It’s no secret that relationships are hard. A healthy relationship requires two people fighting for each other every day. A thousand enemies are coming at you and your spouse. Work, emotions, health, money, lust, kids, complacency, and time are all being used to destroy your relationship.

I know that you have all felt these things. Maybe you’re feeling those things now. It’s OK. Those are everyday things to work through. Keep loving your spouse. Keep fighting for them. You need to pay attention to one thing that can take these daily battles and turn them into a dangerous situation for your relationship. The Apostle Paul addresses it in Ephesians 4:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
— Ephesians 4:31–32

Be careful not to let bitterness take root because it is difficult to overcome. You see it when a once-loving couple now hates each other. A wife will believe that all her misery exists because of her husband, and a husband will believe that he wasted his life on a wife that could never make him happy. Instead of fighting for their spouse, they decide the spouse is the enemy and the source of all their misery, so they need to fight them.

Don’t be deceived, Peter warns us:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
— 1 Peter 5:6

The devil will take the tiny flame of a simple untrue thought and throw the gasoline of insecurity on it. You will recognize it because you will stop believing the best about your spouse and start mistrusting and scrutinizing every action, every word, and you will begin stewing on it instead of talking to your spouse to get to the truth.

Ephesians 4 tells us how to battle bitterness. Put those thoughts away. Choose to be kind instead of angry. Choose to forgive. Be committed to the truth.

Stop slandering and infighting, and start fighting the real enemies. Remember, you’re on each other’s team.