The E-Myth of Marriage

selfish spouse

A myth is “a widely held but false belief or idea.” When we believe a myth to be true we are choosing to believe a lie. Unfortunately, many people buy into a myth in marriage that leads to dire consequences to themselves and those around them.

In 1986, Michael Gerber wrote the best-selling book, The E-Myth. His “e-myth” stood for the myth that entrepreneurs make poor business people. Attacking and exposing that myth set thousands of business people free and gave them a path to accomplish their business potential.

There’s another e-myth that needs to be debunked in marriage. It’s the myth of entitlement. Entitlement carries with it the underlying premise that “I deserve something better than what I have.” Often rationalization of entitlement begins with the words “After all….”

Entitlement can manifest itself in as many ways as sin can be expressed. A spouse can feel entitled to an affair. Another may feel entitled to spend money without being accountable to their mate. How one spends their “free time” is often a place of contention and entitlement—going out with friends, gaming, hunting, hobbies, etc.  At its darkest, entitlement can convince some spouses to emotionally or physically abuse their mate as their “right” because they are married.

Here are four ways to protect your heart and your future from the e-myth of marriage:

1. Beware of the Enemy’s tactics

Through marketing, music, and relationships, your mind is constantly being bombarded with the expectation that life revolves around you and your fulfillment. This is a tactic of the enemy to direct our focus on self-fulfillment. Instead of serving our spouse and seeking their fulfillment, we become focused on serving ourselves.

In no way are we trying to minimize the difficulty in a marriage that is imbalanced with a severely selfish spouse. Yet, in rationalizing entitlement, even in the most difficult situation you can be missing out on what God wants to develop in you through the hardship. Beware of the enemy’s tactics to bring the focus primarily on yourself.

2. Eliminate two words from your thinking

The two words to eliminate from our thinking are the words: “I deserve.” The truth is, everything that we have is a gracious gift from God. Once we begin thinking, “I deserve..,” we have opened the door to discontentment. Our subconscious begins to look for satisfaction from things or people that will fill what we believe we deserve.

3. Use the filter of Scripture

One of the greatest protectors of our heart from the e-myth of marriage is the wisdom and truth of the Bible. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is what I’m desiring something that is honoring to God?
  • What does the Bible say about this?
  • Would my choice(s) be Christlike?

An e-myth lie that many people believe is that “God wants me to be happy.” The truth is, God wants us to be holy and honor Jesus more than he wants us to be happy. We find true joy and contentment in making right choices before God.

4. Cultivate gratefulness

A great antidote to the e-myth of marriage is to daily take note of the blessings God has brought into our life. As we begin to recognize his abundant provision for us, our drive for entitlement diminishes significantly.

Take control of your thinking and your attitude in marriage. Fight the e-myth and choose to build your marriage!

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