I write this letter in a special way to my girlfriends; Sisters whose love for the Lord keeps me strong in faith. I continue to thank God for you; for your faith in Christ Jesus and for the love and the desire you have for Godly marriages that will not only honor the Lord but will also be models for the world.
In the last few days, I have been keen to read, research and listen to few ladies that are in the race already, and I write not necessarily out of experience but convictions after reading and listening.
I have learnt that Marriage is a model of Christ and the church, as in Eph. 5:32. The intention of marriage was and is to show the relationship between Christ and the church. Men are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. Women (wives) are to submit to their own husbands as we do to the Lord. In other words, marriage should model Christ VS us relationship. John Piper in his book, This momentary Marriage, expounds this further; that man’s responsibility is to lead – in provision and protection, both Spiritually and Physically (while receiving this from the Lord), while the wife is to honor and affirm her husband’s leadership and help carry it through according to her gifts – Submission.
I have learnt that Submission does not make a woman indecisive or naive or simply a servant, and neither does it mean that a wife gets her spiritual strength primarily from her husband (1 pet. 3:1-6 in context). The man’s leadership also does not make him a boss in his own marriage
Marriage should not be a boring or hurtful experience; it is a shadow of God’s purpose. In growing up, most of us saw nothing to be desired with regard to marriage. Most of our parents painted a picture that is nothing near God’s intention of marriage. Our fathers were like ‘commanders of the armed forces’ in their own families while our mothers were more than slaves. Other families were made up of mothers who lead while the husband becomes the follower, completely stripped of his manhood that comes from his ego that they pride in. I personally looked forward to being a single parent. To me, singlehood had this beauty and satisfaction that unknown to me, is to be found only in marriage.
Sex, which I am beginning to learn is a taste of heaven (story of another day), was simply for the man’s satisfaction and not to serve one another. No wonder men would have as many wives as they pleased yet the women were expected to be loyal only to one man.
We grew up loathing marriages. Most of us have all ‘don’ts’ of marriage and no ‘dos’- we simply know all we cannot and should not do, but nothing of what we should do. And that is why I gladly write this, now that I feel burdened in this area. I feel called and burdened to bring about this beauty as it was intended in scripture, in writing and God helping me, in modelling it.
These are some of the few things I have learnt that can help us sustain the marriages even as we walk in to them:
Be real to your spouse. You may not have been the best of friends before you got married and indeed you may have hidden a few truths about yourself. Be vulnerable as much as you can. My favorite blogger – ourmarriagechronicles.com – says that you should be able to even know how your spouse’s fart smells like, be his doctor, (and that will mean at times checking deep inside to know what is ailing him) among other things.
Communicate to understand, not to be understood necessarily. Share all fears, hurt, jealousies, and feelings etc.as much as possible. Ann Warren in the book, Happily Ever After, says that men find the issue of feelings difficult and prefer to deal with objective facts, but it is only when we talk about what is going on in the inside that either of us get to understand the situation. Say what you feel, not what you want/need done to help the situation.
And communicate now, when you are young in marriage, in the rosy glow of early love and are highly motivated to help one another, not twenty years later, when so many unspoken hurts and bitterness have taken roots and bridge reconstruction is undoable. Most marriage problems begin in the first few months and remain unsolved and unshared.
Be committed to forgive and to forbear with one another as you have been forgiven, Col. 3:13. Forgiveness says that I will not treat you badly because of your sins against me or your annoying habits. As I mentioned earlier on, marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church- purely by Grace. By grace Christ pursues us, obtains us and sustains us in himself. Offer grace to one another, just as it was offered to you. He does not deserve it, neither do you.
Enjoy your marriage. Do not allow in-laws, joblessness, childlessness and other ‘less-ness’ to eat in to your joy. Look at each circumstance as God ordained to grow deeper together. In as much as we should not settle for less, so that we endure through all suffering that ought not to have come our way, I have learnt to remind myself severally that ‘ IN ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed in to the image of His son Jesus Christ, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters, Rom. 8:28-29
Therefore, survive through lack and grow together, do not allow it to tear you apart, even as you continue praying. Do not give the devil a foothold- James 4:7
Spend regular times to refuel your marriage: Keep dating, retreating, diners, get-aways among others help in this
Both men and women are unique in their own capacities – women are encyclopedias while men are incomprehensible. Walk in to marriage with this understanding
The marriage covenant should be sacrificial. I have read and heard couples say that even sex should be sacrificial, serving oriented (I will comprehend this when I get there). Both parties win each other through sacrifice and service. It has dawned on me that when Christ took the towel to wash his disciples’ feet, none of them for any instance doubted his leadership at that particular time. So will you not lose your place, when you take time to do something that primarily should be done by your spouse (although with a balance).
Finally, and here I quote Dorothy Japheth (my woman of valor who never starts a blog), marriage is a lifetime commitment in the presence of God to the person that you are convinced you want to live your entire life on earth with, and is so different from the emotions that come and go away. It means sticking in the sickness bed, in eating foods you don’t necessarily enjoy, in hunger, in compromise, and even when someone else who looks better passes by, you will stick…the same way Christ stands by us even when we are unfaithful.
Dear Sisters in the Lord, let us keep praying for this irreversible covenants we all look forward to. It is a race we must ran and there are victories to be won there in; Christ must be glorified in them. I know i haven’t exhausted all we must do, I doubt any writer ever did, but we endeavor to help where we can as we get inspired. We must steward our spouses that God will say of us when we die, ‘well done good and faithful ladies, you have been faithful with your work as wives…’
# Marriage works
# Marriage in His Hands