Christian Devotionals

Debunking Marriage Myths (1)
"Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

A lot of us are 'myth-informed' about love and marriage. The myth of 'a perfect marriage' is widespread and dangerous among us. By setting up unrealistic expectations, impossible dreams and magic thinking, it misinforms, misleads and disillusions us, preparing us to walk away the moment our fantasy clashes with reality. Only the truth can make us free to find fulfillment in our marriage. For the next few days let's explore a few of these myths.

Marriage myth 1: The myth of 'viral love,' insists that love is caught, much like a virus. 'Some enchanted evening' when you happen to be in the right place at the right time, it will zap you. You'll 'catch the bug' and enter a lifetime of unending bliss! The trouble is, when we're worn out taking care of three children, two jobs and a second mortgage, the 'virus' subsides. In the whirlwind of dishes, nappies and daily routines, something has to give. So romance vacates centre stage and reality takes over. When it does, we confuse romance for true love and mistakenly think it has moved out and that we need to follow it. The truth is, love does not die because romance bows to reality. If two people who once 'fell' in love are willing to 'stand' together in love through the challenges and opportunities of family life, romance can grow again, stronger and more resilient than ever. Love based solely on romance doesn't work when 'for better' meets 'for worse.' Romance based on a decision to love 'till death us do part' is the only love that's dependable, consistent and trustworthy. Romance brings us together; this kind of love keeps us together!

Debunking Marriage Myths (2)
"Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

Marriage myth 2: The myth of the 'right person,' suggests happiness in marriage depends entirely on finding the right person. It's said to be a matter of luck, Cupid, the moon hitting your eye like a big pizza, etc., occasionally even God. Just find the right person and they'll make your life supremely happy, romantic, excited, fulfilled, blissful. The right person will lead you into the wonderful land of endless love. It's all up to them. And they will make you happy for the rest of your life.

Despite the advice of friends and family who can often see what is really happening, we'll 'give away the farm' and turn ourselves inside out to keep this addictive, 'magic' happening. But when it stops (and it does), three things happen: (1) We cry, manipulate, blame, vilify and consider them phonies for changing on us and making us miserable. "He's not the man I married," we complain. He may not be the person you expected him to be (that person doesn't exist outside your myth) but he is the one you married and the problem isn't all his. (2) We label him 'the wrong person' and either search for the right one or give up on the opposite sex as being false, faithless and fickle. (3) We learn the truth: there is no right person to make us happy always. At that point we're set free to find happiness by becoming the right person, the one God created us to be, giving generously, allowing others to be real, limited, changeable humans, and looking to God for our completeness and joy!

Debunking Marriage Myths (3)
"Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

Marriage myth 3: The myth of 'the full box,' suggests that when we marry we inherit a big box filled with self-replacing good things, guaranteeing effortless unending marital bliss. This box is supposed to contain romance, physical fulfillment, generosity, true love, and being served 'in the style to which we've become accustomed.' Ideally, we can dip in and take what we want from a never-depleted supply. Instant, low-maintenance satisfaction guaranteed! And it seems to work initially, so we believe the myth. Until one rainy day we dip into the box and come up empty. At that point we feel shock, disappointment, anger, despair and hopelessness and conclude that our partner failed, fooled or forsook us. Why else would the box be empty?

At that point the myth suggests, "It's time to find another box!" Or you could listen to the liberating truth: (a) marriage is a big box, an empty one. Your job is to make enough deposits to guarantee sufficient withdrawals for a rich relationship. Jesus said: "...The amount you give will determine the amount you get back" (Luke 6:38 NLT); (b) you must start by asking, "What would I like to have in the box?" Then you deposit that into the box. Then you ask, "How much of it do I want in the box?" Then you deposit enough to generate that amount. You see, the box is only a container; it didn't fail and you didn't get a bad box. You are the owner of the box, not its victim. Accepting this truth frees you to make your marriage rich and rewarding by becoming a giver, not just a taker!

Debunking Marriage Myths (4)
"Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

Marriage myth 4: The myth of the 'marriage-go-round,' says you can hop on and off marriages when you're bored, discontented, stressed out, or get a better offer. Today we're conditioned to instant gratification. If we don't like the rules we'll take our ball to another playground. We're a 'disposable' society; whatever doesn't perform satisfactorily will be replaced rather than repaired. Tragically, we transfer this mentality to our relationships and replace the people in our lives who don't play the game our way. Each generation becomes less likely to be tolerant, patient, hard-working, flexible and creative in marriage, and more likely to trade in what they're unwilling to work on. The myth of the marriage-go-round tells us we don't have to grapple with our marital issues. Just replace it! But the truth reveals that the myth doesn't work. Over 50% of first marriages end in divorce, 65% of second ones, and more than 70% of third ones. Clearly, when it comes to marriage, the more we do it the worse we get at it! In fact, with few exceptions, the painful numbers indicate that statistically you have a better chance of finding happiness in your current marriage with all its challenges than if you move on to another one.

God's way is your best option. Always! When He says, "...[whom] God hath joined together, let no man put asunder" (Matt 19:6), He intends that in working and growing through the obstacles and opportunities of your marriage, you'll become a better partner and end up building a happier marriage!

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