Home » Consider This When You Think Your Marriage Was a Mistake

Consider This When You Think Your Marriage Was a Mistake

There are many husbands and wives who think their marriage was a mistake. They’re looking back with regret at their decision to marry. And they’re wondering now if there is some reasonable way they can correct their mistake. They don’t want to hurt their spouse, their children, or their family. But they just can’t imagine having to live with their mistake for the rest of their lives.

marriage was a mistake

Maybe, this is the way you feel. Or, maybe you have a strong sense this is the way your spouse feels.

In either case, I understand this line of thinking. I’ve been there, on both sides. So I’m not here to pass judgment on anyone for feeling this way.

However, I do want to challenge this way of thinking and the reasonings that go along with it.

Because it may seem like an innocent way of trying to figure things out. You or your spouse may be trying to understand how you got to this place in your marriage. And one, or both of you are thinking if your marriage was a mistake, maybe it should be ended.

The truth is, this line of thinking is toxic to a marriage. No doubt, before these thoughts even occur there is already some trouble in the marriage. But this type of thinking is like pouring toxic water on a plant that is already dying. Thinking your marriage was a mistake is in no way a solution to the problems you’re having.

Thinking your marriage was a mistake does not happen overnight. It usually develops with time. And this is not an independent thought that just stands on its own. This thinking occurs during times of trouble and is always supported by other faulty reasonings.

Do you think your marriage was a mistake?

Let’s challenge this thinking.

Let’s look at some of the faulty reasonings that support this way of thinking.

Faulty reasoning #1: “The one that got away”

A lot of people marry someone who was not their first choice. For one reason or another, the relationship didn’t work out with someone else. And now they have to settle. Now they have feelings and imaginations of what life would be like if they married the one that got away.

In situations like this, I’m reminded of an old song. It says: “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

I know that’s a secular song and the entire message is unclear. But there is some truth to what it is saying. Love is a choice. Love is not something that can only happen if you are with the right person. You get to choose. And you can choose to love the person you’re married to with an undivided heart.

To love the one you’re with, you have to get rid of any thoughts you have about the one that got away. As the bible says, you have to cast down imaginations and bring every thought into obedience.

I love this quote from Zig Ziglar: “I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person. But I do know that if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. It is far more important to BE the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person.”

Faulty reasoning #2: “This marriage doesn’t fit the picture”

This is another place where your thoughts can lead you into thinking your marriage was a mistake. Every one of us has some sort of expectations when we enter into marriage. It may not be something we do intentionally. We just naturally have some type of picture in our minds. It’s like hearing someone’s voice before you see their face for the first time. There is always a surprise when you compare reality to the picture you have.

You can’t do anything about what your expectations were before you married. But you can do something about the way those expectations are hurting you now.

Pastor David Barringer wrote a great article on this called “Just like the picture”: 4 Approaches to Developing the Uniqueness of Your Marriage. In it, he said: “When it boils down to it, the more you follow a “perfect image” of a marriage that you’ve seen on social media or in someone you know, the more you’ll wind up frustrated in your marriage. The more you follow a Perfect Savior, the more you’ll see your imperfections and see an opportunity for His grace to shine through your marriage.”

If your marriage doesn’t fit the picture, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean your marriage was a mistake. It simply means you have an opportunity to grow in grace.

Faulty reasoning #3: “We were not ready for marriage”

Getting married too young. Or, after a short engagement can also make you think your marriage was a mistake. The mistake you feel is you didn’t know each other well enough. Or, you didn’t know what marriage would be like.

Maybe you were not ready for marriage. Maybe you could have used more time to get ready. But, that doesn’t mean your marriage was a mistake. It just means you were not as prepared as you could have been.

You cannot let this regret work against your marriage. There’s a lot about marriage you can’t understand until you get married. Now that you know what you know, use this knowledge to move forward.

Faulty reasoning #4: “We are so different from each other”

Too many couples buy into this flawed thinking that sameness is the key to a successful marriage. But it’s not true. If this is your reasoning for thinking your marriage was a mistake, you are believing a lie.

God’s design for marriage is between a man and a woman, Genesis 2:21-25. He designed marriage for opposite sexes, not same sexes. His design is for two complete opposites to come together and be joined together as one. Just as it takes opposite sexes to create life, it also takes opposites in other areas to create balance in a marriage.

I firmly believe, this design by God goes much further than physical differences. While I understand the need for common ground between a husband and wife. I also know how valuable it is for husband and wives to come together with different strengths, different talents, and different views

Faulty reasoning #5: “We are not getting along”

Constant arguing, strife, bitterness, and contention is tough to deal with in marriage. When you’re in the middle of a lot of conflicts it is easy to slip into thinking your marriage was a mistake. But, again this is wrong thinking.

“Conflicts are not a sign you’ve married the wrong person. They simply affirm you are human.” Gary Chapman

Life can be tough sometimes. Mix in the toughness of life and the selfishness we are all capable of, it is easy to understand why conflict happens. But, this does not mean your marriage was a mistake.

Faulty reasoning #6: “God did not join us together”

This is one of the biggest faulty reasonings many people have when they think their marriage was a mistake.

