God desires we nurture, care for, and protect our marriages. Yet, many of us may enter marriage falsely thinking if we’re “so in love,” the struggles and disappointments we might face will not really seem so bad. Or that if we’re living “right,” we will somehow get a pass on battles and hard times ahead. Not true.
If you’re a married couple who is seeking to honor God in your lives and marriage, one thing is sure: You are a target for the enemy. Whether you’ve been married for 1 day or 50 years, he never stops working his schemes. The Bible refers to him as the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and reveals that his main goal is to “steal, kill, and destroy” our lives and our loved ones. May we wise up to those attacks and learn to listen to God’s truth over the lies, because we never have to let him win.
God certainly has a better way; He’s the very One who created marriage. His words give us guidance, wisdom, strength, and hope in all that we face, both now and for the future.
Here are 10 lies the enemy wants you to believe about your marriage and 10 truths from God’s Word you should believe instead.
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Lie #1: “If you’re not happy, don’t stay in an unhappy situation. You deserve more.”
For many of us, marriage can bring out our selfishness like nothing else.
- We want our way.
- We insist on our rights.
- We want our spouse to make us happy.
But in the midst of all those demands and expectations, we’ll never be free to truly love and serve one another. Our focus will tend to be one-sided (our side), and what we want.
God’s goal for marriage was never just to “make us happy.” The truest picture of marriage symbolizes the love of Christ for us. And His desire for us all is that we be made more into the image of Himself.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
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Lie #2: “Your marriage is too broken, and there’s no hope for you anymore.”
This is one of the enemy’s most popular lies and schemes because it causes deep despair and fear like nothing else. It makes us want to completely give up and begin to think towards separation or divorce.
But the truth is this: God is a miracle-working God. And there is no marriage, no situation, and no person too far gone. God is able to completely restore and renew what has been broken and lost. He is able to do, by His Spirit, what we are unable to do all on our own. Don’t give up. Don’t despair. He is holding you and helping you today. God has a story to tell through your brokenness and pain, and He can still turn this around for His glory and your good.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
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Lie #3: “You made a big mistake. You’re both too different – you must have married the wrong person.”
Maybe you married someone completely different than you. It’s true, many times, opposites do attract. But that doesn’t mean the marriage is doomed to failure.
Marriage is a life-long process of growing together. We don’t always get it right. We might even fail miserably. But just as we need grace and forgiveness ourselves, we need to extend it. Our spouses cannot read our minds, and we can’t expect all our needs be fulfilled by this one person. God is the only One who can satisfy our deepest needs for love.
Truth says that marriage is a covenant relationship. Once we choose to marry, it’s no longer up for debate as to whether our spouse is the “right one.” Marriage makes them the right one, for it’s a commitment before God. It’s never to be based on shifting feelings, but a choice every day to love the spouse we’ve chosen to marry.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)
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Lie #4: “The grass is greener on the other side.”
The truth is, the grass is greener where it’s being cared for – where it’s being watered.
The lie of our culture will whisper that everyone else has it better and we’re missing out on something. Like we must be the only ones struggling in a difficult marriage. This lie will draw us to compare and compete, but that is never God’s way.
He desires that we cherish and love our spouse, just as Christ cares for and loves the church. If we spend more time focusing on what we have, instead of what we think we don’t have, we’d be much more grateful for the treasure of His gifts.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
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Lie #5: “You should always put the kids first because they need you more.”
This is a subtle lie of our culture that seeks to make us feel like better, more attentive parents, when we set our children on a pedestal and cater to their every need.
But the truth is, what our kids need is to know that their mom and dad love each other and value time together. Our spouse should always have priority in our family. Through a committed, loving relationship, we’re better equipped to parent our children – together. This is often hard to live out.
Through various stages, kids’ needs can seem constant, demanding, pressing. But God will give us wisdom to see what matters most in every busy season, to establish healthy boundaries, and to know when to say “yes,” and when to say “no.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
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Lie #6: “You must have just fallen out of love.”
