Should You Spouse Really Come First?

Should You Spouse Really Come First?

This is Part Three of the Fifth and Final Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from The Marriage Covenant.

It is easy to get entangled with many things that demand our attention and forget our priorities. It is easy to follow our passions and things that excite us. After all they make us happy. It’s not easy to ignore them. At time we get twisted teaching that are given out with another agenda. In this section we look at how our priorities in marriage should be structured. This is how it should be, God first, your spouse second, your children third, your parents fourth, and others including other people, work, church etc fifth. Let look at this further.

God has the supreme priority. He gets the first share of your time, relationship and income (tithe). You are to obey Him always and walk with Him daily. After all you belong to him. You do not belong to your boss, your church or your pastor. This share is not ministry. It is about walking with God and developing a relationship with Him.

Your spouse gets the second priority. He or she gets the second share of your time, relationship and income in fact he or she owns half of your possessions. You have to serve him or her first before your children, parents, siblings or pastor. Actually, before God you and your spouse are one person.

Your children are in third position after your husband or wife. Your children have one father and one mother by divine appointment, so be there for them. Serve your children before everyone else. Spend quality time with them, parent them and do not delegate your parenting responsibility to television shows or the maid. Do not neglect them.

At fourth position are your parents. Regardless of circumstance we ought to respect them. Ephesian 6:2-3 [AMP] says, ‘Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother–this is the first commandment with a promise. That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.’ Note that your parents include your parents’ in-law. Treat them as you would treat your own parents because they are [Deut 5:16].

On fifth position is everyone else; siblings, cousins, aunts, church mates, colleagues, friends, etc. When one is single their priorities are different. God remains number one, parents are number two and siblings and everyone else are number three. However when one marries and has children, parents move down from number two to number four, and siblings move down from number three to number five. A lack of understanding of the changes in priorities when one marries and has children can result in parents and siblings competing for attention with your spouse and children, causing animosity. Instead of your siblings interfering with your spouse and children, they must focus on their own spouses and children. Their priorities have also changed.

The same priorities apply during prayer. When praying, you pray for your spouse first before anything else, then your children, then your parents and then everyone else. Your spouse, children and parents must receive more prayers than anything else. When blessing, you bless your spouse first, then your children and then your parents, in that order, before anyone else [Ephesians 5:20-33].

Before you buy your pastor a gift, buy something for your spouse, your children and your parents first. This is what brings a ‘sustainable’ blessing, a blessing that will last, a blessing that will not open a door for strife. If you put the church before your family, you may get blessed, only to lose it because of the curse that comes from your mixed priorities. The church belongs to God, not to you. The pastor works for God, not for you. On the other hand your family belongs to you. It is your primary responsibility by divine appointment. God takes care of his business, the church, and you should take care of yours, your family. When you take care of your family, God will bless you enough to be able take part in fulfilling Gods’ mandate in the church. The Bible refers to the church as God’s bride. You have your own spouse. God takes care of His, you should take care of yours.

Do not put the cart before the horse! ‘The blessing begins at home!’ This is a sustainable blessing, a blessing that makes rich and does not add sorry. It is passed from generation to generation. As you gather at church the combined blessing can do much more bigger things because there is combined faith and blessing [Matthew 18:19] but ‘Prayer begins at home. God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as their home [Gen2:8]. It was a blessed home. There was no curse in Eden. This shows that our homes should be blessed. The primary place for experiencing God’s blessing is none other than our homes. We safe guard this by putting our marital priorities in divine order.

Again do not put your career or work before your spouse or family. It also brings a curse. If you neglect your spouse and prioritize your career you risk losing the extra money you get quicker than you get it. The promotion you get can easily turn into misery and a bondage.

God’s principal interest is to fellowship with you in prayer, not to meet your daily list of demands that you call your prayer list. Free will offering, gifts, church building funds etc comes later. He wants your heart.

Your second interest in life is your spouse’s interests; not your boss’s; friends or your work. Your spouse left everything for you. You! Not for your money or work. They gave up their identity for you. Hence you better be there for them. If you find yourself spending more time at work than with them, disaster will surely follow. Listen to the needs of your spouse, and meet those needs. Who will meet them if you do not? If the demand seems too big, then pray together about it. God normally intervenes. “If you and your spouse shall agree in prayer about anything, it will be granted!” [Matt 18:19]. The best team or agreement that can break any bondage or curse and cause overflow is a married couples’ prayer of agreement. That’s why the devil fights marriage.

Surprisingly you will find that each time you sacrifice these demands for your spouse or family, God blesses you. Each time you turn down some activity because of family demands, God will always compensate you.

You have two choices, either to go out sacrificing your spouse and family for your job or sport, working and toiling like an elephant but eating like an ant. Or you can choose your family and allow the blessing of God to work for you. Guys, obedience is better than sacrifice, because obedience is followed by the blessing. On the other hand sacrifice is associated with toiling! [1 Samuel 15:22, Deuteronomy 28:1-2].

Husbands and wives, hear me on this, rather agree with your ‘dull’ spouse and receive God’s blessing, than to argue and strife with an intelligent spouse and receive a curse. God works in a peaceful environment. It’s better to lose the argument with God on your side, than to win the argument without God. Losing the argument with God puts the power of God in charge of the situation, thereby bringing to pass what you originally desired. Remember winning the argument has nothing to do with strengthening your marriage, but purely a display of ego.

As you contemplate;

  • What is the difference between a contract and a covenant?
  • How are you showing this one-way, unconditional, covenantal love to your spouse?

