Looking back into the early years of my marriage, never did I see the signs of how I was idolizing my wife over God. What I realized was my wife played the role that God should have taken in my life. I love her very much, but I unfairly placed unrealistic expectations on her to make me happy. It took a painful separation to see how I was idolizing her, and that I had stopped pursuing an authentic relationship with God.
What is an idol?
The dictionary definition of to idolize is: to admire, revere, or love greatly or excessively, or to worship as a god. In the New Testament, Paul wrote in his epistle to the Romans on this topic.
Speaking on God’s wrath against the sinful nature of humanity, Paul wrote:
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen (1:25).
How does that apply to our marriage? Well, we start to idolize our spouse when we stop viewing them as a gift from God, but rather our own little ‘god’ who makes us feel personally secure. We must flee and keep ourselves from idols (1 John 5:21). I love asking the tough questions we tend to avoid. Here are some questions to consider whether or not we are idolizing our spouse over God.
When life gets tough, who do you turn to first? God or your spouse for comfort?
Your life will hit hard times, it’s inevitable. You may experience a job loss, hit financial hardship, or heaven forbid, develop health problems. When you hit those low periods, who do you turn to first? Do you turn to God? Or do you turn to your spouse to find comfort?
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Our heavenly Father is our refuge and strength in times of trouble, not our spouses. We should first turn to God for comfort and strength, and then our spouses. When we turn to our spouses first, we are showing God we don’t trust or honor him in the way we should. When we turn to God first, we are showing adoration and reverence for showing us unlimited grace that we don’t deserve. So, if you are turning to your spouse first over God, you may be idolizing your spouse over God. Turn to God first, he has stronger shoulders to bear your pain.
Does the thought of losing your spouse cause immobilizing anxiety?
No one wants to think about losing their spouse. As I sit here typing, I can’t even contemplate the thought of losing my wife. Yes, I love her very much, and the thought of losing her does cause sadness. However, the thought of losing my wife does not cause anxiety-induced impairment.
When someone has impaired anxiety it causes such an extreme level of anxiety that it immobilizes their ability to live their life. For some, this means they are not able to enjoy life.
If the thought of losing your spouse causes anxiety that is debilitating where it detracts yourself from worshiping God, your spouse might be an idol in place of God.
Does your relationship with your spouse interfere in your relationship with God?
Our everyday hustle and bustle keep us all busy. We go to work, we come home and eat dinner with our family, and end our day relaxing until bedtime. Sometimes, our everyday hustle and numerous commitments interfere with our relationship with God and we get caught up in the minutia.
We may not realize it at first, but we show more willingness to commit our own time with worldly happenings than we do with our relationship with God. Let’s all admit it, we are all guilty of prioritizing our time with our spouses over God at one time or another.
Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37
So, does your relationship with your spouse interfere in your relationship with God? Do you prioritize your time for your spouse over your time with God? If so, your spouse might be an idol in the place of God.
We should all love our spouses deeply. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling anxious with the thought of losing them someday or even turning to them when we are feeling down. Similarly, we should all spend time with our spouses and enjoy those moments of jubilation and adoration. However, when we prioritize and adore our spouses more than we do God, we may be inadvertently turning our spouses into an idol in place of God. Our spouses are a gift from God and not a personal idol to covet.
Christian, Husband, Political junkie, Braves fan, Marvel Nerd, craft beer aficionado, and a sinner saved by grace. He has a passion for helping Christian men grow in their faith. He is the founder and editor of Joshua’s Outpost.