Category Archives: Relationships

Keeping Up False Relationship Appearances

Chris and Shan’ann Watts relationship looked good on the outside. Chris seemed like a great family man who loved his wife. Shan’ann raved about him on Facebook. All good right? Wrong!  It was all smoke screen and mirrors.

We now know that Chris Watts was having an affair. We know the relationship was on the rocks. And we know that Chris Watts murdered Shan’ann.

As is often the case, the neighbors were stunned and saw no red flags…except one. Here is what that neighbor had to say in a People magazine exclusive:

“I think they were always putting on a show,” says Melinda Phillips, who recalls seeing Chris and Shan’ann “clearly having an argument” in their driveway one day earlier this summer.

“Their body language was really angry, and they were just fighting back and forth,” Phillips, 34, says. “He was gesturing his hands and they were shaking their heads, and it was definitely an argument.”

“I didn’t really think much of it, because Lord knows that I’ve had the same arguments with my husband,” she continues. “They caught my eye and suddenly, everything changed. They stopped being so angry, and they started talking a lot more calmly. He even gave her a hug. Mind you, this was in the space of 30 seconds to a minute.”

“From a full-blown fight to hugs in less than a minute, it was incredible,” she says.

Relationships are not always the way they seem to appear. In the case of Chris and Shan’ann, it seems they were keeping up false relationship appearances.

There are many reasons we keep up false appearances: We feel shame. We are embarrassed. We want people to like us. We want people to see us in a certain light (maybe because of out title or position). We don’t want to burden anyone. We don’t want anyone in our “business”.

If we get real, these reasons we give, and many others, come from an inner well of fear, pride, insecurity, or performance mentality. Fear of what people will say. Pride in our own ability to deal with our own issues. Insecurity concerning how we will be perceived if people knew the real us. Having a mentality that our self-worth is measured by how well we perform in life. 

Performance mentality is especially sneaky as we may not know it is there. As long as we are performing, it does not come up. The moment we do not perform the way we think we should is the moment it pops up and rocks our sense of self-worth. To gain back our sense of worth, we either try harder, blame others, or find a substitute that makes us feel like we are worthy again. In the case of relationships, this involves ditching the person we are with and latching onto a new relationship – either physically or emotionally.

If you are in a relationship, learn from Chris and Shan’ann Watts. Do not keep up false appearances. If you do so, all you are doing is stripping people who care about you of the opportunity to love you. You alienate yourself from the help you need. You rob yourself of having real relationships since no one really knows you…so loneliness sets in though you are not alone. And you set yourself a standard which says that living a lie is normal…living a lie is normal to those who are not happy.

For more on the Chris and Shan’ann Watts story, click on the People Magazine Exclusive here: Summer Before Triple Murder  

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Moses’ Relationship Lessons

How I met Zipporah is the stuff of movies.

I was a fugitive on the run, high-tailing it from Egypt! I did not have a choice. I could have stayed to face the executioner’s ax or I could take my chances with the robbers, raiders, serpents and scorpions. I chose the latter. Therefore, I ended up in the desert…hungry, thirsty and half delirious.

I had many thoughts running through my head. Where would my next meal and drink come from? Would anyone show me mercy and take me in? Had I even made the right decision to leave Egypt? I was beginning to reason that an executioner’s ax would have been much swifter than this slow death in the middle of nowhere.

Then I saw it. An oasis in the distance. And this time, it wasn’t a mirage. I saw seven ladies and a few men but I couldn’t make out what was happening. I approached slowly, trying gauge the situation and practicing what I would say. I needed the right words so they would invite me in to rest without asking too many questions.

As fate would have it, I did not need any of those words. Those men were not friends but foe’s. They were raiders. I realized this was my opportunity to make a great impression. I sprung into action and thankfully succeeded in driving them away. I became an instant hero! That act not only won me a stay at the oasis but won over Zipporah’s heart.

