Brian is a Relationship Counsellor, a Catholic Christian who strives to uphold the Word of God & integrates it in his writing deliberately.
The lesson we will dwell on today is beneficial mainly for those who are married or planning to tie the knot. Besides, anyone that cherishes the relationships they have can also learn a thing or two from this.
Have you ever given any thought to what a person wants most out of life? If you were asked about this, what will your response be? Well, amongst the precious commodities that a person will ever have and the luxury of experiencing a fulfilling relationship that will last throughout the course of life. Most people including myself will rank healthy relationships high on the list. In this article, we will emphasise more on the bond with your significant other.
Let me ask you a question; do you know why people get married? What is so great about finding a person to share a life with? The common response would be because people long for companionship, through which they can fill their life with love and happiness and share these wonderful feelings with the person who mean something to them.
As a Christian, my main focus and purpose of living are to serve and glorify God every day. Aside from nurturing my bond with the Lord, my existence on earth is made interesting and enjoyable through healthy relationships with the people around me. Apart from having good friends that bring excitement to my life, I also treasure another form of an intimate relationship, which I share with my better half. We constantly try our best to glorify God in whatever we do, and that includes our relationship with each other. Our fear of the Lord and the shared intention of putting God first always helped shaped the interactions between us. Indeed having a relationship with God should be a priority, but nurturing wonderful relationships with others is also crucial and encouraged by the Bible.
What does the Bible say about Matrimonial Relationships?
The Bible emphasizes the need for healthy relationships, especially between husband and wife, and yet it is sad to say that there are people out there hurting from unfulfilled or broken relationships. Couples living together but having separate lives and not endeavour to know what the other is doing. Due to the lack of communication and unresolved disagreements, the chances of you drifting apart are very likely to occur.
Being married means two persons have decided to commit to being there for each other regardless for better or worse. It may seem like a cliché, but a union between man and woman in holy matrimony is the beginning of an agreement to share a part of oneself with another. Through this ‘partnership agreement’, the tendency to rely on each other more in certain areas of life is evident. You may be good at certain aspects of life, but your spouse could be better. That is why a couple comes together because they complement one another, and their distinctive characteristics supplement their interaction with each other.
According to the Bible outlined in Genesis 2:18, it is depicted that God created woman as a suitable helper for man. Upon marriage, a man takes up the leadership role of a husband to guide and protect his wife. As a husband, a man is expected to see to his wife’s desires, be it sexual, financial, physical, emotional, or spiritual. Similarly, a wife must love her husband and provide for him just as much as he does for her.
In the New Testament that is Ephesians 5: 33, the verse defines the make-up of a solid marriage; “husbands should love their wives as self while wives are called to respect her husband.”
Husbands Ought to Love His Wife As He Loves Himself
What does it mean by a husband loving his wife as himself? A man is expected to treat his wife by showing her the same level of care and love as he would to his own body. In doing so, he constantly seeks to provide the best for her with the kindness in which he would treat himself.
A God-fearing man knows that his wife is created for him as an equal, not above him or below him. As such, he sees his partner as an extension of himself that is worthy of being treated justly in an appropriate manner. As stated in Genesis 2:24, when a man marries, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Upon marrying, a man’s wife will naturally take over the role of a comrade, ally, companion, and even co-pilot in life. These titles are just some of the befitting honorific for your soul mate, who has taken it upon themselves to be with you through life’s highs and lows. Man and wife then - work hand-in-hand to navigate this life together through the ups and downs that may occur.
Wives Ought to Respect Husband as Head of the Family
On the other hand, a woman who upon marrying the man that God has destined for her is also expected to perform her duties towards sustaining the marriage. A woman regardless of her stature in society or the community must realise that she is a wife. Her duties towards her husband and family should reign superior.
A woman is free to be who she desires to be and reach for the stars, but she must realise that it does not give her any grounds to disrespect her husband. Do not misinterpret this and think that a woman must live as her husband’s shadow. If the man you marry believes in the Biblical concept of treating you how he would treat himself, he will never restrict you from fulfilling your potential.
In return for the freedom your husband has granted upon you, freely demonstrate your respect for him and always do your best to preserve his self-esteem. Strive to be kind towards him, especially when in public even if you disagree with him. Any disagreements should be dealt with diplomatically, away from the judgement of others. Find a tactful approach in handling such situations especially when you have kids of your own observing your every move and words that you exchange with your husband. Do not be misconstrued believing that you are obligated to agree with all that your husband says. Sometimes, he may make the wrong judgement in which your insights may be beneficial to avoid any misstep. In such instances, apply the concept of “agree to disagree” amicably. When you do so, you show that his opinion matters and address the issue in a loving manner as a way of honouring his judgement as the head of the house.
Some of you may know of women who are opinionated or it could even be your own self. If you fall under this category, you always find that you have an opinion that things should be done in a certain manner. You constantly feel the need to assert your views at the expense of other's perspectives. At the extreme, some woman may even be the champion of dogmatism and refuse to bow down to any idea which is deemed unaligned with hers. Let it be known that being right is not of the essence when the peace of the family is at stake.
