Source: Relevant Magazine - Debra K. Fileta
Marriage Doesn’t Solve Your Problems
Why identity and purpose aren’t dependent on a spouse.
With all the mixed messages our world offers us about love and relationships, sometimes it’s hard to imagine marriage accurately from the perspective of a single young adult. Even with all the chaos modeled in modern-day marriages all around us and the national divorce rate consistently hovering at 50 percent (with only 50 percent of those who remain married reporting that they are happy in their marriage), somehow the idea of marriage still gets idolized beyond reasonable expectations. Everyone believes their marriage will be different, looking to Hollywood dreams and fairy tale romances as their example.
I meet with singles in my counseling practice and get emails from all over the world from young adults looking for love. They long to be married and have an insatiable desire inside their hearts to meet the significant other they can finally call “the one.” It makes sense that the topic of love is such a universal obsession. God created love and has placed the desire to be loved unconditionally within each of our hearts. Marriage is a natural overflow of that desire.
Yet within this sacred and natural pursuit of marriage, it’s easy to fall into the lie that finding a spouse will be the ultimate road to happiness and great satisfaction. That all problems, fears and deficits will fade away in the presence of true love. While this may be true of God’s love, let me remind you it isn’t true in the world of marriage.
There is no doubt marriage is a great blessing and that those who find a good spouse have truly found a great gift (Proverbs 18:22). Having been married for five years, I can wholeheartedly say that marriage has enriched my life in so many ways. Yet for all the things that it has done to enhance my life and stretch my love, there are still some things it will never be able to do.
Marriage doesn’t erase your insecurities.
I’m not sure why young singles ever believe that it would. For some reason, the idea of being loved unconditionally by another human being sounds like it would do the trick in helping us feel better about ourselves. We fall into the belief that being married and seeing ourselves loved through the eyes of another will really teach us how to love ourselves. Wrong. So very wrong.
That way of thinking has done more harm than good to many a marriage in our world. No one has the power to deal with our inadequacies and insecurities but us. Putting those types of expectations on a spouse will only cause harm, because there is a 100 percent chance they can’t change how we view ourselves.
No matter how much encouragement, affection, affirmation and validation you receive from your spouse, true security comes when you choose to see yourself through the eyes of God, not through the eyes of your significant other (or anyone else, for that matter). Relying on your spouse to fill those insatiable needs is a recipe for disaster—because no one human being has the capacity to offer you what is needed for true value and self worth. That can only come from within. True security comes from the intimacy of your relationship with God, and whatever praises and encouragement you receive outside of that are simply overflow.