Zipporah and I were happy. I went from being a fugitive to having a family. She went from being alone to having a man who could not leave her alone. And then came the day God I met. As I grew closer to God and learned of his purpose for me, Zipporah and I grew further apart. It was not her fault. She did not change, I did.

She did not understand God. To her, we had a good life. We were safe, secure, and had our family close by. She had questions: What type of God would want to take that away from those He loved? What type of God would put those he claimed to love in that path of peril?

She did not know God the way I knew Him. Actually, she did not know God at all. She only knew about Him. So, whereas I was filled with faith and hope, she was filled with fear and doubt.

Rather than focus on introducing her to God, I focused on calming her fears. That was a mistake. No matter how many times her fears went away, they always returned. Still, she reluctantly agreed to go back to Egypt with me. She loved me too much and did not want our family to be separated. Her only condition was that she get to know God first before introducing Him to our children. I agreed! I was certain that everything would change as she got to know God like I did.

To honor our agreement, I did not circumcise our boys as God had instructed me to do. That was another mistake. I almost lost my life as a result.

That whole experience was an eye-opener. First, I learned that God instructs us to keep us from unforeseen danger. Second, I learned that Zipporah really was not sold on God at all. She circumcised the boys to save my life but she was furious that she had to do it all. She was mad at both God and me.

So, though we went to Egypt together, we did not leave Egypt together. She did not like Egypt, did not believe in God, did not believe in what I was doing, and thought I was putting our family in danger for no reason. Therefore, she left with the boys.

It wasn’t until God delivered the slaves out of Egypt under my leadership did she come to believe in me and in God. By that time, our marriage was broken and beyond the point of no return.

Relationship Lessons

  1. You are setting yourself up for failure if you expect you and/or your partner to remain the same (and not change)
  2. The key to maintaining your relationship is making sure you change together
  3. It is not enough that you love each other, it is vital that you share the same vision for your lives. Having two visions leads to division
  4. It is better to be honest and truthful at the start rather than go along with something you know you can’t handle. When you
  5. Make sure you fix major relationship issues before introducing any major life changes.

Meditation

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? – Amos 3:3

 

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Sarah’s Relationship Lessons

I couldn’t believe it! I wondered what could have happened to my bold and courageous husband.

Just a few months before, Abram stood in front of me declaring that we had to leave our family and friends because God wanted us to go! When I asked ‘Go where’, he said he didn’t know. All he knew was that we had to do it. Though I had my doubts about whether he had really heard from God or had just experienced a rush of blood to the head, I told him I’d go. Why did I do it? I agreed because I loved him, respected him, and wanted to honor his leadership of our family.

Now I wondered if I had made the right decision. The man standing in front of me was no longer bold and assured but looked like a wet puppy dog. He was so afraid for his life that he asked me to lie that I was his sister. Nope…not his fiancé, not even his girlfriend, but his sister!

Though I remained calm on the outside, I was boiling inside! What happened to till death do us part? What happened to commitment? What happened to have faith in God? Fear had replaced faith; cowardice had replaced courage; selfishness had replaced selflessness.

I nearly lost my respect for him that day. And I would have but for then an inner voice spoke to me saying, just because he is making a mistake now does not mean the decision he made was a mistake. At that moment, I realized that the man making this decision was an ugly caricature of the man I knew and loved.

So, I made a conscious decision to respect him despite having zero respect for the decision he made. I chose not to evaluate our relationship solely on what he did wrong.

Over the years, the question I get asked the most is why I agreed to his request to say I was his sister. Here are the reasons: First, I thought that he would come to his senses sooner rather than later and declare to everyone that I was his wife. Second, I knew that God told him he would be a father. Therefore, I knew God had plans for us that were bigger that this temporary setback. I knew that God would not allow anyone else to take me away from him!

It was the second reason that really gave me courage. Though Abram had failed me, I knew God never goes back on his world. Indeed, if Abram was faithless, God would remain faithful!

Looking back, I am so grateful God is so reliable. Adam did not come to his senses but asked me to lie about being his sister a second time! If not for God’s protection, our marriage would have been over!