This the final part of the Fifth and Final Episode of the Marriage Journals.

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© Copyright 2016 by It’s My Footprint, www.itsmyfootprint.com. 

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The Marriage Covenant

The Marriage Covenant

This is Part Two of the Fifth Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from Vertical Relationship Makes Horizontal Relationships Better.

A marriage is a covenant not a contract. A contract has terms and conditions. It can expire and it can be breached. On the other hand a covenant is for life, it is not temporary. It ends when one part dies. It is sealed by blood and it is a life and death issue. A contract is written on paper. A covenant means each party give in their life for the other. Hence each side contribute 100% in order to produce something that is 200%! This is something much better that before. It’s not fifty-fifty; it’s one hundred plus one hundred percent. In a contract you give your abilities according to the terms of the contract, but in a covenant you give your life.

In the New covenant Christ as the groom gave his life for the church, the bride and we respond by giving our life to him. Therefore we are saved by Christ 100%! It is not a fifty-fifty. Hence in a kingdom marriage, you give yourself to your spouse regardless of what you get or do not get. This is the God kind of love. This is what glorifies God. That’s why the Bible say, ‘the two shall become one.’ It does not say half of each will be joined together to become one. No, its 100% plus 100% being joined together.

The covenant of marriage is a life and death issue. It is a blood covenant.

If your heart is not established and settled on God’s covenant of salvation it is difficult to understand or accept the covenant of marriage. God loved us as sinners and he commanded husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the sinful Church. God did not love us to get something out of us. Even if we rebel against Him, his love for us is unchanged. So, we love our spouses because it’s a command that we obey.

Unconditional love is full of grace. It is forgiving and long-suffering. It is humble and selfless. As we obey, God commands blessings over us. Unconditional love is the most powerful things in existence! That’s why the Bible says God is love!

The Marriage Vows

“To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ’till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.”

These are the words that you promised in your marriage vow. This is a covenant pledge. You promised your spouse. You did not give terms or conditions to the pledge. This is an unconditionally pledge promising unconditional love. This unconditional love pledge can only be sustained by Love Himself, that is, God.

Because you vowed concentrate on keeping your side of the covenant. This is how you get notice by the covenant maker. No not blaming your wife or husband. When you do your part of the covenants, God will bless you, because you are obedient. If you cannot obey your own words in your marriage vow, how can you obey God’s Word? The world is broken and your spouse is also broken. Do not expect your spouse to be perfect or nice to you all the time. Instead look to the perfect God and ‘make your request be known to Him’ [Phil 3]. Why do you waste your time on the imperfect when the perfect one is right in front of you?

Now on the day you made the marriage covenant, you did not say, ‘If you stop loving me, I will leave you or if you misbehave l will ask you to pack your bags or if this or that happens, I will do this and that.’ No. You said, “To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ’till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.” This is serious stuff.

Keep the words of your vow, not just to your spouse, but also to GOD. If you do this, God’s grace will cause things around you to change for your good. Stop trying to change your husband/wife because you can’t. It is God who can change people, and before you ask God to change your husband or wife, make sure that you have kept your side of the marriage covenant, “To have and to hold, from this day …. ’till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.” You will be surprised to find that the change that you want to see in your spouse coming after you have changed first.

This revelation will change your marriage. Stop being his or her ‘policeman,’ because it is simply not your responsibility. Just do your part and leave the rest to God. ‘What? Yes, you did not marry your spouse to change or manipulate him/her. You married your spouse to love with unconditional love. Just give your spouse some love. This is what you must do. This is your primary commitment. This is your side of the covenant.

This Part Two of the Fifth Episode of the Marriage Journals will continue in Part Three as Should You Spouse Really Come First? 

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Vertical Relationship Makes Horizontal Relationships Better

Vertical Relationship Makes Horizontal Relationships Better

This is Part One of the Fifth Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from Journey to Your Soulmate.

I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. Romans 12:1-2 AMP

The world’s way is different from God’s way. As Christian we have to change our way of thinking to line up with God’s way so that we ‘may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]’. If we do marriage the world’s way we will get the same results as the world. You will become part of the bad statistics.

The main thing in marriage is to keep the main thing the main thing. Respect the Christian marriage system and you will be rewarded. What is the Christian marriage system? A Christian marriage is a covenant. It is a covenant that involves three people, that is, your spouse, you and God. Without one of the three, it is not a Christian marriage. They are all stakeholders in the marriage. For the marriage to start and be successful, these three have to ‘bond’ and become one. If one part falls off, the marriage will suffer and may eventually break down.

Now of these three the most important person is God. The marriage vow is made before God. God comes first for both the husband and wife. You cannot afford to ignore Him. When you do this your relationship with God will be mirrored into your marriage. That’s why the Bible say ‘first seek the kingdom of God.’

‘But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.’ Matthew 6:33 AMP. This means to love God, to put him first, to seek ‘His ways of doing things’ or his purpose first, to ask God for direction on day to day basis and to seek His righteousness. If you do this, ‘all these things’ will be given.

The key here is if you align your heart with God’s heart, your marriage will align with God’s purpose and plan. It will become what God designed it to be. It will be a little heaven on earth, not ‘hell on earth.’ This is the Kingdom marriage. Is your marriage a Kingdom marriage?

Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], O prisoners who have the hope;

Even today I am declaring that I will restore double [your former prosperity] to you [as firstborn among nations]. – Zechariah 9:12 Amplified Bible (AMP). We have to return our heart to God so that he can restore and heal us. We have to return to live a kingdom lifestyle.

Over the years we have spoken to make couples who were having marriage issues. There is one single thing that we saw common to almost all of them. All these people always mention that they first drifted from God before the fighting begin. The further they drift from God, the more intense and more frequent the conflicts.

Each couple had drifted from God. They all had a devotional life that is not working properly. They may be serving God in many powerful ways but their relationship with God had gone cold. Some had chosen to rebel against God. The first step they took was to kick God out of their marriage life.

Now a genuine relationship with God is different from your gifting. You gifting is your set of tools. It is about your abilities but your relationship with God is about your right standing with God. Anyone can be anointed and work for God, but not everyone can have a flourishing relationship with Him. Many are serving God without a healthy relationship with Him. Your gifting is for other people but your relationship with God is for yourself. Your relationship with God is what remains outside serving God, when you are on your own at home. That’s why we heard of powerful anointed people of God having ugly scandals. This is how king Saul fall. Do you feel right with God?

The husband has the divine responsibility to initiate, facilitate and connecting his wife and the whole family with God, just as Christ gave himself up for the church, his wife. In response wives should follow their husbands’ leadership towards God in submission.

Make up your mind to pursue God will all that you have. Know that it is not a stroll in the park, but a battle for the hearts.

Insecure men end up stalking their wives and making them prisoners. They always suspect something is happening. You cannot be insecure and at the same time have faith. The two do not mix. Insecurity is an indicator of lack of faith in God. It shows lack of trust in God’s ability to sort things that bothers you.

If you believe God and that he loves you, you won’t be bothered by each detail of what your wife does with other people. You won’t have to police her because you have faith in God’s ability to police her for you. This gives you peace. As long as your vertical relationship with God is good, your horizontal relationship with your wife will simply fall in place. This is what you should do not the other way round.

You do not have to run your life, honestly, give it to God. If someone messes with you in an unfair way you go to your Father, and believe me or not, your Father is a fixer. He will fix things for you. He can talk right to their hearts and minds. He controls the environment around your enemies for your benefit. When you have problems talk to Him and He makes things good for you. At many times he gives you wisdom to tackle the situations.

This Part One of the Fifth Episode of the Marriage Journals will continue in Part Two as The Marriage Covenant.

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© Copyright 2016 by It’s My Footprint, www.itsmyfootprint.com.

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Journey to Your Soulmate

Journey to Your Soulmate

This is Part Two of the Fourth Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from What it Takes to ‘Become One’.

But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. [Gen. 1:27; 5:2.] For this reason a man shall leave [behind] his father and his mother and be joined to his wife and cleave closely to her permanently, And the two shall become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. [Gen. 2:24.] What therefore God has united (joined together), let not man separate or divide. – Mark 10:6-9

The process starts with an independent man and woman. They leave their families and relative to be joined in marriage. They become one flesh, ‘soulmates.’ God forbid anyone from breaking this union. Let look at it in detail.

Through the eyes of the Holy Spirit the strength of your spouse will become clearer. Actually you will find that your life is better with your spouse than without. You will find that God has a greater plan for you, your spouse and your family.

Everyone has a dream job, the ideal job that you wish for. Many people are searching for that dream job. Perhaps you are one of those searching for it. You think that once you find that job you will be alright. You will have the dream pay, the dream position working in a dream team with a dram boss. In search for it you move from one job to another. In your mind you say, ‘If I could get it, everything will be alright.’ After many job hoping many time you get disappointed because you cannot find it that fulfillment you are looking for. Perhaps you are not the dream person required by the job. The same is true in looking for a soulmate.

You cannot be soulmates apart from God. 

‘And the two shall become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. [Gen. 2:24.]’ [Mark 10:7]. To be soulmates is the results of your relationship being cemented by God, and being aligned to God’s plan and purpose. Perhaps it is not a soulmate that you should be looking for but God who cements and create soulmates. Your soulmate is not out there. Your soulmate is within you as you relate to God. Your soulmate is not a person it is a revelation from God about your spouse, each one being placed into the plan of God.

Your journey towards your soulmate is in fact a journey towards God, the creators of souls. You do not have to be single to look for your soulmate. Finding your soulmate is finding the heart of God for you and your spouse. It is the netting together by the power of the Holy Spirit that manifest outwards. It is more spiritual than physical. Those who try to find a soulmate in the natural always get disappointed.

You do not have to behave the same in order to be soulmates. You only need the cement, that is, God. The concrete is strong because it is made by the bonding of particle of different shapes and sizes. The difference in shapes and sizes is what makes the bonding better. You do not want to make concrete using smooth single sizes stones. It reduces its strength.

God made us different not to drive each other crazy but to complement each other and as a result achieve more and live a better life.

As you get closer to God you will find that it is the differences you have that you actually like about your spouse. Satan will always try to manipulate you into arguing over them. It is to be short sighted. It is to be canal to think that with your own effort you can change your spouse into a better person. After all better for who?

It’s good to find the right woman or man but it is much better for you to become the right man or woman. Many people focused on finding the right person. Once they find him/her they end up destroying their partners because they forgot to sort their own lives first. Are you the right person for your fiancé? Are you the right person for your spouse?

Again remember that finding the right woman/man and being the right man is a small part in the equation of marriage. The most important thing is will s/he remain the right woman/man for the rest of the life. And from your part will you remain the right woman/man for her/him for the rest of your lives.