We don’t really “fall out of love”; we may have just stopped making the choice to love. The world’s call to simply “follow your heart” is not what God’s Word teaches. Our hearts cannot always be trusted because if we’re not making wise choices to stay close to Him, we may find ourselves not only drifting, but getting caught up in fast moving currents.
Prayer and God’s Word over our marriage are powerful tools to keep drawing us close together. Pray His powerful words over your marriage and your spouse. Even if you find you’re the only one praying, God hears, and He is faithful to help us.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
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Lie #7: “Innocent flirting or pornography is not going to hurt your marriage. Your spouse will never know anyway.”
There’s no such thing as “innocent” flirting. At the root, it’s seeking attention from and giving suggestive attention towards another person who is not your spouse. Run from it.
Ask God to help you keep your eyes away from temptation. Pornography is a trap of the enemy and an open door for him to work destruction in your home. Don’t let him win this battle.
God’s Word says that He will always provide a way of escape for us, and He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. Stay close to him, honor him, mediate on what is pure, choose respect and love for your spouse.
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
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Lie #8: “Marriage is a 50/50 relationship, and your spouse is not doing their part.”
The truth is marriage is much more than 50/50. It takes two people, fully committed at 100%, choosing every day to love and cherish each other. Giving half effort will never be enough to see you through the toughest times.
Looking at marriage and our significant other with this cloudy perspective will only lead us to compare all that we’re doing with what they are (or aren’t) doing. This isn’t what God intends.
His plan is covenant relationship, centered in Christ, loving through Christ; that is what will carry us through both the good times and the bad. It takes full effort and commitment in order to have a strong and healthy relationship which will thrive over time.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)
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Lie #9: “Once trust is broken, it can never be restored.”
Many have walked through very difficult seasons of marriage. Infidelity, addiction, pornography, lies, may have shaken your marriage to the core. So much so, that the foundation seems beyond repair.
Maybe some are still healing, limping towards hope. Others have come through to the other side by the grace of God. Sometimes the marriage is saved. Sometimes it is not. But it doesn’t change this truth: No matter what we face or where we’ve been, God is able to forgive, redeem, and restore. He is the God of miracles; it’s His nature.
If you find yourself in a struggling marriage, cry out to Him for help. He can bring back to life what was dead. He can redeem the dark seasons. He can restore what has been lost (Joel 2:25) and turn around the most difficult struggles for good.
The power of God can give hope, a fresh start, and a new beginning. Only through Christ is this possible. Know that He will never give up on you or your marriage, not ever. Don’t stop believing.
“And Jesus said to him, “If you can?” All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
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Lie #10: “Divorce is always an option if things don’t work out.”
If we enter marriage with divorce as an “option,” we’re already in trouble. Because times will inevitably get difficult, and someone will start looking for a fast way out. The truth is, sadly, divorce happens, and statistics tell us that it’s just as common among Christian marriages as it is in non-Christian homes.
But even when it does occur, it’s never an “easy option.” It strikes a heavy blow to all involved. God’s truth reminds us that this devastation doesn’t have the final say over our lives. He is our Healer, and He gives hope and purpose for the future.
No matter the struggles we might be facing, we can make a determined choice today that, as far as it depends on us, we will not give room to that option. Seek out help and counseling. Do everything you can to save your marriage before looking for a way out.
“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell your great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
As believers, we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us to pray, to believe what is true, and to love our spouse every day. May God help us to walk wisely, praying His Word, living a life of love and faithfulness, and focusing on His words of truth. Know that He is with you always, and He is fighting for your marriage today.
(Please note – For anyone who finds themselves in an abusive relationship, God never intends for us to remain in a potentially dangerous situation. If you find yourself there now, please find help and safety right away. May God’s protection cover you and His Spirit give you great healing and peace.)
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also on Twitter and at her blog www.debbiemcdaniel.com.
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Originally published Thursday, 08 November 2018.