Text: Ephesians 4:27 -32, 5:1-2
God ordained the institution of marriage for fellowship, procreation and to satisfy your sexual desire. When a man and a woman are joined in holy matrimony, they become husband and wife and they are to live together in harmony "until death do part them." Marriage is a covenant of love between a husband and wife. Marriage is an act of giving yourself to each other in love and trust. Love underpins marriage and Jesus Christ is the bedrock of it.
However along the journey are some challenges. These challenges must be overcome if the marriage is to be blissful. Challenges, by their nature or character, serve as calls to fight or battle. Some of the challenges in marriage could be:
- Lack or absence of Christ's love
- Sexual dissatisfaction
- Temporary or permanent infertility
- Ineffective communication
- Non commitment from either the husband or the wife
- Living separately
- Influence of external bodies
For any marriage to be successful, Jesus Christ must be at the center of it and must be the bedrock while it must be driven by unconditional love. Although challenges will always come, you must always have it in mind that you will overcome and be triumphant in Jesus name.
The Lord has promised to be with you in whatever you are passing through (Isa 43:2-3). He also promised you that you will overcome issues and challenges (Rom 8:37). Be rest assured that because Jesus is an over comer, you too shall overcome. Let us discuss some of the challenges listed above.
Lack or absence of Christ's Love
God showed us love by sending his only son Jesus to us. Jesus showed us love by dying for us. He loves his church so much that they are inseparable. He wants you to replicate this unconditional love between you and your spouse. It is the love of Christ that binds a husband and wife together. If Christ is out of the union, there will be chaos in the relationship. To overcome chaos and crisis in your relationship, Jesus must be involved. The presence of Jesus at the wedding at Cana in Galilee made a lot of difference and the wedding ceremony ended well. The Bible says in the presence of Jesus there is fullness of joy. If your marriage is to be blissful, harmonious and joyous, then Jesus must be at the center of it.
The Bible says in 1 Cor 13:4-8, "Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." Brethren, love covers all sins, it is the fulfilment of the Law. It is above all things and you must act in love. If you love your spouse as expected, there will be harmony, peace and joy in your home. You will trust one another and you will easily forgive one another since love keeps no records of evil and it conquers all. If you love each other you will be inseparable.
The Bible admonishes us in1 Cor7:2b-5, "Each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfil his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to husband. In the same way the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
Where there is dissatisfaction or complaints, you can help one another by being patient, seek medical advice, seek advice from marriage counsellors and with prayers you will overcome. The solution is not to look for a bed mate elsewhere because it is ungodly. Sexual matters between you and your spouse must be resolved amicably. 1 Cor 6:18 says, "Flee from sexual immorality." Once you get married, your only sexual partner is your spouse. In case there is delay in child bearing, be patient and wait on the Lord. Hannah waited, prayed and God answered her.
The Bible says in Deut 8:18, "But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth." Money in marriage is not individually owned. Whatever the husband has belongs to the wife and vice-versa. So whatever God has joined together, money should not put asunder. If you jointly own your bodies and you can share your bodies with one another, then, money should not be more precious than your bodies.
The Bible says in 1 Tim 5:8, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." The husband should provide for his household. Be transparent and do not love money more than your spouse. 1 Tim 6:10a says, "For the love of money is the root of all evil." It is good to have money but the love of it is not good. Where the wife is more resourceful than the husband, there must be understanding and the wife should pray for more wisdom and humility so as to avoid being puffy.
Communication is the process of sending a message through a medium to the receiver. The content of the message could be information, news, ideas, feelings or emotion. Communication is effective when both the recipient and sender has the same understanding of the message being transmitted. Marital problems usually or sometimes start from poor or no communication. The choice of words, tone of the language to use, mood of your spouse and timing are to be considered. Ineffective or lack of communication can lead to breakdown in the home. You should never bottle- up. Always express yourself and learn to discuss freely and sincerely.
Pro 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." If you don't communicate with one another it will be very difficult for you to pray together.
Prayer is communication between man and God in the name of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the walking stick of a Christian. It is a potent weapon available to you as a child of God and therefore make use of it effectively. 1 Thess 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." There must be a family altar where you meet at least twice, morning when you wake up and evening before going to bed to commune with God. Present your case before Him and hand over with gratitude your home and all other issues for Him to take control. A family that prays together will definitely stay together. Through this, you will always receive a leading and solutions to your problems and challenges.
Divorce should not be considered as a solution to challenges. Mal 2:15b says, "Do not be unfaithful to the wife of thy youth. God hates divorce and He hates putting away". The man who hates and divorces his wife does violence to the one he should protect. Finally, love is the fulfilment of Law therefore love your spouse as Jesus loves the church and let Him be in control.
Lord Jesus, reveal yourself in my home. Give me and my spouse the grace to fellowship together in love all the days of our lives and let your agape love bind us together for life.
Grant both of us the spirit of oneness. Let your peace flow in our home and through us like a river till death do us part. Lord Jesus, grant us a blissful, peaceful and joyous home in your name I pray, Amen.