When I was a little girl, my way of dealing with sadness or the sins I had committed was to crawl under my bed and hide.
This provided a soothing escape among the dark shadows that seemed to mirror my state of mind. No one but the shoes next to my head knew the tears I was crying nor the shame I was feeling. At least, not until my mother or older sister noticed my absence and began to call out for me.
This illustrates what Adam and Eve must have felt, trying in vain to cover their sinful choice to eat the forbidden fruit.
This week we’re picking up in our Marriage Battle Strategies series with a look at Genesis 3:7-9 when the first couple took their very first bite into sin. Here’s what happened next …
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
First off, don’t assume that the fruit they ate had magical powers. Their eyes were opened because they had disobeyed God’s one and only command.
Seeing that they were naked not only made them feel vulnerable and exposed but it also revealed the stain of sin on their hearts. Can you relate? Genesis 3:7-9
This story repeats itself in marriage after marriage, generation after generation.
So then, what battle strategies can we use to resist temptation?
5 Ways to Come Out of Hiding and Improve Your Marriage
1. Avoid trying to “fix” your marriage problems.
This is such a common choice we make. But it spells disaster for our marriages when we try to take charge.
That’s because Satan loves to insert his lies in the whole fix-your-marriage proposition. He will tempt you to think you have the power to change (fix) your mate. Worse than that, he will trick you into hiding or closing your eyes to your own sins in the matter.
Are you doing either of these?
The only way to truly fix your marriage is to fix (fasten) your eyes on Jesus—giving Him the burden of fixing what is broken. Read more at MM!
2. Ask God to open your eyes to your sin.
Even though it might have felt like a bad thing to Adam and Eve—the shame and guilt that invaded their hearts—it was actually God’s way of helping them.
When we feel these emotions, we need to turn our eyes toward Jesus, asking Him to reveal the sins we so often want to deny, minimize, and/or justify.
Pray right now and ask God to show you your faults in your marriage. If you can’t discern them, find Bible stories and passages that deal with the kinds of conflicts you’re experiencing for greater insight.
Most of all, leave it up to God to expose your mate’s sins, at least in the initial stages of this process.
3. Resist hiding your sin.
Shame and guilt are, ironically, very GOOD emotions—that is, when you use them as your cue to turn to God. But if you’re like me (and I suspect you are!), probably your first response to shame and guilt is to try and hide it from your spouse.
Just know that this always makes matters soooo much worse!
I’ll be sharing below in #5 how to counter the tendency to hide our sins and mistakes. Keep reading!
4. Remember God is actively pursuing you even after you’ve sinned.
God must have made a habit of walking in bodily form with these two “in the cool of the day.” But even more amazing, their sin did not stop Him from pursuing them.
Better yet, your sins never stop God from pursuing you either!
If you’re in a messy season in your marriage or life, you probably don’t feel like your spouse wants to pursue you or vice versa. Let this reminder and truth comfort you, filling to overflowing your empty love tank.
5. Walk with God daily.
If you’re not carving out time to meet with God in a daily time of prayer and Bible study, you’re making yourself especially vulnerable to the evil one.
Think about it …
If Eve had been walking with God at this moment, she wouldn’t have stopped to chat with the serpent. In fact, she wouldn’t have been tempted at all because, with God by her side, the serpent would have avoided her like the plague.
Not only that, but she would have heard and known the truth because God would have told her while they walked together!
Your time with God is also the perfect time to bring any guilt or shame you have been hiding to Him.
When you do that, God will give you a nudge and the courage needed to come clean with your spouse as well. This allows you to walk and stay in step with your mate instead of feeling divided or alienated in your marriage.
If you’re facing marriage troubles, let God be the only place where you hide. Allow His loving presence to provide forgiveness for your sins and the comfort you need in your time of suffering!
So, allow me to ask the same haunting question God asked Adam and Eve …
Where are you?
Are you hiding among the dark shadows of your messes in life and marriage?
Stop and listen for God’s call, then come out and start walking with Him today!
If and when you do, you’ll find the strength and healing you need to walk in forgiveness and harmony with your spouse as well.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
Written by Karen Friday
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Messy Marriage