Archive for the two as one Category
Couple of years ago a young lady preparing for marriage informed a pastor in a dialogue that she believed marriage is a contract, where every party must play their role in the relationship. Although this statement is the definition that many people have when it comes to marriage. This is because our society is a contract-oriented one.
Reasons for contract is to make room for future and holding people responsible to oats promised. We believe very strongly on the things written down with a legal backing, as this will be the strength of the relationship. As much as we think this strengthens the relationship, experience has proved us wrong, as divorce even among Christians is as high as none Christians if not even higher. Further we assume that with contract you can be more certain that the person or company will live up to their claims. Many homes are therefore built on this contract mentality; if a party in the relationship keeps his part then the other will keep hers. It is assumed that then all will well. Marriage therefore is according to our society’s definition a case of ‘if and then’.
In my opinion I have the faith that marriage is more than ‘if and then’. The idea of ‘if’ one party fulfills his part ‘then’ the other party will fulfill her part. If this mentality is the foundation of any marriage, such relationship becomes legal. Such relationship is guided by ‘dos and don’ts. It will now be filled with all expectations from every party involved in the relationship. The marriage with such principle will be more of work than grace. God in this kind of relationship is out of the equation as the issue arising from it is always drawn on the table of ‘if and then’.
A good study of the scripture shows that wherever there is true relationship there must be covenant. At the creation of man there was covenant that God made in creating man in His image. The Triune God was in covenant agreement with Himself in the Son and Spirit. The relation of God with man was on covenant. It was a covenant of unbroken relationship, as man exists by His breath. It means God is in man.
The creation of the woman for the man was on covenant as well. Woman was made that man would not be alone. The woman was carved out of the man. She is a product from the man. She contains part of man in her as she was formed from the man’s rib. The completion of man is in the woman and there is no woman without the man. No man can be born without the woman (Adam the only exception). Such relationship is beyond ‘if and then’.
The creation of marriage is God’s idea and making. When God is involved in matter it is with a covenant. God is in a marriage for the purpose of changing man from what is not good to what is good. Such creation is with benefit. God depicted this in His dealing with Noah before and after the flood. God planned to save the world through the building of the ark. The part played by Noah is to follow the instruction of God while God will fulfill His part in saving Noah and his entire posterity.
God’s dealing with man is from covenant perceptive. In every relationship God takes the initiative of making it a covenant. Is God trying to put man in bondage, you may ask? To this I submit that covenant is for the benefit of man.
The Old and the New Testament is full of covenant. The scripture told us about the covenant of God with Abraham, Moses, David and the host of others. The role of the prophets in the scriptures is to tell and remind the children of God of their covenant relationship with God. In the New Testament Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament covenant prophecies. He did not only fulfill the Old covenant but to make the New ones, which is better than the former. All these relationship was not based on “if and then” matter but on covenant.
Apart from relationship between God and man, we can see that friends like David and Jonathan entered into a relationship that none of them can back up from. The dialogue of Ruth with Naomi was more of a covenant than persuasion. This is not a relationship based on ‘if and then’ but on life.
Therefore, we should not be surprised to discover that in the Bible, marriage is also viewed as a covenant between a man and woman. The wise man wrote in Proverbs 2:16-17 warning his son against becoming involved with a wayward wife who “abandons the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God,” he indicates clearly that marriage is a sacred covenant. It is not based on the fact of ‘if and then’.
At other times God refers to His relationship with Israel as that of marriage. Through prophet Ezekiel in Chapter 16:8, He described Israel as an adulterous wife for whom he yearns. “‘I pledged Myself to you, entered into a covenant with you, and you became mine.’ This is the declaration of the Lord God. Marriage is covenant and not contract of ‘if and then’
In my next blog, I will look at the characteristics of covenant as it relates to marriage.
One of the reasons why many women including me dread marriage is the question before us today. When I was young I looked at the women that were married, and thought they entered the land of second fiddle in the entire game. I wonder why it should be so. Dating my husband before we got married I express my feeling to him.
He responded by telling me that he will love and keep me happy in the marriage. Praise God I have no regret in my marriage. I felt I must share my understanding in the relationship with you.
Intimacy is not what we gain or retain in marriage forever. I realize that intimacy is not concrete object that can be kept in a safe at the emotional bank. Intimacy is fluid that is proportional to the communication that goes between two close people (in the light of my argument couples).
The life of every marriage is communication between the parties involved. Communication is like the air we breathe that cannot be stored in the bank, but take and use at all times even in sleep. The fact that we communicate does not bring intimacy it must be healthy one. The quality of what we communicate matters. Bad communication can be like poisonous gas that can choke life out of couples. In the natural if anyone inhales Carbon- Monoxide, he dies naturally in just few minutes of inhalation.
Eating healthy food is dependent on education. The skill of knowing which food is good for the body and the ones to avoid. Communication is a skill as well that must be studied between couples to know which is healthy for their intimacy and the one to avoid. School to emotional stabilities is lined with patterns of communication that will lead to intimacy.
Some of our communication patterns are positive, leading us to intimacy in marriage. I will look at this pattern more closely in the future blog.
Many things are responsible for breakdown of communication between couples. This ranges from the inheritance to social company and the society world –view of the subject. It is very difficult to make changes in our communication that can lead to intimacy without understanding the ones that easily erodes it.
The purpose of my blog is not to give rules and regulations but to lay the matter on the table and see how to practically practice them according to the leading of the Lord. The model for healthy communication can only stem from the example God has with man. Christianity is the ability to hear from God and communicate back to Him in terms.
Christianity is self-revelation of God on God’s part and listening to Him on the part of the individual. None can claim to be a Christian till he meets this condition. There is no way couples can have intimacy till there is self-revelation from each other and listening in simultaneous balance.
Self- revelation and listening must be accompanied by honest, loving feedback on the part of the listener. If there is no honest feedback from the listener there can no intimacy and deep relationship. In fact, miscommunication and misunderstanding will probably be the results.
In good marital communication the husband and wife each share thoughts, feelings, experiences, values, priorities, and judgments while the other listens sympathetically. Both partners share on the same open, honest level. Taking bearing of intimacy from God, who took the initiative to seek audience with Adam even after eating the forbidden fruit, will help our search. God has used and still in business of applying different methods in reaching out to man. God at times speaks to man through the inner voice, at another time through dreams. The Holy Spirit has been agent of bringing to man the mind of God. The fact I am establishing is that we must all learn intimacy steps from God. It’s only through this we make it permanent and if neglected it will be temporal.
I will continue from this point next week.