Marriage on a mission

Is your marriage on a mission? Ours is! We believe God has a mission for every marriage. He has a mental picture of how He wants every marriage to turn out.

Part of our marriage mission is:

“Our God wants from us a compellingly attractive marriage that turns people’s head and makes them want to know how much more beautiful God’s love for mankind is”

A lot of people have criticized us many times on how our open or public demonstration of love makes them uncomfortable and how immature it makes us. However, as often as we can, we try to remind ourselves of that ultimate call on our marriage so we can exert ourselves the best ways we can in accomplishing that calling or mission. And we evaluate our marriage and relationship often in light of that so we identify areas where more works needs to be done. At least when God was putting us together He didn’t say we were too immature so we’ve learned to ward off a lot of criticism.

Got a marriage/relationship mission you commit to? Or you are just living through the motion?

A great marriage requires a lifetime’s worth of dedicated work and having a marriage mission is like a shared goal that builds teamwork and the bonds of the marriage thereof.

We believe that in God’s mind, marriage is a tool for evangelism because the love we demonstrate in marriage reflects God’s love for all humankind. How we treat our spouses must reflect or mirror God; our love for our spouses must show in ways that make people around us take notice. John 13:35 says “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”.

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I once wrote a post where I advocated that we celebrate openly our marital blessings because it is through doing that people can see what the glory of God in marriage looks like. It’s just like in Matthew 7:16-17, people will only know your fruits if they can see it. If they don’t see the flowers of a plant in beautiful display they can’t be attracted to it and can’t glorify it. Similarly, people will never know about the goodness of God unless we make them see it some way or the other.

Christian marriages can do that and Christians might want to begin to see their marriages as effective tools for evangelism. Like it is said in Romans 10:14, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” See? Evidence-based! And the evidences are in the daily blessings poured out on our marriages that we are always tempted to hide.

There are however people who do not believe in making a public spectacle of their marriages, kids, blessings, etc for some very good personal reasons. Many others also believe that the more they “glorify” their marriage or blessings, the more they expose their marriage or relationship to the radar of Satan and evil people so they are better off hiding in some corner. Well, if the motive is good, stick to it.

However, fear only begets more fear and you will never be able to overcome your fears while still living in fear. The fear of Satan and his many evil works will only make him have more control over you and eventually cripple your public testimony of God’s goodness. And that’s always the goal of the enemy.

Someone once wrote:

“If all we who call ourselves Christians loved our spouses in a deep, real, vibrant and obvious way, imagine what it would do to the world. Imagine if it were undeniable that those who follow Jesus are more in love, more happily married, more sexually satisfied, and just had better marriages all around. In a world full of divorce and troubled marriages, such a public testimony would show people that faith in Jesus is more than just a claim”

Think about it!

Cheers!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author

Divorce

FACT: Years of research has shown majority of divorces are initiated by women.

REASON: Because women are just never satisfied in marriage because of their many unrealistic unmet expectations…or men are just unrepentant heart breakers??

Well, I don’t know…maybe you do?

 

Divorced Marriage Counsellors

When the world (including Christians) looks at marriage counsellors, they often want to see “perfect” people or people in “perfect relationships or marriages”. Very often we come across debates on whether or not divorcees should be marriage counsellors in the Church or not; and whether or not they are qualified (seeing that they couldn’t hold their own marriage together) to counsel would-be couples. Not just counsellors, but also Pastors who have had the unfortunate situation of going through a divorce are not spared the “bad image” and their credibility always raises eyebrows.

If you ask for my personal sentiments, I would say we don’t need “perfect” people or only people with “perfect marriages” to counsel us…we just need the truth of God’s Word. And that can come from even divorced couples or divorced Pastors.

Today’s Church likes to “play clean” and whilst preaching the essence of God’s forgiveness and restoration, the Church is still the first to castigate people whose sins come to the fore, even after they have repented. The Church will even try to deny them of continuing in their God-given calling even after they have repented and God himself probably have forgiven them.

Or the fact that God hates divorce means He hates the people involved too just like that?

It’s quite funny sometimes how the Churches scream things like “all are sinners”, “there’s none righteous”, “our righteousness is a filthy rag before God”, “God forgives all sins”, etc, which means they understand (maybe superficially) that no man (the holiest of Christians alike) is without sin. But when sin presents itself before them, they try to then not associate with it even in its “repented form”. Every Christian sins whether we like it or not; Pastors, Shepherds, Prophets, Ministers, what have you, all sin! And divorce is an equal sin as any other sin! But does that make anybody less of a Christian? People commit “weightier” sins in the Church, then repent and continue still in their roles. Could it be that some sins are not as glaring as the “sin of a broken marriage” that’s why Counsellors who experience divorce cannot continue in their calling?

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There is the story of a Christian Minister whose marriage was experiencing divorce and managed to keep it private (secret) for a few years before it went public when all hopes of salvaging it was lost. I’m tempted to believe that in all those years of secrecy, if he/she were a Counsellor in the Church, he/she would have still continued in that role until the point where it became public. And if that was the case, what puts him in good standing to give marriage counsel while working through his “secret divorce process” and what puts him not in good standing to perform same roles after going public? Have we not seen, heard and read about Pastors who are divorced and still continue in their Pastoral callings; some even re-marrying…and God’s still working through them?

