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 honour, 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 honour) to Christ, and the woman should submit (respect and honour) to her husband. This is the divine order. One interesting point is that the wife should submits (respect and honour) 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 apologising spouse is very hard.
First of all, apologising 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 apologising is not about who is wrong or right. It is about seeking peace and healing for your loved one.
Why is it difficult to apologise? 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.
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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© Copyright 2016 by It’s My Footprint, www.itsmyfootprint.com .
Taka Sande, www.takasande.com is an author, an entrepreneur and development activist. He has a passion for making a difference by influencing and adding value to people’s lives. He is the founder of the blog It’s My Footprint, http://www.itsmyfootprint.com /.