Marriage is a sacred covenant that represents the ultimate, holy relationship between Christ and His church. Unfortunately, in today’s society, marriage is often thought of as “extreme dating” instead—an interchangeable, discardable relationship no holier than the relationship we have with carbs or our favorite pair of shoes.
Because of the reverence that we should have for marriage, Satan and his minions are constantly whispering lies to believers about their relationship with their spouse. He wants to discourage, maim, and otherwise pervert the covenant image of Christ and His bride.
Here are 10 common lies we’re likely to hear as Christians striving for a godly marriage.
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1. It's just you.
One of the enemy’s efforts is often to convince us that only we are the problem—or better yet, that just our spouse is the problem—and everyone else around us has a perfect marriage. A marriage where no one fights or gets jealous, towels are never left on floors, toothpaste lids are promptly secured, and there are no arguments on parenting styles.
Social media does much of the grunt work for the enemy on this one; it doesn’t take more than a few seconds of scrolling to start to believe that you and your spouse are uniquely messed up, and everyone else in your circle of peers is living the dream.
Rest assured, it’s not just you or your marriage that’s struggling. Marriage is hard and is a group effort between you, your spouse, and the Holy Spirit. Forget the highlight reels of someone else’s life on social media and focus on growing your own marriage to the glory of God.
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2. It’s okay to flirt.
A lot of people, even Christians, believe that flirting with someone other than their spouse is acceptable as long as it doesn’t “go too far.” It’s the common mindset of “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.” But I can assure you, it is hurting them—and it’s hurting you and your walk with the Lord.
Your spouse might never notice your flirtatious banter with the new guy at church or that attractive coworker, but the Lord does.
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
The Bible tells us to flee sexual immorality, not see how close we can get before we’re burned. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
Stop playing with fire; only flirt with your spouse.
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3. Marriage should make you happy.
Too often, we fall for the lie that marriage is supposed to make us happy. There are certainly many moments of joy in marriage—marriage is a gift!
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22)
But overall, marriage isn’t about our happiness as much as it is our holiness. We’re being sanctified to become more and more like Jesus.
One day, we’ll be in heaven, fully glorified in our new bodies with the Lord. We won’t be married anymore. Marriage is a tool to make us more like Christ. Who better to help sand down our rough patches than the person who lives with us, sleeps next to us, and shares a bathroom with us? We can be happy in marriage, but that’s not the ultimate goal.
When you believe the lie that it is, you may start putting unrealistic pressure on your spouse that will damage your relationship.
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4. The grass is greener somewhere else.
One of the enemy’s most frequent lies is that you’d be better off with a different spouse. The grass may look greener elsewhere, but perhaps that’s because that couple is watering their field. If you spent as much time pouring into your spouse and cultivating your own garden as you did envying someone else’s, you might be surprised to learn that a lot of those brown, dried-up patches are your own fault.
The grass is never actually greener—it’s an illusion. Don’t fall for the shimmering mirage. Water your grass by pouring into your spouse and drawing closer to the Lord through His Word and prayer.
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5. You should trust your feelings.
I’m an emotional person, and I’m constantly having to remind myself that while my feelings can be an indication that something isn’t right, they’re not necessarily accurate and cannot be trusted as truth. We might “feel like” our spouse will never change. We might “feel like” things are hopeless in our marriage. We might “feel like” we don’t want to try anymore. But those feelings aren’t truth.
Our God is a redeeming, restoring, relational God who cares deeply about His children and their marriages.
Pray. Have faith. Surrender your feelings to the Lord and ask Him to help you see the truth. Immerse yourself in Scripture, and watch your emotions line up with the word of God. You’ll have more peace, and will start to see your spouse and your marriage through the eyes of Christ, rather than the turmoil of your emotions.
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6. Your spouse will never change.
Another common tactic of the enemy is to convince us to focus on our spouse’s shortcomings so we don’t point the finger back to ourselves. We can get so hung up on their issues that we conveniently forget to address the ways that we sin and contribute to our relational struggles.
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” (Colossians 3:18-19)
Those commands are to both parties in the marriage relationship. Focus on your part, and let the Holy Spirit convict your spouse of his.
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7. There's no hope for your marriage.
When things grow especially hard in our relationships, we may be tempted to give up. We might even entertain thoughts about separation because “it’s hopeless.” But the Lord says otherwise. “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
You might be tempted to look at your spouse and think they’ll never have a change of heart, or they’ll never come to know the Lord. But with God, nothing is impossible—not even your spouse’s bad habits or your own hardened heart. Pray, pray, pray and give the Lord time to work—not just on your spouse, but on you.
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8. Your kids should come first.
Another deception from the enemy is the call to prioritize our kids above our spouse. We think as good parents that putting our kids first is the right thing to do. However, the correct order—and the only order that works long-term—is God, our spouse, and then our kids.
Work, hobbies, and personal goals should all come after those top three are firmly established. The best gift we can give our children is the security of knowing that Mom and Dad love each other—and, more importantly, that Mom and Dad love the Lord.
When we mix up the order and put anything before God, we fall into idol worship. One glance at the Old Testament Israelites can easily remind us this isn’t a good idea.
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9. Divorce would be easier.
Having been the product of an unwanted divorce, I can assure you that divorce is not easier. No matter how badly you’re fighting, no matter how hopeless it might seem from your limited perspective—divorce is not better. Divorce rips apart joined flesh and leaves wounds and scars that can take a lifetime to heal.
“He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Divorce should be the last resort. Talk to a counselor or trusted pastor if you feel you have biblical reason to divorce. But never use divorce as a ticket to escape. You’ll regret it.
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10. Satan is indifferent to your marriage.
One of the trickiest deceptions Satan tries to plant in our minds is that he’s not actually concerned about our marriage.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
We have a real enemy with a real scheme to steal, kill, and destroy our marriages and families. Stay sharp, armor up, and be alert!
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of fourteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her newlywed hubby, two story-telling young daughters, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle Pringles. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she's not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. Look for her latest novel with HarperCollins, LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES, and POCKET PRAYERS FOR FRIENDS with Max Lucado. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com./
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Originally published Monday, 15 April 2019.