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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Marital conundrum

Today's blog is by a young brilliant person I have the privilege of calling friend/sister. Now before any of you start getting any ideas in your head about marriage, I pray that you read this subjectively. Remember it is another person's thoughts and opinions and may not be relevant to your personal experience. 


Last week, I had a rather interesting conversation with one of my aunts in Ghana. As usual, she called to say how proud she was of me and also ask me that dreaded question; 'When are we meeting our in-law'? On this occasion however, I told her the truth. 'Auntie, please I really don't know' and would you guess? There was more that followed. 'Ad3n)why, you want to be by yourself for the rest of your life, you have degrees and so what'? On and on she went. In hindsight, I should have told her exactly how I felt.  And thought; that although the idea of marriage sounded well and good, I still feared heartbreak and divorce. Yes, divorce! The topic that was once the elephant in the room but now the fly on the wall! But of course  a sincere response to those sort of questions would infuriate her all the more. So I ended the conversation by promising that I'd 'pray about it more often'.

  Don't get me wrong. As a young christian woman in my late twenties, the pressure to get married is everywhere. On television, images are painted of 'the perfect couple' who seem to be perpetually in love with each other. They never row, never argue. Instead  they spend hours making love and having breakfasts in bed. Seriously? I don't think that is how real life marriages work. Maybe sometimes but not all the time. On radio, you hear songs about 'we belong together' and this and that and it makes one wonder whether being sinlge is part of this thing called normalcy. And least I forget....each time I go to a restaurant, they ask me if I'm there with someone although my sole purpose is to grab a bite and go home, or how about holidays? They are offered with two people in mind. I do sincerely accept what God says in Genesis 2:18. It is surely not good for man to be alone. It is psychologically not healthy, and spiritually, one needs to be covered by another. However, with rising rates of divorces, do you really blame those who shy away from discussing marriage and its importance? No. Afterall statistics have revealed that half of all marriages end in divorce and as if it it's not bad enough, sixty percent of all second marriages call it quits before the seventh year barrier.There are those who believe that the ease at with which one can now obtain a divorce decree has consequently paved the way for the escalating divorce rates. Really? If that's the case, then surely the likes of Kim Kardashian and Evelyn Lozada could be portrayed as the perfect poster children of the demise of the godly institution called marriage. However, most of us now realize that it is not simply an issue of the 'worldly' folk but even of those of us who believe and cry on the name of the Most High!

One of my favorite pastors once informed me that I lacked faith when it came to the subject of marriage. Eighteen months ago, he and his wife of eighteen years called it quits citing 'irreconcilable differences' as the reason. A few days ago too, I read on the internet a story about one of my favorite gospel musicians who had divorced his wife of over 15 years. Reading that story was painful and heart-wrenching. In fact  it opened the can of worms that is my parents' marriage; of how two incredibly powerful and gifted individuals who achieved so much together could decide that whatever was going on in their lives was enough for them to sever the bond they shared. That is not to say that all divorces are made with wrong intentions bearing in mind the reasons for which people decide to do so. There are many and varied reasons for divorce ie financial problems, sexual issues, communication difficulties, issues to do with abuse, underlying spiritual issues and differences in goals. However, a particular line stood out in this person's public statement which was this; 'If I was that powerful of a man of God,  I would still be is possible to work so hard and be so driven that you lose everything'! Basically what he purported from that statement was that had he been a powerful man of God, his marriage would have still been intact. And this my friends, is the place I beg to differ in opinion.

As someone who has never been married before, I can never claim to know what exactly happens in a marriage. However, as a child of God and post-modern woman, I realise that statements like that are deeply flawed. Firstly, marriage is God ordained. It is a covenant and as with ALL covenants, there are ramifications should one part decide to sever the bond. If for any reason a divorce occurs, whether because it became necessary for someone to achieve wholeness or to escape something, there are still going to be ramifications( see Mark 10:9 and 1 Corin 7:10). Secondly, marriage is sacred. All that goes on in one's marital bed and home should be kept  sacred! The idea of airing one's dirty laundry in public should be looked upon with disapproval and disdain. If things are so bad between you and your spouse, discuss it between the two of you but if of course it doesn't get resolved seek godly counsel from trusted, sagacious friends. However, this is the part that I want to probe further; the issue of balance. Balance, balance, balance! Christians and non-Christians, please please hear me out!

There is no point of you giving your all to your ministry, career or whatsoever if your number one ministry, which is your family is being neglected. If you disagree with me, look all around you! Ask the Paula Whites, Juanita Bynums, Fred Hammonds, Hezekiah Walkers and Duncan Williams of our day. There is no way you can substitute your marriage and family with your so called ministry or 'godly' pursuits and expect God to bless you always. It just doesn't happen! The Bible compares the earthly marriage to that of Christ and His Bride, the Church ( see Ephesians 5:22-29). If that is the case, do we really have ministers or godly husbands out there who truly love their wives the way Christ loves His church? Hmm. There are those ministers who have their congregations scattered and they wonder what happened. They forget that their priority after God (see Matt 6:33)  was to ensure that thier marriages and families were being watered daily (see 1 Tim 3:5, 5:8). There's no point trying to be a blessing to be everyone else whilst your own wife and children stay at home bleeding and dying inside because you are absent in their lives!

 As a young girl growing up, I watched one of the most amazing men I have ever known in my life, my dad; win and lose big time. I saw him win each time he made my mother and us his children a priority. People often comment on the fact that pastors' kids are bad and unruly but that is not always the case. They are just people inwardly 'bleeding' and 'dying' due to a lack of attention. I vowed to never get married to a minister or anyone who called himself 'a man of God'. That was over a decade ago. Since that time, I've been involved with a 'man of God' and realised that although I had deep affection for him, he had worse issues to deal with than I probably had, lol. Yet in the eyes of everyone else, he was 'such a great man of God'. These days, the prayer I often mutter is one for wholeness and healing. A large number of people in the Body of Christ are inwardly dying. We call ourselves christians yet we have no fruits to show forth. We have been confused with all manner of doctrines....we really need to go back to basics and feed on the WORD who is Jesus Christ Himself. Once you have tasted the bread of life, trust me, it will be hard for you to be blown away by any doctrine just like that. You will be able to rightly divide the word of truth and apply it to every facet of your daily life. When the storms of life arise, you will be able to command that storm to leave. If of course, divorce occurs, God himself will give you the strength to go through it. God hates divorce (see Malachi 2:16) but He loves each and everyone of His children and that includes the divorced... 

To those of you reading this who do believe in their hearts that God wants you married (some people are not called to this state of living; see Matthew 19:1-12, particularly verse 12 and 1 Corin 7:8_9), sincerely ask God to make you whole and prepare you for whoever you may decide to marry. Remember, God does not choose our spouses for us, He only directs us to the right one by His Holy Spirit. Ask Him to endow you with strength, courage and wisdom to go into marriage knowing that it is a LIFETIME COMMITMENT! And lastly to those who have been 'burned' before, listen; God is a God of second chances. He heals and restores (see Joel 2:25). You can surely love again! And lastly to those who are married, please stay that way. LOL....Honor your vows and honor God. Remember Christ deserves that much from His bride too; the church.