We are confronted by lies every day. Our culture lies to us, advertisers lie to us; we even lie to ourselves. One of the shakiest lies people grab onto is the fairytale ending where it reads: “And they all lived happily ever after.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? You fall in love, marry, and you live happily ever after. Too often, that’s one of the lies we can come to believe.
Oh, if only it was that easy! The truth is, that it just doesn’t come easily. That fairytale “lie” never points out all of the hard work that goes into making the “happily” become an “ever after.” When the reality of every day living hits home within marriages, many couples live “miserably ever after” rather than the other way around.
Somewhere in between “living happily” and “living miserably” with your spouse is the truth of the mission of marriage. A loving, healthy, happy married life is made up of two imperfect human beings, who live in union with a perfect God, glorifying Him. (We often overlook that part.) We do this through serving and showing love to God and to each other… for as long as we both shall live.
Marriage Lies That Many Believe
To live out this mission of marriage we need to STOP believing lies that can kill our marriages. And to help us do that, we’re going to share some of the common marriage lies that too many spouses grab onto and embrace. By bringing these lies out into the light, we hope they will lose their power. So here’s the first lie Dr Chris Thurman points out and then combats:
• “IF IT TAKES HARD WORK WE MUST NOT BE RIGHT FOR EACH OTHER.”
“Let’s face it; marriage is hard work. Make that: Marriage is very hard work—tremendously hard work. Underline it—boldface it—tattoo it on your forearm. This is the first rule of marriage: Any marriage that stays healthy and happy through the years has been worked on. It’s a truth, though, that very few understand. So the moment the marriage isn’t smooth, couples begin to wonder: ‘Are we right for each other?’
“I’d argue that hard work in marriage often suggests you married the right person (although there are exceptions). Overall, the difficult struggles in our marriages often show us where our own personalities are deficient and give us the chance to work on it.”
Here’s the SPIRITUAL TRUTH as it applies to marriage:
“Those who marry will face many troubles in this life.” (1 Corinthians 7:28)
However, when we face that truth, we’re better able to make ourselves do the hard work that’s needed to improve our marriage relationships.
Additional Marriage Killer
Next, here is another marriage lie that we urge you NOT to embrace (written by Dr Thurman, in his book, The Lies We Believe:
• “I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO CHANGE.”
“Sadly, there is the lie that in a good marriage spouses don’t—or shouldn’t have to—alter who they are for each other. What garbage! Of course we need to change who we are to fit our spouses better. The challenge is deciding what to change. When we marry, all of us have aspects of our personalities that are deficient and need to be tuned up or overhauled.
“More often than not, our weaknesses are our spouses’ strengths. Marriage involves improving our weaknesses, not wrapping ourselves up in an ‘accept me as I am’ flag.”
“Make every effort to live at peace with all and to be holy.” (Hebrews 12:14)
And then, here are two marriage lies that too many people believe. Prescott Williamson presents these in his article, 5 Lies We Believe in a Christian Marriage:
• “HAVING A CHILD WILL MAKE THE MARRIAGE BETTER/STRONGER.”
(Cut to millions of parents slowly shaking their head NO.) Kids are the best, but by themselves, they will not save your marriage. Only God can do that. You cannot put the fate of your marriage in their tiny hands. Children are a gift from the Lord but do not place the burden on them to save your marriage.
And here’s another lie we hope you will not embrace:
• “GETTING MARRIED COMPLETES YOU.”
“Marriage does not complete you. If you remove God from the equation, you are not complete. Even if you remain married. It is supposed to bring you closer to God. We’re told in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A cord of 3 strands is not quickly broken.”
And that is a SCRIPTURAL TRUTH we can believe! When we join God, we are a winning team!
Even More Lies that Too Many Spouses Believe
The following are two more marriage lies that we can fall into believing. Debbie McDaniel (from her article, 10 Lies the World Tells You about Marriage) points out these lies and then gives her insights to combat them:
• “YOU MAY JUST HAVE FALLEN OUT OF LOVE.”
