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Friday, 12 April 2013

You, Your Marriage and Your Home. The Expectations of God on all These (Part 1)

The issue of marriage and the home is one topic I so love to discuss from time and time. I have so experienced and I am still experiencing the power of God in my marriage and home that I am of the opinion that if we really do follow the precepts of God in our marriages and our homes, then the issue of divorce and it accompanying heartbreaks will never arise. And you will never have to raise your children alone or have them carry on them the stigma of a broken home. 
It is almost an overwhelming general opinion that it is the duty of the man to pamper and care for his wife and in most cases the wife has the upper hand in divorce cases most especially in the advanced world based on their culture. In Africa the case in not exactly the same, while some cultures see the wife as someone to be cared for, some other culture see the wife as just a piece of entity to bear children, run errands and be the glorified housekeeper. In such cases the wife losses her pride and dignity and accepts her fate of never been loved, while some fight back and then we have a lot of cases of violence in the homes.
This write up is not designed to apportion blame or judge anyone, but above what the culture says, above the traditional norms of our environment we will try to evaluate the institute of marriage based on the expectations and design of God who instituted marriage. And I assure you that if we adhere to God's guiding principle for our marriage, then we are getting ready for the best time of our lives beginning from our homes.
As we begin this series of discuss on the issue of marriage, I will want us to start with the woman who has evolved into a wife by the joining together of the woman to her husband. Please note that we are starting with the wife going by the order of instruction in the Bible. With the word of God, it all starts with the wife.

Ephesians 5:22-31, 33  
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all no-one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 

However, each one of you must love his wife  as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Colossians 3:18-19
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

1 Peter 3:1-7
Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their trust in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Genesis 2:18, 20b-25
The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 
The man said, 
"This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman' , for she was taken out of the man."
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. 

The Bible passages above will be the basis on which we will discuss and consider critical the issue of marriage. Based on my own understanding, these are the rules of engagement for our marriages. They are the guiding instructions on which our marriages will hold firm and not break.
From the book of Ephesians, Colossians and 1 Peter, we will notice that the first to be addressed on the issue of marriage is the wife. These instruction coming from two different authors tells us that this is God's order of issuing out the marriage instruction. The first in line in marriage is the wife. Not that she is the one that holds the authority, but because she is the base of the home. She is the heartbeat of the marriage. I tell you one truth that if the woman gives up on the marriage little can be done by the man to resuscitate that marriage except by the Lord. 
The instruction to the wife says "to SUBMIT to her husband as to the Lord." The first thing I want us to do is to search out the meaning of the word submit. Based on dictionary meaning, to submit means 1)to give over or yield to the power or authority of another; 2)to agree to obey a person, group, set of rules, especially when you have no choice; 3)to place oneself under another. So what God expects of His woman is that without any force whatsoever, God's woman as a wife to her husband, places herself under the authority of her husband. She is to willingly yielding the authority of her life to her husband as though she were yielding to the Lord. 
The first and most important assignment of the wife as given by the Lord is to be a helper, suitable, meet, fitting to her husband. This is the number one reason why the Lord conceived in His heart to make the woman. Now in order to carry out this role adequately and successfully in the life of your husband God says you need to submit to his authority. This does not really sound good to the feminist, but it is the word of God. For a woman to be all that God has designed her to be in the life of her husband, she first needs to submit to her husband unconditionally. 
Some times I tend to conclude that the teachings of the Lord is hard. When we consider the passages very well we will notice that the woman is to submit to her husband in everything. So the fact that your husband is an unbeliever is not an excuse for you not to submit, the fact that he is harsh and uncaring is not an excuse for you not to submit, the fact that he is stingy is not an excuse for you not to submit. But God in 1 Peter 3 says it is the purity and reverence of your life, birth by your submission that the Lord uses in drawing your husband to Himself. The tool of change that your husband needs to become all that God wills him to be resides in your submission. You are the agent of change in the life of your husband. 
Proverbs 18:22 says "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from God." Another point that we as woman need to know is that we are the physical container that carries all of God's favour for our husbands. What I am understanding from this passage is that when God is ready to favour a man, He hands him a wife to birth a new era of God's favour in his life. So as a wife you carry not just all of your husband's help in you, but you also carry in you all of God's favour for his life in you. You cannot deposit the gift that God has placed in your life for your husband into his life without submitting to him. You cannot be all that God has destined you to be in the life of your husband if you do not submit to him.
It might appear as though God is unfair to the woman as some women might view it, but when we move over to discuss the rules for the men still found in the passages above, you will appreciate the balance in what God is instructing the man and his wife to do and be. But before we drop for the day, I will want the women to understand that submission to the husband without prayers is a dangerous venture. The Bible speaks the instruction to the holy/godly wife not the canal wife. As you learn to submit, you also need to pray. A submissive wife without the God element in her is as one with the substance but lacks the power, and a prayerful wife who is not submitting to her husband is just wasting energy on her kneels. The Bible says prayers without deed is dead. But if as you submit, you also commit the heart of your husband to the Lord, I assure you, you will flourish in your marriage. Your marriage and home then becomes a positive reference point for many to see and emulate.       

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