Lie #1: Marriage is about my happiness.
My husband delights me. He really is my best friend, and we have a happy, happy life. But if my joy in life rests entirely with him, I am setting myself up for disappointment and setting him up for failure. Marriage takes compromise and compromise is not always pleasant. Marriage requires forgiveness, and forgiveness is hard. Marriage is about working together with the end goal of a union that brings God great glory. So marriage isn’t about my happiness, although it may bring me much. Marriage is about God. It is, in part, about making me more like Christ. It is a sanctifying journey that requires me to love someone like Christ loves me, with endless grace and patience.
Lie #2: I have to feel love to show love.
We have been married for 20 years. My love for my husband has grown and changed over those years. Our marriage could not sustain those electrifying moments of courtship for two decades. No marriage can.
But, my ability to love my husband does not hinge on those feelings remaining or on him reciprocating my gestures of love. It is entirely up to me whether I will act lovingly toward him. The decision to love, even if he is unlovable, glorifies God and sustains a marriage. And his decision to love me, when I am unlovable, glorifies God. When I serve my spouse instead of complaining about him, when I acknowledge and praise the things he is doing to provide for our family, when I pray for him and with him, when I work on becoming the woman God has called me to be, I am showing the world that love is a choice. I choose to never give up on my marriage because Christ never gave up on me.
And if I’m honest, I’m glad we didn’t stay in that crazy, tingling, wonderful dating phase. Our relationship has evolved into something much deeper and far more real than it was when we promised forever. The transition from infatuation to intentional and committed love can be hard for some couples, but marriage is worth fighting for.
Lie #3: My spouse should meet all my needs.
No person will ever meet all your needs perfectly, only Jesus Christ can do that. At some point, my spouse will fail or disappoint me. At some point, I will fail or disappoint him. And when we hurt each other in our brokenness, we can find rest in the One who will never fail to love and understand us exactly as we require. I must find my identity and worth in my Saviour.
Just as no one can eat your food for you, or accept the truth of the gospel on your behalf, no one can love your spouse for you. You are in charge of that decision. Will you decide today to love the partner that you promised forever?
*none of this implies a spouse in an abusive relationship should remain in a dangerous situation. If your partner is harming or threatening you, it is imperative that you find a safe place and seek biblical counseling.
**from the archives