One question that you may not think to ask yourself is, “Is my marriage an idol?” And rightfully so. Many do not think to ask this question until they find themselves in unfortunate circumstances or situations. Even then, how do you know you’ve made your marriage an idol and what should you do about it? Even further, what does scripture say about it?
Signs Your Marriage is an Idol
One of the biggest signs that your marriage has become an idol is if you look at it (and your spouse) for full and total satisfaction. Do you seek to find healing and filling for any insecurities from your marriage or spouse? In your heart, is your marriage seen as your “saving grace?”
The truth of the matter is your spouse and your covenant with them belong to God first. Your spouse and your marriage with them are on loan, so to speak. In other words, looking to your marriage to do what God should be doing in your life is equivalent to idolatry.
5 Reasons Not to Make Marriage an Idol
Idolizing your marriage can hinder growth.
When you’ve made your marriage an idol, chances are you begin to place unexpected expectations on your spouse. When this happens, you subconsciously want your spouse to measure up or fill in the gaps that he (or she) are not meant to fill. Overall, this can prevent you and your spouse from growing your marriage in a godly way.
Galatians 5:7 – You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?
Idolizing your marriage can cause you to compare it to others.
“They seem so happy. Look how perfect their marriage is. They always have it all together.” Have you ever looked at someone else’s marriage and said these things? This is another indication that you’ve idolized the thought of what a “perfect” marriage looks like. Hence, it can cause you to focus on elevating yours.
2 Corinthians 10:12 – We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
When you’ve idolized your marriage, it gets all your attention.
God is the only one who deserves most of our attention. Yes, while earthside, we have roles and commissions to fill. However, God has never asked us to get so sidetracked with filling them that we don’t leave room for Him. It’s quite the opposite. With God first, everything else will fall into place.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Making your marriage an idol will affect your children’s perception of relationships.
If you have children, they are watching. It used to surprise me how our children could recall so many things about my marriage. This shows that children are, in fact, little sponges who are learning how to live and navigate this thing called life – including marriage. Although it could be many years away for your children, what you show them about marriage now is most likely what they will pursue in their own relationships, including idolizing it and their spouse.
Proverbs 22:6 – Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Idolizing your marriage is contradictory to scripture.
We saved this one for last because it can be seen as the most important. Simply put, scripture does not speak highly of idolatry and it warns many times about staying clear of it. Each scripture about it points to the principle that you cannot love both God and idols equally. There is always order and although God is a jealous God, He will not compete for the top spot in your life.
I John 5:21 – Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
What to Do if You’ve Made Your Marriage an Idol
There are a few questions you can ask yourself to see if you’ve made your marriage an idol. Read through them and answer them with the utmost honesty:
- Does the thought of not being with my spouse give me anxiety or fearful thoughts?
- Does the affection and delight in my spouse distract me from delighting in God?
- Is my marriage regulated by the Word of God?
First and foremost, this is not to point fingers, place blame, or make you feel like a bad person. This is our attempt to help you overcome the enemy’s trap if you’ve idolized your marriage and spouse. In fact, we applaud and commend you for even admitting to yourself that this could be a real struggle for you.
Now, it’s time to confess and repent to God about it. Do this by humbling yourself in prayer and asking God for both forgiveness and strength to make any necessary changes. The goal is to get everything out in the open so God can begin to show you how to put Him in His rightful place. Then, you can begin putting your marriage and spouse in their rightful place in your life – second to the love and serving of Christ.
Making your marriage an idol can happen over time. In most cases, it happens because of a series of circumstances and situations. Whether it be through insecurity, loss, or other things that have happened, it’s healthy to do a priority check every so often. Pay attention to any signs that you made your marriage an idol and make any necessary changes as quickly as possible. We believe any and every marriage can experience idolatry, so just know that you’re not alone.