[French Translation] [Spanish Translation] One of the foundation principles of marriage that was instilled in me by many of my mentors was that, ‘marriage is for life’. Sometimes, I was afraid to think about marriage, for I would find myself wondering where would I find a girl that I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. Thankfully God is a prayer-answering God!
What shocks me the most in our generation is that the levels of forgiveness and tolerance have dropped by a great measure. Broken marriages lead to disintegration of the family and our children grow up lacking emotional security, a feeling of safety and/ or confused sexual identities. This also leads to an ‘even more confused’ generation as they lack role models in the family.
We are, without a doubt, at a point of crisis with marriages of many of our leaders also being on the rocks. Sadly, the sheep follow the shepherd and suddenly, everything seems to become a casual event.
Why are Marriages Breaking Down?
You expect your spouse to be like someone else. You want her to dress up like a famous celebrity, cook like your mother or you want him to be like your dad (my dad used to help in the kitchen, make tea and even go grocery shopping!).
I have seen women who want to run their house the way their moms handled hers; men who want their wives to be like their friend’s wife. That is simply disastrous! A friend of mine once was complaining about how her food did not taste as good as her mother’s. I heard her husband comment, “Baby, if I wanted to eat your mom’s food, I would have married your mom. Quit feeling bad!” These kind of sensitive remarks are what take marriages to new heights.
Some men, even after marriage, want to live life just the same way as when they were bachelors; hang around with friends, stay out doing their own things way after work. That is plain immature. You need to give marriage time, make each other feel special, especially when you don’t feel like it. Handle it with extreme care.
At the end of the day know this, He who began a good work in your spouse, will be faithful to complete it in him/her.
A very difficult topic to discuss here but, in a nutshell, there ought to be a consensus (prayerfully) on how to management of finances, especially if it is sparse.
There are many more reasons but most of them will revolve around two words; love and respect, where one feels unloved or where the spouse feels lack of respect coming from the other, the likelihood of marriages spiralling down is very high.
Finding God’s Perspective
Even though the divorce rates in the church are soaring high which casts a shadow on the body of Christ, that cannot be the reason why we chose to stay in a marriage. Some of them who come to me try to find out the acceptable areas and terms for an amicable divorce.
According to the New Testament, divorce is allowed in case of infidelity, and the apostle Paul adds the case of desertion. But what we need to know is what God is saying here through Malachi 2:15, 16 “Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel” (emphasis added)
It is not about what is allowed but what pleases God best.
With marriage, God welds two individuals as one. [tweet this] And when a person does not guard ones’ spirit and allows situations to break one’s marriage then you are going for is what God hates.
Know That This is For Life
I know of people who have parted ways saying, “The fire is no longer there”, “We have just grown out of love for each other”, “We are more different than similar”, “We just cant get along anymore”!…
First thing that I had to understand and accept about marriage was that I was in it for life. No turning back! I stepped out of all the emotional fantasies of the present and tried to imagine the worst. I saw an old, fragile, wrinkled-faced wife and I knew in my heart that there was no turning back. Remember that this is not a contract but a covenant. ‘For better or worse; sound familiar?’
The differences between a man and women itself is great; then to think about the cultural differences, the circumstances in which they were brought up, the friends they were surrounded with, the exposure they have had, their perspectives; everything makes it harder. So, when you start out, you must be prepared for the testing that is ahead and you must have a heart to love each other and seek God.
Every marriage goes through the testing period. If you are going to hit the quit button before you even understand that then, there is no hope. Remember the verse, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” Psalms 30:5 Do not question the vows and commitments you made to each other in the darkness of the night; stay the course and you will see the morning.
Give and Receive Love
I was greatly ashamed when one of the unbelievers who heard about some Christian leader going through divorce, asked me, “But is not forgiveness taught by you Christians?” Yes, we do teach forgiveness but sadly, we became hearers and teachers of the Word but not doers of it. Recently on Twitter, I read, “Don’t expect your husband or wife to be perfect, if they were, they might not have married you”
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” How did Jesus forgive us? He did so freely without any expectation from us except that we accept His forgiveness. Imagine what would happen to us when we start disciplining our minds and heart to unconditionally love and show grace to our spouse! In the process, God helps us die to ourselves so that more of Christ shines through us.
The expression tender-hearted also means not to be strong-headed, to have a heart ready to forgive, let go and to take it light. Remember to make the first move, no matter how many times it may be. That is the foundation of forgiveness. Embrace each other’s differences and show the love that you have received from God to your spouse. And when your spouse needs forgiveness give it to them as Christ has given it to you. Don’t harden your heart and live in doubt. Allow their love to touch you, too.
What Do You Have Left?
Many are troubled with their marriages mainly because they find something missing. But the question you need to ask is not what is missing but rather what is left. Throughout the Bible, many miracles followed from what was left. That is one of God’s ways of working miracles. The Shunnamite’s leftover oil. The last bread in the widow’s house. Few loaves and fish. As humans, we tend to look at what is missing instead of what is left.
Once your mind wants to or decides to quit then everything looks negative. You begin to see the glass half empty rather than the glass half full. This human tendency to look at the negative blocks our vision of all positive things that have happened in the marriage.
Begin to remember the good things that you both saw in each other at the beginning of your relationship. Begin to look at what were the positive things you had, what you once did like about each other. (Now, if you have children, think of potential the damage on their minds and work towards their emotional healing in prayer and showing love together.) Make a list of what you both have enjoyed the most. Try it all over again. Acknowledge the positive, rejoice in it and give it into the hands of the Master. He is able to multiply it for you!
Don’t Forget the Prayer Power
I want to leave you with this most important key in marriage. Do not forget Prayer. Love can grow cold but JESUS never fails. Infact, a family that has founded their relationship in prayer and in our loving God will be a stable family. There is no better solution than surrendering one another into the hands of God. I believe and have experienced that in truly surrendering oneself in the presence of God, we learn to become more sensitive to each other’s needs, too. In the presence of God, egos are burnt, attitudes are transformed, humility is carved out and love is formed.
Take time to pray and develop your relationship with God. Take time to read the Bible passionately, enjoy knowing your Saviour. Humble yourself as the feet of Jesus. Let the fear of God consume you and die to your flesh till there is no more you but Jesus. Allow God to burn your egos, negative thoughts, and all the selfish nature. Win the spiritual warfare on your knees. Take to God the issues that you cannot handle yourself. Don’t make the mistake of over-expecting from your spouse. Pray for your spouse fervently as you also give them priority after God. There is nothing impossible with God. He can fill the voids of your life and restore what you have lost.
Remember to BLESS YOUR MARRIAGE daily in prayer. Don’t ever pronounce judgement on it; never confess anything that is not from God over your marriage. Remember that life and death are in the power of your tongue. If you have already spoken things that you shouldn’t have, ask God to forgive you and erase the effects of the same from your marriage. Tell the devil to take his dirty hands off your relationship. Love Jesus Christ and His Word, more than you love each other and you will fall in love with each other again.