I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write on this but it is very important, considering the present times. Now, is marriage all that it is made out to be? Well, it can be heaven or hell on earth based on its foundation (Godly or Worldly). Many a times, our generation tends to mix both foundations and expect the best to happen. This is not an easy topic to discuss because every wed couple has a different version of what marriage is. God is the divine inventor of marriage, and he designed this union to show us what having a real relationship with him means. In this divine union;
- Marriage is built in the image of God (Genesis 1:26)
- Marriage is built on love(love for God and love for each other) (Ephesians 5:28; Colossians 3:19)
- Both Man and woman are equal before God (1Peter 3:7; Ephesians 5:29-31)
- They are joined physically and spiritually (becoming one) (Genesis 2:23-24; Mathew 19:6)
- For the purpose of guidance, Christ appointed the man as head/priest and the woman is the helper/home maker (Genesis 2: 18; Ephesians 5:23; 1Peter 3:1-6)
- Marriage is fruitful (Genesis 1:28)
- It must be one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27; Mathew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31)
- Divorce is not an option except on grounds of adultery (Malachi 2:16; Mathew 19:9)
We can see that all God is demonstrating through marriage is a relationship between the trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), relationship between Christ and the church. This relationship is built on love, care, respect, fellowship and no unrealistic expectations. We find this in the way a man must love his wife as Christ loves the church, and woman must respect and submit to the man as the church submits to Christ (Ephesians 5). Now, I know the subject of submission gets women riled up and men feeling superior. Remember you are both equal in God’s eyes, and when you see your marriage as a triangular relationship with God, respect and submission comes easy. Husbands, submission is not making the woman a foot mat. Submission is the wife supporting the husband’s goals, dreams and his ability to head the family, after a calm discussion obviously. Another important goal for God’s design in marriage is to guide and give the children an identity. They must look at their parents and understand the difference between the man and woman and their roles.
Our current generation is failing to live out God’s divine purpose for marriage because we watch too much Television. Let’s face it; the statistics for divorce is climbing every year. Why you ask? Because;
- People get married before they understand themselves as individuals (You don’t complete each other, you complement each other)
- Fear of being single
- Sexual compatibility becomes a priority
- Parental and societal pressure
- Competition (whose wedding day is the most elegant or luxurious)
- Marriage for just physical attraction
- Unrealistic expectations of what marriage is (expect fairy tale, expect perfection, refusing to deal or accept flaws)
Let us get down to the truth of marriage shall we. We live in a confused world, and our emotions always seem to overthrow everything else. So if we do not understand God’s stand in marriage, we will definitely dream of choking and killing our partners. Please, do not allow your emotions or feelings get in the way of your marriage. Sometimes, it is really really hard but I can promise that if you continuously feed your spirit with the word of God, you will definitely be victorious. Some might say “Chichi you are just a baby in the marriage game” so what do you know? Well, besides my own experiences, I can honestly tell you that with years of watching different couples and studying the word of God, I can share a thing or two about marriage.
I will give you Godly/realistic/truthful views of marriage and compare that to what the world tells us about marriage.
- The world says the way your wedding day turns out is a mark of how your marriage is going to be: Truth version is that the wedding day is just one day and marriage is forever. Ladies I must say that men are more realistic in this area. Most women are thinking this is the happiest day of my life, lets drain the account and you make more. Meanwhile, the guy is thinking of how he is going to keep things afloat after all the spending. Ladies let us be reasonable, what is the point of spending all that money and you eat bread for 6 months afterwards? Help the guy, keep the spending reasonable and enjoy your marriage. On my wedding day, I know some people did not get starters and some people did not like the pasta. Yet I am not starving, not poor and definitely better off than I was before the wedding. I know a couple who got married on a weekday with just their parents and siblings, spent about 750 rand on lunch, and celebrated their 15 year anniversary this year. Friends, it does not matter what your wedding day looks like. What matters is the presence of God which is represented by blessings from an anointed minister.
- The world says if you both do not do and love the same things, your marriage is doomed and you chose the wrong partner: Truth version is you do not want someone who is exactly like you. You cannot just decide to keep trading partners or “kissing many frogs” before you find the one. Media shows you the celebrity life and when you read their personal lives, it is divorce after divorce. Is that really what we want? This is important, especially if you are single and looking to get married. Do not go into marriage blindfolded. Make sure you ask questions because once you are married, you stay married according to God’s design (Mark 10:9). If my husband was exactly like me, we would probably burn the house by now. My weaknesses are his strengths and my strengths are his weaknesses. We help and build each other up and that is what marriage is. My husband does not like confrontations and I am the bull that just jumps right in. My husband is extremely generous and I am very particular about my generosity. He is a good listener and I am the talker. Imagine what would happen if both of us are talkers and extremely generous. Let me let that stew in your minds.
