In more than 30 years working with couples on their marriages, I have found most couples struggle with managing their paradigms in marriage. There are good paradigms to have, but in this article, I want to tell you about some paradigms you may find in your marriage that can destroy the peace and love in your home.
As I go through these, you might identify with one you're holding onto. It's great if you can see a problematic paradigm. We can't change what we can't see.
- Marriage is between a man and a woman. This is by far the most dangerous paradigm for a Christian marriage. This is 100% a secular idea and will ruin the foundation of your marriage. Marriage is between God, man and woman. God made marriage, and He is an integral person in a Christian marriage. If He is not actually enjoyed in your marriage, you have bought into a secular paradigm.
- Our money is ours. No, your money is God's. He asks you to give 10% of His money to your local church. Every couple I've counseled who had significant financial difficulty did not tithe consistently. If you think all your money is yours, you may suffer financial stress in your marriage. This "mine" mentality can be found in other areas of the marriage other than money.
- I'm right. If you buy into the paradigm that you're right, most conflicts or opportunities for growth become about you and you being right, which creates an adversary relationship with your spouse and any of their great and helpful ideas. Having to be right is a curse that limits you from learning from others and cancels the much-needed journey to discover the best solution.
- My gender entitles me to ... In Christ there is no male or female (Gal. 3:28). Using your gender for hierarchy or control is not only sad, it's dangerous. Marriage is between three people—the King of kings, God, is the only king in your marriage. All others are servants of Him and each other. For more on this, read my book Servant Marriage.
- I'm here to be served. This paradigm is fatally flawed. When you're married, you're called into a lifelong service of the other person. How well we serve our spouse, not how well we demanded service, will be evaluated by God. This immaturity can rot a Christian marriage from the inside out.
- I can't be wrong. Since we're all sinners, we all make mistakes. Humbly accepting our flaws and taking responsibility when we're wrong is part of our Christian walk toward everyone, especially our spouse. If you haven't asked for forgiveness from your spouse, you may secretly believe you didn't sin and you're not wrong.
- Never ask for help. As Christians, we're part of the body of Christ. We're interdependent, which means we depend on each other. In my experience, I have often found the wisdom I'm lacking already exists in someone else. If I'm humble enough to ask for help from another, I'm almost always helped.
When someone has the level of pride that says they're supposed to know all the answers, they'll fall hard. This is a dangerous paradigm to live with in marriage.
These are only a few of the dangerous paradigms people have wholeheartedly believed prior to coming to my office for counseling. Their hearts believed these as true. Their behavior reflected their embracing of these paradigms. Their marriage deeply paid the price for these false beliefs.
Use these paradigms as a guide to have the right attitude toward your marriage. If any of these struck a nerve with you or you related to any of them, take steps to change. Again, it's good to evaluate the issues because you cannot change a problem if you are unaware it exists.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including his newest title, Lover Spouse. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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