It seems that somewhere in between "living happily ever after" and "living miserably ever after" is the truth and reality of the mission of marriage. Marriage is made up of two imperfect human beings, living in union with a perfect God, for His glory (we often overlook that part) through serving and edifying Him and each other... for as long as we both shall live.
To live out this mission of marriage we need to STOP believing lies that can kill our marriages. The enemy of our faith --the "father of lies" will try everything possible to tear our marriages apart. So, we're going to share some of the common lies we believe AND the truth --from God's word. These thoughts come from Dr. Chris Thurman's book, "The Lies We Believe."
LIE # 1-- IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT: One of the most frequent lies couples engage in is a form of the "It's Not My Fault" lie, which points the finger of blame at the marriage partner. It implies that the actions of one spouse make the other spouse react in a bad way and are the only things making the marriage rotten. Simply put, it's all his or her fault.
SCRIPTURAL TRUTH: Romans 2:1, "You therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things."
As much as humanly possible, couples need to take to heart the biblical teaching to be honest about our own flaws and work on them. As Matthew puts it, we should make a point of looking at the plank in our OWN eye before we point out the speck in our spouse's eye. We cannot allow the speck in our spouse's eye to make our plank larger and more blinding. Can you imagine a marriage in which each spouse puts this one teaching into practice?
LIE #2-- 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, bold face 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, that very few understand. So when 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. Overall, the difficult struggles in our marriages often show us where our own personalities are deficient & give us the chance to work on it.
SCRIPTURAL TRUTH: 1 Corinthians 7:28, "But those who marry WILL face many troubles in this life."
LIE #3-- YOU CAN AND SHOULD MEET ALL MY NEEDS: No one person can meet all your needs. [As Christ-Followers we need to understand there is only One who can meet our needs.]
SCRIPTURAL TRUTH: Philippians 4:19, "And my God will meet all your needs to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
LIE #4-- YOU OWE ME: Remember when you first started dating your spouse? You were glad to do things for him or her and didn't really want much in return, other than his or company. For some reason, maybe because familiarity really does breed contempt, we go from our dating years (when we did things out of desire with little sense of what we were owed in return) to our "stuck with each other" married years (when everything is totaled up for payback). This "you owe me" marriage style is destructive and rooted in the lie that people, specifically our spouses, should pay us back for everything we do. You might be saying, "But what do I do when my spouse doesn't give me what I want?" You have a number of options, some healthy and some unhealthy.
On the unhealthy side, you can yell and scream, withdraw, demean, manipulate, or intimidate your spouse into giving you what you want. You may actually get what you are after, but you have won the battle and lost the war because your style will create ill will and a lack of love and respect, and harmony in the marriage. On the healthy side, you can ask your spouse to reconsider, or you can become a little more flexible, compromise, give up wanting it, or, if all else fails, go take care of it yourself without being bitter. The truth is that spouses “owe” each other nothing in marriage. The healthiest marriages are those in which each spouse gives because it is right to do so, not because it was owed or in order to be owed something in return.
SCRIPTURAL TRUTH: 1 Peter 5:5, "Clothe yourselves with humility because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
LIE #5-- I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO CHANGE: There is the lie that in a good marriage spouses don't have to-- 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 & 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 in an “accept me as I am” flag.
SCRIPTURAL TRUTH: Hebrews 12:14, "Make every effort to live at peace with all and to be holy."
LIE #6-- YOU SHOULD BE LIKE ME: This seems absurd in print, but I know many couples who make this lie a lifestyle. We are unique. It’s good that we are all different, even if it does lead to conflict, because maturely handled differences can give us a clearer sense of our own individuality and a greater appreciation for how different human beings really are. [Someone once said, "Perhaps God so often puts opposites together because if we were just alike we would be an ineffective team." Think about how true that statement can be!]
SCRIPTURAL TRUTH: 1 Corinthians 12:18-19, "God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?"
Just so you know, we have even more supportive help on this subject in this article on our web site at www.marriagemissions.com, if you want to explore this issue further.
Jesus said over and over again in the Gospels, "I tell you the truth..." Read the Truth in God's Word and start applying what you learn in your marriage and you will be amazed with how God will bless your lives together!
Cindy and Steve Wright