While spending time with my husband some time ago, I randomly turned to him and said “thank you so much for being such a wonderful husband. You have made marriage so easy”. He simply said “thank God”. A few minutes later he said “do you know what I need you to do for me? Keep praying for me that God will give me grace to remain effective as a husband and father”. Since the day he said that to me, those words have never left me. It reminded me why I find it so easy to follow his leading – humility! His humility is one thing that I can never get over about him. I thought to myself that if every husband will remain humble, following God’s leading, their wives will automatically follow them with ease. I know that some women may be difficult but the truth is that if you as a husband, remain consistent with relying on God, your wife will have no choice but to come around. No leader can be effective without humility. It takes grace to lead in any capacity, even within a family and grace from God will only flow where there is humility (James 4:6). If more husbands will begin to look at their position as a privilege and not a right, I am quite sure there will be less tension in many homes. Be humble enough to be led by God (Psalm 25:9); when you are, it gives your wife and children room to be completely free with you. My husband’s statement showed me that he knows he needs God’s help to lead our family and what more can a wife ask for? It’s part of my daily prayer for him, asking God to keep multiplying grace upon him to be the shepherd of the family. Please don’t abuse the privilege God has given to you as a husband, keep asking God for grace. But always remember that humility is a prerequisite for that grace that you need!
One habit I have is that anytime I pray for my children, I also pray about their future marriage and family life. I know that season is a long long while away but I am always pressed in my spirit to pray concerning that area of their lives. I think part of it is because of the crisis in so many homes due to the wrong steps they take. Sometimes, I meet parents who say they will wait till they get to that bridge before they cross it but the truth is that it is never too early to pray concerning your child’s future spouse and family life. Why wait till the day they are about to get married before you begin? Why wait till after they are married before you begin? In fact, every parent should see it as their duty; I tell parents that even from the womb, begin to pray for their future, particularly their family life.
That is also part of praying that they are kept away from those who will destroy their destiny. As they grow and become more independent and begin to pay more attention to the opposite sex, pray harder that they will not become victims of the pressures that many succumb to. Pray that at the right time, God will order their steps to the right man/woman. Pray that even while they are in a relationship, they remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit and make the right decisions before marriage. And pray the the God of all peace, gives them a restful family life. Many parents wait till their children start misbehaving before they realise that the weapon of prayer is needful. Your prayer makes a huge difference! Why is this so important? Because who they join themselves to eventually, can make or mar their destiny. There are many who have been sent to the right schools and attained a lot academically or otherwise in life, they have taken the right steps and made the right decisions but they married without wisdom; and instead of enjoying their achievements and moving forward in life, they are found fighting unnecessary battles and dealing with troubles which could have been avoided, which hinders their peace of mind and progress. Dear parent, this area is so key; please don’t be careless about it. Yes, pray continuously for your children in every area but don’t forget to pray for their future spouse!! They can only flourish in all other areas of life when the peace of God abides in their family life!
Some couples find it difficult to have a meaningful conversation without quarrelling or disagreeing. This doesn’t have to be the case. If this is your situation, you can make a decision to change. First your mindset has to change and then you have to learn the behaviours that enable effective communication. So, here are 4 steps to help you TALK.
T – Tone and attitude influence how productive your conversation will be. If you come ready to talk with a defensive body language or a disinterested attitude, you’ve hampered effective communication from happening. An aggressive tone tends to send out ‘warfare’ vibes (Proverbs 15:1-2). Avoid getting into a shouting match. An affectionate and calm demeanour will show that you are willing to have an amicable and productive conversation, which would leave you both satisfied with the outcome.
A – Affirm and appreciate. Affirm your love for each other. Affirm love with physical touch – it may just be holding of hands or a head resting on a shoulder while you talk. You’ll be surprised how helpful this could be when dealing with a challenging issue. Tense and distant body language mirrors what is going on in the mind; it would only sustain the tension hanging in the air. Appreciate each other too: if your conversation only consists of fault-finding, then you will both end up feeling bruised. Look at the situation objectively. What has your spouse or intended spouse done well in the circumstance that you can refer to? What do they normally do well that you can commend? Reminding them of what you love about them also adds a nice flavour (1 Peter 4:8, Proverbs 10:12).
L – Listen. Yes, listen without presumptions about what the other person will say. Listen with the intention of understanding the other person’s feelings behind their words. Acknowledge what you have heard and ask questions to clarify what you feel you are hearing.