“We don’t really ‘fall’ out of love, we may have just stopped making the choice to love. We might find ourselves drifting away. The world’s call to simply ’follow your heart’ is not what God’s word teaches. Our hearts cannot always be trusted, because if we’re not making wise choices to stay close to Him and to the home front, we may find ourselves not only drifting, but getting caught up in fast moving currents.
“Prayer and God’s word over our marriage is a powerful tool to keep drawing us close together. Even if you find you’re the only one praying, God hears, and He is faithful to help us.”
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
And then here’s another one:
• “IF YOU’RE NOT HAPPY, DON’T STAY IN AN UNHAPPY SITUATION. YOU DESERVE MORE.”
“For many of us, marriage can tend to bring our selfishness out like nothing else. We want our way. And we insist on our rights. We want our spouse to make us happy, and right now!
“In the midst of demands, we’ll never be free to truly love and serve one another. Our focus will tend to be one-sided – our side – and what we want. Yet God’s goal for marriage was not just to ‘make us happy.’ The truest picture of marriage is that it symbolizes the love of Christ for us. And His desire for us all is that we be made more into the image of Himself.”
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…” (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
And then here’s another SCRIPTURAL TRUTH that highlights the type of work that God expects us to do, based on the love of Christ:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:3-5)
Additional Lies that Many People Falsely Believe:
Below is another lie that Bill Elliff points to (in his article, 8 Lies that Destroy Marriage) and his explanation to help combat that falsehood:
• “I MARRIED THE WRONG PERSON.”
“Many people have told me, for example, that they are free to divorce because they married an unbeliever. ‘I thought he/she would become a Christian, but that didn’t happen. We need to get a divorce.’ They recall that they knew it was a mistake, but they married anyway—hoping it would work out. Others claim that they just married someone who wasn’t a good match, someone who wasn’t a true ‘soul mate.’
“A wrong start in marriage does not justify another wrong step. ‘And we know that God causes all things to work together for good,’ we’re told in Romans 8:28, ‘to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’
“God tells us not to be poured into the world’s mold. Instead we are to be transformed and that begins in our minds. By doing this, God will give us exactly what we need for our lives. God’s will for us is good, acceptable, and perfect (Romans 12:1-2).
“Here’s the key for those who are now married: The Bible clearly says do not divorce (with the exception for extended, unrepentant sexual immorality). God can take even the worst things of life and work them together for good if we will just trust Him.
“…If you begin to think, There is no hope for my marriage, realize that, ‘With God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26).
Finally, as it pertains to Lies We Can Falsely Believe
We will be continually exposed to lies as we live on this side of Heaven. Be aware of that fact. Whatever you do, please don’t take God out of the equation when you’re facing life-changing, marriage-changing decisions. Jesus said over and over again in the Gospels, “I tell you the truth…” HE is the one we should ultimately listen to and follow.
Be careful of what you believe when people give you advice. People can lead us astray—God won’t. As far as human advisors, we’re told in the Bible:
“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” (Proverbs 1:5)
Whatever you do, just make sure it is “wise counsel.”
“Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you —for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.” (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22)
In other words, be discerning.
“The naive believes everything, but the prudent man considers his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15)
As you “consider” your steps, read the Truth in God’s Word. Then start applying what you learn in your marriage. Look to God for ultimate wisdom and Truth. Be careful not to try to rush His answer to you. He knows the best timing for answering our prayers and pleas. As you read throughout the Bible you can see that God’s timing is not our timing. But it IS the wisest!
Be careful in what you embrace, as far as human advice. Yes, God can give them wisdom. He uses people as one of His many tools to help us. But they are human, and human beings can often get it wrong. Their intentions may be noble, but sometimes intentions and Truth can get twisted in the process of caring for others around us.
For this reason, weigh everything against the Bible. Pray, read, be aware of God’s teachings, wisely glean, and follow through with that, which God tells you to do.
Furthermore, it’s important to make sure you don’t inject your own version of Truth into your decision-making.
In our prayers for you we are asking God to “fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10)
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you keep your love alive, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below to do so:
If you are not a subscriber to the Marriage Insights (emailed out weekly)
and you would like to receive them directly, click onto the following:
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Marriage Insights