Are These 8 Myths About Marriage Harming Your Relationship?

Couple talking. Dealing with myths about marriage.

You imagine “I do” should lead to “happily ever after.” That may happen in fairy tales, romance novels, and cheesy made-for-TV movies. But your marriage is not a fairy tale. It’s messy, and hard. Could the myths about marriage that you’ve heard and come to believe be harming your relationship and setting you up for even more disappointment?

You learned things about marriage and relationships before you knew you were learning them. And many of those things are incomplete, distorted, or downright false.

Here are 8 myths about marriage that need to be debunked and replaced with some godly truth. Some of these myths come from secular culture. But you may have heard some of these myths in church as well.

4 Myths Culture Tells You About Marriage

Have you come to believe any of these popular and prominent myths about marriage that the world around you is promoting?

  1. Marriage is to make me feel good.

That might seem logical. Why else would someone get married? You certainly started out with all kinds of warm fuzzy exhilarating feelings. Isn’t that the point?

No, it’s not. This myth leads to the outcome of, “If I’m no longer feeling good (about you or the marriage) than I’ll leave.” Feelings do change. Always. Guaranteed. A covenant marriage is not based on feelings.

  1. Marriage is to get my needs met.

Well, isn’t it? Isn’t my spouse supposed to meet my needs? When my needs aren’t getting met doesn’t it mean something’s wrong?

Not so fast. There’s not a human being alive, even the most perfect spouse, who can meet all your needs. In the best godly healthy marriage a number of your needs can get met, but not all of them. God won’t make Himself indispensable, and the deepest places in your heart only He can fill. And He designed you to have other healthy connections as well, beyond your spouse.

  1. Marriage is a contract.

Signing the marriage license might make it seem that way. And from a purely human secular perspective a contract might be a reasonable picture. That sadly often leads to one or both of you trying to demand or manipulate your spouse into “fulfilling your duty,” or leaving if they don’t.

But God designed marriage to be a picture, an earthly object lesson, of the kind of love He has within Himself and that He desires to have with us. That’s a covenant love, not a contract. God loves us because He loves us, not because of anything we do. And that’s the kind of love God designed marriage to display.

  1. Marriage is not worth it.

“It’s too difficult. It won’t last. It will only lead to more trouble. And in today’s culture you can have sex and/or raise children just fine without marriage. So it’s no use trying very hard.”

In 2014 the Washington Post reported that for the first time there were more unmarried adults in the US than there were married adults. And that is still true today. Many other countries have demonstrated similar trends.

But this myth is wrong again. Marriage is challenging. But research proves that those couples who persist and work through troubles experience more satisfaction and connection than they had before. So hard, yes, but worth it.

4 Myths the Church Tells You About Marriage

Secular culture, OK. But what about the church? Perhaps you’ve heard and embraced some of these distortions about marriage.

  1. A happy marriage and family is the goal of the Christian life.

You might think that from walking into the average Western Christian church on Sunday. Singles often don’t seem to fit.

But this is clearly a myth. Jesus was never married. And more importantly, the goal of the Christian life is to become like Jesus, not to have a successful family. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). That’s the goal regardless of your relationship status.

  1. Praying more is all you need to do.

Yes, pray! But if praying was all you needed to do, why are so many praying Christians woefully miserable in marriage? Why does going to church and doing all the Christian things seem to not be working?

As good as all those things are, a successful marriage requires you to develop certain mindsets and learn certain skills. That’s what maturity is about. It requires that you learn to love well. It’s “praying with your legs.”

  1. Don’t have sex before marriage, and you’ll have a wonderful married sex life.

OOPS! Sometimes, but not necessarily. How many married people have felt blind-sided by the distortions in this myth. God never promised you a happy sex life. Real intimacy takes time and effort.

And an especially dangerous part of this myth is believing that if you’ve “messed up” sexually God will punish you with a miserable sex life in some way. That’s not the message of the gospel. If we know anything about God, it’s that nothing is too hard for Him to restore and redeem.

And one more thing; this myth looks at sex as primarily about behavior, and misses the much more important dimensions of intimacy.

  1. Christian submission means husband gets his way, wife must follow.

This sounds so Biblical: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). But this Scripture has too often been used as a weapon to “steal, kill, and destroy.” Using Scripture to demand your “rights” is always wrong.

True Christian submission is mutual; “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Following how Christ modeled both headship and submission, there’s never any room for manipulation, control, or demanding one’s own way.

Exchange Myths for the Truth

If you can see the lies in these myths, you’re ready to consider what God has to say about marriage. We’ll get more specific about that truth next time.

Your Turn: Have you come to believe any of these myths about marriage? Did any of these myths surprise you? Leave a comment below.

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