Many pastors spend lots of time in marital counseling. A lot of our time in marital counseling is spent helping people see the truth in the midst of the lies that they are believing. Over the course of time we start seeing some common lies. When we don’t understand the nature of marriage, it is easy to believe lies about marriage that run the risk of destroying our marriage.
1. “Something is wrong, I better say nothing.”
Many believe that when they sense that something is wrong, the best path forward is to keep their mouth shut. This is simply false.
We could compare our marriage to our body, since marriage is “one flesh.” If we feel pain or discomfort we shouldn’t just “wait and see what happens”. In the same way, if a spouse senses that there is something wrong in the marriage, it is necessary to talk about it.
Yes, we should discuss it, but we should consider how we discuss our discomfort. It is important to begin with questions and not accusations. If you perceive that something is wrong, ask questions about what is happening rather than immediately judge the situation and accuse your spouse.
2. “I could never confess my sin to my spouse.”
Few things are more dangerous than unconfessed sin. In marriage, each spouse’s sin will affect the other. When we don’t confess sin, we miss an opportunity to grow in grace together. Your spouse is often your greatest asset in waging war against sin.
3. “I’m certain my spouse is with someone else.”
In almost every marital counseling session, one of the spouses is convinced that the other spouse is cheating on them. It may be true, but until there is some kind of evidence that proves it, we are called to be merciful and extend the benefit of the doubt. The erosion of trust is lethal to a marriage.
Even if what they suspect turns out to be true, this is not a reason to immediately abandon a marriage. It may even be an opportunity to reflect the love and forgiveness of the gospel.
4. “Our conflict is my spouse’s fault.”
We keep repeating Adam’s excuse in the garden “the woman you gave me…” We love to act like we are the victim. We do not like looking in the mirror to recognize what we have done wrong. There is only one perfect spouse, and that is Christ. If your marriage has conflict, first look to yourself. That is Jesus’ entire point in Matthew 7:5 where he tells us to “First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
5. “My spouse is trying to control me.”
Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly controlling spouses. This should be confronted and dealt with. Those are not the situations that I’m referring to.
Many spouses complain that the other is trying to control them. Often, this is not the case; rather, there is a huge gap in communication. Each spouse has certain expectations, when those are not discussed and worked through, then it may come to feel like our spouse just wants to make us do things how they want. It can feel like no matter what, we are failing. It can feel like we aren’t being listened to.
In these cases, it is helpful to reflect on Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
6. “My marriage is harder than everyone else’s.”
Every marriage suffers from conflict in different ways.
In reality, the problem is not your marriage. The problem in every marriage is that there are two people fighting to be King of the same territory. Simply, a marriage will be peaceful and healthy when both are willing to humble themselves, get off the throne, and honor Christ as King.
7. “It is not worth trying to save my marriage.”
What our sinful heart desires is what the enemy desires — to destroy our family. If our hope is placed in our spouse or in our ability to save the marriage, then you are right, it is not worth it. The battle is already lost.
However, if marriage is something far greater than just two people being together and fighting a lot for life, then we should truly consider not throwing in the towel.
God designed marriage to display His gospel and to work out His purposes in each of your lives. All of that conflict is not merely uncomfortable, it is revealing just how much of your flesh has yet to be mortified.
So how about you? Are any of these lies wreaking havoc in your marriage?
Want to see more from Justin? Check out his other LifeWay Voices posts: