My husband Tim and I had been married a whole 20 minutes when God gave us a word that would forever change our lives. While we were still having our wedding photos taken, our on-fire-for-God friend who had officiated our wedding approached us and said that during the ceremony the Lord had told him to prophesy over us that we would be restoring marriages all over the world. Just like that, our assignment began in earnest–even before we could cut the wedding cake! From that moment forward, we have been learning at an accelerated pace exactly what the Lord prescribes for marriages. And the very first step is to build walls around our marriage to protect it from the enemy.
In ancient times, cities protected all that was important to them by erecting strong walls. These were crucial to the welfare of their city and all who lived within the walls. Everything about the wall was strategic, including watchtowers and gates for specific purposes. Building a wall around our marriages is no less crucial. Marriage is the crux of the nuclear family unit, and as such, it must be protected with fierce intentionality.
Lance Wallnau, author of The 7 Mountain Mandate: Impacting Culture Discipling Nations, told the story of how friends of his were hosting a big conference about the 7 Mountains of Influence. They had posters hung up on the walls depicting each of the 7 mountains: Family, Religion, Government, Education, Arts and Entertainment, Business, and Media. And for some unknown reason, one by one each of the posters started to fall off the wall. The only poster left still on the wall was THE FAMILY MOUNTAIN. This happened on 2 separate occasions, prompting Lance Wallnau to say, “…Your Family is a higher priority than your Church or Ministry. It’s the FIRST Mountain.”
If we truly understood the strategic assault of the enemy against our marriages, would we not devote time and energy and money to build a wall of defense? As an ancient city knew their survival depended on how strong their walls were, we absolutely must grasp the weightiness of building walls around our marriage that would keep the enemy outside our camp.
In the book of Nehemiah, we get a look at the urgency that one man had in building the wall to protect Jerusalem. In the first 6 chapters, we watch Nehemiah set about rebuilding the wall, and we see the strategy he employed in getting that wall up in record time:
He wept, mourned, fasted, and prayed about the wall’s current condition
He inspected the wall
He removed rubble
Everyone worked on the part of the wall in front of them
He led the people to fight for their families
He created a strategy to be ready for enemies when they came
As part of Tim’s and my calling to restore marriages, the Lord has allowed us to walk through certain challenges with the purpose of training us in His strategy. It was after a ridiculous argument on Easter Sunday that He taught us the strategy of building a wall around our marriage. It doesn’t matter what the catalyst of the argument was (but if you simply must know, it had something to do with dog pee and a mop!). What really matters is the underlying issues–the rubble in our lives, so to speak.
Later that day we were able to sit alone together and talk through underlying issues that spurned that particular argument. And, just as Nehemiah did, we set out to fix the broken walls.
- We prayed together and really mourned for the break in our unity. We asked the Lord to help us come back together peacefully.
- We inspected the state of the wall around our marriage, noting the places where offenses (even tiny ones) had slipped in between us. Unity is key in a marriage, and when a crack in that unity occurs, it’s crucial to fix it.
- We removed the rubble–taking out all offenses that lay between us, confessing our sins and fears and weaknesses to each other.
- We worked on the part of the wall that lay right in front of us. We took responsibility for our own actions and set out to fix what we had damaged.
- We chose to fight for our marriage—to do the hard thing rather than to sweep it under the rug.
- We recognized it as the spiritual warfare that it was and asked the Lord for His strategy for the next time the enemy sought to divide us.
And that strategy we pass to you today: Build that wall of protection around your marriage. Guard it with everything that you have. And fight for your family.
“So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, yours sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes’.”