The Lord intended your marriage to be a source of joy, comfort, and encouragement, but for all too many couples, marriage has become at best a lifeless working partnership and at worst just another to-do list task that saps strength and life from lives rather than filling us with strength and joy. You can experience the joy God intended for you and your husband if you know the five myths that can undermine your marriage. Study them. Remember them. Refuse to let them take root in your home. Guard your joy!
1. Being a Parent Comes First
This is a huge trap that many couples fall into. Homeschooling moms are especially prone to child-centered parenting—after all, we spend so much time educating the kids that it can sure feel like they’re the first priority. God says that the marriage is the priority relationship in the home. When we believe the myth that “children come first,” we set our children up for huge disappointment later in life.
Over the years I’ve met many moms who have sacrificed their marriage on the altar of homeschooling. I’m here to tell you, it’s not worth it. You see, as parents, you are the primary defense for your children in this very real spiritual battle we’ve been talking about. Satan knows if he can take out your marriage, he has a better shot at your kids.
Protect your marriage, precious mom! Guard it with your life. Your children will thank you for it. And your husband won’t mind either!
2. The Myth of Parallel Living
What do two parallel lines never do? That’s right! They never cross. They don’t touch. They just keep on going, side by side, for as long as the line can go.
In 2009 I wrote a book titled The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance, and one of the key purposes of the book was to help wives learn to see the all-too-common way many live their marriages out. It’s easy to get caught up in the oh-so-daily “he does his thing, I do mine” mentality.
But what happens if you put the tiniest degree of separation between these two parallel lines? Before you know it, there is a chasm that is too wide to bridge. Marriages suffer when we live parallel lives.
So what can we do?
Purpose to live the opposite kind of life with your husband. Live entwined lives instead of parallel lives. Draw those lines in toward each other through shared dreams and purposeful interaction. Spend time alone together. Nurture emotional and sexual intimacy in your marriage. Pursue the Lord together.
Your marriage should look like that cord of three strands that Solomon talks about in Ecclesiastes 4:12: "...A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Unlike parallel lines, this “cord” of three strands winds itself tightly together: a husband, a wife, and the Lord Jesus.
Entwined marriages are built to last.
3. Your spouse can make you truly happy.
Well, if you have been married for very long, you have figured out that this is a myth. Funny thing about it, though—even though we know in our minds that this is true, we place this “happiness burden” on our husbands in many ways. It’s a burden neither spouse was designed to carry.
- We’re unhappy with the amount of time he spends at work.
- We complain about his lack of interaction with the children.
- We wish he would show more of an interest in our homeschool.
It’s sneaky, this one. Even though we know that our happiness does not depend on him, we can easily look to him for it. As Christians, we know where our hope and happiness is found. It comes from a growing relationship with the Lord. Spend time with the Lord, precious mom. Allow him to meet with you every morning. Ask him to fill you up. He can, and he will.
Just as you nurture your children out of the overflow of happy marriage, you must nurture your marriage from the overflow of a growing relationship with the Lord. Healthy marriages involve two people who make each other happy by being, not by doing. Of course the “doing” is important, but be careful not to derive your happiness solely from your spouse. That’s a burden we were not designed to carry.
4. Sex isn’t that important.
I sure wish more moms were talking about this—because I can promise you, your husbands want to talk about it.
Being tired and stressed can make sexual intimacy a rare commodity in many marriages. It’s easy to make excuses, and suddenly a week can become a month or more as we grow further apart as a couple. It’s important to set aside time for intimacy; schedule it if you have to. The enemy can drive a deep wedge between you and your spouse as you drift further and further apart because your lives are too harried to make time for sexual intimacy. Make it a priority in your marriage to nurture the physical intimacy that reunites two into “one flesh” on a regular basis.
Satan knows that this is a very easy place for him to drive a wedge between a husband and wife. After all, we’re moms! As a mother of seven, I can assure you, there have been many times when sex was the farthest thing from my mind. And yet, in nearly twenty-five years of marriage, I rarely find it is the last thing on my husband’s mind!
When I purpose to meet his needs in this tender area of our marriage, barriers between us fall away. Sex is designed for much more than making babies! It is a respite from the world, a safe place for a husband and wife to come and truly find intimacy and refreshment. It strengthens our relationship. It’s as simple as that. Try committing to nurturing this part of your marriage and see if it doesn’t strengthen it. It’s almost guaranteed!
5. Your marriage is immune to the possibility of divorce.
This is the most damaging of all the myths: the belief that somehow, church or even our faith will keep us from the pain and sorrow that divorce inflicts on families. How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh, that will never happen to me!” only to have it happen? When we make assumptions on such a grand scale, it’s really pride at the root, isn’t it?
Pride is the biggest thief of all. Pride will steal your joy, one tiny decision at a time. How often has pride kept us from:
- Saying “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”
- Being the first one to move toward forgiveness.
- Recognizing our own faults.
- Seeing what we have.
- Asking the difficult questions.
- Seeking help.
- Not enjoying our bodies as husband and wife.
Identifying these myths—and then actively guarding your heart against believing them, even for a moment, will help you take a huge step toward bringing joy back into your marriage. Love your husband, busy moms! Strengthen your marriage. It’s worth it.
Heidi St. John has been married to her husband Jay since 1989. Together they have seven children from toddler to adult and have homeschooled all the way through high school. A favorite conference and radio speaker, Heidi approaches marriage and parenting with humor and grace. Her passion to encourage moms and set them free to be who God has created them to be will bless and encourage you.
Copyright 2014, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the Annual Print 2014 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.
Publication date: June 18, 2014