During courtship, people who intend to get married often give the best to each other, but when they finally get married, they get to see the rest of each other. If a young man is courting a girl and they are not yet married, she may not know that the young man snores while he sleeps, but on the wedding night, she will be in for a shock of reality.
Marriage begins with a vision. I want you to know that you cannot capture a future you have not pictured. What is your vision for your marriage? Where there is no vision people destroy themselves. Any marriage that ended up in the divorce court in a marriage in which the couple involved did not have a well-planned out vision for. You must have a vision, and that vision determines even who you will marry. The map of your marriage vision should accommodate the following:
- Where are we now?
- Where are we going?
- How do we get there?
Everyone that will succeed in marriage must have a vision for that marriage. A man who wants to make heaven with his wife will give his marriage adequate spiritual covering in the place of prayer. A man who wants to raise his children in godly manner with the fear of God will spend time with his wife and children at home, not in a beer parlour drinking with friends and strangers or in the game parlours watching seasonal football matches. Your vision does not exist outside your daily activities.
Two factors that make a marriage successful are:
- Your mind-set
- Your lifestyle
Your mind-set affects you. It determines how you think. You can take a man out of the bush, but you may not take the bush out of the man. The Israelites came out of the Egypt but Egypt was not out of them. They still behaved like slaves even though they were out of slavery. If you transfer the mind-set of a bachelor into your new lifestyle as a married man, your marriage is heading for a crash.
A lot of married men are still behaving like bachelors. You need to cultivate the mind-set of a married person, which means there are certain things you used to do that you don’t need to do anymore because your status has changed. If you used to tell everything to your mummy, now that you have married, you would need to tell the same things now to your wife, and not your mummy. When you see a man that always run back to his mummy to complain, the home of such a man is most likely a total mess. Such person is still a boy in a man’s body. A life of a married man demands careful thought and wise actions. You must think and act differently.
It is your marriage and you are the one to make it work. After I met my wife, the man who mentored us in our marriage told me something I would never forget. He said that to marry the will of God for you is not a guarantee that the marriage will work. Many of us when we want to marry, fast and pray, go to men of God, dream dreams and so on. We do all these things until we are sure that it is the will of God. However, all those things do not in any way guarantee that the marriage will work. This explains why many Christians, though they met and got married in the Scripture Union, or in the Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship International; though they attend Pentecostal churches or orthodox ones, yet their marriage do not work because it has to be made to work by the parties involved in the marriage, not by happenstances or external factors. Marriage does not work because you chose to marry the will of God.
In his book “Good Morning Holy Spirit”, Benny Hinn told an interesting story about how he met Susan, his wife. It was clear that they were in the will of God. Susan was six years or there about when her own grand mother told her that in future you will meet a man of God by the name Ben who will be her husband. Benny kept praying to God that he didn’t want to have a girlfriend but that anytime he meets his my wife, he would want God to just tell him that she is the one. The first day he saw Susan, a voice came to him saying, “She is the one”. He also told God that as he went back to Canada, she should would do certain things and those things happened exactly. We know that their marriage was according to the will of God but we also were in tears when they divorced in 2010. If not for God’s divine intervention causing them to come back together around 2012 – 2013, their marriage would have been completely over. So it is not enough that you are married to the will of God for you, you must make sure that your marriage works. Marriage is hard work. The same way you will have to work hard to succeed in an examination, to be promoted in your office, and to excel in business, you also need the same aggressiveness and hard work to succeed in your marriage.
There are many people who are frustrated in marriage. There is a church in this town, name with-held, at the close of service every Sunday, a certain man will come to the altar, kneel down in prayer and pray saying “Father, kill me, for I can’t stay one day longer with my wife. I don’t want to commit suicide, take my life. I am tired.” He kept praying this same prayer and people were hearing him, in two months’ time the man went to bed and never work up. Why? Because as far as he was concerned, he was facing hell fire and was so frustrated.
Marriages that work are the ones that the partners involved are building with commitment and not the ones built with excitement. Too many people are building their marriages on excitement but excitement can be short-lived. There will be happy times and sad times in marriage. We do not pray for the sad times but we also are not able to keep them from coming. Excitement can only get you through the happy times but commitment is what gets you through both the happy and sad times.
My father in the Lord defined marriage as “having a life commitment with an imperfect person”. The sole reason you are no longer committed to your marriage is because of lack of commitment to partner. Where there is no commitment, the marriage will end up in separation.
Every marriage is unique and for that reason, what works for this man may not work for that man. What I practice with my wife and succeed may become a serious issue of contention if you apply the same practice with your wife. The reason for this diverseness and uniqueness of marriages is because every individual in that marriage comes from different background, have different information and predisposition, have different life orientations, and different ways of thinking. You must acknowledge that because it is very important.
