Reverend David Page of the Church of England once summarised about a month before we got married, “You do not fall in love, neither do you fall out of love. Love is a choice”. That is the word that comes to mind most in my short (almost 4 years) marital journey. And it has resounded every time I got the news of a broken marriage of a family member or friend last year (2013) – few times.
We were living in London and would be getting married in Elworth, Cheshire. More so, with a 3 hour train trip on London Midlands from Euston to Crewe the only affordably journey option back then, there was no time for the lengthy and seemingly exhaustive marriage counselling the typical Pentecostal church habitually does.
Our marriage counselling happened in a day and it ended up being a 25-minute maximum time spent at the vicar’s house, of which the actual talking happened in less than 7 minutes. No scriptures were read just few practical sentences that stresses the power of God in a marriage, but yet more engraving were the points that LOVE is not magical, neither is it a spell.
I remember the vicar stressing that LOVE in the movies is fake – not something you fall into and then fall out of. It is what happens when all the initial excitement is gone. The moment you discover just how horrible he/she is; how understanding or bossy he/she is; how unloving or uncaring he/she seems… and the list goes on. The decision to stay and battle it all together to the end even if he/she will never change: that is LOVE.
Therefore, if you ever stopped loving him/her especially to the point of leaving, face the one truth you won’t want to: you never loved him/her. You went in for something selfish that never materialised for your own selfish benefits and it was time to move on.
I know you want to know about the exceptions and exclusions – I’m giving you none. You can however be glad that I am not a marriage counsellor, just a real guy that has tasted real LOVE and experience. With just almost 4 years of marriage? Is that experience? YES especially with marriages crashing within months nowadays. Married at 24 to a beautiful bride of 22, that’s the marriage age bracket where you rock it real with nothing fake – more real and practical conflicts (not physical) than the average marriage of those in 30′s to 40′s who have learnt to be calm and follow the flow.
Such moments have incessantly appeared and reappeared in our marriage and I’m not being negative or a kill-joy, it will continue to happen till Jesus says it’s time to return HOME (be it death or rapture). But by His grace through the divine inculcation of unselfish and sacrificial love, this institution shall stand till the end.
Do you think this is because we are both perfect or have learnt to understand each other? No way, I can moan about my wife when those moods come but for every single complaint, I have against her, she probably has 5 variants against me – we’re perhaps both guilty as charge. This is however beyond the ‘FAULT OR RIGHT GAME’, it’s about realising your weakness and dropping your pride to hold on to the angle God is given you and if need be, convert the ‘demon to an angel’ as your upset moments would have told you she’s a demon.
Such cheer determination is amazing but the bar is further raised when God is in a marriage. The most complete scripture on marriage and marital duties is found in Ephesians 5:22-33. Read it in the New King James version below (I pray God ministers to you (man or woman) the deepest meanings hidden from a selfish spouse):
Ephesians 5:22-33 New King James Version (NKJV)
Marriage—Christ and the Church
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[a] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
I consider every attempt to completely explain this scripture as a belittlement of the power of the Holy Spirit and the divinely deep revelation of God. Please read it prayerfully when you can. However, for the sake of those who are yet to fully get the ‘God factor’ here is just a little but not exclusive explanation:
Any wife that does not submit to her husband does not submit to the Lord. The church being subject to Christ is not carnal or into slavery like it is in an earthly king and subject relation; it is a willing submission borne out of love.
Husbands however have an even much more demanding duty and from what I have seen, many of us are either blind or shy from it): love your wife like Christ selflessly loves the church to the point of giving Himself (unto death – in all ramifications) for her.
As aforesaid, I will make no attempt to give an extensive lecture on this, your heart is much more powerful to grow this seed and put a godly life into your marriage.
And for that friend, sister/brother, aunty/uncle and mother/father that is telling you to leave him/her, the fact of the matter is often this: their lives are messed up and they’re not happy seeing you holding on to yours. They simply want you to join them down below. BEAR THAT IN MIND!
Amidst my limited knowledge and understanding but merged with an unquenchable passion, here is my summary:
All the Love, All the hard work, All the passion, All the romance, All the gifts, The ‘I Do’, The ‘for better and for worse’, When it is even for ‘good and continuously better’ and All the better than the best… is not enough to keep your spouse.
Seeing few marriages crash in 2013 makes me grateful to God for mine and STRESSES: Only God keeps a marriage and every marriage rooted in God has two selfless (unselfish) persons becoming one in Him and daily becoming more sacrificial like the most faithful SPOUSE that ever lived – JESUS who gave himself even unto DEATH!
I PRAY FOR ALL LIVES TORN IN-BETWEEN THESE CRASHED UNIONS (ESPECIALLY THE CHILDREN) AROUND THE WORLD; THAT THEY WILL COME TO CHRIST AND A TRUE WALK WITH GOD WILL HELP THEM BREAK THE JINX!
PLEASE SHARE, YOU MAY SAVE A MARRIAGE & A LIFE!
CREDIT: Frederick Gbemileke Odutola, the one divinely blessed to have Rebekah Odutola as a wife and blessed with two end-time warriors of Christ. PLEASE SHARE, YOU MAY SAVE A MARRIAGE & A LIFE!