When tests and trial come will you remain soulmate? I would rather think that you become soulmates through tests and trails. ‘Puppy love’ moments are good but have nothing to do with being soulmates. Having awesome dates and hot romantic courtship is not bad, but the real test is in the marriage. The relationship is tested in shakings of life. These are the moment you have to look to God for help. These are time when the bond is tested and consolidated. And ‘What therefore God has united (joined together), let not man separate or divide.’ – Mark 10:9

Now that you know how to become soulmate, next time we will discuss another mystery in marriage, how Vertical Relationship makes Horizontal Relationships better.

As you contemplate;

  • What is hindering you from becoming soulmates?

This is the end of the Fourth Episode of the Marriage Journals. The series continues in the Fifth Episode titled Vertical Relationship makes Horizontal Relationships Better.

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What it Takes to ‘Become One’

What it Takes to ‘Become One’

This is Part One of the Fourth Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from You Could Be Having A New Marriage In Seven Days.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2 NIV

In marriage it is unavoidable to offend your spouse, intentionally or unintentionally. A number of times you will find that you have hurt the one who you love. It will pain you as well.

On the other hand, know that you will definitely be offended by your spouse, intentionally or unintentionally. In both cases be prepared to seek real peace so that your marriage relationship moves forward.

As we begin this conversation I would like to mention this important thing. I wish I could say ‘You will not sin.’ I wish I could say ‘Your spouse will not sin.’ Both of you will sin. The good thing is there is forgiveness available, unlimited forgiveness from God. You forgiveness is not enough. It will get used up. Make use of God’s forgiveness for the good of your marriage.

I really acknowledge your fight in the faith, your fight to stay out of sin, your fight for your marriage, your fight to be a wife or husband of honor, a fight to be the person who God want you to be. God notices your efforts and it will be rewarded. It is a blessing.

‘And the two shall become one flesh; so that they are no longer two, but [are united as] one flesh. [Mark 10:8] Genesis 2:24’ What is to ‘become one?’ How do you really ‘become one?’ If you think of it, one in what? How can two different people become one? In most cases it’s like mixing water and oil. Yes, they can be in the same container, but remain occupying different spaces within the container.

To become one is not to lose your identity but to complement each other’s identity. It is to notice that we are different hence we can do more together. It is to know that your spouse’s strengths are in your hands. So your strength is in your difference and uniqueness. This is the good part.

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless]. Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, Because we are members (parts) of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. [Gen. 2:24.] This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church. However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]. [I Pet. 3:2.] – Ephesians 5: 21-33

The union of marriage is compared to the union of Jesus Christ and the Church. It is a mystery. The man should submit (respect and honor) to Christ, and the woman should submit (respect and honor) to her husband. This is the divine order. One interesting point is that the wife should submits (respect and honor) to the husband in order to bring transformation in him (Read 1 Peter 3:1). It is a divine calling that God uses to spread the word by changing husbands. The Husband must love his wife as Christ loved the church. He must be ready to sacrifices for her knowing that she is the weaker vessel.

Form this you can see that becoming one is easy when all is well, but things are not always rosy every day. It will take sacrifice from each of you, to sacrifice your comfort for the marriage, to still show love when your love level has been depleted.

You will have to be humble. Humble to spend time with your spouse even if you do not feel like it. Humble to accept compromise when you know that you had the opportunity and right to squash your spouse and win.

Becoming one means to forgive your spouse when you have been offended, disappointed and hurt. It means to forgive again and again, just like Jesus. It means that at times there will be little time together but you choose to let it go. It means to be selfless, kind and being a giver.

It will not be easy. It will not happen overnight. It will take God working in you. It takes grace. It is serving. It means submitting your marriage to God. It takes patience.

To become one takes one to align the heart correctly in order to hear God’s voice. It means to look for the God idea, not your own idea. It calls for the courage to serve your spouse coming out of your love for God and for your spouse. This is what it means to become one.

There is one thing that keeps our relationship going. It is forgiveness. One party ask for forgiveness and the other party must be willing to receive and forgive, again and again. The same with a marriage, without forgiveness no marriage can stand.

Forgiving an apologizing spouse is very hard.

First of all, apologizing is very difficult especially when you ‘know’ that you are right. In reality you can both be correct but just have different opinions and preferences. You can both think you are right but actually wrong. So it seems apologizing is not about who is wrong or right. It is about seeking peace and healing for your loved one.

Why is it difficult to apologize? It is pride. When did pride come in? During you dating period you did not urge or fight. ‘I am sorry’ was very common. It was all about ‘I forgive you.’ What had changed? It is familiarity. It is the relaxedness and casualness to your spouse that comes from ‘I know him/her’ attitude. With this attitude you find it not necessary to respect your spouse. You spouses opinion will not matter anymore after all ‘I know where his/her ‘dirty laundry’ is hidden.’

There is a strong temptation to control your spouse. This desire to control results in conflicts because you think that you know more about than him/her. ‘How can I listen to someone who has made these other terrible mistakes?’ ‘Should I trust him/her with my life?’ If you find yourself at this prideful position, it means you have empowered you spouse to control you. You spouse has become the standard. And if you spouse has become your standard then you will find that God is not so close enough to be the one controlling your life, and not the standard.

As you draw closer to God, the intimacy makes you aware of your own faults and the need to forgive your spouse.

It’s not about competing but completing.

“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (Romans 12:3).

