By Ashley McIlwain
The other night my hubs, Steve, and I were cuddled up having a movie night, and I was especially struck by the movie we were watching. Most of you have probably either seen it or heard about it; it’s called Taken.
The premise of the story is that this girl goes to Europe with her friend, and they are taken as part of a sex trafficking scandal. Her father sets out to rescue her with an unparalleled fervor and determination. And that’s what really stood out to me – this concept of pursuing and protecting the woman you love with everything you have.
Granted, the Taken scenario is not one many of us will find ourselves in thankfully. But every day we make decisions that either protect or endanger ourselves and our loved ones. Sometimes it’s physical endangerment, but I want to focus more on the spiritual, mental, and emotional endangerments that can sneak in.
There’s an innate desire within women to be pursued and protected. In one study researchers found that the top quality women look for in a potential mate is security. This doesn’t mean women are weak, but they appreciate and highly value a man that can protect them. And most men truly have an innate desire to protect; this is visible throughout the history of mankind.
Men have a unique opportunity and responsibility given to him as the leader of his home (Ephesians 5:25). Part of that role is protecting his wife and family from harm. While it may seem obvious how to protect one’s family physically, it may not be so apparent how to protect them spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
During the scene in Taken where the daughter is snatched, the dad warns her that it’s going to happen. He tells her to prepare herself and to call out everything and anything she can see to help him identify who the culprits are. Ultimately those clues were key in helping him hunt the bad guys down.
A huge part of finding and keeping the “bad guys” out of your marriage is to identify the warnings and clues of their presence with the help of your spouse. Unlike the movie, you don’t have to wait for something to be taken before you can do something about it. By being aware and working together with your spouse to identify and nullify looming culprits, you can prevent the disaster from ever befalling.
This might mean pointing out some concerns. For example, your wife may tell you that some of the movies and television shows you are watching have way too much nudity in them. She is concerned about the impact it has on the two of you, and that it might be opening the door for impure thoughts. So, together you identify the potential for pornography issues, and you decide to prevent it from ever being a problem by checking the ratings of all movies and TV shows to make sure you don’t watch anything that contains nudity.
Be aware of your surroundings. What people and things are you allowing into your homes and lives that could potentially destroy your marriage and family? Sometimes those things are well disguised and seemingly harmless, but collaborate with your spouse to detect and eliminate them before you have to deal with the heart wrenching damage they can cause.
Life doesn’t always go as planned. There are times when we get blindsided, and we find ourselves facing a pile of rubble before us. What now?
Fight! It amazes me how easily people give up on their marriages and families.
“Well, she doesn’t love me anymore.”
“We’re just no longer happy together.”
“I’m not sure what happened, but it’s over.”
People, your marriage is worth fighting for! Maybe you guys aren’t happy anymore. Perhaps one or both of you screwed up big time. Maybe you don’t know what went wrong where, but that doesn’t mean you throw in the towel.
In Taken, the father doesn’t find his daughter right away. He has to do some heavy lifting. He fights through the failures, disappointments, dead ends, and disasters to get what he came for. He knew he loved his daughter, and he was on a mission to rescue her. Nothing interfered with that. Nothing stopped or deterred him.
That’s the kind of courageous love and leadership that husbands need to have. Your wife says she doesn’t love you anymore? You do what it takes to figure out what will make her feel loved, and you do that. You keep doing that until you win her heart back. It may take time, and you may get beat up a bit along the way. But, your marriage, your wife … they are worth fighting for no matter what.
Taken has a happy ending (sorry to ruin for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet). What I love about the storyline though is that it took hard work, perseverance, courage, and tenacity to get there. The same is true for marriage.
Your marriage’s success depends on your willingness to fight for it … time and time again. Unlike any movie or fairytale, you will have to slay several dragons, defeat numerous opponents, fight many wars, and hurdle sometimes daily obstacles. You’ve got to constantly defeat your enemies and win the heart of your spouse.
Men, as the leader and protector of your home, you have a special mission. It’s up to you to step up bravely and protect your wife and kids. Be aware; what enemy is lurking outside your door waiting for you to crack it open allowing him to come in and steal away your family? Identify and eliminate that enemy before he does any damage. Fight; there are times where your adversary will breach the perimeter, and it’s up to you to defend and defeat him at any cost.
Loving your wife, defending your home, and protecting your family: that is your mission. Not only will your wife respect and revere your valor, but your marriage will stand the test of time. You have a choice to have your family taken, or to take it under your arm and near and dear to your heart.