Answers In Love

Winning at Life God's Way

The One Lie that Can Kill Your Marriage

John and Mary (not their real names) appeared for counseling looking very unhappy. Near-daily conflicts plagued their year-old marriage.

Early into our session John explained that his wife “isn’t the person I thought I married” He went on to cite his complaints against her.

Mary responded with tears and said, “He doesn’t care about my feelings. Nothing I do is good enough. I feel controlled and I won’t stand for it. If he doesn’t care about my feelings then I don’t need him.”

I sighed. Clearly this couple had a lot of work to do.

Spotting the Lie

Did you catch the lie that can kill a marriage? John didn’t exactly say, “I’ve married the wrong person” but the thought seemed just beneath the surface of his words.

When the marriage road gets rough it’s easy to think, “I’ve married the wrong person.” Every spouse learns a lot they didn’t know about their partner after vows are made!

The idea that one has married the wrong person is a lie straight from Hell. It encourages people to remain proud, blame troubles on their partner and even leave the marriage to look for “the right person.”

People who run from troubled marriages instead of fixing what’s wrong usually continue their bad habits and repeat their same mistakes with someone else. That’s why second marriages fail at higher rates (67%) than first marriages (50%) and third marriages at even higher rates (81%)

Embracing the Truth

God’s truth tells us that marriages don’t turn sour because we marry the wrong people. They turn sour because hard hearts lead us to do the wrong things (Matt 19:8)

Failure to do the right things in marriage leads to pain but that’s okay. God will use the pain as a refining fire to melt away selfishness. The desire to escape pain can drive partners to surrender pride and learn to love well – in other words to become more like Jesus.  People who blame and withdraw miss out on God’s good plan.

God’s truth brings hope. It means couples don’t need to suffer the spiritual, emotional, social, physical and financial costs of divorce. Instead they can humble themselves and  learn to do the things that make marriage work.

Doing the Right Things

Here’s a list of right things couples can do to make their marriage work. As you read through these note what ones do and don’t happen in your marriage or in the marriage of people you care about:

  • Center everything around God
  • Value marriage well-being over personal desires
  • Express affirmations, affections and compliments
  • Communicate deeply and often using “I statements”
  • Resolve conflicts with solutions acceptable to both
  • Forgive
  • Accept partner weaknesses and limitations
  • Play together
  • Allow time apart
  • Control stress (don’t over-schedule; live within financial means)
  • Maintain a pleasant, orderly and manageable home (purge or downsize if needed)
  • Resolve personal mental-health issues with professionals
  • Maximize physical health
  • Maintain healthy sex life
  • Consult with mentors and counselors when troubled or confused
  • Be willing to change as needed

Whew! Marriage takes work. Fairy-tale accounts of “happily ever after” don’t tell the whole story!  Over time and with God’s help couples can learn to do the right things (Phil 4:13).

The Two-Way Street

It takes two to make marriage work. Both partners need to sign onto God’s marriage plan because each partner can only change themselves. Relationships can’t work while any partner remains addicted, abusive, dishonest or disengaged.

Your Turn

I hope this post helps you or someone you know watch out for Satan’s marriage-killing lie (“I’ve married the wrong person”) and stay focused on doing the things that make marriage work.

Meanwhile help me grow my “Right Things” list by sharing additional ways you know to  help build a strong marriage. I look forward to hearing from you.


About Cheryl Savageau

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

2 Replies

  1. Carl Lancaster

    Cheryl, I think this is a very good article that includes many things that any married couple or couple that is considering marriage could profit from. I have passed it on to some others.

    1. Cheryl Savageau

      Thanks Carl. The list made me tired just thinking about all the things needed for a great marriage but doing all of them has to be easier than being in a bad marriage! Right?

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