Then again, not every Christian who is divorced had wished to be or is happy about it; and not every Christian who is divorced is the cause of the divorce. So why then do some still think that they are not worth being called good Christians or even worthy of giving good advice?

Taking counsel from a divorcee in Church is not a case of being unequally yoked or taking counsel from ungodly folks; is it?

No, these are Christians…and very good Christians in many cases! Nobody while marrying prays for a divorce I guess? They made a mistake and so what? Many of these folks are people who have regretted their actions and for some, if only their partners were willing, they would do anything just to restore their marriages. But sadly, many times it’s just a situation one cannot salvage. Sadly divorce seems an easier option than putting in the hard work to restore a breaking marriage; thus not surprising how amicable divorce processes are.

'Was your divorce amicable?'   'It was more amicable than the marriage.'

OK…one more story before we wrap up.

There’s the story of a female marriage Counsellor of a Church who discovered after 25 good years of marriage that the husband had been married to another woman even before her. As it were he had deceived her prior to their marriage about his marital status and there was no evidence of him being already married or perhaps she had just trusted him enough not to seek it. But as it now is, he’s fathered a child with this other woman too whilst still in this marriage. Two wives! And she’s only now finding out after 25 years! Now she’s worried that her own marriage has been a lie from the start and here she is a Counsellor who has advised couples for many years. And now she’s worried if she divorces the man, all the people she’d counseled and many others will say how come she a Counsellor has not been able to manage her own marriage. She’s worried her Church folks will begin seeing her in bad light and opine she’s not a good model to would-be couples and should not continue counselling. Question is what’s her crime? And why can’t she continue counselling people?

You see, we always make that mistake and see fellow Christians as our element of perfection. A divorced Christian is no less a Christian than those who are not; neither a divorced Pastor less a Pastor than others.

Maybe we have created a mess for ourselves in Christendom thinking divorcees cannot be good Counsellors so we make do with people who look clean outside but with so much filth and garbage going on in their homes only trying to deceive everybody that they have got it all together.

Who knows, on the judgment day we may be surprised to find that many divorcees are even better than those whose marriages are intact but with a billion hidden sins; sins weightier than the “sin of divorce”, maybe.

Does God forgive divorced couples and restores them in good standing as Christians when they seek His forgiveness? Or are they perpetually condemned on the grounds that He hates divorce and thus can no longer have a place in His kingdom? Well, ponder hard!

 

(PS: Not justifying divorce; God still hates divorce. His will is for all marriages to work)

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

Marriage quotes…

Hope you find these relationship/marriage quotes interesting…

Got a favourite to share? Please do!

 “Relationships don’t always make sense. Especially from the outside”
― Sarah Dessen

“I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.”
― G.K. Chesterton

 “Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.”
—  Barbara De Angelis

A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ come together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.
—Dave Meurer

Many marriages would be better if the husband and the wife clearly understood that they are on the same side.
—Zig Ziglar

Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love and hold onto the ones we marry.
Tom Mullen

One of the great illusions of our time is that love is self-sustaining. It is not. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed. That demands ingenuity and consideration, but first and foremost, it demands time.
—David Mace

To get divorced because love has died, is like selling your car because it’s run out of gas.
Diane Sollee (smartmarriages.com)

 “When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Image source:
www.status4ka.am

 

Divorce

God hates divorce and thus admonishes we all guard ourselves in spirit and not break faith with the wife of our youth (Reference: Malachi 2:16). He however accepts that you can divorce on the grounds of infidelity, even though this “window of opportunity” as it seems to many wasn’t God’s original intent. The phrase “But it was not this way from the beginning” in Matthew 19:8 justifies that God’s original intent for instituting marriage between man and woman was for permanency. God wasn’t instituting something contractual that can be dissolved at will. His intent was not to create a marriage institution that must be entered with thoughts of and perhaps willingness for divorce in mind even before entering in a manner that warrants the signing of a prenuptial agreement.

Speak even to a number of Christians on the subject of divorce and the one thing that is clear is the very high willingness to divorce (as the very first resort) at the first sign of a spouse’s infidelity rather than to forgive. Nothing wrong but just that I feel that someway somehow, that “window of opportunity” is quite pushing some “Christian” married couples to treat their partners in ways that pushes them into the temptation of adultery. In many marriages today, the temptation for adultery is so high because of the feeling of deprivation of one thing or the other. Sadly some partners that feel unhappy with their spouses do treat them quite intentionally in unloving ways hoping it pushes them into adultery so they could have good “Christian” grounds to divorce them.

