Defending Your Marriage: The Reality of Spiritual Battle, By Tim Muehlhoff

Defending Your Marriage

The Reality of Spiritual Battle

by Tim Muehlhoff
Foreword by Clinton E. Arnold

Defending Your Marriage
  • Length: 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: November 13, 2018
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4550
  • ISBN: 9780830845507

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Is your marriage under attack?

Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to tear your marriage apart. Internal conflicts or external pressures might make you wonder if something sinister is going on. How can you tell if you're facing spiritual opposition? And what can you do about it?

Tim Muehlhoff provides a straightforward resource for protecting your marriage from the threats of the evil one. He looks at what Scripture says about spiritual warfare and how our everyday struggles have deeper spiritual realities. And he provides practical steps for guarding our marriages with the whole armor of God.

In our marital challenges, we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities that try to separate us from God and each other. But fear not. Learn to stand firm in Christ and trust in the Lord to deliver us from evil.

"The vast majority of couples starting their marriages think that their marriage will take place on a romantic balcony, not on a spiritual battlefield. Tim masterfully unmasks the ploys of our true enemy and thoughtfully equips us to protect our marriages, stay on the offensive, and leave a godly legacy for future generations. Every married couple needs to read, discuss, and apply Defending Your Marriage."

Dennis Rainey, cofounder of FamilyLife Ministries

"Tragically, we westerners still do not take the demonic seriously, especially when it comes to addressing problems in our marriage. That is until now. As far as I know, my friend and colleague Tim Muehlhoff has written the only book that tackles this crucial yet neglected aspect of cultivating healthy marriages. I really can't say enough about Defending Your Marriage. It is thoroughly biblically based and experientially sound; it is so well written that it reads like a novel, and it is chock-full of insights and practical applications. To be honest, I don't see how anyone can afford not to read this book who is involved in marriage counseling or simply wants his or her marriage to grow. It deftly adds a new dimension to marriage protection and enrichment that you will find nowhere else."

J. P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy, author of Finding Happiness Again

"Tim Muehlhoff approaches the idea of spiritual warfare in Christian marriage by beginning with Scriptural teaching about Satan. He then moves on to discuss ways to recognize spiritual battles in marriage and offers wise counsel regarding simple and practical things couples can do to face it. Written with accessible language and illustrated with engaging stories and occasional sidebars, this book is as readable as anyone could ever want a book to be on any subject. As intimidating as the topic of spiritual warfare in marriage may seem to be, Muehlhoff's approach is an unthreatening treatment of this long neglected but significant issue. No matter the current condition of their marriages—whether thriving, tedious, or troubled—Christians will benefit from reading this book."

Douglas S. Huffman, professor and associate dean of biblical and theological studies at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

"This is a desperately needed book on an overlooked topic. Defending Your Marriage is a sobering reminder of an invisible but very real danger to every Christian marriage—spiritual attack. When we fail to protect ourselves from this threat, we leave the backdoor open to forces that can erode our love, weaken our commitment, and even destroy our marriage. Thanks to Dr. Muehlhoff for identifying our hidden enemy and giving us plans for a strong defense, and for doing it in such a readable and engaging style."

Tim Downs and Joy Downs, authors of Fight Fair!

"I have known Tim for thirty-six years and I'm privileged to call him my friend. As a pastor, there's no one I would trust more on the issues addressed in this book. Defending Your Marriage is an excellent book, written by an even better man."

William Radford, senior pastor at Bedford Presbyterian Church, Bedford, Nova Scotia

"As go marriages so go families and as go families so go communities, states, and nations. For many years the Adversary has stepped up his attack on marriages and families. He doesn't mind the okay, so-so, mediocre marriages where Christ is, at best, on the periphery and making no real difference in the couples' lives. But once a couple refuses to settle for a fifth-rate relationship and decides to pursue a Christ-centered marriage, to learn how to look and live and love like our Lord, the attacks of the Adversary can feel overwhelming. Tim has given us a unique, biblically based, relevant handbook for not just protecting our marriage but in the process actually deepening and strengthening our love relationship with God and with each other. This practical and long-overdue resource will help you become 'more than conquerors' and experience the quality of marriage that God has designed for those who love him. It's a book you'll read more than once."

