Listening to people who are getting divorced has helped me to uncover some root causes of failed relationships. They are concealed explosives lurking beneath the known typical marriage tensions such as: financial strain, gender differences, communication skills, respect, and intimacy struggles. Because the couple rarely recognizes the undetected detonators, these issues destroy a marriage that could have been saved.
The unique insight I’ve gleaned after years working with those divorcing propels me to help expose the hidden booby traps that often go undetected until the relationship dies.
Here are 8 myths we believe about falling in love, getting married, and maintaining a relationship.
- Myth #1 Leniency is an Act of Love
Does God have any problem allowing us to suffer a consequence when we make an unwise or sinful choice? NO.
Then where did we get the crazy notion that tolerating, ignoring, and indulgence is an act of love? We certainly didn’t learn that perversion of the Word from God—the Creator of Love. He explains it clearly :
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” (Psalm 119:67 NIV).
Suffering, not leniency was the thing that brought the Psalmist to his senses and turned his life around. True love allows a spouse or child to suffer when they choose unwisely. This provides the catalyst and motivation to wake up—and thrive.
- Myth #2- I Can Change my Spouse.
It took the Holy Spirit some time but I finally realized I was sinning and spitting in God’s face when I attempted to change or “fix” someone else. God packed my husband’s personality luggage in the way He knew was best. I needed to stop trying to change him into what I think he should be.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5 NLT).
- Myth #3- I’m Entitled to be Happy.
Being born in the USA comes with one significant curse. The land of the “free and the brave” has morphed into “I deserve to do whatever I want.” We spend a lot of time focusing on our “rights” but this thinking is contrary to Jesus who came to serve. He teaches us to focus on responsibility rather than rights.
”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 NIV).
- Myth #4- My Childhood and Previous Emotional Wounds are in the Past. They Have No Effect on My Marriage.
Both past sins done to you and the past sins done by you, affect your marriage. Those choices embed shame, fear and self-loathing. And unless we confront those tormentors, and learn how they have perverted our thinking and actions—they fester. Jesus forgives all sin and teaches us how to forgive others.
“My father and mother walked out and left me, but GOD took me in” (Psalm 27:10 MSG).
- Myth #5- Pornography Will Not Harm my Marriage.
If I plopped a few drops of Clorox bleach into your morning coffee would you drink it? Likely not. That’s how pornography affects the precious sweetness of the sexual union between a husband and a wife. It’s toxic and deadly.
“My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins” (Psalm 38: 5 NLT)
- Myth #6- It’s My Spouse’s Job to Meet My Needs.
When we expect a person to meet a need that can only God can fill, we are headed for disappointment and trouble. It is neither feasible nor wise to expect my spouse to meet all of my needs. God is the only one who knows all of my needs, and He created us to need Him. He is our source.
“For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28a NIV).
- Myth #7- Keeping Secrets From my Spouse Will Not Harm My Marriage.
Can your spouse look at your phone, computer, DVDs, gas mileage, receipts, credit card bill, closet, calendar or hiding spot at any time? If the answer is no, the question then shifts to, “Why not?” If the answer is because he’s a manipulative bully and dictates your every move, than you have a different problem. But if it’s because you don’t want to be held accountable—that’s deception. And lies destroy relationships.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
- Myth #8- Divorce Does Not Happen to Good Christians.
Church attendance, bible reading, salvation, and prayer don’t automatically inoculate a person from divorce. That’s because it takes two people to get married, but only one person to divorce.
A wise Christian prays for a strong marriage and refuses to believe “that could never happen to me.” She continuously works on strengthening her marriages and discovers areas of weakness.
“Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion; wise realists plant their feet on the ground” (Proverbs 14:18 MSG).
Marriage is not nearly as much about finding the right person. It is about becoming the right person.
By Laura Petherbridge
Wife to Steve, Mom of two stepsons, Grandmother of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of Sisterhood of Stepmoms
Author of When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t, 101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom, and The Smart Stepmom with Ron Deal