Did you miss God’s will when you married your spouse? Or, did you miss out on marrying the right person when you didn’t allow God to lead you into marriage?

Some people believe God has created a perfect spouse for everyone. And if you miss God’s plan you end up marrying the wrong person.

I’ve seen this happen with people who got married before they became a Christian. Then try to explain why their marriage was a mistake.

While I do believe as believers we have an advantage of seeking the Lord’s will and guidance. And when we do seek Him. His wisdom helps us make the right choice for who we marry.

But even if you miss God’s guidance when you marry it does not mean your marriage was a mistake. It simply means you now have to trust in His redemptive plan. He can turn your situation into something more glorious than you ever thought possible.

For more on this, read Gary Thomas’s post: God Didn’t (and Won’t) Tell You to Marry Your Spouse


Thinking your marriage was a mistake is actually doing more harm to your marriage.

On the day you married you enter into a covenant. This covenant is sacred to God and He expects it to be sacred to you. He expects you to keep it.

Even if you did marry the wrong person because your first choice got away. That does not excuse you from your covenant.

Your marriage may look completely different from what you were expecting. It does not matter. Your covenant is more important than your picture.

Maybe you did make a mistake by getting married unprepared. Still, that does not exempt you. Your marriage covenant can help teach you how to be married.

Even if you and your spouse are very different from each other. At least you have your marriage covenant to share in common. And with covenant as your foundation, you can build something unique. You can build a marriage that reflects both of you.

If you and your spouse have a hard time getting along, your covenant can guide you to a place of peace. All you have to do is focus more on honoring your covenant and less on the issues that pull you apart.

And when you think God didn’t join you two together, think again. What does it mean to enter into a holy marriage covenant before God?

God may not have been playing heavenly matchmaker when you two got together. But I don’t believe Jesus was talking about God being a matchmaker. When He said, “what God has joined together, let no man separate,” He was speaking of the covenant.

Jesus was referring to why God created marriage in the beginning. He was saying marriage is a holy covenant God created for a man and a woman.

So when a man and a woman enter into marriage they are what God has joined together.

In other words, a God-sanctioned marriage is between a man and a woman. When you entered into this covenant, you qualify as a marriage He has joined together. Because He has sanctioned it.  




Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. Brian Hill says:

    I’m new to your site and was wondering if you could talk more about how God restored your marriage. It is nice to hear that God does care about our marriages. It’s especially nice to hear when God has been silent for a long time.
    Thank you,
    Brian Hill

    • Jack says:


      Thank you for commenting. I’ve shared bits of our story on just about every post. I may have already written something that helps answer your questions. So, if I knew what questions you have I should be able to help you. Also, feel free to Email me.

  2. Enrique says:

    WOW!!! I have been reading all of your articles and you have given me hope in my marriage. I am 26 years old I married my high school sweetheart at the age of 21 had our first baby at 21 now we have 3 girls we have been going through a lot in the past 8 years we have been together and in the past 5 years of marriage we are currently going through one of the hardest times in our marriage she hasn’t loved me for the past 2 years she’s only been sticking for the kids and now she has cheated on me but because she had a feeling I had too so I confessed and said i have too she is hurt and she has been finding other things out but I have been a pathological liar and that has been the root of all this I have not been honest with her and she is tired of it. We are currently separated been a week but I have found my way back to Jesus and I have let him in my heart I have forgiven her and I want to restore our marriage and I recently was told that my motives for fixing our marriage should not be selfish and I have pray so much for peace that I have found the peace that if it makes my wife happy without me so be it but I’m not giving up on my marriage I will continue to show her that I’m sorry and I am walking a new road that God is with me every step of the way I will love her till death do us part and after reading this I’m not alone thank you for sharing you give me hope I’m am changing my ways and being closer to God hopefully God touches her heart and helps her through this

    • Jack says:


      Thank you for leaving us a comment. We are so glad you have made this turn around in your life and you are committed to restoring your marriage. Let us know if we can help.

      Blessings to you!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    hi ,

    i have been married nearly four years. my husband and i have had a horrendous time and i relate so much to the reasonings here. i appreciate coming across this site and would appreciate your prayers for us , thank you

  4. Quinn Sebastion says:

    Yeah, this is a lot of religiousity-based BS. The bottom line is, we are all damaged individuals in some way, and the truth is that some combinations of people are TOXIC to each other. The sooner this realization occurs, the sooner that the situation can be rectified. Additionally, it is my belief that some people should NEVER marry, as their personalities are so selfish or Narcissistic that they should never be in a binding marital arrangement with another person who depends on them for emotional support.

    Sometimes the best thing to do is cut your losses and move on. Too bad if “christianized” folks don’t like this. Fact is, many “christianized attitudes have caused more heartache and emotional damage to folks than “non-christianized’ attitudes.

    • Utahred says:

      I’m sorry you don’t like Christians and Christianity. Sounds like you’ve been hurt. Don’t take it out on God. He loves you like crazy. If we do things God’s way, we won’t get into the toxic relationship you’re talking about. But since you did, I agree, you don’t need to remain in an abusive relationship. Most narcissists cheat and that’s your way out of a toxic marriage. I know what it is like to be in a relationship with a narcissist.

