How A Few Simple Truths Can Help Your Marriage
By: Ted Harro
“We’ve all become susceptible to believing stupid lies about God, ourselves, and others.” – Chris Hall
Nothing Kills A Marriage Like Lies
You don’t have to be a marriage therapist to know you can’t base your marriage on a lie. Deceiving your spouse is one of the most damaging things you can do to a marriage. But most of us would be surprised to discover how many lies we tell ourselves and how deeply they can affect our marriages.
We live in a world that tends to pull away from God. When we’re far from him, we become prone to believing stupid lies about God, ourselves, and others.
Here are some lies we hear in the lives of couples on a regular basis:
- Lies about God: Deep down, many of us believe damaging things about God. For instance, we may think that God is far, far away and doesn’t really care about our lives. Or that God is a Cosmic Killjoy, the kind of person we wouldn’t really like if we met him in person.
- Lies about You: We easily believe lies about ourselves. You may believe that no one sees you, no one hears you, so you have to watch out for yourself to survive. You may believe that your life is defined by the worst thing you’ve done or the worst thing that has happened to you.
- Lies about Others (especially your spouse): It’s surprisingly easy to believe lies about your spouse. You could think that your spouse should meet all of your needs, and if that’s not happening, then something is wrong with your spouse. You may believe that your spouse should know what you need without you saying it out loud.
Live your life by any of those lies and here’s what happens: You end up becoming a self-oriented person focused mostly on getting your own needs met. It becomes difficult to trust others or yourself.
When two people like that get married, their circle is constantly getting broken. They’re too cautious about being hurt to take the risk needed to really love someone. Because love is ultimately an act of reckless trust.
Being Religious Just Makes It Worse When We Lie To Ourselves
If you want to make this situation really bad, make these people religious. When you believe stupid lies about God, yourself, and others – and then add religion on top of it – you become a miserable person who others find insufferable.
In the words of Trevor Hudson, “We become like the God we worship… If we have a negative picture of God, the more religious we become, the worse it gets. It would be better if we were atheists.”
Read that again, especially if you come from a religious background. Our pictures of God, ourselves, and others matter so much that if they’re messed up we’d be better off being atheists.
Nothing Makes Marriage Work Better Than The Truth
Here are a few truths about God, you, and others as taught and modeled by Jesus and his people:
- Truths about God: God is the most joy-filled, generous person in the universe. If there’s one thing he can’t do, it’s to stop giving and loving. On top of that, he’s nearby. He’s the kind of person you’d love to be close to. We know that by watching how ordinary people responded to being with Jesus.
- Truths about you: You are seen and heard. You are invited into the Circle with God and his people. You were created by good and for good, even though you have been bent by the world we live in and your own choices.
- Truths about others (especially your spouse): Other people, including your spouse, can be companions and partners in the reclamation of your soul. They can also become co-conspirators in overcoming evil with good in the world.
Live your life by those truths, and you can start to build something amazing. You can approach life with a confidence that in the end, all will be well. You stop pretending and become more authentic. You start to move from self-absorption to other-centeredness.
Put two people like that in a marriage and their circle is bound to get stronger and better over time. It will reflect – imperfectly – what has been going on inside the God’s Circle since before time began. Each partner will work tirelessly for the good of the other. Together, they will have a deep sense of anticipation for what is still to come. And they will have a pervasive sense of well-being that is hard to shake.
It will be good to be in that circle. Two people in that kind of relationship will communicate more freely. They will deal with the inevitable conflicts and tensions graciously. And yes, I’m pretty sure they’ll have better sex because nothing is more of a turn-on than being deeply connected to your best friend.
Take it one step further. That kind of relationship, just like the Circle of God, will overflow on those around it. Joy and generosity will make that couple shine like a star on a dark night. That impact won’t be a chore for the couple. It will be as natural as water flowing over the edge of a cup when that cup is full to the brim. Their marriage won’t be able to contain the life in it, because that life will be the life of God himself.
This week, try doing the With-God Replay a few times. Each time, watch for what your emotional responses tell you about what you really believe about God, yourself and your spouse. Then ask yourself, “Is that true?” You don’t have to try to change anything. Just notice what you really believe. That’s the start of turning from lies to the truth.