K – Kind words (Ephesians 4:29, 32). ALWAYS, use kind words. Of what use are spiteful words? They inflame wounds. If in the heat of the moment, hurtful words tumble out of your mouth, quickly apologise. A heartfelt ‘sorry’ is an important word. Your partner isn’t stupid; they can read your undertones. They will know if your sorry isn’t heartfelt. Don’t use abusive words with each other. If you feel angry or provoked, let your words be calculated and say them calmly. Also, let your words be full of empathy and understanding.
Use Colossians 4:6 as your watch word: “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man”.
May God give you the grace you need to TALK.
Marriage: A lifelong institution where the students learn daily what it means to love like Jesus Christ. To succeed, there are two major requirements (apart from wisdom, understanding and knowledge – Proverbs 24:3-5) that both husband and wife are obligated to fulfill:
- SPIRITUALITY – Marriage cannot be successful if approached in the energy of the flesh but by the Spirit of God alone. This would also give birth to the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – Genesis 5:22-23), and
- HUMILITY –
a). This releases the grace of God in abundance (James 4:6) to lead effectively as the husband and follow successfully as the wife.
b). It also draws you closer to God and eradicates pride (Psalm 138:6), and c). It elevates each person and ultimately the family (1 Peter 5:6).
Strive to build yourself up in the two above, and God will honour you.
One of the worst things any man or woman can do is to betray the trust that their spouse has in them. A major platform that any marriage thrives upon is trust; infact marriage is trust. We trust that person enough to say that we want to spend the rest of our lives with him/her; marriage all begins with the trust that we have for that person; that is what makes us confident in the life long journey we embark on. I always like to say that a marriage without trust is a marriage that is doomed. Trust is so vital that when it is broken, it has the power to tear a home apart for good, except for the help of God. When trust is violated everything about the one who has been hurt becomes damaged, that is we must not be careless about the trust we share in our marriages. A few important points to note about trust is that:
1. It is a growing force – It is built over time. The trust you have for your spouse grew from the day you met them until the day you said “I do”. And it is expected to keep growing even in the marriage. As higher dimension of challenges may come in the marriage, you must be able to trust that your spouse will stand by you.
2. Trust means protection and you must protect that trust with all that you are – It means that despite the shortcomings and weaknesses of your spouse, they will protect you and keep private matters, private. It means that whatever mistakes you may have made, remains with them and vice versa. It also means that you will not be found using any information you have to attack each other. There are things that you know about your spouse or things that they tell you that must of necessity, remain in your heart.
3. Trust cannot thrive without openness. If you or your spouse are prone to playing hide and seek games, there will be little to no trust. Transparency is the name of the game in marriage; that is a major ingredient for the trust to thrive.
4. Trust is built on proofs – It must be proven. It is based on dependable and predictable behaviour. It is being able to rely on a person and on their character that they have proven over time. Your yes must be your yes and your no, your no. You must be where you say you will be and you must be found doing what you said you will do. You must prove yourself trustworthy.
5. Trust is enhanced by measurably change or growth – If you have broken the trust for any reason, there must be a change for the trust to be restored. If your spouse does not see change, it becomes difficult for their trust in you to be restored. They must be able to see that you are doing your best to ‘right the wrongs’ that you may have caused. It must be evident that you are taking steps to rebuild the trust in your marriage.
It’s important to note that in any Christian marriage, trust cannot be built or maintained without God’s help. Therefore if you are the one who has broken the trust or the one who has been hurt by your spouse, you must be willing to give God room to do the rebuilding and restoring of the home, while you play your part. Whatever you do, remember that a marriage without trust is doomed, and marriage is trust! Marriage is a spiritual house and it cannot flourish in the energy of the flesh therefore rely on God’s spirit to revive your testimony (Zechariah 4:8). Go through the Word of God, and seek godly counsel if necessary, and God will take your marriage and family back to His intentions, from the beginning.
If you are currently in a relationship and that man or woman is disrespecting you and has no value for you, if they feel as though they are doing you a favour by dating you, if you have to pressurise them to marry you, if you both don’t agree on major issues of life (your faith, handling finances, children, dealing with inlaws, etc), please run for your dear life! Things will not get better in the marriage, in fact, they will only get worse. I am not wishing you ill but it is a fact. Please know that it’s much better to be single with peace of mind (the absence of stress, anxiety, etc) than to be married with conflicts, disagreements, strife, etc. Anything contrary to peace will only divert your focus and attention and they take a toll on your body (causing ill-health) and your mind. I like to tell singles that marriage is not by force! No matter how far you have gone in your relationship, as long as you are not yet married, it is never too late to say a loud “NO”! Be bold enough to break it off. Evaluate your relationship and if things are not going well, be wise and save yourself from any unnecessary headache and heartache!
