How Christian marriage is coping in these austere times
On December 4, my driver could not worship in his Church because he took me to Christ Methodist Church, Oshodi. On December 11, not wanting him to miss worshipping in his Church, I went to Dominion House, where I was to minister, by public transport. As I approached a building, close to the Church, I went into memory lane, recalling with pathos, that a friend sold the land to me and later bought it back, when he needed it badly. ‘Who knows the current value?’ I wondered.
Excitement soared high when the members saw me, a place I had ministered severally. I looked around and there was nothing to show the biting effect of recession as everybody was looking good, with admirable infectious smile. Introducing my message, I told them how I travelled to the US six months after the wedding of Prince Charles, the first son of Queen Elizabeth of England, and Lady D. No passenger in the aircraft was left in doubt about the auspicious wedding. The brochure, with bold inscription, ‘I WAS THERE’, was everywhere in the plane. I could imagine the pump that went with it, the Pound sterling it consumed, the monarchs and Heads of States, all over the world, who witnessed it. But today, everything about it had gone bananas! Money and fame? Yes, they had enough to spare.
I reminded them of eminent personalities and billionaires in Nigeria, whose marriages or the ones of their children, have also gone to the past tense. Fame they have, cash they have, yet, their marriages have crumbled. Can we then agree, that wealth, fame, and all material possessions, do not sustain marriages relatively. There was a presentation before my message at Christ Methodist Church, where a wife was confessing seriously her love to her spouse. Her husband was also doing the same. They vowed that nothing would separate them and planned for a rosy future as Uncle was expecting his container. Then, bad news came, that the container had an accident, making the man lose his N20M investment. Aunty’s song changed immediately. The romance was over! Chai! We can conclude that Marriage has little to do with wealth or poverty. God’s factor is important for success.
Dr. Luke, in his Gospel, wrote how two men left Jerusalem for Emmaus, a journey of 60 furlongs. As they journeyed, they talked. Nothing happened but as they communed and reasoned together, Jesus Himself, not His angel, drew near and went with them. Let us see it as a man and a lady, leaving single status for marriage that lasts about 60 years. Talking is good but it will not attract Jesus. In the US, couples talk, confessing their love. In Nigeria, we talk but often in fault-finding. It is only when couples are in fellowship, confessing and demonstrating their affection, one for the other, that Jesus will draw near to go the whole hog with them. Austerity will not affect them. No couple will fear the storm once Jesus is in the boat with them. It is all by choice. I can enforce my fundamental human right, the law will allow me but Jesus will not be attracted. If my wife stops respecting me because the money is no longer there, Jesus will not be attracted. If I am not patient with my wife because things are hard, there is no problem, except that Jesus will not be there. If I fast for 100 days, and it is recommended highly for couples, it will not per se, attract Him. We need Jesus.
Psalm 128 is the picture of a model home, a home, where Jesus is a member. ‘Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord and works in His ways, for thou shall eat the labour of thine hands, happy shalt thou be and it will be well with thee…’ What will attract God’s blessing, that is, eating the labour of your hands [sowing and reaping, building and inhabiting], happiness and a situation where it will be well with us, is to fear God and walk in His ways in our marriage.
Flowing from the above, I told them that I would consider only Submission and Love, which affect marriages adversely. Husband and wives are commanded by God to submit themselves one to the other – Eph. 5:21. This is called mutual submission, a situation, where a spouse can undertake a responsibility, which the society reserves for the opposite gender. Wives, however, are required to submit absolutely to their own husbands, except if it involves sin. Husbands are to love their wives in the same way Christ loved His Church and died for her. Love is not love until it is sacrificial. Uncle Joseph demonstrated this laudably. As he and Aunty May were preparing for their wedding, he noticed that she was pregnant, when as God’s children, they never had pre-marital sex. He could have gone to the NTA to report or cause her to be stoned, according to the law, but he did not. He rather wanted to put her away secretly before Heaven intervened, informing him that the pregnancy was by the Holy Spirit.
Submission and love do not preclude a spouse from refusing to compromise when a partner is about to err. Pilate’s wife risked her life by telling him the awful truth about Jesus. Jezebel treated her husband, King Ahab, as if he was a coward and then murdered Naboth. It led to the untimely death of the royal couple. When Job’s wife wanted to lead him astray, he rebuked her and retained his integrity.
Industry is commended for couples. The virtuous wife in Proverbs teaches us how hard-work sustains a home, even recession. Men can do the same, even better. Not lazy, she sought wool and flax and worked with her hands. A prudent woman, she was not buying things from Mallams’ shops close by, but from markets, where things were cheap, I suspect Mile 12. She would rise early to prepare her stuff for sale and sleeping late after preparing her business accounts.
She would not do what many women do, buying at the spur of the moment, but would subject her purchases, most of the time, for investment, to strict economic analysis. Her business grew because she would plough back her profits. She never minded the weather in doing her business.
As you play your part in your family, God will play His.
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0802 3002-471; firstname.lastname@example.org
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