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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

What Is The Content of Your Prayer

Hello beautiful people, I trust we are all doing great. Once again, it’s good to be back and I give all glory to God for you and me and all our loved ones.
In my last post, I started a discussion on one of the issues I have found prevalent in my time of discussing with women with troubled marriages. I have had to talk to a handful of men, but the issue of praying has mostly been the women’s approach of handling troubled marriages and even though it is the very best approach which has never proven to fail, it’s not an approach in isolation. With prayer comes a call to action. Prayers are meant to lead one to a set of actions that will propel your marriage to the desired destination.
What I will be sharing in my post today will be a continuation of what I started in my last post and though the last post seemed to focus more on wives, it’s a general concern for married couples. Whether your marriage is in trouble or not, it’s important to constantly be in the place of prayer to hear from God on how to effectively handle your marriage for success. And this is for the husbands as much as it is for the wives.
After knowing the importance of prayer in marriage just like in every other area of our lives, what exactly are the things we present before God in our prayers and what are our expectations from that prayer? I am so very sure that all our hearts troubles and how our husbands have been unfair to us and how our wives have been a thorn in our flesh are chief of what we will pray about. Well, it is very okay to lay them all before God in prayer, after all God said we should cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us. But what do we expect God to do in solving those huge problems we have placed before Him? Do we think He will put our spouses to sleep and do a surgery of heart on him or her and the next morning he/she becomes a brand-new person we have been longing for?
Well I know there is nothing God can’t do and in Him, there is no impossibility. But sincerely that hasn’t been God’s usual approach in recent times, and we need to be awake to that reality. And that is why I am continuing from where we stopped yesterday. What if God wants to use you to change your spouse? What if as you pray, God works in you and then presents you afresh to your spouse and you become the light that clears the darkness in your spouse's life? That is another way in which God works to give us what we want in our marriages. It has been His style of approach that I am more familiar with. No one has ever seen God and still lives, so if God will give us what we want and pray for, He uses people and sends them on assignment to accomplish His desires in our lives and answer our prayers. So why are you not that person that God will use to bring about the change in the life of your spouse and thus answer your prayers concerning him/her?
And so, we go back to the prayer thing, when we pray for God’s intervention in our marriages, one important thing that we need to sincerely include in that prayer is that God should teach us what to do to make our marriages better, and He should open our eyes to what we should be doing to make the life of our spouses better. When you pray this prayer sincerely and are expectant, you will first notice some changes in your own life. You will start to experience is a shift in values about marriage, the wrong mindset about your rights in marriage will begin to give way to God’s values and norm for marriage. In no time you will be a light in the darkness of your marriage. So as your light shines brighter, it drives away the darkness in your spouse. With weeks going into months and months into years you will start to notice changes in your spouse that please you and gives you peace.
Though this may be painstaking at the beginning, it gets easy with time, if you are determined and you don’t give up. With consistency, it becomes part of you and you find yourself giving your best to your marriage effortlessly.
When I prayed for a change and for God’s intervention in my troubled marriage many years ago, God told me to go and submit to my husband. Initially, it was tough because I never thought I should be the one sacrificing again since I was the one unloved. But I knew God hated divorce and so walking out of the marriage was not an option for me as a child of God. I had to go and check the dictionary meaning of the word submit to understand what was expected of me. Then I realized that before then I respected my husband but didn’t submit to him.
It was painstaking to literarily do exactly as my husband says, whether I think he is wrong or right. But the beautiful thing is that God stood by me through it all. I will always have that nudge in my spirit whenever I want to do something my husband says I shouldn’t do. When God tells you to do something, He stands by you to help you through it. But today, submission is me and I am submission. I submit to my husband effortlessly now. I think not to submit is now what I require effort to do. And believe me when I say I have a beautiful marriage and a loving husband. The same man, and the same marriage.
To put all these in a nutshell, I want to say that it is very good to pray for your marriage, but what is the content of your prayer? I have always said that marriage is not a 50-50 arrangement. If you give your marriage only 50% of you, where is the remaining 50% invested? If you give your marriage 100% of yourself, God will multiply that for you. You will have a good marriage such that you will have peace in your mind and are productive in other aspects of your life.
Marriage is not a place to be served. Never go into marriage with an entitlement mindset. Go into marriage with a purpose in mind and that purpose should be to make the life of your spouse better than you met it. If that is all that you can do for humanity and God, you have done well. When both husband and wife have the same purpose of making effort to better each other, they are both better off in the long run. And peradventure you (whether husband or wife) are the first to come into a better understanding of what marriage should be, then rather than complain and compare your spouse to other spouses, be the light that drives out the darkness in your spouse. Let your light so shine that he/she get a bigger and better picture of what marriage should be through you.

So in my next post, we will be discussing more of the things I discovered in the course of my break and on my one-on-one discussions with couples. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Prayer Is Not Enough