When you find yourself in conflict with your wife, give God a chance to speak to your heart and your spouse’s heart. Regardless of who is wrong, you will drift towards humility before God and just say, ‘I’m sorry.’ And if you are in close relationship with God, you will follow His example and forgive.

Know each other in the spirit more than in the flesh. See more of what God see than what your flesh sees. Seeing imperfection of your spouse without God’s eyes is one of the most horrific sights for a person. There is no love, no grace and no mercy. It harms your souls and attracts sin. Seeing your spouse’s imperfection with God’s view is seeing things with the lenses of grace, you will see the love of God.

As you contemplate;

  • ‘And the two shall become one flesh…’ How is your journey to become one with your spouse?
  • How easy is it to accept your spouse’s imperfection?

This Part One of the Fourth Episode of the Marriage Journals will continue in Part Two as Journey to Your Soulmate.

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You Could Be Having A New Marriage In Seven Days – Part 2

Pray for your marriage

This is Part Two of the Third Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from You Could Be Having A New Marriage In Seven Days.

Now how do you prayer for your spouse or family? First, pray together with your spouse. Put your fire power down. This is how you throw strife out the window. The husband is the leader and priest of the home. It is your job to make sure the people under your home are prayerful. You do not have to be a prayer warrior. What you should understand and know is that God anointed you to be the head. This means that if you pray for your wife and family things change. There is special grace that you have as your stand for your family. You have God given spiritual authority over your family and forces that work against your family. Do what you can and God will do the rest. Just try it and see the results.

Instead of spending time arguing and quarreling invest that time in pray. Quit striving with your spouse and get into prayer. Have regular time to pray for your spouse and children.

Truly I tell you, whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be what is already permitted in heaven.  Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven. Matthew 18:18-19

There is power in a prayer of agreement. The most powerful anointed prayer is that of a couple that is agreeing together because you are in a covenant. So you see why make sure there is strife between you. It is to weaken your prayer life.

Temptation to give up will come, but do not give in. Some couples pray daily together, other weekly, some have a long monthly prayer time. What is important is to set time that is comfortable with you and commit to it.

And when you pray it’s not that worthless religious ritualistic piece of garbage. It’s about pouring your heart to God. It is about being sincerely as you mean what you say. Seek the will of God. Listen to God’s voice and direction. Pray for God to intervene for your spouse. You cannot guard your spouse away from temptation but you can control the environment around him/her through prayer. You can plead before God for his/her heart to be changed.

If you have a disagreement, do not let it escalate. That’s being stupid. Bring it before God and allow Him to solve the problems. This is a fantastic way of living, leaving someone to deal with your problems, and allowing someone to deal with your spouse for you. Just let God do it for you.

If your spouse does not want to join you for prayers, well that’s not a big deal. You go ahead and pray for him/her. You see, someone can refuse to join in prayer but they cannot stop prayer from working. Confess your favourite scripture over your spouse and family. As you do this, you will feel the heavy dark cloud that has been oppressing your marriage lifting. Slowly rays of hope will flood on and you know that you are on your way to heaven on earth in your marriage.

At times it takes time for things to change, especially if things have been left without prayer for a long time. Fast as a couple for your marriage and family. If you are not familiar with prayer find good books on prayer to read together and practice what you have learnt. As your stand together know that nothing is impossible with God.

Spiritual intimacy is fundamental for a strong Christian marriage.

Once established, it creates a bond that can never be broken. Praying together is almost impossible if you do not stay together. Marriages of great ministers have broken because they did not stay together. The husband and wife will be staying in different cities leading churches or doing the work of God. If you do not stay together as a couple perhaps because of work, you are at a greater risk. It is not a secret the Christina couple serving in the security duties have more challenges. Avoid distant relationship as much as possible. Rather seek God about it. Your marriage must come first before work or ministry. God did not intend you to have a distant relationship. His aim is for a husband and his wife and their children living under the same roof. In this way they can pray together and serve God together. Losing your spouse over a job is foolish.

Now that you know how to have spiritual intimacy, next time we will discuss another great game changer in marriage and it will take you on a Journey to Your Soulmate.

As you contemplate;

  • How is your personal devotional life?
  • How is your family devotional life?
  • Is your marriage being affected by distant relationship? Put it as a prayer item for God to turn things around.

This is the end of the Third Episode of the Marriage Journals. The series continues in the Forth Episode titled What it Takes to ‘Become On.’

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You Could Be Having A New Marriage In Seven Days

You Could Be Having A New Marriage In Seven Days

This is Part One of the Third Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from What is The State of your Marriage.

Marriage is difficult! I have heard this statement many times and honestly I am sick of it. Marriage is not difficult! And marriage is not easy either. It is couples who make things in marriage difficult especially when they take the marriage designer out of it. Marriage was and is meant to be operated in certain ways. If you do not do that you will fight with your spouse until kingdom come. You will wear each other down again and again until you give up.

As mentioned in the episodes there are few things that can be game changers in marriage. These are things that can turn the tables around, and you will be having a new marriage in seven days. One most important thing that will change it all is ‘prayer.’ Yes, praying. What do I mean by this?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Statistics clearly shows that the satisfactory levels of couples who sincerely pray together regularly and for each other is distinctively very high to the point that they indicate that they do not have major problems. On the other hand those who do not engage in prayer have problems that range from minor to ‘world war three.’ Statistics also indicate that no divorce has been recorded in couples who pray together regularly, that is at least once a week. That’s why I personally believe that 99% of your problems will vanish as you engage in regular prayer together. If you are serious about turning thing over you have to take this regular prayer challenge.

