My favorite show on the Discovery Channel, MythBusters, exposes common myths. Each week, the hosts, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, challenge myths by using science to show the audience what’s true . . . and what’s bunk. Sometimes they even blow things up as part of their experimentation.
What more can a guy ask for?
Myths that couples believe about marriage can be much harder to recognize than those on MythBusters. I’m convinced that marriage myths — false beliefs, unexamined assumptions — can make a couple miserable and mess up any good relationship.
I can’t count the number of good-hearted, well-meaning Christian couples I’ve counseled over the years who’ve left their partner because of their belief that “I should be happy no matter what,” or “I deserve to have an affair because of the way I’ve been treated,” or the classic: “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.”
Here’s a news bulletin: People on the other side, no matter how appealing they seem, are just as flawed as your spouse.
Maybe, like my wife and me, you strolled into marriage with more than a few crazy ideas about romantic love. Though Rhonda and I have enjoyed twenty-six years of matrimony, our success didn’t come without struggle. We had to face down our own marriage myths soon after we walked the aisle.
I actually thought we would have sex every day, or at least every other day. Isn’t that what every guy thinks? It took less than a week to put that particular myth to rest! One night I showered, shaved, slathered on my best cologne, and slid into bed, when I heard Rhonda practically snoring. Nothing like a little cold water to put my fire out.
Rhonda also brought her fair share of myths into marriage. She assumed, like many women, that I would always be as expressive and affectionate as I was while we were dating. Apparently, it didn’t take me very long to fall short of that mark.
Both of our expectations were based on wrong thinking that brought emotional pain and some intense arguments into our young marriage.
God’s heart breaks when He sees His children buy into myths and act on them. He grieves when He watches friends and family take sides and innocent children become emotionally wounded when they see Mommy and Daddy attack each other. God grieves when He sees the unhappiness, hopelessness, destruction, resentment, division, and financial strain that inevitably come when couples embrace marital myths.
Right Thinking, Right Actions
Perhaps you feel anxious about the direction your marriage is headed. Maybe you’re considering walking out because you feel that your marriage is no longer fulfilling — or even that it’s the marriage from hell.
In all of this, perhaps you’ve lost hope.
The good news is that you can hope again. A bad marriage is not like a piece of fruit that goes bad and has to be tossed in the garbage. It’s more like a person with a serious illness who gets some timely help . . . and begins to heal and regain strength. Sick marriages can heal. I’ve seen it happen time after time.
I’ve seen old lies jerked from the soil like long-rooted weeds. I’ve seen truth take root and begin to flower. I’ve seen love return like April sunshine after a long winter. You can call it a reconciliation or a restoration or a rebuilt home.
I always call it a miracle.
I pray you will take a closer look at the myths you believe — sometimes without even knowing that you believe them. Your marriage is too valuable to be driven by wrong thinking. You need the truth that will lead you to right feelings and right actions. Jesus said only the truth gives us true freedom (John 8:32). The truth will lead you to serve one another and nurture your mate’s spiritual well-being. Truth will also cause you to fulfill your lifetime commitment to God and to your mate, no matter how hard it gets.
Even seasoned couples who make marriage look effortless admit that they’ve had their fair share of distorted thoughts and feelings. When my wife reflects on our early days together, she reminds me, “Mitch, you were the most naïve man I ever met. You were really messed up, but I married you because I knew you had a good heart.”
I think her marriage to me was a kind of spiritual benevolence — a way to save me from myself. No matter what kind of benevolence I feel it was, I’m glad she became my wife. Gratefully, God has molded our relationship into one of the strongest I know.
In spite of Satan’s best attempts to destroy your marriage, my desire is to help you make it as great as God intended. I want to guide you through a minefield of myths with God’s Word as our source of truth. I want to help you turn your marriage around. Let’s get started.
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Copyright © 2009 by Mitch Temple, Used with Permission, Published by Moody Publishers. Adapted from The Marriage Turnaround.