Ethics & Religion
February 6, 2019
Ten Myths of Marriage
By Mike McManus
Valentine's Week is a good time to consider 10 myths of marriage.
myth, the purpose of marriage is to make one happy.
- No, disappointment
The goal of marriage is oneness. Jesus quotes Genesis: "So then they are
no longer two, but one flesh. What God has joined together let man not
separate." Happiness is a byproduct of oneness.
A second myth is that the goal of marriage is to get one's mate to
submit to us.
- No. We must give up the goal of winning, If I win, you
lose - and we both lose. Instead, we should help our mate become the
person God intended. Marriage requires us to submit, give up rights.
Third, love is what holds a marriage together.
- True, we enter marriage
with feelings of love. However, what matters is our commitment to the
vows that hold marriage together. Feelings of love wax and wane.
What matters is loyalty to the sacred promises made at the wedding -
vows made by billions of people over 2000 years - of being faithful to
this one person, a pledge I will never leave nor forsake you.
The fourth myth is "love is a feeling."
- Wrong! Scripture says love is a
decision. I Cor. 13 states it eloquently: "Love is patient, love is
kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not
rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no
record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the
truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always
That's 16 definitions of love - all of which require effort.
Myth 5: only minor changes are needed to adjust to marriage with our
- In fact, major reconstruction is needed. We are a fallen race, a sinful
people. The ego must be crushed. How proud we are! Pride must be
destroyed. (Many of us are married singles who work, play and watch TV -
but invest little time in the relationship. We must restructure
ourselves to serve our mate.)
The sixth myth is that it takes work to make a good marriage.
- Of course, work is needed, however, love is spelled T-I-M-E - lavish,
extravagant amounts of time, given without regrets, to give the other
person a home, a friendly place, and unhurried peace and serenity.
Seven, the goal of marriage is fulfillment of the individual.
- We all seek fulfillment, but we should seek ABANDONMENT, giving up
ourselves so completely that we almost surrender our individuality.
That's what Jesus did for us. He who was God took on the form of a
servant, humbled Himself and became obedient unto death.
The eighth myth is that I can change my spouse.
- In fact, we can't change anybody - but ourselves. But changed people
Myth 9 is that living together before marriage is the best way to test a
relationship for marriage.
- No. It is the WORST possible preparation for marriage. You can't
My wife and I wrote a book, Living Together: Myths, Risks & Answers,
with sobering data. Some 8.5 million couples cohabited last year, but
there were only 2.3 million marriages, and only 1.4 million of them were
cohabiting. So more than 7 million cohabiting couples broke up before a
wedding - 5 of 6 couples! And 40% of them had children! Finalkly, 61% of
cohabiting couples who marry - divorce.
How can a premarital couple build a lifelong marriage?
- First, take the
PREPARE-ENRICH premarital inventory, with 150 statements such as:
- I go out of my way to avoid conflict with my partner.
- I am concerned my partner is more of a spender than I am.
- Second, ask an older, happily married couple to mentor you, using this
assessment as a discussion guide.
The final myth of marriage is that "My marriage is a private affair. It
is nobody's business but mine."
- In fact, we are not solo Christians. We are grafted into His body, and
have a responsibility for others - particularly children and other
However, you could also impact the marriages of others. My wife and I
have trained thousands of couples in 230 cities to be Mentor Couples who
help prepare couples for a lifelong marriage, organize an annual
marriage enrichment event and mentor couples in crisis. Churches that
train Marriage Mentors can almost eliminate divorce in their
Discuss and practice these goals during Valentine's Week!
Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and
a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to
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