In his bestselling book Relationship Rescue, Dr. Phil writes; … an interesting statistic shared by David McLaughlin in his wonderful series entitled The Role of the Man in the Family reflects that the divorce rate in America is at a minimum one out of two marriages. But the reported divorce rate among couples that pray together is about one in ten thousand. Pretty impressive statistic, even if you reduce it a thousandfold.

A research project led by Christopher G. Ellison at the University of Texas, San Antonio was reported in the “Journal of Marriage and Family” published by National Council on Family Relations. One of the critical outcomes of that study led to the National Association of Marriage Enhancement, in Phoenix, Arizona to report that when couples prayed together on a daily basis, less than 1% of those couples would end up getting a divorce. To be specific the numbers was 1 out of 1156 couples. This means that prayer has a 99.99% guaranteed chance to divorce-proof your marriage! Here is the solution you have been looking for.

You can agree that it’s a war out there. And the struggle is tearing you into pieces and threatening your family. The enemy want to see you go down and under. He wants you and your spouse to be miserable and your children to be destitute. He has planned it all for you. You have to fight and defend your spouse and your family. You have to stand up and say enough is enough, it ends today!

Daily prayer has a 99.99% guaranteed chance to divorce-proof your marriage.

I have been in many Christian homes where there is no time for family prayers. I mean this guy is a leader at church but in his home there is no family devotional time or time for prayer at all. You can guess that they do not have personal devotional time either. They only pray at church. I firmly believe that church begins at home. It is at home where Christ must dwell. A church meeting is just a two or three hours long. The more church members pray at home the strong the families and the stronger the church.

Additional Resources;

This Part One of the Third Episode of the Marriage Journals will continue in Part Two as You Could Be Having A New Marriage In Seven Days – Part 2.

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What is The State of your Marriage

What is The State of your Marriage

This is the Second Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from A Glimpse of Kingdom Marriage.

Over the years we have met a number of couples struggling in their marriages. In almost all situations we saw a common trend. There are three or four very important things there were not functioning properly or even totally missing in their marriages. Surprisingly these few simple things if included will get rid of more than 80% of marriage difficulties.

You do not need rocket science to have good marriage because marriage was designed by God to be simple. There are simple building blocks that can produce massive awesome results. These things are the basic building blocks for a happy, healthy and everlasting Christian marriage.

It takes at least two people to fight. If one quits, the fight dies. It takes you to fight with your spouse. So, it is you who can stop the fight.

Many couples are looking into complicated studies and have read many good books and articles with lots of theories and tricks on marriage. Yes, you can have the tricks but if they do not sit on a solid foundation, that marriage will fly out the window. When the storms of life come it will not stand. The foundation that God intended is made up of simple building blocks, not rocket science. You see, God designed these basic things for everyone and they are simple.

Perhaps it’s true that 20% effort produces 80% results. However couples tend to stumble through stuff looking of things that make up this 20%. They end up putting 80% effort but still get 20% results.

At this point you want me to get straight into these few basic marriage building blocks that can make a huge difference in your marriage, don’t you? Not so fast. First we want to get things straight so that we know how we got where we are.

The state of your marriage is made worse if the people advising you are battling to find these basic building blocks. At times you get into marriage to your loved one coming from, either parents with a dysfunctional marriage, or from a single parent. Honestly you have never stayed in a home with a happily married couple, let alone a happily married Christian couple. Hence you have a book theory of a good Christian marriage which in most cases turns out to be a personal fantasy. Your expectations are not real. You expect your spouse or marriage to be like the one you see in the movies. When it does not reach that standard you get heart broken. The couples we see in movies are professional actors. The directors create the scenes so as to capture our emotions. By the way the actors are not even married.

Marriage is like a garden that needs constant attention.

If you are coming from a family with a happy Christian couple, at least you do not have book theory. You have some practical theory that was tested and worked on someone else. Now, remember it is still just theory, not your practical experience. You have an idea how things work but you have never worked them yourself. And mind you, your spouse may not be coming from a family with such a privilege . Your spouse may be coming from a family where there are no functional marriages. What do you do?

Marriage is like a garden that needs constant attention. You have to take out the weeds, plant new plants, water correctly and take good care of it. If you neglect it, without anyone’s effort, it will naturally degenerate into an ugly eyesore. The same with marriage, do not wait until things are hopeless, otherwise you will have to do tough laborious work of restoration. This takes more effort and time than simply doing daily maintenance. Just do small acts of maintenance daily and you will be alright. These small acts of upkeep surprisingly are the basic building blocks for a good marriage, and many are missing them.

What are these small things? Please join me next chapter where I will divulge the single most important act you can do to take away most of your marriage problems, and perhaps all of them. There is one thing that can change the performance of you marriage as you know it. Who knows you could be having a new marriage in seven days.

As you contemplate;

  • ‘Your perception on marriage is based on your past experience about it.’ To what extend do you agree with this statement?
  • What are the key factors for the success of your marriage up to today?

This is the end of the Second Episode of the Marriage Journals. The series continues in the Third Episode titled You Could Be Having A New Marriage In Seven Days.

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A Glimpse of Kingdom Marriage

Marriage Journals

This is Part Two of the First Episode of the Marriage Journals and it is continued from Who is at the Center of it?

