"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)  
 
I sat on the bed, tears streaming down my face, negative thoughts racing through my mind ...  Why does marriage have to be so hard sometimes?  Why can't he see my side of things?  Why won't he change?  Maybe I married the wrong man.

This was a scene repeated over and over the first five years of my marriage.  I was discouraged, overwhelmed and so tempted to give up.  But here I am about to celebrate my 18th wedding anniversary so thankful I didn't walk away. 

Ephesians 6:12 was a great reminder to me over the years that my husband isn't my enemy.  Art may feel like my enemy but the truth is Satan is the real enemy who hates marriage and schemes against my husband and me.  One thing we must always remember is Satan's goal to be one who casts something between two to cause a separation. 

Satan wants to separate us in every way.  He wants to separate us with conflict, hurt feelings, misunderstanding, and frustrations of all kinds.  He wants to separate us from our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, our parents, our spouses, our kids.  He wants to separate us from God's best.  He wants to separate us from God.

One of the best ways for Satan to start these separations is by luring us into a place of grumbling and complaining.  If he can get us to focus only on what is aggravating and negative in life, then little cracks of distance start forming in our relationships.  The grass starts looking greener everywhere else except where we are standing.

I can see this so clearly when I look back on the first five years of my marriage.  Somehow, I became so hyper focused on all I felt was wrong with my husband, I became blinded to all that was good.  I grumbled and complained and nagged and set out to change him.  And I almost destroyed my marriage in the process.  Satan had a field day as the separation between Art and I kept ever widening.

Then one day as I was in a fit of tears asking God to make things better, I felt challenged to start listing out things about Art for which I was thankful. 

It was hard at first.  I had bought Satan's whispers that there was only negative there with very little positive to find.  But, with each positive quality I listed, it slowly changed everything.  It was as if the clouds of negativity lifted and I could once again see his good qualities.  There were so many good qualities; I was shocked how I'd gotten so blinded.

How sad I spent five years thinking the grass would be greener with someone else.  Not true.  The grass is always greener where you water and fertilize it.  And being thankful --really intentionally listing out things for which we are thankful-- is a great way to start watering and fertilizing and changing everything.

Dear Lord, thank You for helping me see how beneficial it is to be aware and appreciative of the good qualities in those I love.  Lord, help me to recognize Satan's schemes and combat them with the power of having a truly thankful heart.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.