It is marriage season and I am EXCITED! As I prepare for the marriages of friends and family, I started reflecting on marriage and what it really means for us as believers. Marriage was created by God to be pure, beautiful, sacrificial and long lasting but somewhere along the way things changed…
WHY DO WE VIEW MARRIAGE AS A PANACEA TO ALL LIFE’S ILLS, AS IF WHEN WE GET MARRIED ALL THE ISSUES AND CHALLENGES WE FACE WILL DISSIPATE AND LIFE WILL BECOME RAINBOWS AND LOLLIPOPS?
Guilty as charged, I used to look at marriage in that way.
Time to grow up!
We must enter into marriage sober and fully prepared for the commitment that marriage is. For those of us who have subconsciously built the fantasy of marriage through the likes of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (my personal favorite) and romantic comedies like Pretty Woman, we are in for a rude awakening.
Don’t get me wrong, marriage is meant to be joyful, life-giving and earth shattering but these movies and images just do not provide a REALISTIC view of marriage. Having yet to make a marriage covenant to another, I can only speak humbly from what I have observed and the insight I have received from personal married mentors.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS POST IS TO URGE SINGLES AND EVEN THOSE ALREADY MARRIED TO VIEW THE COVENANT OF MARRIAGE IN A REALISTIC MANNER AND EXPERIENCE IT WITH GOD AT THE CENTER.
A few months ago, I was at bible study at church and the pastor was completing a three part series on how to restore a broken marriage. As the sermon entered the Q&A portion, there were light moments but there were some painful ones. One woman in tears, pleaded with the pastor to give her advice for how to deal with her husband’s mid life crisis, she stated he went to bed a sweet kind man one day and woke up transformed into a man she does not recognize. Another woman talked about being married to someone who did not believe in God and even forbade her to tithe and yet another shared the pain of being married to a man who cheated on her incessantly.
This is the side of marriage that is not often shown on the silver screen or thought of when one prepares for her wedding day. But, the trials and sorrows of marriage are REAL, just as real as the the honeymoon period and the other joyful times that we singles anticipate. We have to fully understand the lifetime commitment of marriage. The world has made it so easy to marry and divorce when things are not going well but that is not the original purpose of a marriage designed by God.
MARRIAGE WAS DESIGNED FOR SERVICE, TO GIVE BELIEVERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO IMITATE THE RELATIONSHIP CHRIST HAS WITH THE CHURCH.
“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[ her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:22-27
Marriage is a call to sacrifice, a call to give. It is quite ironic that most marry to receive and not give.
ARE YOU SELFISH?
Don’t get married yet, you are not ready.
DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO HAVE THINGS YOUR WAY?
Don’t do it yet.
OR MAYBE YOU RELY ON OTHERS FOR YOUR HAPPINESS AND TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF?
Hold off on marriage.
EVERY WOMAN I KNOW WHO HAS BEEN MARRIED FOR AT LEAST FIVE YEARS HAS SAID MARRIAGE IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, IT IS NOT A WALK IN THE PARK, IT IS BEAUTIFUL, IT IS SPECIAL BUT IT REQUIRES MATURITY AND DEDICATION.
One of the last acts Jesus committed before he gave the ultimate sacrifice was to wash the feet of his disciples. These twelve disciples were his family; he was closest to them than any other human beings in the world. And he chose to show his love by washing their feet, not their heads, arms or legs but washing one of the dirtiest parts of a human body with love, attention and care. Marriage should be entered into with a heart of service. if two individuals enter into a marriage to serve one another, there will be balance and peace.
We, as human beings are naturally needy. We need help for our fears, insecurities, addictions, problems. But, when we seek another person to solve all our problems, it creates an imbalance and unrealistic expectations.
How can you cure me when you suffer from the same disease of sin?
Only God can provide healing for the emptiness and brokenness we feel.
As a spouse, forgiveness is so important for a healthy marriage. As believers, we are called to care for each other at our lowest moments and times when we are most ugly and unlovable. Some might call this unconditional love, love that is ever present no matter the circumstances or situation. When you say this, some mention situations of physical violence. In those situations, a person should remove him/herself from the environment and love from afar. God does not want us physically hurt under any circumstances.
And others may say, “ Yinka, I cannot forgive him, you do not know what he did or said to me.” You are right, you cannot forgive him in your own strength, you need Jesus to forgive him. There are some things that are beyond our flesh and sometimes forgiveness and love can be difficult to emote when a person has hurt you to your core. But, Jesus is the answer. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, in the history, there has been no other man who has suffered and experienced more than our savior and right in the middle of the throes of his agony, he prayed for those individuals who had inflicted so much pain on him even as they mocked him. He can give that power to you.
And lastly, let’s talk about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. There is a reason why God commanded wives to respect their husband and husbands to love their wives. He made us so he understands our wiring and what we need. Men desperately need respect and honor, they need to know their wives think highly of them, value them and honor their opinions, deeds and who they are as individuals.
I remember when I was in my 20s and had my first serious boyfriend and we were in a public place and I corrected something that he said in a not so kind way. Also, I remember riding in circles for hours on a first date who insisted the movie theater is just around the corner. I let him know he did not know where he was going and we needed to ask someone for directions. Yet another situation, I felt one of my male friends said something inappropriate and called him out on it in public.
NONE OF THESE SITUATIONS ENDED WELL, NOT ONE.
First of all let me say my delivery was not good. Secondly, men naturally recoil at disrespect especially publicly.
Now that I am a bit more seasoned and a lot wiser, I would have handled those situations completely different.
Men absolutely need respect, but maybe it is hard for you to respect your husband because of what has happened in the past.
This is where you have to ask God to change your heart, help restore the respect for your husband. You must make a choice to dwell on his positives rather than his negatives and the good will increase.
Singles, as you prepare for marriage, do an inner evaluation to understand the areas you may need to work on as you prepare for marriage and ask for God’s help to grow you.