THE MYSTERY OF MARRIAGE Ephesians 5:22-33 Introduction Every institution has a secret behind its success and marriage is not an exception. There are people who are married who do not know why they are married or who they have in their bedroom. People who know the secrets of their trade lead as captains of their industries, they leave the rest behind, they are the top dogs who set the pace and dictate the movement of their trade. They rule their land and bring excellence to their businesses. Likewise, people who know the mystery of marriage stay together in a lifelong commitment and in absolute faithfulness. They understand their defined roles, experience mutual submission, have open communication and enjoy spiritual companionship and sexual fulfilment. This becomes a marriage ordained from heaven and they are seen as relevant models and trees under which other marriages take shade. The mysteries of marriages 1. The mystery of communication. A lot of marriages suffer ‘talk seizure’ which sometimes lead to marital heart failure. Men are most often the culprits as a lot become bored so quickly and while most women end up with this universal complaint of ‘he doesn’t talk to me’; majority of men confess their wives ‘talk too much’. The challenge of marriage is to keep the line of communication open, strong, tight and unbroken. Marriage, just like prayer is a dialogue and just as people often complain about running out of words, losing interest and focus in prayer so it happens in marriages. How do we find new and interesting things to talk about without boring out each other for the rest of our married lives? This is the first mystery. 2. The mystery of cohabitation. In a challenging situation such as we face, every marriage is a potential target for temptation. The Bible commands that marriage is honourable and the bed is to remain unpolluted. The challenge of your marriage is to remain as you vowed, for better and for worse. There should no outside interest, no middle age entertainer and in old age the wife nurses the husband after he has spent all his youth on her. How do we live together in love for 60-80 years or longer without losing interest or getting tired of our company? This is the second mystery. 3. The mystery of cooperation. Men by nature are leaders and superior in many things than women therefore to submit to women is often alien to their psyche. It takes humility to have a fruitful marriage as compromises will have to be made, to have one’s own way at all times will spell disaster for the marriage. Marriage is not a dictatorial or autocratic arrangement, it is a mutually beneficial ordained institution of helpers and both must have a contribution to its growth and fulfilment. How do I remain a principal partner in this union without compromising my integrity and how do I submit always without appearing weak? This is the third mystery. Way out 1. To find answers to these mysteries, you must solicit the help of God who ordained the institution. You are unique and God knows the different challenges that will come and how your marriage will be sustained and hold out in the future. He has a way prepared for you already, trust Him. 2. To find out from those experienced, ask Mummy how to be a dutiful husband. She will know because she as the customer knows the goods better so they are always right, they are the buyers and the consumers of the products. Daddy might say things to deliberately boost the ego of his product and this is what Company Directors do. The woman should ask Daddy how to be a good wife. He will tell her what a man wants in a woman. 3. The final help is to ask yourself a personal question. What am I hoping to contribute into this marriage? It is what you sow into your marriage that you will reap. Your output will be determined by your input. Your marriage has great potentials, therefore no plan B in case of failure. Speak life and you will reap life because your words have creative power. The truths about marriages 1. No marriage is forever, all marriages end on earth. You are to fully discharge and empty all your virtues on this lifelong commitment, do not reserve your energy for the next one. We are not in a religion where you marry 72 virgins in paradise, supported by many loose women. This is a permanent contract with unreserved mutual love. 2. No marriage is absolutely perfect, every marriage has surmountable challenges. The woman will grow in size and there will be changes in her mood and dietary demand at a certain stage in life and the man will develop a likeness for a new hobby. These will present an adjustment in your behaviour, work commitment and social undertakings. You might need to learn new culinary skills and develop new interests in sports, entertainment, politics, religion and in his or her career. This will help you to find grounds for communication at all times. 3. You are not married to the wrong person. In the time of adjustment to this new life, you might begin to question yourself especially when there is a conflict between your idealistic expectation and the reality. You begin to notice the weaknesses of each other more than the strengths and you begin to wonder. It is the new personal discoveries about yourselves that make marriage interesting and the little projects of life improvement that keep your senses tuned. This is normal and with God, prayer and time you will grow together. Your attempt at changing yourself as an individual brings positive changes to your relationship. Do not make an attempt to force a change in your partner but focus on yourself first. Once married, stay married! That is your logo! 4. A failure of one is not a failure of all. This I say to the wife: your husband is the Prophet, Priest and king in the house; the presiding Bishop and head over all affairs. However, it might not happen quickly as expected, then help him out with wisdom especially in all his spiritual roles-organise the family worship, if he comes late read with the kids and pray for them before bed. His failure to fulfil one role is not an excuse for your disobedience and negativity. The wife is influential as the neck that turns the head, you are his helper and he has become your ministry. You are the virtuous woman in his house (Prov. 31:10-31) and the example he looks up to when he is weak and the helper he waits for when vulnerable (1 Pet. 3:1-6). To the husband: your wife’s failure to subject herself to you in everything initially is not a rationalisation for failure in the marriage. Only weak men blame their wives for everything wrong in the family, it is the ‘Adam’s syndrome’-the wife you gave me. We are to learn to turn negatives to positives together and to learn how to rule over our individual negative passions so that they will not rule over us. This is the essence of marriage. A man who fails to take responsibility in decision making and avoids his role, holding his wife captive and refuses to provide for her and the family is worse than an unbeliever (1 Tim 5:8). 5. He is not all about sex and she is not about lipsticks and lashes. Contrary to your opinion, he is not always thinking about sex (or rather he will not always be thinking about sex). It is the responsibility of the wife to remind the husband of his other areas of responsibility where he can channel his extra energy. The woman initially is more into the marital arrangement because the maternal instincts kicks in faster than the paternal responsibility and therefore let him know of your spiritual and emotional needs. You should be his teacher but at the same time, be careful of emotional manipulation that you do not deprive or defraud him of his physiological need in exchange for your emotional need. She is not only about beauty treatment-pedicure and manicure though admittedly women spend more on their beauty than men, take longer time to dress and think more about their physical appearance than men. When she spends money meant for the house on aesthetic stuff for the ‘show’ of friends and when she buys on influence rather than postpone gratification; remind her that more attention should be paid to the hidden person of the heart rather than external virtues (1 Peter 3:4). Try giving each other the benefit of the doubt and the privilege of ‘aftermath’. You are on a learning curve and it continues until the end. Conclusion Remember ‘marriage is not so much about finding the right person but as you being the right person’. You are to help out each other find fulfilment, to come to the measure of Christ, to complement and complete each other like the missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle. Marriage is about your leaving Dad and Mum, your cleaving to each other and your weaving together to become a blended union. You have shopped at God.com and you have picked the best reservation from His shelf. There is no money back guarantee, no exchange and no refund. This is not a damaged good, she is a well packaged present delivered to you from heaven. There must be no abuse or misuse!