THE MARRIAGE ABCS
Copyright © Ufuomaee
The saying is true, “United we stand, divided we fall”! Unity in marriage cannot be over estimated. It is in fact what defines a marriage – two becoming one! Unity and marriage are, therefore, synonymous in meaning. Without unity, there is no marriage.
Marriages don’t fall apart in a day, but over a length of time, when there has been disunity. The enemy takes advantage of this to create greater distance, distrust and animosity between the couple. They are separated emotionally, mentally, spiritually before there is a physical manifestation of their division. If you do not actively work at unity in your marriage, then disunity will take a hold. So a successful marriage requires two people who choose daily to ‘marry’ themselves, by continually cleaving to one another.
Unity, though synonymous with marriage, doesn’t happen on its own or over night. It requires you to be intentional, persistent and resilient against the things that cause division. Your only chance at success in marriage is for you to remain united with your spouse; to work together as a team, not in conflict nor competition, but on purpose and in unity!
Christ tells us that in marriage, the two people have become one flesh…not one spirit (Mark 10:8). If they are in Christ, they are bound by One Spirit, His Spirit, but they have also become one knit unit…a whole new stronger fabric (Eccl 4:9-12)! One flesh doesn’t mean you have become one being with your spouse, in that you are no longer different but the same. You are still different, you are still you, but you have been knit and bound to another being, such that you both together have become a single entity, that is stronger by virtue of your union and the Holy Spirit that binds you.
For you to accept and live up to your new nature as ONE FLESH with another, you must first deny and die daily to your old nature as LONE FLESH without another. It is no longer about you (not that it ever really has been), and it isn’t simply about your union either. It is about the message your union communicates to the world. It is about the image your union portrays of God’s love, power and wisdom. You cannot flourish as this new entity, when you are still focused on your individuality. You must also be surrendered to God’s will and control in your marriage to succeed.
So, for there to be unity in marriage, there is need for there to be:
- Humility. Both husband and wife need to be humble, by forsaking self and pride for the sake of their union. At this junction, it is not about who is in charge, because if you want to be in charge at the expense of your marriage, you may very well find yourself in charge ALONE! Not good! First things first, humble yourself, and let God exalt you…(1 Pet 5:5-6, Jam 4:10, Matt 23:11-12)
- Agreement. This can’t happen without communication, because you are not mind-readers. There will be things you learnt about yourselves before you got married that you agreed on, or even disagreed on. Now that you are married, do not stop communicating and learning more about yourselves and growing in understanding and agreement. Read C for Communicate Effectively. It may take some time for perspectives to change and align, but as you persist in communication, being already humble, you will certainly grow in understanding and agreement with each other, and your union will be strong! Ultimately, if there will be a chance for success, one of the things you should agree on early (preferably before marriage) is who should be the leader and who should be the follower. Ideally, you ought to submit to the Biblical model of the man leading and loving his wife as Christ loves and leads the Church!
- Trust. As you grow in agreement, trust will grow and should be nurtured in your relationship. But things may happen (human failure, sin, temptation, tribulations etc) to test your trust in each other, but you need to CHOOSE to trust, so that you do not give the enemy a foothold for separation (1 Pet 5:8-9, Eph 4:26-27). Pray for yourself and your spouse continually, that each of you may be strong in times of trials and temptation, and gracious with each other should either falter (1 Pet 4:7-8), and rest in God to work all things out for His good purpose (Rom 8:28). You should also build trust by being transparent with your spouse. Cultivate a deep intimacy in your relationhip through honesty, and it will be easy to trust. Your trust to your spouse says “I believe in you… I believe in us.” It binds and it liberates, and it produces the good fruit of faithfulness.
- Submission. This requires both trust and respect, from both partners again. Submission is the practical manifestation of humility, a spiritual condition. When you humbly submit to one another, you will not dwell of what you are giving up, but what you are investing in…what you are building up! You do what is necessary to get the result you desire, knowing that everything can and should be forsaken for your union…including self. Read D for Die Daily to Self. Submission is, therefore, an act of love, for whatever and whomever you would submit to, you love and cherish. You submit by caring for, sharing with and uplifting one another through continuous acts of kindness.
- Faithfulness. Trials and temptations are TESTS. That is all they are. They are not a sentence on your marriage, but they can become tools in STRENGTHENING your marriage. Rightly handled, they can be purifiers and moulders. They are tests, which are never easy nor enjoyable, from which you will learn about yourself and your spouse, and through which you have a chance to overcome together, as a team! Because it is not ONE person being tested, it is your UNION – your fabric, if you like – which you are now fully invested in. You must be faithful, and be long suffering, hanging on and continually cleaving to each other (1 Cor 13). Be faithful in humility, agreement, trust and submission, and no matter the storm, you will overcome it together! And if anyone falters, remember than all is needed is FORGIVENESS, and then you can both continue in love. Don’t ever think something is too much to forgive. Remember how much you have been forgiven (Luke 7:47, Matt 6:14-15).
By virtue of your marriage, you are already one fabric. But you determine the type of fabric you are, by how much you cleave to each other. If you were not attracted to each other, you would not have sought to marry, and then married. Now you are married, work with God and each other to stay united, by fueling the fire of love and attraction. He is on your side to succeed. He is for unity, not division, so know that with His help, you cannot fail!
When tough times come, when trials and temptations come, and in those odd lazy days when marriage is work or your partner is unattractive or unappealing to you, and you would just like a break from being marriage (if not a permanent separation), this is the time to CLEAVE even more. At these points, nature and evil are wrestling to tear apart what has been bound, and it may feel natural to give in, but you must actively resist this and choose to ‘marry’ your spouse again. You must choose to be married, and not entertain thoughts of singleness for a moment.
Once you are called in marriage and bound unto another in this noble vocation, singleness is no longer your portion, nor profitable for you. To separate will be a severing of your fabric; your new self, which is now bound to your spouse. However attractive the thought of being single is, for you it is brokenness. Get the right perspective and fight for your marriage! The odds are in deed stacked in your favour, because it is God’s will for you to succeed.
“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9)
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