Wednesday, 11 October 2017
This write up is inspired by a question someone I know asked me recently. His wife according to him has been promiscuous and virtually shoving it in his face. So he wanted to know what to do. This prompted me to look at the above scripture again.
Before I share my views, may I say that the issue of infidelity are complex so much so that a single line approach at proferring solutions might not suffice. In my opinion every case of infidelity should be handled on a case by case basis.
In the above scripture there are certain principles that clearly stand out which I will like to reiterate.
The first thing is that it is not the will of God for a man to divorce his wife. I do not need to belabor this statement because it is self explanatory. God hates divorce period.
The second principle is that divorce is as a result of the hardness of heart. What did Jesus mean by hardness of heart? I will like to suggest the following:-
1. Hardness of heart connotes a situation where someone is unwilling to bulge in the face of compelling reasons. When someone decides to have his way without regards to how it will affect others, then such a man is hard hearted.
2. Hardness of heart can also connotes an unwillingness to show mercy and compassion. This I am sure is what Jesus was referring to in the above passage. Remember the incident of the woman caught in adultery and she was brought by her accusers to Jesus. What convicted them was the fact that every one of us falls hopelessly short of any righteous standard whether that of God or men. There is no man alive who can boast that he has lived absolutely in tandem with what he knows to be good and right. So Jesus was implying here that before you judge that spouse of us put yourself under God moral x-ray and answer the question whether you too have not erred and you need mercy.
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
The third common myth attached to marriage is the presumption that you must love someone to ensure that you can have a successful marriage with that person. While I do agree that love plays a vital part in having a strong and successful marriage but the truth is that marriage entails more than love.
First of all, it is not possible to marry everyone you love! I love my mother passionately but I cannot marry my mother and it is that simple. I also love my sisters but that does not make them eligible for marriage. We need to look beyond love in many cases to determine that ingredient that will help us make our marriage work. Can I by digression state emphatically that, marriage is WORK and not just work but HARD WORK.
One of the Biblical references that continually thrills me is the marriage of Isaac to Rebekah in Genesis 24:1-67. Abraham sent his trusted servant Eliezer to get a wife for his son Isaac from among his kinsmen and the story goes about how a marriage was contracted without the couple seeing each other until after the wedding has been concluded. Imagine? You may say this cannot happen in our age and time but this is one Biblical standard worth examining.
What is particularly of interest to me today is how the Bible concludes the story in verse 67
"And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah's tent and she became his wife. He loved her deeply and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother."
Notice that the Bible says Isaac loved Rebekah deeply but that happened after she became his wife.It was the renowned Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias who said love is as much a function of the will as it is of the emotions. In other words you can will to love a person if you choose to.
Is it not a popular saying that where there is a will there will be a way?
The issue here is that as long as your spouse is the will of God for you it does not really matter if you are not "head over heels" in love with him or her at the onset, just settle the issue of God's approval and the rest will fall in line. Is it not better to start off not really loving someone and then grow to love that person deeply rather than start on the high note of being madly in love at the beginning only for the love to dissipate over time. You hear people say, I no longer love him or her and because they fall out of love they want to end the relationship.
More next time. God bless you!
Friday, 20 January 2017
The second idea I would like us to consider is the idea of compatibility. I am sure in one or two or my previous write ups I may have touched upon this subject but today let us examine the idea further.
The notion many of us grew up with as teenagers and young people is the the person you ought to marry MUST be compatible with you. The issue of compatibility as far as my own experience is concerned was that the person has to like the things I like and possess similar tastes for fashion, food and what have you. So growing up we referred to the compatibility profile given to us by horoscope to influence our choices.
Many years down after, I make bold to say that the idea of compatibility before marriage falls flat on its back for the following reasons:-
1. People especially men change their taste over time based on age and financial status. For example a young man just starting life may not care too much about wearing very expensive perfumes or eat in the choicest restaurants for obvious reasons - he cannot afford it simple.
2. The fact that people like the same things does not mean they are compatible. The fans of both Manchester United and Manchester City both like the game of football but they hardly see eye to eye.
3. Compatibility is a process not a destination - a means to an end. You work at it over time. My wife never used to like a particular type of African Dish which I cherish; over time she started to enjoy the meal and even cherishes it now.
My Father in the Lord Dr. James Ovbiose James once gave us a classic example of compatibility. He is from a typical Nigeria Village married to our Mother in the Lord who is from a well to do home and grew up in Lagos. So because of his background, he likes his morning pap tick and of course without sugar or milk (which we virtually unheard of in the village) but mummy likes her pap watery and embellished with sugar and milk. So when they got married they solved this seemingly inconsequential problem by mummy preparing the pap very tick, serves daddy's own first and thereafter adds water, sugar and milk to taste. This may look simplistic but I know couples who have quarreled over flimsier issues.
The point being made is that compatibility is what you are your spouse work it out to be. You can always get your spouse to like the things you like if your motives are genuine.
More next time.
Friday, 21 October 2016
Greetings friends, and I apologize for my long absence.
I will like to begin a series on choosing a life partner, focusing on some of the common misconceptions people have about issues such as love at first sight, beauty, dating and a whole lot of ideas that are inconsistent with the Bible.
"And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had. Put I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of Heaven and the God of the earth, that thou shall not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell." Genesis 24: 1-4
"Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold Rebekah is before thee, take her and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife as the Lord hath spoken.” Genesis 24: 50-51.
"And they called Rebekah and said unto her, wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. Genesis 24: 58.”
I am reminded of a story I heard from one Preacher from India about how his elder brother married a girl he had never met. The wedding was already fixed and the invitation letters sent before they saw themselves for the first time. Today that wedding has lasted more than three decades.
Let me start by debunking some popular myths about finding a life partner.