But let me be fair! Abram is not the only one that made mistakes in our marriage. After many years of waiting for the child that God promised, I became fearful that it would not happen. So, I started to second guess what I knew. I said to myself, ‘when God said Abram would have a child, perhaps God did not mean Abram would have a child with me’. Maybe He meant Abram would have a child with someone else. I so convinced myself of this lie out of fear that I decided to help God out. I asked Abram to sleep with my maidservant. How silly is that!!! Just as Abram’s decision almost cost us our marriage, my decision almost cost us our marriage. But long story short, God redeemed this situation as well and we ended up experiencing God’s promise come to pass in our lives

Relationship Lessons

  1. For your relationship to last, you have to look past what is wrong with you partner and instead focus on what is right
  2. It is not a matter of if you will have to forgive each other, it is a matter of when you will have to forgive each other
  3. Disappointment in relationships is inevitable, but discouragement is a choice
  4. Fear makes bad relationship decisions
  5. Focus on God’s promises when going through a rough patch
  6. Just because something is true today doesn’t mean it will be true tomorrow

Meditation

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself – 2 Timothy 2:13

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Relationship Lessons From People In The Bible – ADAM

It was love at first sight when I laid eyes on Eve. Indeed, God outdid Himself when He made her. She was like nothing I had ever seen before. I was so awe-struck by her appearance that the first words out of my mouth were ‘wow…man’. So, I dropped the center w and called her woman as a tribute, for indeed she succeeded in wooing me off my feet at first sight. I suppose you could say it was love at first sight. Those early days of our relationship were wonderful!

But the wonder went by the wayside the day we both decided to eat the fruit God told us not to eat. I will never forget that day. It was the day I abdicated responsibility for eating the fruit and instead threw Eve under the bus – blaming her for giving me the fruit. In that moment, I completely neglected the fact that I had my own free will and chose to eat the fruit.

Why did I eat that fruit you ask? I can’t point to just one reason but a myriad. First, the fruit looked really good and appetizing. Second, I knew she desired the fruit too. So, I thought why not! I convinced myself that not only was I going to please my wife, it would also help move us towards our goal of becoming one. I reasoned to myself that God wouldn’t mind us disobeying his word since it would help us fulfill his desire of oneness for Eve and me.

What is that popular saying people have today? Ahh yes…“Happy wife, Happy life”. It didn’t quite work that way for me. When I ate the fruit, Eve was happy in that instant, but it did not take us long to realize we had opened up Pandora’s box. Our happiness quickly disappeared and our lives became miserable.

The immediate period of adjusting to our new normal was especially rough. After experiencing marital heaven for so long, our new normal seemed like marital hell. We pointed fingers at each other and had lots of arguments. Instead of getting us closer to each other, eating the fruit ended up separating us.

I thank God that Eve and I were both committed to each other though. As time passed, we both realized that we had to let go of the past in order to move forward. Neither of us could go back in time and fix our mistakes. We just had to make the best of the situation at hand and learn from our past mistakes.

Still, it is clear that we would not be in our predicament if only we had listened to God in the first place. From that moment on, we stopped debating whether to believe God or not. We realized He is infinitely wiser than we would ever be and so submitted to His lordship.

Relationship Lessons

  1. Do not sacrifice permanent joy for temporary gratification
  2. God knows what is best for your relationship – trust the boundaries He sets for you
  3. You have to let go of the past in order to move forward
  4. Your commitment to your partner will determine whether your relationship survives
  5. Your commitment to God will determine whether your relationship thrives

Meditation

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding
– Proverbs 3:5
Note: The biblical story referenced can be found in Genesis 3:1-13  

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5 Ways Relationship Is Much Like Cooking

Relationship is much like cooking. If you are going to have a shot at success, you will have to shop for the right ingredients. Unlike cooking, where you shop in the supermarket, for relationships you shop among the people in the world. Not every shop will have the ingredient you need, and not every shop will have the quality of ingredient that you desire. Hence it is important to choose where you shop wisely for it will determine the quality of the final product you cook up.

