Marriage is an amazing gift from God. Yet often, the greatest gifts aren’t always cherished the way they should be. Life gets busy. We get hurried and distracted. We start taking each other for granted. We argue and let resentments rise. We compare our own marriages with those around us, longing for happily ever after, instead getting stuck in hurt and regret. We begin to drift apart. And sadly, many times, we start looking for the nearest “exit.”
In a society that bases many of its beliefs about marriage on reality TV love stories or the latest Hollywood news, we’d be wise to stay cautious about all it suggests. With divorce rates still around 50 percent, and statistics that say “23 percent of men and 19 percent of women have admitted to cheating on their spouse,” are we sure we’d want to listen to its advice?
One thing is certain, there’s a battle over marriages today, and the enemy wants nothing more than to destroy them all.
But we don’t have to let him win.
God certainly has a better way, He’s the One who created marriage. His words provide guidance, wisdom, strength and hope in all that we face, both now and for the future.
10 Lies the World May Tell You About Your Marriage:
1. “If you’re not compatible, you may have married the wrong person.”
God’s truth says that marriage is a covenant relationship. Once you choose to marry, it’s no longer up for debate as to whether your spouse is the “right one.” Marriage makes them the right one, for it’s a commitment before God. It’s never to be based on shifting feelings, but a choice every day to love the spouse you’ve chosen to marry. In a world that often prefers to “trade in for an updated version,” this truth doesn’t make sense. But according to God’s Word it’s very clear.
"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." Mark 10:9
2. “The grass is greener on the other side.”
The truth is, the grass is greener where it’s being cared for. Where it’s being watered. The lie of our culture will whisper that everyone else has it better, or we missed out somehow. It will draw us to compare and compete, but that is never God’s way. He desires that we cherish and love our spouse, just as Christ cares for and loves the church. If we spend more time focusing on what we have, instead of what we think we don’t have, we’d be much more grateful for the treasure of His gifts.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her… and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” Eph. 5:25, 33
3. “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. 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.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Cor. 13:4-5
4. “Your spouse should know how to meet all your needs.”
Often we marry someone who is completely different than us. It’s true, many times, opposites do attract. But that doesn’t have to doom us to failure. Marriage is a life-long process of growing together. We don’t always get it right. We might even fail miserably. But just as we need grace and forgiveness, we need to extend it. Our spouses cannot read our minds; they may not receive and give love in the same way we do. But neither are we to expect that all of our needs be fulfilled by this one person. No one can take the place that only God holds. He’s the only One who can satisfy our deepest needs for love.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Ps. 73:26
5. “Divorce is always an easy option.”
If we enter into marriage where divorce is an “option,” we’re already in trouble. Because times will inevitably get difficult, and someone will start looking for a fast way out. The truth is, sadly, divorce happens. But even when it does occur, it’s never an “easy option.” It strikes a heavy blow to all involved. God’s truth reminds us that it doesn’t have the final say over our lives. He is our Healer; He gives hope and purpose for the future. No matter the struggles we might be facing, we can make the renewed choice today, that as far as it depends on us, we will not give room to that option.
“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11
6. “Your kids should come first because they need you more.”
This is a subtle lie of our culture that seeks to somehow make us feel like better, more attentive parents, when we cater to every need of our children. But the truth is, what our kids need more is to know that their mom and dad love each other. Our spouse should always have priority in our family. Through a committed, loving relationship, we’re better equipped to parent our children – together. This is often hard to live out. Through various stages, kids’ needs can seem constant, demanding, pressing. But God will give us wisdom to see what matters most in every busy season, to establish healthy boundaries, and to know when to say “yes,” and when to say “no.”
“Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Ps. 90:12
7. “You may have just 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 Cor. 13:13
8. “Your marriage is beyond repair. Once trust is broken, it can never be restored.”
Many have walked through very difficult seasons of marriage. Some are still healing. Others have come through to the other side by the grace of God. Sometimes the marriage is saved. Sometimes it is not. But it doesn’t change this truth – no matter what we face, God does redeem and restore. He is the God of miracles, it’s His very nature, and if you find yourself still in the midst of a struggling marriage, cry out to Him for help. He can bring back to life what was dead. The power of God can give hope, a fresh start, the chance for a do-over, and a new beginning.
“With God all things are possible.” Matt. 19:26
9. “Innocent flirting or viewing pornography won’t really hurt your marriage. Your spouse will never know anyway.”
There’s no such thing as “innocent” flirting. At the root, it’s seeking attention from and giving suggestive attention towards another person who is not your spouse. Run from it. Ask God to help you keep your eyes away from temptation. Pornography is a trap of the enemy and an open door for him to work destruction in your home. Don’t let him win this battle. God’s word says that He will always provide a way of escape for us, He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. Stay close to him, honor him, meditate on what is pure, and choose respect and love for your spouse.
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled…” Heb. 13:4
10. “Marriage is a 50/50 relationship.”
Marriage takes two people, fully committed, choosing every day, to love and cherish. 50/50 will never be enough to see you through the toughest times. It’s only half effort and it seeks to compare what we’re doing with the other, always needing to check to see if they’re keeping up with expectations. This isn’t what God intends. His plan is covenant relationship, centered in Christ, loving through Christ; that is what will carry us through both good times and bad. It will take full effort of 100/100 to have a strong relationship which will thrive over time.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” 1 Cor. 13:7-8
Every day, we have the power to choose. May God help us to choose wisely… praying His Word, living a life of love and faithfulness, focusing on what is true.
Know that He is with you, and He fights for your marriage today.
(Note – God never intends for us to remain in a potentially dangerous or abusive relationship. If you find yourself there now, please find help and safety. May God’s protection cover you and His Spirit give you peace.)
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.
Find her also at http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel.
Publication date: February 24, 2016