Usually in many marriages, the fire of passion goes out after the first few years, particularly as responsibilities increase and children come into the picture. Any married person knows that we JUST have to work extra hard in marriage to keep the fire burning. One way, among others, to do is not to neglect your appearance! It’s important to remain sexy and attractive for your spouse. A lot of husbands and wives allow themselves to become so lost after marriage and/or children that they begin to look drab and unkept. These same people went over and beyond to look attractive before marriage, but in marriage it seems like a chore. You must go over and beyond to maintain yourself while married! Among other things, how you present yourself in marriage affects physical intimacy to a large extent. Be healthy, physically fit (I am not referring to a particular size) and have good hygiene practices. While the responsibilities of life can be demanding and overwhelming, they should not be allowed to sap all the energy out of you that your husband or wife is no longer chasing after you, causing physical intimacy to be a chore simply done to fulfil all righteousness, rather than a time of delight and pleasure! When physical intimacy starts going down in a marriage, it negatively impacts on the marriage. Ask God for grace to balance all your responsibilities accordingly, communicate effectively with each other and help each other; it takes two! I am not directing this at the women alone; men are not the only ones who have eyes and desire to see an attractive spouse; we do too! It doesn’t matter if you are the husband or wife, don’t accept that you should “let yourself go” since you are married. It may not be the most important issue in a marriage however physical attraction still ranks high up there – it is still vital in any marriage that will thrive!
A lot of the division that takes place in many homes is due to the friends and associations that many husbands and wives choose to keep. Things may have been going well at one point, but as soon as they decided to walk with and hang around the wrong people, everything in their homes began to go down. The truth is that if genuine peace in your marriage and family is your desire, you must get rid of the wrong company. Those that pitch you against your spouse, those that give you unscriptural counsel, those that want to force a negative testimony of marriage on you. If you maintain closeness with such people, you will eventually believe and see what they tell you. All of the above are Jonah’s! No family can truly experience peace if a Jonah is in their marital ‘boat’. This is not just friends but also family – while you cannot delete your family members from your life, you definitely can respectfully manage how much contact you maintain with them. No matter who that person is, if they are trying to destroy your marital relationship and family, distance yourself from them and get closer to Jesus and those who use the Word of God to guide you aright. Please know that just one wrong person like Jonah can sink your boat (Jonah 1:3-15) but one right person like Jesus can keep your boat afloat (Mark 4:35-41). If genuine peace is you desire, Get rid of the Jonah’s and keep Jesus; you can’t have both, and expect to be successful!
I always tell single women to remain respectful to the men who approach them, regardless of how they feel; it is a law of attraction! Don’t react negatively or disrespectfully to any man who may approach you for a relationship. Even when you are not interested in his request, how do you respond? Please don’t take pride in being rude, sizing him up and down and asking him where he got the guts from to speak to you. If you are rude to him, he would not hesitate in spreading that news to others, and your prospective spouse might be part of the men who will decide to stay away from you based on what he may hear. And you cannot blame him; to him, if you are disrespecting others that way, you will surely disrespect him one day. Many single ladies are not yet married due to how they treat others in this regard. Even if a man goes about it the wrong way, there is absolutely no need to be rude or even embarrass him. There have been instances where a man is told no and he leaves smiling with his head help up high and his dignity in tact, simply based on how he was spoken to. Such men will talk about you positively. Please know that if you are hoping to get married and you are desiring the husband God has created just for you, He is watching you closely. How you handle such situations, determines a lot. And mind you, how that man looks now is not his future so don’t be in a rush to write him off. The wise thing to do is to go to God in prayer and receive His response before sending him on his way. Even if you are convinced he is not the one for you after praying about it, still respond with respect. Whatever you do, however you do it, whatever you say, and however you say it; just be respectful. Remember, it is a law of attraction.
It’s a fact that any confident woman, one who is secure in who God has made her to be, will always attract love. But an insecure woman, one who doesn’t know her worth, chases after love at all cost and allows her self to be used and abused. Know your self worth and carry yourself with dignity. You are a treasure; don’t let anyone trample over you in the name of love. If you are married, discover your design in God and begin to see yourself as a queen; it will determine how you run your affairs in the home. Single? Please know that it’s better to remain single for life than to be treated like you are not valuable. Don’t settle for less. If you don’t see yourself as dignified, no one will see you as such. Your value does not decrease just because any man cannot se your worth…God created you, He knows your worth. So just relax and get lost in Him; the mate to match your worth is on his way!!