If you want to cook up a great relationship, you have to shop in the best stores for the best ingredients.

If you are looking to cook up a great relationship, I suggest you avoid shops such as gentlemen’s clubs and seedy bars as it is highly unlikely that you will find the ingredients that will make for a great relationship.  The exception to this rule are master chefs. Master chefs are so skilled and trained that they are able to take seemingly undesirable ingredients and make desirable dishes out of them. Unless you are one of these rare master chefs with special abilities, it is best to stay away from ingredients that you know won’t give you desired results.

The greatest master chef that has ever graced this word is Jesus. If you want to cook up the best relationship, then it is best for you to invite him into your kitchen and get some personal tutelage. If you are unsure of his pedigree and not ready to invite him into your kitchen just yet, you have other options. He has inspired 66 books (the Bible), all of which have recipes for a great relationship. It is not a bad idea to open up a few of those books.

If you don’t know what you are doing in your relationship, don’t make it up, get the help you need.

Rather than continue to experiment, pretending you know what you are doing, making a bigger mess, and then having your family (spouse and kids) suffer through the pain of ingesting the relationship disaster you have cooked up, simply call up a chef that knows what he/she is doing. These chefs may include marriage counsellors, pastors, an older married couple, or even a friend. If these chefs are worth your investment, they will at some point refer to the works of the greatest master chef (Jesus).

Relationship is much like cooking. For you to be successful requires the following:

  • You Understand Your Worth (Deciding What You Want To Cook): While some will choose to cook up a burger of a relationship, you should choose to cook a filet mignon of a relationship.
  • You Set Up Boundary Conditions (Deciding Where To Shop and Where Not To): Boundaries help you avoid foundational mistakes that will be detrimental to your relationship dish
  • You Select Carefully (Choosing the best ingredients that suit your palate): Not point fooling yourself and going after something you can’t handle
  • You are Humble (Asking for help to make the best dish): Too many people do not seek help in their relationships until it is too late. Do not be counted in that number.
  • You Actively Listen (Heeding the advice of the master chef): A good relationship is not between two people but three. It is best to invite God into the equation and actively listen to and obey his principles.

 

 

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Make Sure He Reflects The Diamond Ring He is Giving You

It was one of the happiest days of your life – the day he decided to get down on one knee and asked your to marry him. That day, he presented you with a ring – a symbol of his love. On that ring was probably a diamond. You love it, you love the moment, you love him. So you say yes to his marriage proposal.

But alas, for almost 50% in America, the yes will at some point change to a no. For many, not just a no, but a heck no!

There have been instances where I have seen women take off their ring and throw it in the direction of the man. For the women who have reached their breaking point, they are not just saying I am no longer committed. For many, they are also saying to the man that he did not live up to the meaning of the diamond ring he gave her.

A diamond is an expression of his commitment to you

There are 5 commitments inherent in the giving of a diamond that are implicit in the properties of a diamond. You should know these five commitments and ensure he is espousing them before you commit to him.

Transparency: A diamond is transparent. When a man gives you a diamond, it is a commitment to be transparent. That means that in your marriage, he will allow you to see through him. He will not hide anything from you but he will be naked before you. While this may be difficult, it is essential that a man be vulnerable and honest with you. This is what leads to intimacy or “into-me-see”. A man who is not ready to live vulnerably, authentically, and transparently with you is not a man you should choose to marry.

Reflective: A diamond reflects all the light it captures. This is what gives a diamond its ‘fire’ and makes it shine so bright. That a diamond reflects all the light it captures symbolizes that a diamond is not selfish – it does not keep hold of the light. When a man gives you a diamond, it is a commitment to be selfless. It is that selflessness that shines brightly for you to see, and keeps the fire burning in your relationship. Indeed, it is easy to want to stay with a man who thinks of you, values you, and shine light on you.

