How the Independence Illusion Kills Marriages

[The following Date Night Advice is an excerpt from the JUST RELEASED, third and final book in our discipleship series: Beyond Sex & Salvation. It presents three crucial life decisions for relational success; decisions best made BEFORE you fall in love. Find out more or purchase the book at this link.]


independence-illusionFor all of the faith our modern culture puts in science and materialism and all the talk of being “real,” we believe some fairly ridiculous things.

Take this idea of independence — the belief that we can do it on our own, even that we should do it on our own. At least, we should if we wish to prove ourselves a “real” man or an “empowered” woman.

Regardless of how much you’ve accomplished on your “own,” you had some help at some point. Unless, of course, you pulled yourself out of the womb, gnawed through your umbilical cord and immediately began scavenging for milk and cigarettes.

Sadly, marriages fail every minute because of the myth of independence. For starters…


The independence illusion motivates many to marry without any support from family and friends.


Some even marry because of that lack of support. “We’ll show them!” think the proud pair.

And they usually do “show them.” They show them how difficult it is to maintain a life-giving, life-long marriage without a strong, involved and supportive community.

Of course, if you’d never consider something so stupid, don’t think yourself out of the woods, because…


Most couples in our modern world will actually model their marriage around a paradigm of independence.


The happy couple will become man and wife and then one or both will fight to maintain his space or her rights or his individuality or her time throughout the course of their relationship.

Unfortunately, you will find it difficult to enjoy the union God intends for marriage while you’re defending your identity. If you follow any team sport, you know this. Even a team with one or two standout players won’t win if those members can’t put the team ahead of themselves. Funny we should expect our marriages to work any differently.

However…


The way the independence illusion destroys most marriages is not by causing conflicts, but by keeping them from being resolved; escalating the tension by convincing the couple to keep their problems to themselves.


If I was drowning, my demand for independence would be replaced by desperate screams for help! If your home catches fire, you won’t try to put it out yourself until after you’ve first phoned 911.

Yet it breaks my heart to think of all the marriages breaking up right now as I type these words, simply because the couples involved won’t humble themselves and seek help from family and friends who would do anything they could, if they only knew what was really going on.

These couples are drowning, but don’t dare cry out.

Their home is on fire, with their whole family inside, but you won’t know about it until all that remains is ash and rubble.

How many times have you been shocked when a “happy couple” suddenly announces their divorce? You never imagined they had any major conflicts and now their marriage is in meltdown mode.

How differently things might have turned out if everyone who loved them could pray for them, pray with them, carry their pain and hold them accountable, even take care of the kids from time to time, so the struggling couple can better work things out. So in the end, they can care for their kids together instead of fight over them.

The independence illusion keeps this from happening.

Have you bought into the independence illusion, or could you see yourself falling prey to that illusion in marriage? Why or why not?

[This is but a taste of the JUST RELEASED, third and final book in our discipleship series: Beyond Sex & Salvation. It presents three crucial life decisions for relational success; decisions best made BEFORE you fall in love. Find out more or purchase the book at this link.]


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The LoveEd study guide series, Beyond Sex & Salvation, will empower you to prepare for relational success when it counts: BEFORE YOU FALL IN LOVE! It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. Check out the first two 8-lesson study guides in our store. You can walk through it on your own, but it’s more fun with friends, so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study. Even better?  And ask a married couple you respect to lead it!

Categories: 3 Crucial Life Decisions, Beyond Sex and Salvation, Make Peace with Your Loved Ones