Having grown up in a environment where marriage is forever, for better for worse, I cannot help it but to advocate for reconciliation, most of the time. I know this may sound unbelievable to some of you who think they know me. I hold marriage sacred, after all it is the oldest institution ordained by God Himself.
Gen 2:18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
I don’t know how to tell people to walk away from a marriage, not without listening to both sides of the stories. No one is a saint, no one is perfect and we must therefore be more accommodative in marriage. You can’t treat marriage as casually as you treat dating, God put a lot of thought in getting Adam a helper, Adam had to give up his rib for Eve. It was definitely no small matter. I do have strong opinions on how men should treat women and vice versa but in marriage I do cut both parties some slack.
I am not a marriage counsellor neither am I trying to play one, I am simply sharing my thoughts. I probably should declare that am single, but not searching, am currently in a complicated relationship with myself. This is exactly why am usually hesitant to point a finger at the institution. It is purely by God’s grace that people sometimes seek my opinion in matters relationship and marriage.
More than a year ago a friend’s marriage came to an end. I could not believe when she told me that she was quitting her marriage, parting ways with a man she once could not live without. It threw a dark cloud in my fairy world of happily ever after. It was saddening, it broke my heart so so much especially after getting the details. For such a young girl she had dealt with so much in her marriage and this educated me on two things. Marriage is an eye opener and takes a lot of work from both spouses on a daily basis. I can not say or divulge details of her marriage because I haven’t asked for consent to share her story. Instead I’ll share from my childhood friends and hope to tie them all up and draw some lessons.
Leah is married to her first love, the new way, where we get babies and move in together and get on with life. In a span of three years she has had three children, between them and her job she’s let herself go and literally has had no time for a social life. Last year in December she heard or learnt that her husband, Pete, was cheating on her. Now my friend knows how to throw tantrums and feats, and on this day she poured her rage on Pete’s phone by smashing it on the wall. Believe me when they said hell has no fury like a woman scorned they were not kidding. I know Leah and honestly Pete was lucky it wasn’t his flat screen smart television. I heard about this incident but overlooked it as a small matter. In February this year Leah’s mum called me telling me I needed to make time and visit her. When an elder makes a request like this you treat it as an order. It shows that they trust you to do their bidding and are humble to bring themselves to your level.
The couple is now well into making it work because of the following things that I shared with them.
Why? It is very important to go back to why you got together. Why did you pick that one person when you could have so many others? Over a cup of coffee I asked Pete why he had picked Leah. And does he still have the same feelings for her? He prophesied his love for his wife and with this I knew we could overcome this current situation.
The come-we-stay syndrome is a disease ailing the marriage institution. Those who’ve had church weddings, you were taken through several counselling sessions to prepare into your new role as wife or husband. And with that you have mentors or best couples who walk with you in your marriage journey. Apart from just walking the aisle with you on your wedding day, these are your encyclopedia and first aiders. Unfortunately a lot of young are approaching marriage very casually deceiving themselves that they can solve their problems by themselves.
This brings me to another issue, ask and listen. I booked an appointment with Pete so we could talk about their separation, and he created the time. Before we embarked on the matter I apologized for poking my nose into their business and gave him the chance to walk away. I must say I was impressed. Pete despite being older than myself wasn’t going to despise me on any grounds many older married folks do. Asking for help is never a sign of weakness.
Another element that usually accompanies come-we-stays are children. The truth is that most of relationships are based on unplanned parenthood. Once we find ourselves in parenting we move in together and start a family. We forget about our individuality and focus on raising the children leading to the partners drifting apart. I shared with Pete the importance of taking time away from the children to reignite the fire between her and Leah. I also reminded Leah that while it was true motherhood had it’s impact on her physique she didn’t have to let herself go completely.
Accept and own your shortcomings to make it easy to resolve them if possible. Pete was very open with him. He was the problem, it was true he had been caught but he wanted to make things right. As a man it is your duty to protect your wife from finding out that you are cheating on her, this shows respect. Don’t go leaving trails everywhere of your indecent behavior for her to clean up unless you just don’t care about your relationship in which case you should just end the relationship.
The most important advice that I gave to Leah was to go back on her knees and pray. It doesn’t matter how many times other people intervene in your marriage God has all the answers. Talk to God, seek to understand His will and let Him into your marriage. Pray for your husband and pray as a couple. Recently I learnt that Pete and Leah have found a church they can both be members of and I was elated to say the least.
The grace of God is always sufficient and in Him there’s peace. The Bible has all the answers about marriage, from submission to love, respect and obedience.
For the singles stop eyeing someone else’s spouse. It is not right, it is sinsful. Don’t let the devil use you to bring down that home.
Mat 19:6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”