Conductor: A diamond is the best conductor of heat we know. Stay long enough in your relationship and it will experience periods of heat and discomfort. When life and circumstances bring the heat, it is important that your man conduct that heat away from your relationship. No matter how uncomfortable life gets, it should not affect your relationship because everything flows through it rather than staying locked in the relationship. Contrary to a conductor, A man who insulates keeps the heat, thereby cranking up the pressure on the relationship. Therefore, make sure your man is a conductor who disperses heat and relieves pressure when it comes.

Hardness: A diamond is the hardest material on earth. Thus, nothing other than a diamond can crush or cut a diamond. When a man gives you a diamond, he is saying that nothing on this earth – no person, no situation,  no circumstance –  will be able to cut through your love. He is saying ‘no pressure life puts on us will be able to crush my love for you’. Make sure the man you say yes to is not a graphite but a diamond. Though both are made entirely of carbon, their properties are very different because of the way their building blocks are arranged. A man who loves you will make sure that his character is built to stand the test of time

Inert: A diamond is highly inert. This means that it does not react to other agents and does not bond itself to other compounds. When a man gives a diamond, he is telling you that he will remain inert. That means you are the one he is choosing to bond with, and will not bond emotionally or physically with anyone else. Though other people may connect with him (friends, family, workers etc), that connection will not be as deep and internal as what he builds with you.

Your Turn: I want you to answer this honestly: (1) Is the man I am seeking to marry diamond quality?

Moment of Honesty: Just because a man starts off being diamond quality does not mean he will remain diamond quality. That is the bad news. The good news is that every man CAN maintain diamond quality. I will share more about this in the next blog.

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5 Things to Remember When Your Family Does Not Support Your Interracial Relationship

Jeff and Maria met while attending a conference in California. Jeff traveled down from Canada and Maria up from Colombia. It wasn’t love at first sight. They kept in touch, got to know each other, traveled to visit one another often and ultimately fell in love. This is not a puppy love type of story. Both Jeff and Maria are in their late thirties. Though both could have been married to any number of admirers, they did not want. They chose not to settle into marriage just for the sake of being married. They used their season of singleness to grow, pray earnestly, and wait patiently for God’s timing.

I met Maria back in 2012. She is a family-oriented woman who loves God. She completed a masters degree in a respected western university, is well established in her profession, owns her own place in Colombia, and is quite enterprising. By all accounts, Maria embodies a virtuous woman. The type of woman a mother would want for their son. The type of woman any family would love to welcome with open arms.

Yet, welcoming is hardly the word to use to describe what happened when Jeff informed his family that he had found Maria – the woman with whom he desired to spend his life. No sooner had he declared his intentions, some members of his family objected. The bold ones labelled Maria as a gold-digging woman who desired to escape the distress of her country in order to enjoy the comforts of Canada. Others took a more tactical approach to discourage him. They told Jeff that he was rushing into things…that he should give it more time. They asked him to consider the difficulties inherent in interracial relationships and to consider the difficulties they would face when they have children. Still others said, ‘I hear you when you say she is a wonderful woman, but there are wonderful women right here in Canada as well. Why not find a Canadian woman?

If what you are reading shocks you, it shouldn’t. This problem has been in existence since the first man sinned. Now, if you find yourself in the situation that Jeff and Maria find themselves, I want to share with you what I shared with Jeff. I will share with you the story of a biblical man Moses.

Moses married interracially when he married an Ethiopian woman (see Numbers 12). His brother and sister-in-law were not fans of this decision. In fact, it bothered them so much that they started to question the legitimacy of Moses’ leadership.

But God defended Moses’ decision. He called Moses’ brother and sister-in-law and said to them: I speak with him (Moses) face to face, even plainly and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD. Whey then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses (Numbers 12:8).    

Do you realize what God did there? He rebuked Moses’ brother and sister-in-law. He shared with them that Moses speaks with him and that Moses hears what he says clearly. This means that God did not object when Moses spoke with Him about marrying the Ethiopian lady. And God did not like it when they tried to discredit him or put him down because of it. In fact, a few verses down, Moses’ sister-in-law became leprous because of her dissent.

