Can My Marriage Become too Important? (Part I)
By Janel Breitenstein
For a while, I was a suspiciously good wife.
Fresh bread. Square stacks of laundry. Anticipating his every snack desire.
All those things can be great. Hey, I still do most of them. I would have told you it’s because I love my husband, want to serve him.
But at some point, my performance as a wife or my ability to satisfy him became bound with my self-worth. My sense of identity.
Didn’t have the snack he craved? Misjudged when dinner should be ready? I felt a sinking feeling. (Not from him. From me.) I was even creating needs to fill he couldn’t care less about.
There’s a lot of talk in Christian communities—and devotionals like ours!—about marriage being a top priority, right beneath God.
But could marriage, or a spouse, become too important?
Think honestly about questions like these:
- Is it hard for me to find satisfaction in life outside of my spouse?
- Does my sense of self-worth hinge on my spouse’s opinion of and behavior toward me?
- Do I sometimes take more responsibility than I should for my spouse’s actions and happiness?
- Am I afraid of being abandoned?
- Do I consistently stay quiet to keep the peace or have a hard time saying no to my spouse?
- Do I have a hard time making decisions on my own or knowing what I think, feel, or need—as well as communicating these things?
- Do I find deep purpose in consistently making extreme sacrifices for my spouse?
If some of these describe you, you might be doing more than loving your spouse.
You might be putting your spouse in the place of God.
It’s challenging in Christian marriage to know what degree of sacrifice is deep, excellent love, and what actually over-exalts someone else. But neither of you has the capacity—or thankfully need—to be the other’s Savior.
Catch Part II tomorrow.
The good stuff: Little children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)
Action points: If you sense your spouse has started to become an idol in this way, spend time confessing these “disordered loves” to God. Ask Him to help you see times when your identity becomes too involved in pleasing your spouse--and why this has become overly important to you.
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