Lie #6. "My spouse and I are incompatible." I don't know a lot of husbands and wives who are truly compatible when they get married. In marriage, God joins together two flawed people.
If I will respond correctly to my spouse's weaknesses, then God can teach me forgiveness, grace, unconditional love, mercy, humility, and brokenness. The life of a person who believes in Jesus Christ is developed by responses to not only happy things, but also to difficulties. And those very difficulties include weaknesses.
That is why we are told in Colossians 3:12-13 to "put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other." My spouse's weaknesses are not hindrances. Instead, they are the doorway to spiritual growth. This is a liberating truth.
If I will respond to my spouse's shortcomings with unconditional acceptance, my love won't be based on performance. I won't say, "You need to live up to these expectations." I will be able to accept my spouse, weaknesses and all. And that acceptance will swing open the door of change for not only my spouse, but also for me.
Lie #7. "Breaking the marriage covenant won't hurt me or my children." When divorce enters a family, there are always scars. I know this firsthand; although I was an adult when my father committed adultery and divorced my mother, decades later there are still effects. Many consequences of divorce never go away.
Blake Hudspeth, our church's youth pastor, also understands the pain of divorce. He was 5 years old when his parents divorced, and it was hard for him to understand God as Father and to trust people. "The people I trusted the most split up." He also found it difficult to accept love from others "because I didn't know if they truly loved me." And Blake developed a fear of marriage. "Am I going to follow the trend of divorce, because my parents and grandparents divorced?"
Blake's father even wrote him and said, "This was the worst decision I made in my life. It was bad. It hurt you. It hurt our family. When I divorced your mom, I divorced our family because I broke a covenant that we were a part of."
Blake says that his parents (who both remarried) have embraced the gospel, resulting in him readily accepting advice and encouragement from them. "Watching the gospel play out … with my mom and dad was huge," he says.
Lie #8. "There's no hope for my marriage-it can't be fixed." This may be the most devastating lie of all. Because in more than four decades of counseling couples, I've seen God do the seeming impossible thousands of times. In a dying marriage, He just needs two willing parties. God knows how to get us out of the messes we get ourselves into.
I tell these couples about people like Chuck and Ann, who were involved in drugs and alcohol before God restored their home. Or Lee and Greg, who were engaged in multiple affairs. God brought them back to Christ and to each other. Now they have six children and a marriage ministry. Or Jim and Carol who had taken off their wedding rings and were living in separate bedrooms and about to live in separate worlds when God redeemed them.
If you begin to think, There is no hope for my marriage, realize that, "With God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).
We must combat the lies about marriage. The truth will set us free (John 8:32). God can fix anything!
Bill Elliff is the directional pastor of The Summit Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas. His passion is to see both genuine revival and methodological renewal in the church. He is a frequent conference speaker, writer, and consultant to churches drawing from his four decades of pastoring and revival ministry. He is also involved in helping lead "OneCry! A Nationwide Call for Spiritual Awakening." Bill and his wife, Holly, have eight children and six grandkids (at last count).