This story tells us 5 important things:

(1) God does not see race or cultural as a showstopper in marriage – otherwise he would not have allowed the interracial marriage

(2) Just because we choose to please God in our decision does not mean we will please our family – though Moses’ choice pleased God, it did not please Moses’ family members

(3) It is more important to please God than it is to please our family – Moses did not reverse his decision due to his family’s dissent

(4) God will defend us when we make a decision that He is pleased with – God spoke to Moses family member about their behavior and warned them against discrediting him

(5) God does not like it when we put anyone down because of their race of culture – the bible says God was angry and Moses’ sister-in-law became leprous.

So, what if your family does not support your interracial relationship? Go ahead with it so long as it is right in the eyes of God. It is God that keeps your marriage together, not your family.

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Disappointments In Relationships – What To Know Before You End It

The truth is we live in a fallen world filled with flawed people. As such, in this life, it is not a matter of if we will deal with disappointments, it is a matter of when we will deal with them.

The truth is everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for – Bob Marley

A dire but commonly employed strategy for dealing with disappointment (especially in a relationship) is to try to avoid being disappointed in the future at all cost. This strategy calls for the tactics of putting massive walls around our hearts, looking for perfection, being overly sensitive and critical of mistakes, and withholding intimacy. These tactics so distance us mentally and emotionally from relationships, that we sacrifice real love and connection for the illusion of safety. The problem with this strategy for the person that employs it is that (1) it leaves a gaping hole in their heart and (2) it does not take away the relational desire. It is not unusual for a person who has employed this strategy to be plagued by bouts of melancholy and depression because they have starved themselves of one of the human basic needs – the need for a close relationship. I do not recommend this strategy but prefer the one of offering our disappointments to God that He may turn our hurt and pain into gain and glory.

We should neither set ourselves up for disappointments, nor try to avoid them – Anonymous

While there is an element of not setting ourselves up for constant disappointments by choosing our partners carefully, there is another element of expectations we must be careful to manage. Below are two expectations that set us up for disappointments.

Expecting Our Partners to Be Perfect

Born out of selfishness (for the person who expects perfection is themselves not perfect), this expectation looks to gain more than it gives in the relationship, and expects from the other person what they cannot give.  Asking someone for something they do not have the ability to give is a sure strategy to be disappointed.

Instead of expecting perfection, we are better off accepting their imperfection, just as we accept our own.

Expecting To Change Our Partners 

Born out of arrogance (for we try to do only what God can do), this expectation encourages the would be changer to alter the environment of their relationship to effect a change in their partner. Though it may start off lovingly, it usually reeks of manipulation, and will likely end up in frustration and disappointment for the one who engages in it.

Instead of trying to change our partners, we are better of praying to God that our hearts change towards our partners as He effects His change in His time on both us and our partners.

Disappointments are inevitable but discouragement in a choice – Charles Stanley

We tend to get discouraged when we think that things will not change. The thought that things will not change is what leads us to want to give up. It is what has led many people to divorce their partners or end relationships prematurely.

To think that things will never change is to limit the power of God. The root of this line of thinking is unbelief for it truly does not believe that with God all things are possible. Choose to think differently. Before pulling a plug on your relationship, consider these three things:

God Will Finish What He Started

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns – Philippians 1:6

God is not done with our relationships yet. His heart is that relationships not only survive, but that they thrive. We must submit ourselves to Him so that He can finish the good work He has begun in us. As His hands mark our lives, so will it mark our relationships. It is a process – we must let God do His good work. Things will not always be the same in Him.