1. Courtship is indispensable to marriage:-
Courtship is generally referred to as the period of getting to know one another and trying to determine if the two of you are compatible. The problem with this idea is that first of all it is un-scriptural. There is nowhere in the Bible that talks about courtship. The nearest idea to this is the case of Mary who the Bible says was espoused to Joseph. The word espoused connotes a bethrotal or an engagement if you like, a union that has been virtually concluded. This is so because Joseph, on learning of what had transpired, tried to "put her away" privately. In fact espousal among the Hebrews was a legal part of the marriage and could not be broken except by divorce.
The idea of courtship is modern and an attempt to fuse worldly culture with Biblical principles. From the above passage, Isaac never went through courtship in marrying Rebekah, yet the Bible records that as soon as he married her he was comforted. Genesis 24:67.
When Jacob met Rachel he knew he had found a wife, so he served Laban for seven years for Rachel. (Genesis 29:18). It was not a situation of “let us see if this will work out”, it was for real.
When a man makes up his mind to marry, what he needs is the leading of God. If God leads you to a woman of his choice you need not worry!
To be continued! Be blessed!
Friday, 26 August 2016
“For God commended his love towards us in that while we were yet sinners Jesus died for the ungodly”
1. Is your love for your spouse based on feelings? Yes No
2. Is your love for your spouse based on romance? Yes No
3. Does your spouse need to deserve your love for it to continue? Yes No
4 Is your love for your spouse based on sex or physical intimacy? Yes No
5 Is your love for your spouse based on the pleasure he or she gives you? Yes No
6 If your spouse stops loving you today, will you also stop loving him or her? Yes No
7 In one word describe what comes into your mind when you think of your spouse!
Based on the six questions, for every yes score 10 and for every no score 5. If your total score is more than 30, then it is very likely that your relationship is based on infatuation and not true love. Any relationship based on infatuation will encounter many hiccups.
The purpose of this test is primarily to show us where we stand in the scale of assessing if what we have for our spouse is true love from God’s perspective. The good news is that no matter what you score or where you stand you can change and begin to genuinely love your spouse because true love is a function of the will.
God chose to love us in spite of the fact that we do not deserve his love nor have we done anything to earn it. In fact we are totally unqualified to be loved by the omnipotent God. The second truth is that this love of God is both irreversible and unending.
In the Bible whenever Israel did what was displeasing to God He dealt with them but His love never for one day abated. It is interesting to me that whenever God used another nation to chastise his people, He always ended up judging that nation.
True love is by choice; it is a commitment and it is continuous! Anything outside this cannot be true love; it could be infatuation, lust or romance but not true love.
If couples decide to base their love on the word of God and follow the principles set therein, their love for each other will never dissipate and breaking up will be completely non-existent.
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
Have you ever thought that you married the wrong person after some unpleasant experience. If you have never thought so, I can confess that I have thought that way in the past. In fact my wife once regretted that she married me in the heat of a serious quarrel. However in spite of all we have gone through and will go through, we have decided to stick with each other for better for worse.
It is not just because God has blessed us with 5 children that we love so much and that becomes as it is for many people the reason why they endure their marriage but what has kept us going is the fact that we realize that marriage is an act of FAITH.
It takes faith to commit your entire life to a "stranger", someone you just met who is capable of pretending and hiding his or her true character. It takes faith to decide to share your private life with someone from a totally different background or environment, not knowing what exactly is in stock for you in the future. It takes faith to endure the character flaws of the other person believing that as you grow old together there will a blending of ideas and a positive change. In many instances these changes never happen and at the end regret and bitterness begins to set in.
In spite of all of these, faith enables you to look beyond your spouse and see the potentials in him or her and what he or she is capable of becoming with the help of God. Faith enables you to look at God as omnipotent enough to turn your marriage around.
The Bible says we walk by faith not by sight, therefore if marriage is an act of faith them we ought not to be moved by what we see in the physical but by what God has said about you.
Faith it is that has made me stick to my wife and I have begun to see the transformation in her. I am sure she has a similar testimony to give concerning me.
You marriage shall be blessed. Trust God!
Thursday, 23 June 2016
Without doubt there will always be conflicts in the home. There are fundamental issues that potentially can cause conflicts and they include but are not limited to money issue, in-laws, children, sex, career issues, dishonesty and mistrust among many other issues. It is not the presence of issues that matter but the way issues are handled whenever they arise.
The key to handling conflict in the home is agreement. This has been well covered in the book "4 Things Intending Couples Must Agree On Before Marriage" by Dr. James Iruobe. In this book the author noted that if only couples could seat down and talk and agree upon certain things that will guide their marriage even before the start the marital journey then conflicts would be reduced to the barest minimum.
It is important to note that even when you have been married a long time except you agree on important issues you stand the risk of quarreling all the time. Therefore couples must learn the act of conflict resolution. In my own home our children have heard us argue many times but my wife and I always find a way to reconcile and forge ahead.
To reduce conflict agree before hand that you will always seat down and talk about your differences. Agree that no third party will be involved in settling your matters as much as possible. Agree that in-laws will not be involved and that you will not report your spouse to your parents. If any third party is to be involved in settling any disputes let it be only when the two of you have tried unsuccessfully to resolve the issue and then you may involve your Pastor or a marriage counselor. Always try not to involve family members who are likely to take sides one way or the other.
Another important thing to note is that it does not pay to sweep issues under the carpet. let your spouse know just how you feel about issues. Many times people who refuse to confront issues when they happens bottle up so much animosity that when they eventually explode, the damage is usually irreparable.
Remember, if you always try to be right and stick to your position even when you are convinced that you are correct, the health and longevity of your marriage depends on your ability to shift grounds and concede victory to the other party. After if your wife wins a argument over you, it is still your victory.