Granted you might even have experienced infidelity in your marriage. Will you let go or forgive? It’s a personal choice and there’s nothing wrong with both. Of course, infidelity shatters many things in a marriage just lie our sins do alienate us from God and His love for us. But if we have a heart as BIG as God and a love as agape as His and will show mercy and decide to “love in spite of” and not “because of”, any kind of wrong (including infidelity) should be possible to forgive.  Rules are rules but MERCY changes the rules and God has demonstrated it towards us in our many cases of sinfulness and has set for us an example that it is possible to forgive and still live with and love as before a spouse that has cheated but seeks forgiveness.

“While adultery is grounds for divorce, it’s also grounds for forgiveness. And you will never be more like God than when you forgive”
~~Craig Groeschel

For every good and successful Christian marriage, a lot of MERCY must be at work. Nonetheless, that must not be taken advantage of to keep doing wrong and offending.

Indeed, God’s intent and rules for marriage has become trivialized just like divorce became permitted simply because of man’s disobedient ways and  hardness of heart. How do we expect marriage to last when we know we have created suitable conditions to come out of it at anytime we so desire? How will anybody give absolute commitment to or make all the hard work (which mostly require coming out of one’s comfort zone) for something that one can easily come out of at the least discomfort or displeasure?

In a matter of days my wife and I would be celebrating our first marriage/wedding anniversary and as I write this post I was again reminded of the words of the song we used as background music during the exchange of our vows:

I pray for Grace that we would go all the miles God has destined for our marriage!

Cheers!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

 

MARRIAGE IS ENJOYABLY HARD

Marriage is the hardest work that you still enjoy best. A lot of people complain about many things in their marriage that stresses them out yet when asked if they are willing to let it all go on those grounds for an independent solitary life are quick to say no. Of course we human beings are created with a high need for intimacy and an attraction to something quite different from the stuffs we are made of. The attraction is not the problem but living with and accommodating the differences is the real stress, but who can do without interdependence?

Knowing how to disagree and work through your disagreements is thus a vital key in holding marriages together because whether you like it or not you will have so many things to disagree about in marriage.

I am not exempted because my wife and I do have many disagreements too. But the thing is many of these disagreements I do not even remember anymore because the initial hurts seem no longer there because we’ve quickly worked through it. Many of the disagreements you even think back on and find to be very funny, trivial, unnecessary and avoidable…and yet which could have rocked your marital boat or relationship so bad beyond repairs.

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Guess all we humans tend to either focus or dwell too much on the bad stuffs in relationships than the good stuffs. One silly or even accidental mistake from one partner will just within minutes cancel out all the million good deeds and nature of the person! It gives a feeling like you’ve just been bad and worse all your life or all the period you’ve being with each other and that’s so deadening! Nobody just wants to make room for the bad stuffs at all…just the good! Meanwhile, life as well as marriage is made of both good and bad moments. The heartbreaking part is that in majority of cases, only a few of those bad actions are even done intentionally to hurt the other.

Many times I have realized that one of the quickest way my wife and I have ended disagreements and hurtful feelings for the other out of one person’s actions or inactions is when any of us are quick to remember and tell the other something like “Honey, you know I wouldn’t intentionally do anything to hurt you right? I didn’t mean to offend you…it wasn’t intentional”. And like magic that begins to calm the storm. Of course, that’s not what entirely calms it but it starts the process because we both are fully convinced that all things being equal, we wouldn’t intentionally seek to hurt each other. And once that reminder comes, all other things begin to fall in place.

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I believe no conflict in marriage should be unsolvable. Well, that’s how God intentioned it when He instituted marriage. No wonder Jesus said even divorce on whatever grounds was not permitted by God in the original intent (Ref: Matthew 19:8). God wouldn’t have loosened up on His original intent to now permit divorce on the grounds of sexual immorality if not for the hardness of man’s heart (Ref: Matthew 19:9). But even with this permission I believe God is still not pleased with the breaking of marriage on grounds of sexual immorality looking at the fact that considering all the heinous sins of man He still doesn’t throw man away but picks him up, forgives him, cleans him up and relates with him like nothing has happened. I believe He expects close to same with all marriages; that no sin in marriage should be too difficult to forgive once forgiveness is sought.

No wonder the caution to love her like Christ’s undying love for the Church is a very deep and spiritual thing that the physical/carnal man cannot do. It takes a very spiritual husband/wife to forgive and still remain married to an unfaithful partner whether or not such a partner has repented of the act. I guess someone will begin to use that as a criterion for choosing a marriage partner. Good luck! Haha.

But seriously, a Church/creation lost in sexual immorality Christ will still reach out to, forgive and bring back to himself as long as genuine repentance is made. The same attitude I believe God expects of all marriages under the New Covenant even though permission has been given for divorce. This is why marriage is serious business to God and should not be trivialized.

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Attitude and behavior I was taught are the major sources of conflict in marriage and as long as with the help of God we develop good Christian attitude and wisdom in handling our marriages, we are sure to save them and fulfill God’s intent for establishing it. “So many people have the will to have a strong marriage but don’t have the skill” Kathy Beirne said. I pray the Holy Spirit teaches everyone the skills we need to make our relationships and marriages work.

worksThanks for your attention dear reader!

God bless!

~Mark Gadogbe (McApple)