A myth is an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true. Marital myths are those beliefs or understanding that people have about marriage, but which are not true. There are many ideas about marriage in the hearts of people which are not consistent with God’s idea of what marriage entails. We should never forget that God Himself instituted marriage, and He has given us a manual on how to enjoy it. The myths discussed below are those that have been found not to be true, especially, as they are not consistent with the word of God concerning the institution of marriage.
Myth 1: “This Man May Not Love Me Now, But He Would Love Me When I Am Married To Him”
In case you are wondering why we are only looking at this from the man’s angle, the reason is because it is the man who finds a wife. I hope you still remember Proverbs 18:22. It does not negate the fact that a man as well can reason in this manner like “This Woman May Not Love Me Now, But She Would Love Me When I Am Married To Her.” I hope we are absolutely clear on this as we proceed further.
Now, this is an absolutely ridiculous myth and one that must be adequately addressed. Whether we like it or not, the foundation and God’s model for marriage is founded on love. Love is the bond that will hold the man and the woman together throughout the length of the marriage. Colossians 3:14 tells us “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Usually, when a man sees a woman, he is first attracted to her. But it does not stop there, over time, the attraction grows into love. When Adam first saw Eve, this was what he said “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23, NKJV).
From that Scripture, what we discover first was that something attracted Adam to Eve, and that thing is the fact that Eve was taken out of him. In other words, he has not seen anything as beautiful as what is standing in front of him at that moment, of all that God had made previously. And then, the attraction grew into love, to the extent that Adam couldn’t resist when Eve brought the forbidden fruit to him to partake of it. Attraction is not enough to go into marriage, love must be the basis of marriage.
But I have also heard people say love is not enough in marriage. This is absolutely true. No marriage survives on love alone, there are other things that must be added to that virtue called love that would make marriage a worthwhile venture. Love is like the foundation. Just like a house is not a house yet at foundation level, there are other things that must then be added to the foundation which eventually would make it turn out a beautiful edifice.
If there is no establishment that a man and woman love themselves, and not just attracted toward each other, then they should never proceed to getting married because if marriage is done based on attraction alone, if whatever it is that attracted you to each other is no longer there, that would be the end of such marriage. Under no circumstances should a lady think a man would love her more after she has forced marriage on him, or a man should think a lady would love him more after he has forced marriage on her. I mean, people wrongly assume this way and it is important that we talk about it.
Marriages that are consummated this way are simply ticking time bomb waiting to explode at some future date. Let us examine this myth by looking at the story of Leah and Jacob in Genesis 29:31-35. The Bible says:
“When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32 So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.” 33 Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. 34 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing.”
Leah was never the option for Jacob from the beginning, and so, she was never loved by him even after the marriage was properly consummated. There is absolutely no ground to prove that a man who doesn’t love you from day one, who is only attracted to you because of some certain things; would love you if you force marriage on him. I mean, there are examples of this all around us. So, the myth that a man or a woman would love their spouses after they are properly married is false. There are people who had gone ahead to marry their spouses hoping that when they do, they might drop some of their terrible behaviours. The outcome has always been disappointing really.
Whatever negative pattern of behaviour that you cannot change in your spouse during courtship would take the grace of God to be changed during marriage.
Myth 2: Marriage is “For Better Or For Worse”
This myth is not correct. Marriage is not, and will never be for better or for worse. When God was instituting marriage, there is never a “worse” clause in the arrangement. But somehow, we have allowed doctrine and the erroneous teachings of men to rope this “for better or for worse” line into marital vows. Maybe I think; is to prepare the couples for the marital journey ahead of them, which may not always be smooth. Marriage is never without its challenges. This is the absolute truth. If anyone tells you that marriage would be a bed of roses have just deceived you and deceived himself or herself.
But with God, marital challenges can be overcomes. This is why the Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:12 that “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” But there is absolutely no reason why we should force intending couples to confess the negative into their marital journeys, knowing full well that a man would have whatsoever he or she says.
This is where I think it is high time we reviewed this narrative. I for one, believe that marital vows should be re-coined to reflect faith and not doom for the intending couples. The truth is: life will come with its ups and downs in the course of the marital journey, but the couples can decide their experiences, through faith; when these times come. There is absolutely no biblical justification for us to ask couples to recite those vows about sickness when Christ had already made us whole (1 Peter 2:24), or confess poverty when Christ had made us rich (2 Corinthians 8:9), or confess sorrow for themselves in marriage when the Joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
Myth 3: “God Is Not Against Polygamy”
I have seen many people who professes to be Christians argue in favour of this particular one. The reason they gave was because men of old, especially in the Old Testament married more than one wife, and God did not kill them for it. But the truth many have forgotten is that God gave man that privilege to make his or her own choices in life. The consequences of our choices are largely ours to bear at the end of the day. The fact that men of old married more than one wife is not a proof that God supports polygamy.
If we examine His words in Genesis 2:24, it says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” God said in that verse that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his “wife” and not wives. If God allowed polygamy, the word should have read “wives”, and we should never think God made a mistake. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and not a man and his wives. In fact, the reason there are trouble in polygamous homes is simply a substantiation that God is not involved in such arrangement.
My own father for example is a polygamist. But several times he had said to me never to consider it. Why? Because polygamy is not the ideal. Even those who actively engages in it like my dad, don’t want any of his male children to toe that same path. God’s silence on polygamy is part of His permissive will for man, and not His perfect will. There is the perfect will of God for man and there is His permissive will. The perfect will of God is God’s original divine plan for your life. For example, his perfect plan for you is that you get married to that woman, and become one with her. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtain favour from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).
His permissive will on the other hand, is what He allows you do when you reject His own perfect will or perfect plan for your life. If He tells you, marry one wife, and you say “No Lord, two is fine for me”, He will allow you to go ahead with it. Since He’s made you with choice. Even though He created you, He wouldn’t force His way down your throat. But the consequences of your actions you know are yours to bear. If you meet your waterloo along that path that you choose, you will simply bear the cross. The Bible says “there is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Does it now mean God will leave one alone if one chooses His permissive will rather than His perfect will? No! God won’t leave you. He is a merciful God really. When you retrace your steps back into His perfect will, he won’t reject you.
[Centre for New Dimension Leadership]