Myths About Marriage

Myths About Marriage
Howard Eyrich, MA, ThM, DMin.
Please, Do not publish without prior permission.


If you read my book, The Art of Aging, you will find a discussion of the myths of aging. I have found that identifying the myths that culture produces is an important task. Here we consider the myths about marriage. As a freshman at a state university, my granddaughter is required to take the course next semester, Marriage and Family in Global Perspective. As my son commented, Wokeness102. In this class, she will most likely be exposed so a number of new myths.

Number One:
My sexual challenges will be over. My wonderful wife or husband meets my every need. Unfortunately, too many men in see marriage as the fix for their sexual lust. At the same time, a high percentage of women find their husband’s preoccupation with sexual playfulness irritating after the year of marriage. Whereas all too often, though genuinely finding their wives holistically attractive persons, inadvertently communicate that sexual activity is their priority in the relationship. There can be little doubt that pornography and the movie/television industry have contributed to this environment and this phenomenon.

Sexuality is the unique experience between a husband and a wife. While the medical knowledge of our contemporary world has identified in detail how this physiological system functions, this information does not account for the spiritual component nor the individual personality component of the individuals. T These are mentioned only as an important aspect of dispelling this myth.

Myth Two:
My wife or husband will make me whole, make me the person I’ve always desired to be. Or he will be my source of strength. This is not true for Christians or non-Christians. Coming to Jesus as Lord and Savior does not accomplish this task. Why put this burden on your spouse?

Such thinking leads to unhealthy dependence, often referred to as enmeshment in marriage and family counseling. Enmeshment occurs when both individuals are operating by this myth. When only one lives out this expectation, the other oftentimes grows discussed with that partner’s weakness, loses respect for him/her, and becomes a vulnerable target for drifting into an affair or divorce. This drifting may not be the outcome for the Christian committed to keeping the wedding vows. Still, over time (3 to 5) years will generate disappointment in the marriage, a difficulty in practicing the one-anothering necessary for a functioning marriage. It may trigger the dependent partner to leave the marriage to find the person who will make them whole.

The complementariness of the Christian marriage will contribute to both the husband and the wife contributing to each other’s maturity. However, becoming the blossoming ONE that God created in the wedding covenant is the product of each functioning in accordance with the framework that God prescribes in the Scriptures for marriage and for individuals growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

This myth gives birth to an impossible expectation. There is abundant research confirming the reality that unmet expectations (realistic or unrealistic) produce an unhappy marriage. This expectation must be recalibrated, hopefully in premarital counseling, but if not, early in the relationship. However, as Dr. Reeder often observes that regular attendance in worship and small groups is the key to recalibrating our spiritual understanding and correcting our personal Christian life deficiencies, so we must help the couple realize it is only through their own individual internal-thinking-believing recalibration on a regular basis will each be growing into a whole person.

Myth Three
My Life Will Be Ideal. From Cinderella to Hallmark, each generation has perpetuated this myth that they lived happily ever after to some degree. Few folks consciously think this way, yet the myth persists to some extent. The reality is that, in some respects, life is harder than it was when you were single. A husband now must think and plan to provide for his wife. Every time they have a sexual encounter, there is the nagging fear of an unexpected pregnancy. When her job requires his attractive wife to travel, there is a concern for her safety. When he is passed over for that promotion or loses that sale that would have made a bonus this quarter, and the $1500 does not materialize in the paycheck, she finds the nagging question of his competence raising its ugly head.

Sometimes for a wife, it is the irritating uncouth habits he now displays that he previously covered up or are just evident because they live in the same space. Sometimes they are always late because she just can get it together to be ten minutes early, which is his being on time.

My life will often be ideal, which becomes a problem because the ideal is an unrealistic expectation. Other times it is a problem because the mate is just not who they portrayed him/herself to be. Whatever the case, maybe it spells trouble.

For the Christian, is there a sense in which marriage is ideal? The answer is yes, absolutely, but! God designs marriage to unite two people into one. It is a pre-fall covenantal ordinance. When the man and the woman walk in fellowship with Jesus and enter this covenant with full commitment to live it out in their relationship, it produces an ideal. However, that ideal does not exist without challenges, as does not a single life. There is sickness. There are accidents. There are sometimes moral failures. There are political disturbances that cause unhelpful economic conditions. In these circumstances, the ideal is experienced in mutual support, caring, pulling together, forgiving, and encouraging. It comes in the form of being accepted for one’s foibles. As the writer of Lamentations put it, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” The Cord of Three Strands represents God, the groom, and the bride – braiding these three strands symbolizes the joining of one man, one woman, and God in marriage. This is the ideal, the marriage prepared for life in a fallen world. It is not the mythological ideal of happily ever after.

Myth Four
Now we live together, enjoy sex, and play together, and everything we have had so far keeps getting better. Well, maybe, some time to some extent! This myth is akin to the ideal myth. It expects marriage to be what no relationship on this side of heaven between two human beings can ever be.

You see, this is what we all desire. It is the utopic residue that is a byproduct of our being created in the image of God. Deep down inside all of us, even the vilest criminal, is this utopic desire for everything to be ideal, everything to keep getting better. Humankind has striven for this throughout history. Political leaders use this innate desire to promote socialism. They propagate equity, that is, everyone, sharing in this wonderful world together, and the naïve, unthinking person accepts the myth. Unfortunately, human nature desires this utopia without taking responsibility to earn it in the political arena and all too often in marriage.

The reality is there is no utopia in a fallen world, not in the political world and not in marriage. In marriage, what the young couple has had together prior to marriage can get better and better. But better is not the ideal of this myth or the previous one. But better requires work. It requires the work of Philippians 1:6 Paul teaches us that we can be confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ, and then in 2:12, he teaches us to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His purpose.” These verses are not in conflict. These verses are the heart of the sanctification process. And they are the heart of a growing, maturing, enjoyable marriage.

As each partner is cooperating with the Spirit of God in their individual lives and working together in their marital life, their lives and the life of their marriage will get better and better even when struck with the ugly impacts of life in a fallen world. However, unless the couple understands this biblical truth, they will be frustrated by this myth.

Myth Five
Having children will unify our marriage and bring us marital joy as we parent together. While there is a biblical mandate to multiply, having or not having children does not determine marital happiness. Children certainly add joy to marriage; they are not the determiner of that happiness. In fact, children often bring significant challenges to marriage through various variants such as learning difficulties, health issues, and deviant behavior like rejecting faith and other parental values.

Myth Six
Not disclosing past indiscretions is best since my mate will never have to deal with them. While every detail of a past-wavered life need not be rehearsed, to whitewash or shrug off the past as unimportant is a mistake. It is wise to give the prospective mate the opportunity to process this reality before saying “I do” rather than risking the past to unveiled post-marriage and the mate left feeling like “I’ve been duped!” Better to risk losing the beloved before the wedding than two or five years later when the ugly reality is uncovered. Transparency is always the best policy, before the altar and after the altar.

Myth Seven
In-law relationships will become one big happy family. For this writer, my in-laws were mother and daddy even before the wedding. For my wife, while not a rancheros relationship with my father, it certainly was not a very embracing relationship. My Mother was a quiet and reserved personality. She loved Pam, but there was not a closeness like what I had with her mother, who became one of my best friends.

To enter marriage with the expectation that one will have a relationship with in-laws as one does with one’s own parents, or to have a relationship with the in-laws like you wished you had with your parents is to make one’s marital happiness dependent upon other peoples’ choices.

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