Temptations…

A holy character does not stop one from being tempted. Neither does seclusion nor the utmost consecration of spirit.

Remember our Lord Jesus Christ, most Holy and full of the Holy Spirit was tempted even while in the wilderness?

Temptation does not respect many things; it will always knock on your door. And you can’t only choose to pray it away…you must resist also. That means work on your part; not the tempter’s part. Marriage does not ward off temptation either; marriages face their own dose of temptations. Your actions will determine whether or not the temptation will lurk in the darkness to continually afflict you. With every form of temptation, you’ve got to make a choice. According to the wisdom of Martin Luther:

“You can’t prevent the birds of the air from flying over your head, but you don’t need to let them build a nest in your hair”.

That means you may not be able to prevent temptations from coming your way, but you have a choice to make.

For married people, one Dr. Beverly Yahnke, a Christian psychologist admonishes that we:

“make the tough decision to honour your spouse even if it means you won’t ever know what a relationship with someone else would have been like”.

Perhaps the grass on the other side that looks so green, tempting and relishing to you is just artificial grass. Better still, if you would focus on your own grass and put in the work, and create favourable conditions for growth, sooner or later your own grass would be greener…and rather more tempting to others (but there too you will have a problem o. Haha).

Many times we make the mistake of thinking that what we can bear, our partner can also. We are all different and the very thing you take for granted because for you it can never lead you into temptation is what will lead your partner into it. Someone said he’s been away from his wife for 3 years and all the while didn’t cheat on her and doesn’t understand why the wife did. Well, maybe you could handle that length of distance; maybe she couldn’t (not justifying her action). But the posture of taking it for granted that absence easily predisposes her to temptation than you should not be encouraged. Maybe you don’t crave attention so don’t see the need to offer it…but maybe for your partner, that’s what feeds his/her love and without it can predispose him/her to temptations. Maybe you can do without sex for days; maybe your partner can’t and will fall without it. Maybe outings don’t mean anything to you; maybe it’s the prime need of your partner. Maybe public display of affection (PDA) means nothing to you; maybe that’s what makes your spouse feel super and as little or frivolous as you may think that need is, don’t do it and you put him/her at risk of nursing feelings for someone who does. Maybe you think building heart-to-heart friendship with your spouse is a waste of time and that women are just too annoyingly emotional; maybe they will soon fall for someone who tries to bond with them at that emotional heart-t0-heart level. Don’t take things for granted.

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May God grant grace that we do not create unfavourable conditions in our marriages/relationships that easily predisposes our partners to give in to all manner of temptations. May we find grace to create suitable environments in our marriages that our partners will not be drawn to nursing thoughts of looking elsewhere to have their needs met…but can look to us and have their every need met.

So get to work and watch those prime needs now…don’t leave them unmet! It could be a need for attention, friendship, companionship, a lot more affection, cutting down the times apart, a lot more talking, a lot more kind words, a lot more playfulness or fun time together, a lot more sex, a lot more respect, a lot more empathy, a lot more creativity or spice, a lot more surprises,….a lot more of everything! If you have to, readjust your plans or life goals to create the much needed balance all marriages need.

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God help us!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

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Image sources:
http://revivenations.org/blog/
unveiledwife.com

 

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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)