There are many types of marriages out there. In this series I am referring to a Christian marriage, a marriage that is founded by God and on godly principals. I will call this a Kingdom Marriage. It is about Jesus, not ourselves, as God originally intended. A kingdom marriage is not just about being married through a Christian ceremony and afterward you do what you think. It is about operation the marriage exclusively the way God wants. It’s not about what you like but what Jesus wants. You may have some dreams or funny ideas but you have to inquire from Him. Talk to him as you ask.

for the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking [what one likes], but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.Romans 14:17 AMP.

Most of us have unrealistic childhood fantasies on marriage. These fantasies are all centered about me, and having my needs met. They are all about pleasing me, and first of all finding the person to please me.

Because of this we have come to believe that if my spouse is making me happy then this is God’s plan. We think that a happy husband and wife is a kingdom marriage. This is being short sighted, and excludes eternity.

So, one day if the spouse does something that does not make us happy the bubble pops. We quickly assume that this is the wrong spouse. ‘Why is he not making me happy?’ ‘Why is she made with me?’ A kingdom marriage is about God and his will. If you take God out of it, it will not work.

As you read the story of David in the book of Samuel and Chronicles you will note that the statement ‘David inquired of the Lord’ is repeated again and again. I believe this is the secret David’s success. Even after sinning he repented and continued pursuing God. No wonder he is referred as ‘a man after God’s heart.’ We have to ‘inquire of the Lord’ for our marriages when things are good and when things are not so good. God started so he can fix it.

Again in the books of Chronicles it stands out very clear that the kings who ‘followed the way of the Lord’ prospered. The sane with your marriage, if you follow God’s way, doing what he want you to, you will prosper and be fruitful. But if you follow the wisdom of the world, though it sounds good, you will not prosper.

I have discovered that in life you are responsible for your decisions and God is for His decisions.

Make the decision carefully. Consider God and put Him at the center when things are well, way before trouble begins. In this way you will avoid falling into pit and snares that the enemy has setup for you.

Perhaps you are saying, ‘what do I do, I have made wrong choices?’ Do what David did after sinning. He repented and continued to ‘inquire of the Lord.’ God restored him. And I know he will restore you if you continue to ‘inquire of the Lord.’

In life we limit what God wants to do in our lives by our actions. God is saying today ‘Come now, let us reason together’ (Isaiah 1:18). He is ready to get into your life and fight for you, that is, if you allow him. You have to make a decision to live a God guided life. You have to make a decision to let go of unforgiveness, pride and selfishness that is blocking God away from your life.

Key Hindrances to Kingdom Marriage

If the idea of Kingdom Marriage is so simple then how do we miss it? There are a number of obstacles to understanding and eventually accepting the Kingdom Marriage.

Our views on marriage and our level of tolerance are influenced by a number of factors. These includes;

1) Our Past Experiences. Correcting our parents’ mistakes is good. However there is a tendency to either over-correct your parents’ mistakes, or follow the mistakes of the parent you sympathize with.

2) Our Religious Views. The church traditions play a role in shaping our views on marriage. They way marriage is treated in church shapes our minds. It spells out expectations and set tolerance levels. It set boundaries of what is acceptable or not acceptable.

2) Our Worldview and Cultural Backgrounds. Our worldview ‘is made up of our fundamental mental orientation based on our knowledge and point of view.’ It is consist of global ideas and beliefs of marriage and it functions. Ideas that do not fit our worldview are foreign and they end up in the ‘blind spot.’ In the blind spot it is difficult to get it. Therefore the meaning of marriage differs from the west, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia because of different worldviews. Below are some of the ways our worldviews are shaped.

Dating in African Culture. Unless you intend to marry the boy in the next year or so, you do not introduce him/her to your parents. Introduction in most African cultures is almost the equivalent of marriage. Once your mate has been introduced to your parents, you have to stick with him/her ‘for life.’ For them if you date someone it means you want to marry him/her. If the parents found out that their daughter is dating someone, they are likely to request a formal introduction to the guy in order to ‘safe guard’ their daughter. So from this we can see that this is a culture that strongly believes that marriage is for life and that dating is for marriage, not fun.

Fifty – Fifty Relationship. In this cultural view marriage is handled as a contract, that is, ‘If I give this, I get that.’ The husband give 50% and the wife give 50% to make 100%. If you do not deliver on your marriage promise it is an unacceptable breach of contract. The marriage contract may be terminated. There is a small room for grace and mercy, or unconditional love. And if one spouse becomes disabled to the point of not able to deliver marital duties, the marriage ends. For example in the marriage if the husband wants a favor from the wife, he has to offer her a favor. There is a tendency to keep scores of ‘good deed’ so that I can get a favor in return. The ideas of doing something for love or nothing is strange. The ‘til death’ promise is not taken literally. The strength of the marriage is based on the ability and willingness to deliver your marital promises.

Married Proportion. In some regions like the Middle East the percentage of married adults is more than 80%. Marriage is everyone’s top goal. In these areas divorce is like ‘swear word.’ So, no matter how hard the challenges experienced the couples prefer to resolve issues than give up. However the advancement of modern cultures is creating more and more singles adults. As a result moving back to singleness is not a big deal any more.

Community Involvement in Marriage. In many African and far eastern cultures marriage is viewed as a communal relationship than individual decision. The community is a stakeholder. This becomes a huge factor in the dynamics of the marriage. There are benefit and disadvantages to it.

