In a marriage relationship, you spend a lot of time together. Your husband is there for you, encourages you when you are down and helps in tangible ways other relationships can’t. While marriage is considered good by God in Genesis and is a wonderful physical example of our heavenly husband, these things should not replace God. Before you know it, your husband can become an idol if you are not careful.
Scripture warns us of not making idols in our lives like in Jonah 2:8 that says, “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.” Throughout Scripture, God warns against Christians to flee from idolatry, which is anything that places our worship off of Him and onto itself.
Have you ever considered that your husband can become an object of idolatry? How do you know for sure if your husband has become an idol? Here are eight warning signs that a husband has become a source of idolatry:
1. You run to him instead of running to Him
When you are having a rough season of life, who do you go to first for emotional support? Do you cling to God, or do you run into your husband’s arms? Putting your husband before God may seem innocent, but it is just setting you up for separation from God.
God always wants to come first in your relationship. This includes your relationship with your husband. God wants us to run to Him for His strength, because He promises that when we are weak, that is when He is strong.
2. You keep quiet to keep him happy
Do you find yourself keeping quiet and not speaking your mind for fear you might upset your husband? Do you find yourself thinking your thoughts and feelings are not as important as your husband’s? If so, your husband is probably an idol in your life. While Scripture is clear we need to submit to our husbands, submission does not mean keeping silent when you should be giving your opinion.
It is one thing to be careful to test your reaction to circumstances to make sure you give a godly response, it is quite another to make sure you don’t express your true feelings on an issue simply because doing so might make your husband unhappy with you. This is a faulty foundation of faith to build your life around your husband’s opinions instead of your own. Be aware of the times this occurs and be sure to speak your mind, being diligent to do so in love.
3. The thought of losing him evokes crippling anxiety
If the thought of your husband leaving you causes you great fear and anxiety, your husband’s priority in your life is misplaced.
Like stated above, it is one thing to consider your husband’s thoughts and feelings before your own, it is another to allow him to believe his is the only one that matters. Even if your husband leaves you, God will not. God wants to be your true husband.
4. You lay down God’s agenda for your husband’s
Submission is a hard command to navigate, especially in this day and age. But submission should never come at the cost of your own value. We submit as wives out of our Father’s love for us, not in spite of it. If your husband asks you to forgo the calling you believe God has given you for what He has planned for you, you need to assess the health of your relationship.
5. You let him cross unhealthy boundaries to keep the peace
This is a hard concept to detect. In a fight, does he cross healthy mental boundaries by calling you inappropriate names or even become mentally or emotionally abusive? When you are intimate, does he cross appropriate physical boundaries because he feels he can as your husband? Do you let him?
This is not only unhealthy for you, but also for your children. Your children are watching everything you do. When you let your husband dishonor you, whether publicly or privately, you are telling your kids this is a normal way to be treated. Perhaps you have your own soul issues to deal with, but as you do it is important to not allow your husband to cross boundaries they are never meant to cross.
6. You forsake a God ordained priority for him
All Christians should get connected to a local church body in an effort to serve and live out God’s purpose to serve the body of Christ in some way. However, when a husband keeps his wife from serving (or attending) church, there is a problem. There should never be a time a wife should fail to serve the body because a husband says so (even if the husband is an unbeliever.) In fact, serving is a great example to an unbeliever and may cast some light within the darkness of your marriage.
If church is becoming a major issue of strife within your marriage, seek the help of a counselor if possible. Although it is important for a wife to honor her husband, God also wants His children to remain connected to their brothers and sisters in Christ.
7. You find yourself placing an impossible standard of perfection on him
When you find yourself placing unrealistic expectations (whether positive or negative) onto your husband, he has become an idol without you even knowing it. No one is meant to meet unrealistic expectations, nor is it fair for them for you to impose them.
Perfection is in itself an imperfection because no one is perfect—including your husband. If you don’t want to be placed under a burden of perfection, why would he?
8. You picture your husband with a hero cape
It is easy to engage in hero worship in the early stages of dating. But when you still find yourself believing this years later, your husband has become an idol. You husband, no matter how hard he tries, can’t be the person to fix everything for you. Nor should you want him to.
Jesus is the ultimate person you cling to when times get tough. Husbands are there to walk alongside you in life; not to carry you. Jesus wants to be the person you put your whole faith into and follow wholeheartedly, not your husband.
Idols are not always easy to spot, but they can certainly rule over our lives if they go unchecked. Take a moment to ask yourself: have I made my husband an idol in my life? If so, there’s hope. God is a God of grace. Through Christ’s death on the cross, He already paid the penalty for our idolatry. But if you want to avoid making your husband an idol in the future, confess that to God. Drop the expectations of your earthly husband and look to God as your heavenly husband. If you can do that, you’ll reap the benefits of a healthy and happy marriage.
Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year and the Enduring Light Silver Medal, she is a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Her first book with Leafwood Publishers, An Invitation to the Table, came out September 2016. She also teaches at various writers' workshops, such as the Montrose Christian Writers conference. She and her husband live in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, with their two children, Caleb and Leah. For more information, please visit her website at michellelazurek.com.
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