Nobody’s marriage on earth is like your own and your marriage so far is exactly how you have made it to be. You must find out what works for you and make it work.
Dr. Don Odunze held a programme in Umuahia sometime and shared a testimony that since he got married to his wife, she has never slept with her head on the pillow whenever he was around, but that she uses his arm as a pillow. One man heard this story and when he went home, he told his wife, “From tonight, you will use my arms as pillow whenever we retire to bed.” So in the night, his wife lay on his arm and by the morning, he could not lift his hand. He attended the rest of Don Odunze’s programme with a bandage on his arm! What worked for Don Odunze could not work for him.
It is important to discover what works for both of you and make it happen. You must unlock the hidden treasure within your marriage.
God has a blessing for every marriage, it is your duty to unlock it. You must tap into the potential and treasures within each other and help one another to express it.
There are some men who are threatened by their wife’s success. Some would prefer to suppress their wives. I know of a former Governor who met a secondary school girl and married her. They soon travelled to the United State and spent several years before returning to Nigeria to contest and become the Governor of his state. To my surprise, his wife was still an SSCE holder, just as he met her, despite all the years they spent in the United States. This was not because the wife did not want to go to school, but that he rather did not want to allow her express herself.
When he became Governor, even for once, nobody heard the wife. She couldn’t speak publicly. She was not refined. Her years in America did not show. Her husband made sure she was suppressed into non-existence. That is not how marriage ought to be. In marriage, you create an enabling environment or platform that will ensure that each person will express themselves and maximize their lives.
There are four keys you need to unlock the treasures in your marriage. Four Ds that will determine the future of your marriage:
Decision creates events. If you are not decisive you will be a victim in life. Victors are decisive people. What are your decisions concerning marriage? If you have not decided that you will not commit adultery no matter how the temptation comes, one day you will do it. If you have not decided to remain with your partner no matter the storms of life that blow in your marriage, or no matter what they do to offend you, one day you will leave and end the marriage. The reason divorce rate is on the increase is because of people not deciding to stick together through thick and thin. Some people in order not to divorce are merely living together as roommates. They are married yet are not married. They live together but do not interact or share their lives.
Before and after I got married to my wife, I told her, “I have forgiven you 50 years in advance for anything you will do to wrong me”. It may sound casual but it is a heart-felt decision I have made to preserve my marriage. It is not by might or by power, but when God sees your heart, He will supply you with the grace. If you don’t take certain decisions to preserve what you hold precious, the Devil will present you with opportunities to take the opposite decision, and he will always win.
There is no marriage that does not face storms of life. There is no marriage that people do not encounter difficulty but too many people use difficulty in their marriages as a parachute to throw in the towel. You must be determined against all odds that your marriage will work; that you will do everything possible to stay together. That determination is what allows you to succeed. There are many people who cannot endure anything. There are characteristics in your partner that you cannot change no matter how hard you try. In fact, the harder you try to change them, the closer you come to losing them.
When I speak about this kind of determination, the person who readily comes to mind is Ruth in the Bible. When Naomi urged her to return to her people after the death of her husband, she instead chose to remain with Naomi. “I will be with you. Wherever you go I will go. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. Where you die I will die and there I will be buried”. That kind of determination was what endeared her to God’s heart, and God arranged for her to meet and get married to Boaz. Ruth, a Moabite, was therefore grafted into the genealogy of Jesus Christ because she was a determined woman. Do not allow the Devil to win in your marriage. Be determine to make your marriage work and it will work.
This involves putting effort, even hard work to make your marriage to work. Success is deliberate and same is true even in marriage. The amount of effort you put in to make it work determines the amount of result you will expect to get. Some people think marriage just works out of the box. They think all they need to do is to just get married and then happily ever after will automatically follow. Wrong! 2 Corinthians 9:6 “He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly and he who sow bountifully will reap bountifully”. Your marriage will not weather any storm of life if you do not make effort to row the boat of your marriage through that storm.
What keeps most marriages from succeeding is excesses of the couples involved. After you get married you are not to continue the kind of life you used to live as a single because another individual is not part and parcel of your life. You now have to discipline yourself to trim off your excesses.
You inadvertently set up your marriage for disaster if you go about the same lifestyle you lived prior to getting married. It is like a sinner who gives his life to Christ but consciously continues to live the old life of a sinner. That person is destined for hell fire because he has known the truth and rejected it. Once you get married, whether you accept it or not, you have given yourselves to each other, and that should rearrange your life, your schedule, your choices, your status, your relationships and even your friends. If you stay married to your old lifestyle, it would only be a matter of time and you will lose your partner. Discipline yourself to make no room for excesses.