My experience of marriage was that I realised that I should be quick at forgiving. I use the word “quick” because the more I delay in forgiving, the more I get upset and frustrated which then leads to bitterness, then keeping malice (no communication) and making it hard to forgive. It is very hard to forgive particularly when you are not at fault. But someone (husband or wife) will have to let their ego down in the challenges or issues at hand for peace to reign in the home. The reality is that lack of communication leads to further conflicts which can be harmful to body, soul and spirit.
Marriage is from God.
Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. The two of them, the Man and his Wife…” Genesis 2:24
For me, marriage is also a mystery. “… And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband”. Ephesians 5:31-32.
Cultures and traditions has marred the essence and substance of marriage. It appears not to be fair to women where in some cases women have been maltreated and marginalised along with high expectations particularly on the level of tolerance. As an example, husband cheats on wife and the woman is told “show tolerance as it will save your marriage”. The excuse given “it is in a man’s nature to cheat” and the proposed solution is given to the woman “you need to dress better, cook better, pray harder, maybe slim down and be more pleasant to him”. But when wife cheats on husband, she is a called all sorts of degrading names and being accused of an abomination and if there are kids; an irresponsible mother and possibly sent packing from the home built by both husband and wife.
The issue of tolerance, balance in marriage which expects a lot from a woman than a man I believe stems from the foundation of the marriage. Is the foundation based on culture or tradition or on God’s principles? What then is the role of husband and the role of the wife? If the foundation is in God, then the focus should be on God’s perspective in marriage.
I believe marriage should be a partnership and not a competition of keeping scores with the aim of declaring a winner; both husband and wife should work together as one team in unity with the ultimate goal of pleasing God. I often say, marriage is like a continuous team building exercise – no end date. You continuously must look for ways in the Lord to build your marriage and making no room for the enemy to penetrate.
God’s perspective on Marriage in Colossians 3:18 -19; “Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master. “Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don’t take advantage of them”. Also in 1 Peter 3:1-2; 7
As a woman, I consider it a pathway to failure if I should compare my marriage to that of my family, friends, or colleagues. Christ should be the Centre of every Godly marriage. “…. A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped” Ecclesiastes 4:12. I am all for learning from other experiences but the reference point should align with the scriptures.
I believe in tolerance and getting the balance right by redefining our roles in Christ. Ephesians 5:22-33. If both husband and wife understands God’s role for them, marriages should flourish despite its many challenges. Although, there are some grey areas in marriage, we can only rely on God’s wisdom and grace which is sufficient for us.
As women, for whatever reason it appears that a lot is expected from us and it is only God that can fight our battles. But He has also given us the grace to make practical decisions in ways that pleases Him. In our being submissive, I believe we must not lose our identity in Christ! Proverbs 31: 10-31.