Hello people how are you doing? I believe you have missed reading from me, I have also missed writing too. But I need to put a little effort into business issues too. But be rest assured that no matter for how long I take a break, I will always be back to share the hope of a successful marriage to those who dearly need it.
While on this break, I have had to do a handful of one-on-one counseling for couples with failed marriages. And in this blog post, I will be sharing some of the prevalent issues that I discovered. Please permit me to inform you that if I am unable to discuss all the issues on this post, then we will continue in the next post by the grace of God.
One common thing that I found with wives in these troubled marriages is that they always claim to be praying. If I ask them what they have been doing to improve their marriages and effect the positive changes that they seek in the lives of their husbands and marriage, the common thing that I hear them say is that they have put it all in prayers. All the efforts are in praying. In as much as I believe so much in prayers and God has blessed me and my marriage in no small measure through my prayers, I will still say at this point that for a troubled marriage to heal, prayer is not enough. You cannot sit idle and remain as you are and keep praying without doing anything and expect a magic performed on your husband by God such that he will just be a changed man possessing all the qualities you seek in him overnight. If that is your expectation when you pray then I am informing you now that you will tarry longer on that prayer altar than you bargained for without getting the result you seek.
When a person prays for God’s blessing financially, he/she does not sleep lazily at home doing nothing and expect a billion Naira credit alert from his bank. The ideal thing is that there must be some form of work he is doing for which he seeks God’s blessings and then he prays God's blessings on his effort and God answers and then blesses the works of his hands.
In the same manner, when you seek God’s intervention on your marriage, then you must be ready to get your hands to work. When you pray for God’s intervention in your marriage situation, you don’t just pray and stand up and go. Prayer is a communication between the person who is praying and the God he /she is praying to. So, you tell God what you want, and He tells you how to get it. Sometimes, God may send someone to hand over to you what you have prayed for, and sometimes He leads you to the source of what you have prayed for and teach you how to get it. But in marriage when you pray for God’s intervention, He teaches you what to do to attain the point of comfort in your marriage that you seek. The Bible says “Prayer without Deed is dead.
One thing I know that God tells every wife to do in marriage is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord. We find this in Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:1-6, and even in Colossians 3:18. We should understand that if God will repeat the same time thrice through two different vessels of His, then He means what He says. From 1 Peter 3:1-2 we can conclude that as a wife when you pray and do not submit to your husband as unto the Lord, all your effort amounts to a waste of breath and energy, and I repeat that you will tarry long on the altar of prayer without result. Because it is through the purity and reverence of your life which springs from your submission to your husband that he will be won over to God thereby becoming the man you desire him to be. 
Quite a number of wives complain that they have endured so much from their husbands. One of the very common conclusions that I have heard from wives is that the husband does not care for them, provide for them and outrightly neglects them and so they pack their bags and walk out of the marriage. And yet they complain that the husband still does not provide allowances for his children that they took away from him. And then I think; if you were living with your husband and as far as you are concerned he didn’t take care of you and didn’t provide for the family upkeep, how then do you expect him to start to care for you when you are not there in his face.
One very foolish mindset that we have as women is that we believe that when we walk out of the so-called terrible marriage and away from the wicked husband, he will come to his senses and do the needful. But in almost all the cases I have seen and dealt with, separation never solves the problem, rather it makes it worse. And a simple separation that you had hoped will improve the bad situation eventually leads to a divorce. So, what was supposed to be temporary separation eventually turns to a permanent separation.

1 Peter 3:1-2
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 behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

One truth that has never changed is that the word of God never fails. Like I mentioned earlier, the solution to a troubled marriage is not in walking out of the marriage; and divorce is also not a beautiful solution to a bad marriage. But we read in the Bible passage above that if a woman is married to an unbeliever (For me, I want to define the word unbeliever as not just someone who does not believe in Jesus Christ, but as someone who does not exhibit the traits of godliness. A husband whom his wife has characterized as wicked), it is not by words that such a man is won over to God, but by the submissive behavior of the wife through the purity and reverence of her life.
I have said earlier that prayer is good and important to heal a broken marriage, but it is not enough. When you pray that God heals your marriage, you also need to wait on God to speak to you on your action line in that marriage for it to heal. What 1 Peter 3:1-2 is telling us is that no matter how bad that marriage situation is, it is through your submission that God will bring about the desired change that you seek in that marriage. Your prayer performs two functions; first, you go to God to make a complain/request and then you wait on Him to tell you what to do and when you do it you will get the change that you seek.
Your submission to your husband is a seed that you sow into your marriage. It is the investment to make in your marriage for which you expect returns. And then your prayers act secondly as a form of watering on the seed of submission that you have sown. So, when you submit to your husband and then you pray, what God does is to use you and your godly behavior as a reference in drawing your husband to Himself. You will be winning your husband to God not by words but by your actions.
And then just before I finish up this write-up, I would want us to understand that there is a big difference between submission and respect. Quite a number of women always say that they have submitted to their husbands, yet he treats them badly, but what I have come to discover is that we misunderstand respect for submission. What we give to our husbands is good respect, but that is far below what God commands us to do.
The dictionary meaning of the word submit is “to yield yourself to the authority of another,” and one very prominent synonym word for the word "submit" is “obey.” So what God is saying to us as wives is to submit ourselves to the authority of our husbands, and when we take is further for better clarity, we are asked to obey our husbands. So, if your husband says to do a thing, what God is telling you is that you should do exactly as he says. Do not add to it or take away from it. Just do as your husband says.
This is a universal law of marriage for all women without any exception and without any clause. You will find this same instruction over and over again in the passages of the Bible (Ephesian 5:22-24, Colossian 3:18, 1 Peter 3:1-6). And one important thing is that the Bible did not add any qualifying adjective to the word husband, so to say that God did not define for us the kind of husband to submit to and the one not to submit to. So, whether your husband is good, bad, ugly, kind, or harsh, as long as he is your husband, you are to submit to him and obey him.
For some, this might sound like hard teaching, but it’s the most effective way to a gloriously beautiful marriage. It worked for me, and it has worked for so many others and it will surely work for you if you apply it undilutedly. Please note that this is an instruction of God for His children alone. This is not a teaching for everyone. But if you want God's intervention in your situation, then you need to apply God's approach in that situation.