationships with your best friends, mentors or leaders if they are speaking negative things into your marriage. If they are not wishing the best for your marriage, you cannot see them as well wishers. It can even be your parents, as sincere as their intentions may be.
Pastor Rashmi: Our parents love for us is blind; they will always favor their child and this may cause them to fight with your spouse and be a negative influence.
Pastor Priji: Sometimes your allegiance to your pastor can be a negative influence where one person feels the pastor’s voice is God’s voice, and the other doesn’t feel the same. In such cases, wait for your spouse to be on-board with the decisions you’re making in obedience to your pastor. Don’t do it till your spouse is inline with the same vision. If you do, you’re conveying the message that you prioritize your pastor over your spouse and that’s not right. Pray it out and ask God to give you strength to endure till your spouse is on the same page.
Pastor Rashmi: The same God who brought you and your spouse together is the One speaking to your pastor. If God is in every area of your life, it will all flow in tandem.
Pastor Priji: There was a particular season in our life when we were fighting with each other, trying to sort out our busy schedules. I was supposed to travel for a Revive Nations trip, the tickets were all booked, the trip was planned and my spiritual father, Pastor Shyju, told me not to travel. He advised me to concentrate on my marriage and that my ministry has to begin with my house. Find leaders like that whom you can submit to and receive from.
Another area you can work on is if you can expose each others’ blind spots to each other. Talk to your spouse honestly about the things you see as their influences or cause interruptions in your marriage. It can even be your phone or media. Do this without being accusatory and disconnect immediately from anything that has the potential to drive you apart.
Pastor Rashmi: Going for couple fellowships is something we have been doing in our marriage where a group of 6-7 couples meet up and we discuss topics that are important to a marriage. We learn a lot on practical applications so we’re not taken by surprise when something happens. We also meet with our marriage mentors regularly and build our relationship with them. You shouldn’t run to your mentor when the damage is already done; rather build the relationship early so that when you see the first sign of a storm, you are prepared and united to face it and come out of it stronger than before. Don’t forget that you are one and the world needs to see you as one.
Pastor Priji: Spend some time with your spouse to identify some of those negative influences in your marriage and discuss how you can overcome them in your life.
I pray that the Father will reveal to you anything that is trying to break into your marriage and that you will have a fresh light starting today so that nothing will take you by surprise. Let there be a healing in your marriage and I pray that God’s voice will take over the empty areas of your lives.
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