Many marriages involving Christians are struggling these days. Marriage myths can kill any chance of hope and happiness.
Marriage is Tough
Jocelyn and I are preparing for a couples retreat. Here’s some of what we talked about.
Imagine a marriage where both spouses are Christians, but they can’t seem to get along.
Both love Jesus but have different understandings of how to live life.
Sometimes they treat money differently, discipline the kids differently, worship differently, communicate differently, or even have very different opinions on politics, sports teams, and a choice of vacation destinations.
That would be Jocelyn and I in the early years of marriage.
The reality of marriage is tough. We face disappointments. The truth is your marriage will not be perfect just because you’re Christians.
There is a danger from buying into the following marriage myths:
6 Marriage Myths
Marriage Myth #1: If I have a daily quiet time and attend church regularly, I’ll have a happy marriage.
In church we often heard that if you spend time with God every morning and study the Bible, your life and marriage will go well. The truth is “happily-ever-after” is part of the myth. Every couple goes through tough times—even Christians.
The apostle Paul writes to Christians in 1 Corinthians 7:28 – “…those who marry will face many troubles in this life…” Troubles? In a Christian marriage? That’s not negative thinking. That’s reality.
Marriage Myth #2: Our marriage will be divorce-proofed if we’re both Christians.
The truth is, being a Christian doesn’t guarantee you won’t feel like getting divorced.
Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth inspired us as a young couple. She answered the question,
“Have you ever thought about divorcing your husband?”
“Divorce? No, never divorce. Murder? Yes.”
The key to a strong, divorce-proofed marriage is the hard work of living out what you believe and upholding the character of Jesus—especially during the difficult times.
Marriage Myth #3: The Bible can be a simple guide for our marriage.
The Bible is a valuable guide for daily living—as long as you don’t misinterpret what it says. God intends for a husband and wife to be united, equal, mutually submitted, and working together for the good of the whole.
That means bringing your personality, perspectives, life experiences, and giftings into the marriage. Together you make better decisions than you do individually.
Marriage Myth #4: Christian couples don’t fight.
Either Jocelyn and I are not Christian, or we busted that myth.
Many Christian couples think that “peace-making” means not fighting, so they deny any negative feelings. They let things build until they explode over something trivial.
It’s okay to fight.
We’ve been encouraged by this reality: “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26,27).
We challenge you and your spouse to bring up whatever has been bothering you within twenty-four hours. Use “I” statements. Just saying, “I feel angry,” rather than “you make me angry” can defuse heightened emotions. You’ll be amazed how your spouse may respond.
Humble yourself to apologize and put things behind you.
Marriage Myth #5: I need to pray for God to change my spouse.
Many people spend time praying, begging God to change their spouses. They think that they’d be happy if only their spouse were different. Therefore, many are frustrated that as much as they pray, they don’t see any significant change in their spouse.
The truth is: God wants to change you first.
Marriage Myth #6: The husband should be stronger in his faith than the wife.
We each act more like Jesus in our own way and time. Some wives become critical of their husbands’ lack of spiritual leadership, which causes them to push and their husbands to withdraw.
Remember: You are not responsible for your spouse’s spiritual life. Step aside and let God work—that’s when your spouse will feel God calling him or her to get serious about a relationship with God.
Marriage myths like these will make you miserable.
Enjoy your marriage to the full in the reality of God’s best for you.
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