There’s an inbred attitude we all have that can destroy marriage. It’s subtle, but it’s deadly. The attitude is this:

Inside my circle, I’m in charge.

This attitude goes back to when God created angels. One day, one of them thought, Wow, I’m spectacular! In fact, I’m so impressive that I think I could run this place. That angel was cast out of heaven; but ever since then, he’s been trying to convince people that they could be in charge too. 

Take the Garden of Eden. One day in the garden, Eve said, “Hey, Adam. God said if we eat this, we’ll have all the knowledge of good and evil. If we eat this, we could run this place.”

There were consequences to that choice—God said to Eve, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). The word desire means “the desire to control.” In other words, “You will try to control this relationship, and your husband will try to control you.” So now we have Eve, the queen of her domain, and Adam, the king of his domain. Two people... and two circles.

The desire for control continues in us. The whole time we’re growing up, we’re trying to establish our circle. Because inside our kingdom circle, we’re in charge—we’re in control.

But then one day, a man meets a woman, and they decide to get married. On the wedding day, it’s a clash of the clans—two kingdoms colliding. So we try to negotiate a merger—or, more accurately, we try to bring the other person into our kingdom.

Can you see how these inbred attitudes of control can destroy a marriage before it even gets started? If you look behind the conflict in any marriage, chances are you’ll find a king or a queen—or both—protecting their circle.

If you’re still trying to merge two kingdoms, your marriage has not yet taken flight.

In Matthew 12:25, Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” Controlling your personal kingdom and having a great marriage are incompatible. You have to choose: Will I build my personal kingdom, or will I build a great marriage?

If you want a great marriage, then you both must erase your own circles and—together—embrace God’s. His Kingdom is about worshiping the Lord and serving Him. It’s about aligning your life around what He wants and being available to live for Him instead of for yourself.

What would your marriage look like if you came to each other as servants, not people trying to protect your own turf? When you erase your circle and live for His, everything changes. That’s when your marriage will really take off!


Additional resources on this topic:
Modern Marriage CD, USB, or DVD series by Pete (special offer)
Biblical Marriage Teaching by Stuart, Jill, and Pete