Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Marriage Myth that Needs to Die

As someone who counsels and talks with a lot of married people, I come across a lot of different scenarios. I see both older and younger couples hitting roadblocks in their marriages and relationships. I encounter people who really want their marriages to be healthy and enjoyable, but have struggles they often don't know how to overcome. Like a storm which creates waves that threaten to sink a boat at sea, trials and tribulations bang up against many fragile marriages, threatening to sink them. 

But interestingly, I found one common factor in many of these situations. I have spotted a lie that is passed around and believed hook, line, and sinker.

You want to know what it is? Wait for it...

Good marriages don't have problems, bad ones do. 


In the words of the professor from Waterboy, "Well, folks, mama's wrong again."

We live under a lie and illusion in our culture that there are good marriages and bad marriages. Good ones are believed to be those where there are no issues. Bad ones are the one's that have conflict, struggles, and trials. But this is a lie. 

There are good marriages and bad ones, but it is not based on whether or not you have struggles and conflicts. Every marriage has conflict. Every marriage has struggles. Every marriage has some issues that need to be addressed and cleaned up. This is not the mark of a bad marriage. 

A Bad Marriage

No, the mark of a bad marriage is the one that has all these issues, yet does not deal with them. That is a bad marriage. A bad marriage is the one that tries to band-aid problems by not dealing with them. A bad marriage is the one that thinks ignoring problems will make them go away. A bad marriage tries to keep "peace" by not having hard conversations. 

A Good Marriage

In contrast, good marriages, which are also marked by struggles, conflicts, and trials, deal with issues. A good marriage admits there are problems and seek solution. A good marriage is one that can comfortably admit it is not perfect, but is striving to become so. A good marriage faces the realities confronting the relationship and seek to honor Christ and surrender to his guidance and will. A good marriage is marked by imperfect people who don't pretend or act as if they are perfect. A good marriage is marked by a lot of apologies. A good marriage is saturated with forgiveness and grace. A good marriage seeks not one's own needs, but the needs of the other.

This is why, to our shock and dismay, a good marriage can be one that goes to marriage counseling. A good marriage is one where sometimes hard conversations damper our spirits. But this is not a bad thing. It is healthy. 

Sometimes in order to heal physically, you have to break and cut in order to repair. A marriage is no different. In a relationship as dynamic as a marriage, sometimes you have to injure in order to get stronger. Sometimes you must cut so you can be healthier. This is a good marriage.


Next time you are feeling down and depressed because you think your marriage is bad, ask yourself this question: do I think my marriage is bad because we are having some difficulties or because we are not dealing with our problems? If it is the former, then you do not necessarily have a bad marriage. If it is the latter, then you do.  So fix it.

You may never be problem-free in your marriage - and by "may never be" I mean you won't - but if you deal with the problems in your marriage, you are in a good marriage. The bad ones are not the one's with issues, but the one's that do not deal with their issues. Big difference.

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