The Roles in Marriage. In many cultures women have less or no say in a marriage. The husband is autocratic and must not be disobeyed. He keeps all the family finances and has the final word. As a result there are many incidents of abuse of wives. On the other hand, some cultures believe in equal rights in marriage. This new freedom for wives is at times taken further to a point where the wife leads the family.

These and many other elements form the primary base that defines your role as a spouse and shapes your expectations. They have become part of our identity. Unfortunately they can override your faith in God. They usually become your default when your ‘faith‘ seems to fail. However this would be the time when you need God most.

Remember that ‘Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.’ (1 Cor 10:23).

Going against them is like attacking one’s self. Surprisingly these are the areas God will challenge you. Some of these cultural behaviors are good and godly, others are good but ungodly and others are simply bad. As you continue reading this series, you will find out how God is challenging these systems in order to establish a Kingdom Marriages.

As you contemplate;

  • What steps are you going to take to make your marriage more of a Kingdom Marriage?
  • What past experiences, religious view, cultural views or worldview do you have, whether good or bad?

This is the end of the First Episode of the Marriage Journals. The series continues in the Second Episode titled What is The State of your Marriage?

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Marriage Journals: Who is at the Center of it?

Who is at the Center of it?This is the First Episode of the series called the Marriage Journals. Wait a minute; before you brush off this article I want you to know that the series is not just about marriage it is about something way more than bigger. These principles are for everyone! It is a journey that will change your life. Will you please journey with me.

The world is discipling the church on marriage and sexuality. This is scary.

God takes family very seriously. The family stands at the core of your blessed life here on earth. The heart of the family is the marriage. The performance of the marriage dictates the direction and mood of the whole family. God’s desire is for a man and his wife with their children to live happily under one roof and fulfilling their callings in obedience to Him.

In the beginning God did not make a church or cathedral, he made a family. In the beginning God did not appoint apostles, or prophets, or pastors etc, he appointed a husband and a wife in the covenant of marriage. In Genesis, the first mankind gathering was a wedding ceremony, and not a worship meeting. After God, the next thing that came was marriage. Surprising yet so true!

Your children and your children’s children’s’ lives are at stake in your marriage. Actually the next generation of your off spring hang on the balance of your marriage. The blessing or curse from your marriage will flow to the next generations. So you have to be serious about changing your future generation, through your marriage. Do not be short sighted and make selfish decisions. Think big. Think family. Think marriage.

The union of marriage is compared to the union of Jesus Christ and the Church.

This series is a challenge, a challenge for you to go to the heart of God, to find God’s heart for your life and marriage. It is s challenge to recreate our relationship with God as His bride first so that the same relationship will be reflected our marriages. In the presence of God our hearts are restored. When your heart is restored you will find what God really wants with your life and your marriage. Your relationship with God activates your true identity.

This is a scary journey, a journey that will expose you to God. But we cannot receive his healing in full if we cover our short comings with our own efforts. Adam did the same in the Garden of Eden after sinning. He used his own effort to cover the discrepancy caused by his sin. It was not so bad but it did not work. We have to come naked before Him, knowing that He is our Father and he want to mend us. If we become naked before him, it means we have nothing we own. If you have nothing you cannot lose anything. He owns us. He will use our brokenness to make something beautiful. It is from the ashes that we will rise to be who God really want us to be.

Unlike most marriage books, this series does not offer technical advice but it recommends a spiritual experience with God. It is an experience that will change you, your relationship with God and your relationship with your spouse. You don’t have to be married to enjoy this series. It will help you to experience God in a deeper way. It will help you deal with unresolved issues and get connected to God in an intimate way. The bottom line is God is the answer.

If you need technical advice I suggest that you get my book Little Tough Tips on Marriage.

When all things fail, it is appropriate to look to an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God. He knows everything, He has all the power and He is everywhere. He is the person you go to. He is the person to see for marriage building. The wisest thing we can do is to involve Him in our lives.

The best way of learning how to operate a garget is to learn from its creator. There is no better way. God created marriage. He is the best person to teach us things on marriage.

Contact to someone higher so that you have higher wisdom. If you use lower or natural wisdom you get what every natural person get, but if you use God’s wisdom you get the God results.

You cannot solve all your problems. You know it. Admit it. Running away will not help. Being angry with your spouse, or with God will not help you. Just be humble before Him and he will lift you up. Right now he is calling you. He is saying come to me as you are, with all you problems. ‘I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28) I will help you.

God loves you. He wants your company, to spend time with you and to give you the chance to know Him better. He wants to help you. He is calling you to walk with Him a little further. How will you respond to this calling?

I challenge you to take the risk, to venture with God where you have never gone. I challenge you to leave your comfort zone and move deeper into the spiritual, to open up yourself before God. It is not comfortable but the presence of God is accompanied by a sense of warmth that brings healing. In his presence you will start to see things the way God sees and it is easier to do what he wants.

As you contemplate;

  • What heritage from your marriage do you want to leave to your children and childrens’ children?
  • What things from your marriage do you want the next generation of you offspring to remember you for?

This is the First Episode of the Marriage Journals will continue in Part Two as A Glimpse of Kingdom Marriage

 Here are some of the topics to look forward to in the Marriage Journals series:

  • What is The State of your Marriage
  • You Could Be Having A New Marriage In Seven Days
  • Journey to Your Soulmate
  • What it Takes to ‘Become One’
  • Vertical Relationship makes Horizontal Relationships better
  • For The Love of God.
  • Dealing with unfinished issues
  • The Colour of True Love
  • Fighting for your family

Be sure to keep following the series.

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