As I have cruised through the bumpy route of life and marriage, I have learnt quite a number of very bitter and valuable lessons. All of the bad choices and bad situations I found myself in could have been avoided if I had been in the right frame of mind & spirit. You see for me, in hindsight, I really wish I could have done a number of things differently because the amount of hurt and pain I caused my wife, my children, my parents , siblings, friends and myself was not really warranted neither was it worth it.
Ecclesiastes 2:26 “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
For me, these 3 things, Peace, Humility & Wisdom, can circumvent a host of bad situations and it has been proven in the testimonies of my life.
Peace. Marriage is a battle, but not against your spouse. It’s a war against our sin nature. Every marriage has a mortal enemy, a mighty nemesis named selfishness. If you are married, there will be trouble. There will be disagreements, there will be disappointments, and there will be hurt feeling. We are human. Yet it is in these moments that we need to guard our mouth even more tightly. Once words leave your lips, you can not take them back. No matter if you feel them strongly or they were a fleeting thought, your spouse will remember those words forever and reflect on them when they are feeling low and insecure. If you are feeling angry, it is best to weigh your words much more heavily before speaking them. When two people live in a joined space and are so intimately connected, conflict is bound to arise. Marriage is kind of like going to war. No matter how compatible, how prepared, how privileged, couples are going to face a lifetime of struggles. That’s because life itself is a struggle, and in a marriage you shoulder each other’s burdens as well as your own. Add kids into the mix and those struggles multiply exponentially.The real danger in a marriage is when you stop fighting the war together and start fighting each other. When the marriage itself becomes a war, it’s no longer an adventure. It’s a pitched battle for self-preservation, and in the end everyone loses. Being a peacemaker isn’t easy. It’s not the passive existence of “keeping the peace,” or keeping your mouth shut to avoid confrontation. Instead, it’s an intentional, active state of existence that requires you to make careful–and sometimes difficult–decisions regarding the state of your relationship. Seeking and creating peace requires courage and fortitude. In my marriage, my selfish need to defend myself in good and bad situations made me not see that living in peace or seeking peace in any situation is the best way to have a happy wife and a happy life. Give your wife or husband less reason to complain. In Proverbs 21: 19 It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife. In order to keep peace, try to think about the following area:
Dont Say Everything that crosses your mind. When you are angry, pause and think before you speak. Dont bring up past baggage. Listen. Speak gently. Dont go to bed angry. Forgive Quickly, Forgive Often, Forgive Fully. Serve your spouse Unselfishly. Stop Holding your spouse to Unrealistic Expectations. Be Affectionate.
Humility. Humility is so beautiful, isn’t it? And yet so elusive. Because we love ourselves so very much, it’s a struggle to consider others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).Recently I decided to pay attention to all the times I felt “fighting feelings” rising up inside. You know the feeling you get when someone offends you, cuts you off, takes too long, doesn’t say “excuse me” or “thank you,” short changes you, or is rude in some other way. I kept track of how many times these feelings flared up inside, and it was eye opening. It was especially eye opening when I chose to do what God commands when my wife does something or speaks in a way that I am not happy with or that makes me feel disrespected. It is a fight to choose humility, to actually be clothed in humility (1 Peter 5:5). This is radically different than what we’ve ever felt like doing. This is radically different from the world’s way of thinking. You’re not going to find any magazines with articles encouraging you to show humility. Instead, we are saturated with messages about power, independence, and control. We are bombarded with advice telling us to listen to our own hearts, to do whatever we feel like doing. The constant affirmation of the world and the pull of our own hearts make it so easy to believe that we deserve to be treated in a certain way. We should not have to listen to anyone telling us what to do; after all, we are strong and independent. It scares me how easy it is to start thinking like the world without realizing it. It troubles me that the majority of what we pour into our minds is so worldly. Our thinking can stray so far from biblical truth! Think about how much time you spend in a normal week watching television and movies, reading magazines, scrolling through the internet, and engaging in social media. Now compare that with the amount of time you spend in the Word of God and in prayer. Scary? What are we feeding our minds, what are we feeding our spirit. What will come to our mind when we are confronted with conflict situations. Is it the advice of the world or the advice from God. Pride leads to conflict in marriage, so what are you doing to nurture humility in your own heart? God hates a proud heart and an arrogant spirit. During conflict, a prideful heart is self-consumed and cannot see beyond its own thoughts, opinions, perspective, pain, feelings and needs. In those moments of conflict, pride worries most about self — there is little room for a spouse (or even God). “In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God” (Psalm 10:4, NIV).