- The world tells you if you are unhappy, leave because you deserve better: Truth version is Christ wants us to love and fight for our marriage (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). Rome was not built in a day and a baby does not just start walking, they crawl first. That is exactly how marriage is. If your happiness is reliant on your spouse, you need to wake up from that fairy-tale. There will be happy moments, sad moments and frustrating moments because sometimes our focus tends to be one-sided and selfish. The bible verse above tells us that love keeps on going to the very end. You must be prepared for the darts that the enemy will throw at you (sickness, loss, depression, adultery, financial loss, and moments of disbelief). It is not God’s desire that any of these should happen to us and that is why we must be prayerful people in this fallen world. There will be moments when you feel as if you married the wrong person because you are seeing things that were not there before, and you cannot tolerate what you could tolerate before. When you are dating, everyone puts their best foot forward, and you will tolerate a little mistake here and there but once you put a ring on it, it changes everything. This is regardless of whether you were living together or not. I urge us all to fight for our marriages because it does get better.
- The world shows that sex and celebrity physical attributes (Blue eyes, long hair, six pack abs, enhanced buttocks, flat tummy and long legs) is the all in all and if he or she cannot satisfy you, then move on to another: Truth version, no one is perfect except Christ. I am not saying that physical attraction is not good but if that is your basis for an awesome marriage, you are in for destruction. She may have the exotic looks but she has a loose screw in the head. He may have the six pack abs but he believes hitting a woman is acceptable. She may be good in bed but can she clean up and make a home? He may be good in bed but does he step up when he is needed? This lust and desire is the reason, people are no longer the way God made them. Men search for improved male sex organs, women get breast implants, wear contacts and fake hair. Men and women decide to change their skin colour to what is presumed by the world to be sexy. Please let us be real with each other, God made us all unique, and to those who are given the gift of marriage (Mathew 19: 11-12), a person’s choice for a gifted spouse is made through the guidance of God in faith and character. Ladies I would like to point out that in marriage, no matter how much we stretch ourselves to look physically attractive, a man will only respond to peace, a quiet spirit and your inner beauty (Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 31; 1 Peter 3:1-5). Men, no matter how good looking or how much money you have, a woman will always respond to love, appreciation and tenderness (1 Peter 3:7). Sex is meant to be enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage (it is safe, secure, monogamous, self-giving and not forced) (Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:1-40). Yes sex is good in marriage but since the movies and media are very deceiving, it is very important that you do not have unrealistic expectations about sex in marriage like; it must be frequent and at times fixed, she must make the sounds I heard in the movies, he or she will be flexible; my clothes must be ripped off to indicate passion and desire). When these expectations are not met, then you start to look outside and most times, some spouses turns to pornography. The fight for your marriage is real friends, do not be deceived.
Before I carry on, I will say that sex outside of marriage is a sin before God (1 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 6:13-18; Colossians 3:5; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). If as such, you cannot control your desires, then please do get married so you are not tempted (1 Corinthians 7:2). “Yeah it’s easy for you to say Chi because you are already married”. Trust me, it was not easy when we were dating and that will be a story for another day. In this generation where sex is advertised, made common, worshiped and overemphasized right down to the sex sounds that is acceptable, is very shameful. God made us in his image and we chose to listen to Satan. He sends Christ to save us and we still chose Satan. Children focus on sex than studies, teenage pregnancies and rape are on the increase and we turn around and blame God. I just want to draw your attention to the fact that God gives us his words for our own good. Women, if you dress appropriately you will be protected by almighty God from rape and I can attest to such miracles (I believe this falls in the promises of Psalm 91) and if you keep your legs closed, you will be highly respected and regarded. Men, when fornication becomes second nature to you, what is the guarantee that you can keep yourself after marriage? The enemy is the great deceiver and he has caused mighty men and women to fall. Be very careful with your choices.
- The world says marriage is a 50/50 relationship: Truth version is that marriage is 100/100 because you are giving all of yourself, you are fully committed and consciously choosing to love your spouse in every condition (1 Corinthians 13: 7-8). We need 100/100 to make marriage work during trials. 50/50 will never be enough to help you endure tough times in marriage. 50/50 is not God’s plan because this is where expectations come in and you start to weigh how you treat the other based on what you receive. With all due respect, I am not trying to insult women who go half/half with surnames. I recognize that lots of women have gone through hard marriages and there are no biblical scriptures that says a woman must bear her husband’s name. However, I truly believe that you are setting yourself up for failure. It is like you are going into marriage and already anticipating divorce. Remember, your thoughts and words are weighed in the spirit realm and what you believe starts to manifest (Luke 22:31; Luke 8:16-18; Revelation 12:10). In the bible, maidens are identified by where they are from e.g. Mary of Magdalene (Luke 8:2). Now, when this maiden is married, she is called according to who she married e.g. Mary the wife of Clopas (John 19:25). If you also look at Genesis 5:2 ASM, it says “male and female created he them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created”. The man knows he is the head of the family and if you are not willing to take on his surname in full, believe it or not, you are giving him the impression that you don’t trust him and you are not all in. Also, when children enter the picture, they will not see a united front and this often leads to identity crisis. They say “action speaks louder than words”, you say you love him but you are not all in with him. This doesn’t bother some men but majority are thinking, am I raising two families? It takes the full effort of 100/100 to build a thriving relationship. Something to ponder on.
Marriage is a blessing from God, and we can only enjoy this gift when we look at our spouses with the eyes of the Father. There is always much more to say on this topic but I pray that this pointers are helpful for understanding and building stronger marriage relationships. Be blessed!!!