Gary J. Oliver, executive director of the Center for Healthy Relationships, professor of psychology and practical theology at John Brown University

"I am so grateful that Dr. Muehlhoff has taken on this critically important topic. Defending Your Marriage provides deep truths, engaging personal examples, and helpful insights into an area that too few authors have the authority to tackle. This book will set a standard for others that follow on this topic, providing couples with amazing resources to help them defend their marriage."

Chris Grace and Alisa Grace, founders of the Center for Marriage and Relationships at Biola University

"The wisdom imparted in this volume will help you discern what is going on in your marriage and will give you important tools for handling a wide array of issues that have spiritual roots."

From the foreword by Clinton E. Arnold, dean and professor of New Testament, Talbot School of Theology, author of Powers of Darkness

"This is a must-read for Christian marital therapists! It fills an important gap in our training by providing practical tools for the therapist to acknowledge, identify, and respond to spiritual warfare in marriages. As a marital therapist I am often searching for ways to help couples that seem to not respond to traditional marital interventions. This book offers a new intervention: addressing spiritual warfare to help with the healing process for couples. I am excited that I now have a detailed map on how to address spiritual warfare in marriage beyond just naming it."

Jana Anderson, certified Gottman method couples therapist

"My wife, Karen, and I have long thought Tim has a unique gift for presenting God's word on marriage in a fresh and engaging way. May his teaching on this critical but rarely tackled subject reach and bless many."

Jeffery Justice, board certified surgeon

"Defending Your Marriage offers a much-needed examination of an often overlooked influence in marriage: spiritual oppression. Tim Muehlhoff reminds us of the importance of taking marriage and spirituality seriously, inviting each of us to look beyond ourselves, to the wisdom and insight of Scripture. This book serves as a resource to couples and communities alike, a call to intentionally serve God, one another, and our neighbors. An invitation to engage reality, believing in the power of God, prayer, and community, becoming beacons of hope and light in the process."

Robert Fisher, executive director, Center for Individual and Family Therapy

"Defending Your Marriage exposes Satan's tactics as it draws us to the Lord to experience his love, forgiveness, and power. As we extend the same to our spouses, we fortify our marriages. We imagine the impact this has not only on the health of our own marital relationship, but also on our communities as others enjoy the benefits of God's kingdom on earth being lived out in a family. We are looking forward to getting some friends together to discuss and practice the concepts in this book!"

Chris Zaugg and Susan Zaugg, former United States director of Digital Strategies for Cru

"A unique and different approach to protecting our marriages, unlike any other I have read. So insightful, thoroughly scriptural, and profoundly balanced in the delicate handling of how spiritual warfare impacts our lives in relationships. Best of all, it is practical! This book will make a difference for you and your spouse as you discuss and act on Tim's very helpful suggestions and directives."

Roger Hershey, Cru speaker, ministry consultant, author of The Finishers

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Clinton E. Arnold
Introduction: When Your Marriage Is a Target
1. The First Step: Making Sense of Our Adversary
2. Why Would Satan Care About My Marriage?
3. How Can I Tell If This Is Spiritual Warfare?
4. The Serpent Was Crafty: Understanding the Tactics of Satan
5. Fighting Back as a Couple: Utilizing Our Spiritual Protection
6. Our Greatest Defense: Prayer: Energizing Our Spiritual Protection
7. Taking the Devil’s Perspective: Insights from C. S. Lewis


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Tim Muehlhoff

Tim Muehlhoff (PhD, University of North Carolina) is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California; codirector of The Winsome Conviction Project; and a speaker and research consultant for the Center for Marriage and Relationships. His books include The God Conversation, I Beg to Differ,Winsome Conviction, and Winsome Persuasion, which received a 2018 Christianity Today book award in apologetics/evangelism.