Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Follwing the deceptive conversation, the woman took some of the fruit, ate it, and gave some to her husband who was with her. He ate it, too! We have all been suffering the consequences for a long time!
How can a husband and wife help each other stay away from sin?
1. Make this decision together: Nobody talks to snakes. It is certainly true that talking to real snakes is a bad idea, but we are thinking of snakes figuratively. It is likely that some of the people around you will give you advice that will lead you to unholy reactions to your circumstances. Don’t seek their counsel and don’t pay attention to them when they give it anyway.
Have conversations with your spouse early and often about where you will pursue wise counsel when you need it – as a couple or as individuals. Be specific. Name the individuals that you will seek. Don’t wait for your spouse to act on pitiful advice before you remind him or her of this decision. It is likely that you will know when the ungodly are having too much input into your partner’s thought processes, so lovingly and respectfully point them in a better direction.
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…” (Psalm 1:1).
2. Help your spouse move toward a change of heart or a “renewing of the mind.” Don’t fool yourself into thinking that obstacles or rules are going to be sufficient in the long-term to keep you or your spouse from sin. Eve told the serpent that God said they were not to even “touch” the fruit. That was not true. Did they add that rule to keep themselves further from the sin? Humans try that a lot, but it is most often a failed experiment.
We love Covenant Eyes (www.covenanteyes.com), but it will not keep your husband from lust long-term nor your wife from an unholy chat with her high school boyfriend. Paul put it this way about rules like “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch:”
“These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self–imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence” (Colossians 2:22-23).
If you will really help your spouse stay away from sins that seem to easily entangle them, you must help them have a change of heart. Using internet accountability tools, restricting computer use, getting rid of smartphones, changing jobs, or castration might be helpful while you are trying to break habits, so use them as part of your plan; but they “lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
We are just kidding about the castration, by the way. Don’t do that.
3. Speak up at the critical times. Do not just sit quietly by, secretly angry, because your wife is being duped because of her tendency to be gullible. Do not just observe as your husband makes another boneheaded, sinful choice. Speak up! This is important! Consequences for sin can be tough on everybody.
One of the benefits of two is twice the fight against temptation. Don’t be passive while your spouse is struggling alone with temptation!
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves” (Eccl. 4:12a).
– Richard and JeannaLyn May