God Can Create A New Relationship With the Same People

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland  – Isaiah 43:18-19

While people say “well if I tell you what happened”, God says “well if I tell you what I am about to make happen”. See if we knew the future God has planned for us, the past would not discourage us. Our plans compared to God’s plans are rubbish. It’s time to surrender our plans over to Him so He can create rivers of life giving water to sustain the relationships that have become dry wastelands

God Brings To Pass What We Commit To Him

That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of His return – 2 Timothy 1:12

Though you may feel you are suffering and serving a prison term in your relationship right now, understand that He is able to guard everything you entrust to Him. So entrust your relationship to Him and watch as He keeps it and guards it. With God as the guard, no enemy can penetrate. So let go of it and release it into His hands for safeguard. You will not regret it.

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Why Settle for a Wedding When You Can Have a Marriage?

41hRKhTijSL“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” – Genesis 3:24

A few weeks ago, I got a text from a friend who asked me to keep two of her friends in prayer for they were going through a divorce and were not only finding the emotional trauma of the separation difficult but were experiencing major anxiety with regards to being separated from their children.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. That was the fourth request for those going through a divorce that WEEK. Why Lord? My spirit screamed out as I felt a wave of righteous indignation sweep over me. What is going on? I questioned.

No sooner had I asked that question, a bible versed popped into my head. If you guessed Genesis 3:24, you are right! Immediately, I heard the words, ‘the problem is that many people are settling for a wedding instead of striving to be married.’ Then the explanation came:

To be joined is to be wedded together. It means two things are connected together. But just because two things are connected together does not mean they are one. To be married is different. When two things are married together, that means they unite and become one. Think of two circles: Just because they are connected or joined together does not mean they are flush against each other (married)

The bible verse that the two SHALL become one flesh. The ‘shall’ is an expression of an instruction / intention of something that will happen in the future. In other words, the verse is telling us that first comes the wedding, then comes the marriage. Marriage is a process and NOT a one time event.

Light-bulb moment: When people say they want to be married, what many really are saying is that they want to be wedded.

What the wedding (joining) represents is a commitment to be married (becoming one). Without this commitment, a marriage cannot take place. Hence, we see that the bedrock for any marriage is a commitment. But note that commitment is just the foundation upon which a marriage is built.

Light-bulb moment: Being committed to each other is just the beginning and NOT the end. It is time to be wedded to the process of marriage.

 So what does the process of marriage look like? The scriptures reveal it to us in Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV): Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

The church in this passage represents the bride while Christ represents the groom. The groom in this case pays the bride price (in the case of Jesus by giving his life) thus signaling the betrothal. Note: In Hebrew culture, this was a de facto marriage, for the end of a betrothal required a divorce that could ONLY be initiated by the groom.

Why did He do it? He did it in order to cleanse her with the water through the word so that she should be holy and without blemish. In other words, he did it so that he could help her become the very best version of herself!

Why did He go through all that trouble? He did it because the only way we could become one with Him (married to Jesus) is by becoming spotless / without blemish as He is spotless and without blemish. In other words, He did it so that they could experience real closeness that comes with full compatibility (in spirit, soul, and body)

Light-bulb moment: Marriage comes when two people are committed to helping each other become the best person they can be and are committed to developing intimacy with one another.

Note: While wedding requires spiritual compatibility, marriage requires that we are compatible in spirit and soul. Being that each person in this world is uniquely made and has unique experiences (no one person is the same), the ONLY place we can find soul compatibility is also in Christ.

Points to Ponder

A marriage where both partners are not committed to putting God first is destined not to last.

How well your earthly marriage goes depends on how much you allow God to cleanse you in your heavenly marriage

For weddings to turn into marriages, each person must take their individual journey of oneness with God

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What Makes a Woman Want to Submit to Her Husband?

I had the pleasure of attending two wonderful weddings in the past 30 days – one in the U.S and another in the U.K. On both occasions, the minister in charge made mention of the scripture where husbands are to love their wives and wives are to submit to their husband (Ephesians 5:22 – 28).

Being good sports, both couples took the advice and everything went as planned. Yet it was clear by looking at the expressions of quite a number of the ladies in the congregation that the statement had gone in one ear and come out of the other. From my conversations, it is clear to me that a substantial number of women toil with the issue of submitting to their husband. And should they somehow wrap their heads around it, it is nigh impossible for them to fully wrap their hearts around it.

