It is really easy to wake up one day and realize you are idolizing your spouse. Although it can happen over time, it is something that married couples encounter and struggle with. There are many reasons why making your spouse an idol is dangerous for your spiritual life, marriage, and family.
The Dangers of Idolizing Your Spouse
What is the scriptural definition of an idol?
We believe it’s important to first identify what an idol is. Scripture always defines itself and it does so perfectly regarding this topic as well. Being the root word of idolatry, an idol is something (or someone) that is worshipped as though it is God. Of course, with that definition, you’re probably thinking, “I don’t worship my spouse!” But let’s dive a little deeper.
We can read about the first mention of idols in Genesis 31 involving the stealing of Laban’s idols (or teraphim). But God makes it clear in Exodus 20 how we are to handle idols-
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carve image…”
Although this doesn’t say, “You shouldn’t put your spouse before Me,” it certainly lays down the important principle of keeping God in His rightful place in your life.
What are some ways spouses are idolized?
At this point, we need to identify ways that spouses idolize one another. The first and most typical way a spouse idolizes their significant other is by finding your worth and value through them. No, there is nothing wrong with your spouse bringing you joy, comfort, and the like. However, when you look to your spouse for validation and value, that could raise the red flag of idolatry.
Another way involves your spouse’s ability to control or influence the way you feel about yourself. Does your worth come from whether or not they say something specific to you? Or do things for you? While life and death surely flow from the tongue and words have the power to heal, there is a difference between what influences you and the way you see yourself.
Last but certainly not least, idolizing your spouse can come in the form of putting your faith in your spouse more than in God. This can say a lot about the position your spouse has in your life. If he or she is before God, that’s another red flag. God should always be first!
What happens when you idolize your spouse?
We have many scriptures that warn against idolatry:
- 1 Corinthians 10:14
- 1 John 5:21
- Colossians 3:5
- Isaiah 45:20
- Jonah 2:8
- Psalm 16:4
Just to name a few… So, what are the dangers?
Your spiritual life can suffer.
Scriptures like Psalm 16:4 make it clear that relationships with Him suffer when we decide to take up other gods, even if it’s putting our husband in His place. One translation (ESV) says that the sorrows of those who run after other gods shall multiply. Is placing our husbands above God worth the sorrows that come with it? Certainly not!
Your marriage can be hindered.
Have you ever looked to your spouse to provide the attributes that only God promised to provide? This can be in the form of looking to your husband (or wife) to fix your anxiety and depression. Or perhaps you’ve placed unexpected expectations on your spouse to fulfill. It’s safe to say that these are rooted in some form of idolatry.
Your family can be misguided.
When your spouse is placed above God, it shows your children what is most important to you. If you’re trying to raise children who are firmly rooted in the love and trust of the Father, then you’ll have to show them what that looks like. One of the most confusing things parents can do to their children is say and teach one thing but live another. Sadly, these are many of the children who grow up and either turn away from the faith or have an even harder time continuing in it.
Looking to your spouse for godly guidance and counsel is one thing. But raising them above what should be God’s position in your life is when it can become idolatry. If you find yourself putting all your love, trust, and guidance in your spouse, take a step back and identify what changes need to be made. This doesn’t make you a bad person nor does it mean your life is doomed. In fact, this gives you all the more reason to confess, repent, and continue the journey of getting (and staying) in alignment with God and all He has for you.