There are a lot of married love myths that are being held onto by too many of us. But we don’t have to stay in that state of disillusionment. There are even more truths we can instead embrace to make our marriages work as God intends.
“While our cultural values continue to elevate marriage, our behavior drifts away from it. We’re a nation obsessed with marriage. The problem is that we may not know how to make marriage work.” (Alex Kotlowitz)
To help us to “make marriage work,” we will share in this Marriage Message and next, 8 myths of married love and ways to dispel their falsehood. To do this we’ll be sharing parts of an article title, “Myths and True Meaning of Married Love” written by Michael McManus. McManus is the founder of Marriage Savers, Marriagesavers.org.
At the end of each of McManus’ points we’re adding additional comments, scriptures and discussion questions. We’re hoping you’ll use them to spend “Intentional Time” with your spouse going over them.
Married Love Myths and Truths
MYTH #1: The purpose of marriage is our personal happiness.
If that’s so, when there are inevitable disappointments, and crosses to bear, the conclusion must be, ‘Either marriage is not fulfilling its promise, or something is wrong with me.’
“Dr Glenn Knecht, of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda says, ‘The true goal of marriage is not happiness but oneness. Jesus taught, ‘So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.’ Happiness is a by-product. However, seeking oneness is costly. It involves sacrifice of the ego, so human pride is crushed until it has no life of its own anymore.'”
- Comment on Dr Knecht’s statement on the true goal of marriage.
- Do you agree that “oneness” in marriage is difficult and can be costly? Explain.
- Does this “oneness” mean you can’t have individuality within your marriage?
“MYTH 2: The goal of married life is to get my mate to submit to my way of thinking.
TRUTH TO EMBRACE:
Men have memorized, ‘Wives, submit to your husbands.’ But the preceding verse is ‘Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.’ That is followed with the 3 verses on the role of the wife and 9 verses on how men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church.
“Marriage is an exercise in learning to submit even when we don’t feel like it. Dr. Knecht adds, ‘If your marriage is a tug of war, drop your end of the rope, so your spouse can win. Submission is the most demanding, most difficult and most important assignment in the school called marriage. It is giving up of rights.'”
- Read Ephesians 5 together and discuss what the Bible says about submission.
- Take turns commenting on what McManus and Knecht say about submission in marriage. How can you drop your “end of the rope” and yet not enable your spouse to continue behavior that you may find offensive?
- Speaker and author Cynthia Heald once said, “Submission is ducking low enough so God can deal with your husband.”
- Wives: Comment on that statement. Do you ever find yourself standing so firm on a point that you’re overshadowing what God wants to do with your husband?
- Husbands: comment on the following statement by Jan Schrader, “So many men want a Godly wife but they do very little to make it happen.” Is this true in your marriage? What more can you do to help your wife be Godly?
- Read together Philippians 2:1-11 and Romans 12:3. Discuss how this is relevant to marriage.
To Further Explain:
The Life Application Bible gives this commentary on Philippians 2:5-11:
“Often people excuse selfishness, pride, or evil by claiming their rights. They think, ‘I can cheat on this test. After all, I deserve to pass this class,’ or ‘I can spend all this money on myself. I worked hard for it.’ Or ‘I can get an abortion; I have a right to control my own body.’ But as believers, we should have a different attitude, one that enables us to lay aside our rights in order to serve others. If we say we follow Christ, we must also say we want to live as He lived. We should develop His attitude of humility as we serve. We’re to do this even when we’re not likely to get recognition for our efforts. Are you selfishly clinging to your rights, or are you willing to serve?”
- Comment on the above statement as it applies to marriage.
“MYTH 3: Love is what holds a marriage together.
TRUTH TO EMBRACE:
It’s true; we don’t enter marriage without love. But once that step is taken, it is the vows that hold it together, “for better for worse, in sickness and in health…” Love may actually wax and wane. And there are times it is absent altogether. The vows said on the wedding day are sacred promises, said by billions of people. All marriage is spent learning the meaning of those vows.
“Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett was invited to a colleague’s wedding. They did not exchange the traditional vows, but pledged to stay together ‘as long as love shall last.’ He sent them paper plates as his wedding gift!”
• Comment on the danger of promising the stay together “as long as love shall last.”
• What does this philosophy teach children about what marriage is all about —particularly a “Christian” marriage?
• How does this philosophy stack up against what the Bible depicts about marriage?
In the next Marriage Message:
We will touch on additional marriage myths that fly in the face of reality. You can find it at: Married Love Myths VS Truths – Pt 2 – MM #86.
In the meantime, the following articles posted on various web site links could be enlightening, as you read them:
• MYTHS THAT CAN DESTROY A MARRIAGE
(written by John a Huffman Jr, as posted on Preaching.com)
• THE MYTH OF HAPPILY EVER AFTER
(written by Sue Bohlin)
To help you work through the married love myths that you may cling to read the following article:
• FIVE BIBLICAL PURPOSES FOR MARRIAGE
(written by Rick Warren, as posted on Crosswalk.com)
“‘Happily ever after’ may be for fairy tales, but that doesn’t mean there is no such thing as a happy rich, fulfilling marriage. But it’s only possible for those who live in reality, not in the fantasy of make-believe myths. May God give us grace to trust Him to walk in truth and not illusion.” (Sue Bohlin, from the article “The Myth of Happily Ever After”)
We are told in God’s word:
“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales. Rather train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth.” (3 John 4)
Our prayer for you (as written in Romans 15:5-6) and for your marriage:
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
Cindy and Steve Wright
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