Marriage Is Death

November 5, 2014

Marriage Is Death
Eliza Jane Huie

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Eliza Jane Huie

Marriage Is Death

“I love my spouse; I’m just not ‘in-love’ with him/her anymore.”

This is a statement I have heard pronounced in the counseling room many times by couples. Both women and men have said it. It is usually said in the context of a marriage counseling session scheduled because the couple has reached a crisis state, and in many cases, the one saying it is also declaring their desire to leave the relationship.

To Love and To Be in Love

What does it mean to love or be in love and is there a difference? If you spend any time wading through the murky bog of the world’s messages as portrayed in movies, TV shows, and music you might come up with a definition like this.

Love is good-looking, emotionally exciting, and never boring. Love is always interested and supportive of my hobbies, and is never tired or discouraged. Love makes me feel good about myself. Love is sexually in sync; love is totally into me.

So, when a relationship, and for our particular focus—a marriage—becomes dull there can be a temptation to believe that you are not in love. How can you be in love if there is no passion left? How can this really be love if desire for the relationship has fizzled? Is there hope for a relationship when it has reached this state?

To recover passion you must focus on the right things. As a famous preacher once said, “You have to focus yourself away from yourself.” Building a marriage around your felt needs is a recipe for disappointment and is contrary to Scripture. Focusing on you is counterproductive. It may seem like it would help if your marriage met your needs, but the unintended consequences are that you become the center of attention and the center of focus. This is a big problem. The relationship is no longer the point, but you and your needs are. The natural consequence of this is when you feel like your spouse is not meeting your needs, you no longer want the relationship. You may not initially leave, but you begin to check out.

The Scriptural Purpose of Marriage

Scripture speaks of a very different purpose for marriage. You get married to forget about yourself, to set yourself aside, to lay your life down. To die.

I will often bring up this point when doing premarital counseling with a couple. It is sometimes a bit humorous to see the look on the face of the dreamy-eyed couple as I tell them that marriage is death.

Marriage, in essence, is an “other-centered” relationship. When you begin to focus on yourself and your needs you begin the deconstruction of the relationship.

For anyone playing the devil’s advocate, I am certainly not talking about essential needs for life and survival. Any time a person is in a marriage that is threatening their safety or well-being it is absolutely appropriate to get away from that relationship and seek help.

Loving Your Spouse

The death that we are called to in marriage is the laying down of your life described in Scripture as the mystery of marriage which points to Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32).

How do you know you love your spouse?

  • Are you living in your marriage in a way that reflects the relationship that Christ has with his Bride?
  • Are you willing to become obedient to the point of death; the death of your own interests and preferences?
  • Are you willing to humble yourself and think of your spouse’s interests more than your own?
  • Are you willing to count your spouse as more significant than yourself? This is death (see Philippians 2:3-11).

The reality is this; in marriage you die daily. Every day is an opportunity to die and in dying you love.

So, what can you make of the original question of what it means to love or be in love? If you have lost that loving feeling, you need to build a new foundation of what love is and what it means. It means you get yourself out of the way. This can only be done as you focus on your Lord. To love your spouse means that you look to Jesus and learn from Him what love is. “Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” (Ephesians 5:2) To love and be in love requires you give yourself up, to die.

Join the Conversation

What does it mean to love or be in love and is there a difference?

What difference does it make in marriage to see marriage as a call to die to self and to live for Christ as you love your spouse?

6 thoughts on “Marriage Is Death

  1. Sorry- but this is the greatest load of bolony that I’ve ever read on Marriage in my entire ministry….no…my entire LIFE! God created Marriage PRIMARILY for HAPPINESS! God created Woman for Man after He showed him all the animals of the field, and in the end, Adam saw that “there was no help meet for him.” (Gen. 2:20). Marriage is for LIFE, not “death!” (Gen. 1:28) If being “fruitful and multiplying” is not LIFE, then what is it? Jesus loved the Church and was willing to give his life for her in order to give her LIFE… but marriage is not for personal death- it is for MUTUAL LIFE! For completion! What you wrote is synonymous with saying that Marriage is a CROSS! Sorry sister- but you are big time wrong on this one… You’re counseling people to become non-persons, only living for the interests of their spouses…. That is a major set up for adultery!

  2. I understand what you are saying, but the advice is lopsided. Any time one partner is living this way, and the other is not, the marriage is broken. I have seen men in particular take advantage of women who try to live in their marriage in a “dying to self” kind of way and get continually invalidated, emotionally neglected, and treated as a doormat. This is not the kind of marriage God intends.

  3. God clearly doesn’t want us to be a doormat for emotional or spiritual abuse. There are steps to take that help women (or men) escape and work towards repentance and restoration to healthy marriage. A solid biblical church that practices discipline and discipleship can work wonders in saving these relationships and calling abusers to account.

    A resource I recommend for those who question they are in that situation.

    That being said we are to always love even when it doesn’t feel deserved or reciprocated. God has chosen to love us that way and out of the abundance of grace He has given we’ll be motivated to love our spouse even if they didn’t love us first.

  4. I think all of you are wrong, and further more I have seen more women abuse husbands and take advantage of marriage than men.

    Woman wanted to have knowledge and be like a god and was deceived. Man listened to his wife and that is why he was punished. He abdicated his headship, plain and simple.

    Ep: states wives are to submit in EVERYTHING. Oh my, I said it. How abusive am I? 1P: Women are to win their husbands over by their behavior to the point of calling him sir, even if he is an unbeliever. Husbands are to live their wives because they are weaker and show them honor as an heir of grace.

    God made woman as a helpmeet. They are to be supportive, not man be the helpmeet. Marriage is to make them one flesh to which nothing should separate them. This is to populate the earth. How? Sex, to not burn with lust and therefore get married, and not deprive each other. Men are to love their wives and wives are to respect their husbands and be SUBJECT to each other. This to make an example is if husband is at lunch with friends and wife’s friend is behind him, he needs to take his wife into account when he acts/says things to be subject to her. Not submissive to her…

    Can wives make their opinion known? Absolutely! In a supportive respectful way. Not in a competitive, contrarian way that challenges her husbands authority over her. Oh my! I said authority over her. In her tone and behavior he will see her intentions.

    Does this mean he is intimidated by her? Not at all. When a senior officer is challenged by a subordinate he will put them in place. When the subordinate comes to him in a relaxed non contrarian way, the senior officer appreciates it. Most women challenge their husbands leadership, intelligence, competency, morallity, integrity, and intentions as if he is personally atttacking her. Then she feels unloved and says he is abusive and not understanding. Understanding a submissive, respectful wife is sooooo easy. When they are over burdened by the day and doesn’t have dinner even started and she is a submissive wife, he could careless and genuinely help start dinner. If she starts in about how bad she has it, he will push back.

    Western women have it better than 99% of the world and yet complain about how unhaaaapy they are in marriage. They make their husbands “earn” sex.

    The world over, men comply and women complain. Someone who is submissive doesn’t need to be dominated, period. They are already submissive.

  5. I appologize for saying this, but if you are married…. you both abusers. Physical abuse should not be tolerated, but it’s my opinion real mental abuse is rare. See Fatal Instinct and Sleeping With The Enemy as the type of real abuse.

    Bickering and arguing isn’t abuse. I don’t think name calling is abuse DURING and argument. Men tend to be more violent with abuse, but women are more abusive, look at the latest studies.

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