Marriage between two persons is about building each other up and supporting one another at all times. As you go about doing that and praying to God for each other earnestly, He will hear your prayers and send His blessings your way.
Love is of the Essence
In order for us to share a deep connection with our spouse, it is necessary that we get up close and personal with one another. Break down the barriers and embrace your fears and do not be afraid to be vulnerable with your partner. To communicate our love, we must dare to express our affections. It is then imperative to learn the gestures of love and give our spouse our undivided attention and shower them with various acts of kindness. We must never forget that love is something you do and not just something you say.
Authenticity plays a role in having a healthy relationship as well. It is not enough to admit we need each other, but instead, commit ourselves to go beyond skin deep and become interested and accountable for each other. Make it a habit to have heart-to-heart conversations with your spouse to foster a deep level of intimacy that goes beyond the physical aspect. When you choose to be authentic and transparent with your partner, the conversation you have will be deeper, allowing kindness and tenderness to envelop both of you. Ultimately, when you are both vulnerable and honest with each other, the probability of deceit is reduced because you can trust your partner with what you have to say.
Take the High Road
People make mistakes in life, and there are bound to be such instances in a marriage. When it does happen, put to practise delayed judgement in order to access the severity of the offense and damage done. Consequently, the instinctive response would be to start pointing fingers and initiate the blame game. We normally never admit our mistakes as they will diminish our sense of self. Nonetheless, this is the scenario that requires us to reach deep within and bring out the saint that is present in each of us.
Being married will teach you to treat each other with forbearance. That is when you will slowly catch the skill of putting up with each other’s faults and idiosyncrasies.
When mistakes do happen, we look into it together, reach a resolution, and then conclude the matter. Never drag the issue out of proportion by bringing unrelated matters into the discussion. It may be difficult to be the person to admit fault and apologise. However, swallow your pride and say you are sorry. Remember that you embarked on the journey with this person for the long haul and the reason why you choose to be with them should surpass the anger or exasperation that you felt at the particular moment.
Take a deep breath and talk it out or take a break and continue the conversation when you both have cleared your head. The one that forgives will have an upper hand as it is always noble to pardon and overlook beyond the silly squabble. It is never too late to believe that to forgive is divine.
Take Matters into Your Own Hands
Relating to the verse in Genesis 2:24 again, it is important to understand that once a man and a woman get married, they automatically become a team. You may be someone’s son or daughter, but as soon as you take the vow with your partner, your priorities and focus now shift towards building your family legacy. The elders might dispute this saying that married children still have responsibilities towards their parents. This is a fact that cannot be avoided. But, let’s look past the superficial connotation of the verse and try to understand the meaning behind it.
When you tie the knot, you have decided to start a family of your own. Once this idea is established, you will definitely need to take the necessary measures to ensure that you work in that direction.
As a newly married couple, you have entered another phase whereby significant concerns of creating a harmonious household are of vital importance. Regardless, both of you will need the space to bask in the lingering romance and glow of being newlyweds. As a married couple, it is critical to be there for each other and have each other’s back. There will be people and sometimes even your parents, who will take it upon themselves to advise and provide unsolicited inputs on how you should manage your life. It is not entirely a bad thing, as you are considered a novice in handling married life. However, you must both set a boundary on the extent to which you will allow the opinions of others to dictate the way you handle your marital affairs.
Unlocking the Key to a Happy Marriage
Marriage is not as simple as saying “I Do” and making promises to each other at the altar. The act itself comes with big responsibilities and sacrifices. So, do not expect a walk in the park as you begin this journey with your loved one.
Sharing your life with another requires compromise, patience, understanding, and continuous commitment to growing together. These are not ultimate virtues but only a fraction of the qualities and traits required for a meaningful and fruitful nuptial. If you ask around those who have been married long enough, they will tell you that it is not an easy journey but a worthwhile one.
The major impact of being married will be the change in both your lifestyle and outlook in life. Along the way, you will realise that you both learn to be selfless as you constantly think of your other half’s welfare more than your own. You will also come to understand that life is not about competition and proving that you are right always. Instead, you will learn to co-exist peacefully with another person.
Is there a secret to having a great relationship and marriage? In any relationship, not limited to the one you have with your spouse, you have got to put aside all anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, and lying as written in Colossians 3:8-9. On top of that, as highlighted in Colossians 3: 12- 13, you will need to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other. This verse implies that we ought to treat others graciously just as how God treated us.
Communicate & Care
In conclusion, foster good communication between you and your partner by being an active participant in the relationship and always sharing and caring for the other. Never stay angry for long and do not erect barriers, but be so involved in each other that the walls of indifference and apathy will come down. When we share our lives with one another, we discover the good of others and the best in ourselves.
Let us pray
Lord, You have told us to pursue things that will create peace and the edification of others. I come seeking help to be this type of person, one who teaches and improves others. I pray You would grant me a heart and mind that is committed to pursuing things that result in peace and edification of my loved ones. Lord, thank You for giving Your life for us in love. I feel my relationships could use more loving actions to back up my words. Help me Lord, to not just speak the words “I love you”, but help me also to be the type of person who demonstrates love. Help me Lord, to be more Christ-like in all of my relationships.
In Jesus' name, Amen.