What it Means To Submit

When the bible tells a woman to submit to her husband, it does NOT mean that the woman is to be a slave to every one of her husbands whim and wham. The word ‘submit’ itself is a complex word that can be broken down into two components: ‘Sub’ which means under AND mission. In other words, for a woman to submit to her husband is for her to come under the mission of her husband.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: For a wife to submit to her husband is for her to come under her husband’s mission

What is the Husband’s Mission?

Now before any man goes ‘yeah that’s right, God said my wife must come under my mission’, God in His providence does not leave what the mission of the husband is to chance. He tells the man  his mission is similar to the mission of Jesus Christ.

What was Jesus’ mission? His mission was to love His bride (the church) by giving His life for her (putting down His crown and taking a lower position to the point of laying down his life) in order to marry Himself to her so that He might provide spiritual leadership over her ( that is to cleanse and sanctify her by the washing of water by the word) that she might become what she was predestined to become (holy and without blemish).

So what is the Husbands mission? Once the Husband and wife are wed (for that is the only way he becomes a husband), his mission is to marry (join) himself to his wife in love by taking the position of a servant leader who provides spiritual oversight over his household for the express purpose of propelling her to be all that she was to made to become. It is not about him. It is about her!

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: First comes the wedding, then comes the marriage.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: For a wife to submit to her husband is for the wife to come under her husband’s God-given mission, which is to be a servant leader and provide spiritual oversight for the purpose of having her become all that she was meant to be and for her to fulfill her destiny.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: When a man is truly on mission, a woman starts to gravitate towards that most noble mission and desires to come under it (if she loves herself).

What About When He is Not on Mission

A wife is told to come under her husband’s mission, she is NOT told to come under her husbands omission (mission that has been omitted or aborted). Whenever the husband is operating outside of the mission God has prescribed to him, he is no longer under mission but rather he is under omission.

It is like when the prophet Jonah went to Tarshish instead of Nineveh – Instead of being on mission, Jonah was on omission. Now if Jonah had made some missteps while on mission, this is different from going the opposite way. Similarly, a wife is to come under the mission of her husband and must learn to forgive some of his missteps along the way ( for he is not perfect) just as he forgives her for not always coming under his mission (for she is not perfect).

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: If Christ’s mission was not good and profitable for us, no one would submit to it. No one would have faith in Him. The same goes for the husband. If his mission is not good; if he is walking in omission, then no woman will willingly submit to Him.

Pitfalls of NOT Loving and Submitting

Failure of a Husband to Love: It is interesting to note that the Fall took place because Adam did not provide spiritual oversight for Eve. If he had provided such oversight, he would have intervened the moment Eve accepted the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil from the serpent. He would have snatched the fruit and said “Now wait a minute, God said we are not to eat from this tree. We are out of here! And don’t let me see you talking to my wife again serpent, lest I lay hands on you.”

Note: At this point Adam had dominion over everything – including the serpent. He could have easily dismissed the serpent but he decided to surrender his leadership and oversight. The result is that he and the rest of his offspring suffered.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: When a husband does not follow his mission, he hurts himself and his family

Failure of Wife to Submit: There is no better example of a wife not coming under the mission of her loving husband than this: We who are the bride of Christ (the church) do not always listen and obey Christ (our Husband) though everything He does for us and wants for us is good. See, God has wed himself to us (the church) yet he is trying to get us to come under His mission (submit) by faith so that we may experience the fullness of His love. When we do not come under God’s mission, we hurt ourselves.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: When a woman does not come under the mission of her loving Husband, she hurts herself.

Hence we see that the only way to avoid real hurt in a marriage is for the husband to love his wife and for his wife to submit to her husband. It is truly a symbiotic and life-giving relationship.

Food for Thought: The marriage compromise is that the husband surrenders to love his wife (instead of loving himself and preserving his own life) and that the wife in turn surrenders to come under her husband’s mission (instead of walking in her own mission).

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