During marital conflict, husbands and wives who swallow their pride ultimately choose to value their spouse’s thoughts, feelings and needs above their own. This isn’t easy and it doesn’t come naturally, but it will be a turning point in times of disagreement. This is what humility looks like during conflict:
I focus on you. I give you my full attention.I am patient.I seek to understand you before being understood by you.I listen with my eyes, ears and open heart.I assume the best about you.I ask God to change me instead of trying to change you.I respect your feelings regardless of whether they make sense to me.I treat you with gentleness and compassion.I forgive you.
Romans 12:10 admonishes us to “outdo one another in showing honor,” and these attitudes have the potential to counteract the negative impact of pride because we are honoring and valuing our spouse. As we humble ourselves by outdoing our spouse in showing honor, he or she is more likely to respond in a positive way.
Wisdom. In our worldly culture, there continues to be a relentless attack on the family – to redefine it, to devalue it, and in the end, to destroy it. But by God’s grace, our families don’t have to be victims or statistics. Because of the work of the gospel in our lives, my wife and I are growing in our understanding of what a healthy home, and a healthy marriage look like. My wife and I fell in love and got married. We actually thought that Love is all we need to keep the marriage but 10 years on after a lot of tears and hurt we just got to find out it is not so. Love will not hold it all together. By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. -Proverbs 24:3-4
This has been a very pivotal verse from the Bible that has started to guide our approach to the marriage and other relationships. Before diving into the wisdom Proverbs would offer to married couples, we first must be reminded why God made marriage in the first place. And that is to be a beautiful illustration of Christ and the Church. (Read together Eph. 5:31-33). So for a marriage to reflect the gospel, it looks like the wife humbly, intelligently submitting to her husband. And the husband is to humbly, sacrificially lead his home by loving his wife and laying down his life for her. The man is called to be a servant-leader like Jesus.From Genesis to Revelation the Bible often uses the word house to refer to the smallest and most basic unit of society—the family. Knowledge is critical for success and survival in anything. If you desire a successful marriage you have to learn to operate by wisdom. Bible also says “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”Proverbs 2:6 “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builder’s labor in vain. (Ps. 127:1) God is the Divine Builder. “For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”Hebrews 3: 4 God’s Word gives some specific plans for building a great relationship between husband and wife. It begins and ends with God’s wisdom. Wisdom is the foundation on which a house must be built. It is the great principle on which all other principles must be founded. But what is this wisdom says,Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Book of Proverbs signifying that homes are built with three primary tools: wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Wisdom is the ability to perceive with discernment, to view life as God sees it. Wisdom is application. Understanding is the skill to bring together the elements of life so that one can respond to it or live it with insight. Understanding is comprehension. Knowledge is learning, discovering, growing and living with an eternal perspective. Knowledge is information. In Hosea 4:6a God says, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” The greatest knowledge of all is the knowledge God. God designed marriage for success, and only His counsel can make it successful. Look at Proverbs 21:30 “There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord.” Marriage is still a good idea because it is God’s idea. He created it. He designed it. He established it and defined its parameters. Marriage is not a human concept. Mankind did not simply dream up marriage somewhere along the line as a convenient way of handling relationships and responsibilities between men and women or dealing with childbearing and parenting issues. Marriage is of divine origin. God Himself instituted and ordained marriage at the very beginning of human history. The second chapter of Genesis describes how God, taking a rib from the side of the man He had already created, fashioned from it a woman to be a “suitable helper” (Gen. 2:20) for the man. Then God brought the man and the woman together and confirmed their relationship as husband and wife, thereby ordaining the institution of marriage. When God created man and woman, He created them to complement each other. He indicated this when He said “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). God formed woman to round out man’s incompleteness, so that physically, socially, emotionally, intellectually, and even spiritually, male and female would not be rivals, but mates. Yesterday my wife and I were watching a marriage sermon by Pastor Robert Morris and he taught us a very Key principle about how marriage is made in Gods image and has the power of 3 to be successful, Man, Woman and God. As a humble couple in training we seek to have wisdom about marriage from the designer of Marriages, God.
Proverbs 1: 20-23 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.
Wilbert Frank Chaniwa