  5. I agree
    The worst marriage counseling I’ve ever had was “Christian” marriage counseling. The heavy load of the marriage covenant is placed on the woman. She’s the heart of the Home and sets the tone. So, try and try and increase the pressure, guilt, and shame for never being good enough to calm your angry, neglectful, and selfish husband. Years of sacrifice to be left at the alter physically and/or emotionally. Same outcome. A bad match is a bad match. Too bad too many women realize this after losing decades of their lives trying to erase what can not be wiped out. This is an abusive, mind controlling, and futile pursuit.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi there. What do you have to say about marriages where the wife is a very “active” Christian and the husband isn’t, at all? Thank you!

  7. All Alone says:

    I married for life. My wife has bipolar; I’m autistic. I changed all my plans for her. I had to tech degrees; I was going into Air Guard & after 2-3 more yrs; be a History teacher. I’d had two retirements yrs ago. Instead; I paid for her & I an education. I worked in space industry; but disease threatened life. She & docs convince me to go on disability. I raised 3 kids; 2 from birth. I helped my autistic child tremendously.
    I’d bought & remodeled a large brick house in best part of town. It was paid off. As my health faded; she way overpaid for a new house. Recently she developed some health issues. I cashed in my retirement & paid off some bills. I ran up two charge cards in my name. Then she kicked me out. I’d just got a transplant. Living in cheap hotels I’ve been in & out of hospital. Without her insurance I’m in trouble. Due to my age; ESRD; & state of residence; I can not get enough coverage to cover all of my medical/hospital bills. I own basically nothing. I wouldn’t undo my marriage; because of my children. But I feel like in hindsight; I should have chased my dreams early in our marriage; & if she left me, then so be it. I still view her as my soul mate; but she obviously doesn’t feel the same. Is marriage an outdated concept? Should we teach our children not to marry; & to focus on their own futures instead? I feel like I gave all I had; & was then just thrown away. Did my religious beliefs & my love set me up for failure?
    I almost died a few weeks ago. I spent hours crawling to the phone to live. Should I keep fighting all this pain & this disease; just to go more & more in debt? All I do is set alone; stare at a wall; & cry.

  8. Jon Leitch says:

    I’m am atheist. I still feel your message. I cheated on my wife when my son was two. We lived in a small one bedroom apartment and things we’re they were as they were. When he was eight she cheated on me with two different men. We both had our reasons, many of which were not litigated until her affairs. Now that we have had time to work out our issues and see what is best we have kept our family together and bought a house and are thriving. Religion has nothing to do with it. It’s up to you to reunite or divorce. I advocate AGAINST marriage unless you’re 99.9% sure. It’s not worth the alternative, especially if you have young kids. Fucking shit this whole marriage thing is religious in nature. What does it even mean?

  9. Tracy says:

    I know everything is achievable with God as our light glory to him for that !! I was a bachelor for over 20 yrs got married after my brother had passed from cancer my wife which was the last relationship i had before the 20+ yrs of being a bachelor came back into my life at that time to pay her respects and during the time of being a bachelor i had the fantasy of what being married to my wife would be like our marriage is her 4th . I didn’t truly know this person before we married and have found out since that we really have very little in common ! That is not saying my wife is a bad person she is one of the most loving people i have ever met that’s what i first drew me to her I on the other hand am a harder more old school type and not afford to be by myself at one point i told myself i would be by my self the rest of my life which i have no problem with because you are never really alone if you have god ! But i have found there are others that cannot live with out that significant other in their lives which i believe my wife falls in to that category. I understand marriage is work but when you as a person and who you are or have been your entire adult life has to change in most every way and thought pattern just to make something work it is just draining in every way ! Life in general is hard enough for me to keep me straight but when i have to completely reinvent myself just to keep a marriage i find that to be to much work for which i ask for forgiveness but life is too short to fight every day to change after 2 years now i’m just tired and would rather be by my self than continue to fight to change me entirely into some one i am not which i know could be wrong because god knows i’ve been wrong about a lot of things in my life but my time on earth is short which could be a blessing but i just want o go through it with some ease rather than fighting extra circumstances with in a relationship every day. I don’t have any truly ill feeling towards my wife i just think we are better or happier apart than we are together due in part to our past . There is so much more to a late in life marriage than just changing the person you have become in 50 plus years of life yes i agree god can do anything we ask him to but will that change make you happy ???

  10. Irene Uche says:

    Its beautiful to see people post Gods truth on marriage to guide those hurting in the right path. There are so many social media posts that will quickly encourage people with the idea of *your marriage was a mistake, pull out and gain freedom*
    This post redirects us on how to think about our marriage.

    Thank you for this wise guide.
    Thank you!

  11. Anonymous says:

    My marriage of 40+ years WAS a big mistake. I found out he cheated on me a few days before he died. He was always a flirt, he would even flirt with other women right in front of me. Why did I stay with him for so long? I had nowhere else to go and could not support myself and 4 small kids on my measly salary, so yes I was the idiot for staying in that miserable marriage. Mary.

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