During my quiet time, i got ministered to by this verse:
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
I found myself contending with my spirit.
“Lord have i been faithful?” “Have i kept the covenant?”
My Bible streaks sometimes rates me at 10, other times, it rates me at 1, reminding me that i should keep the discipline of reading the word even when my schedule gets crowded. It reminds me of discipline and commitment, it doesn’t matter how “squeezed” I am.
Does that happen in our marriages?
Does it happen in my marriage?
Do we keep our covenant even when things don’t go our way?
I always struggled with submission during the first year of our marriage. Not that i didn’t know what God needed me to do. I was simply resistant, wanting my husband to change so much that my own faults were blind to me.
My husband too, had an idea of “how loving like Christ” should be, but executing it was a whole different thing.
None of us wanted to submit to each other, holding our personal convictions firmly and rigidly.
How do you keep the covenant even when you both seem not to agree? When you are both facing different directions and are attuned to each others shortcomings rather than what is to be celebrated?
The truth is that it’s hard.
It’s hard loving a difficult person.
It’s harder loving someone who seems to be self-centered and outrightly selfish.
It’s the hardest thing to ever live with that kind of a person.
It’s difficult going through a hard season in marriage and emerge victorious, with lessons learnt and having grown together – pressure having bonded you, instead of shuttering you.
It’s not easy.
You see, the Lord didn’t promise us pure bliss in marriage. Actually, it’s not supposed to be pure bliss since it’s the ultimate personification of the gospel, our marriage(the church) to Christ.
We are the unfaithful bride. The bride who runs way into harlotry, clinging to other men(gods), forgetting the one who loves us unconditionally.
We do not keep our covenant of love to Christ.
We are not an exception. We have had hard seasons too. Times where we felt misunderstood, judged, and severely hurt each other with our words.
That is marriage – that is the beauty of marriage.
That in pain, something is birthed. Something beautiful and worth every sacrifice.
Just like a woman brings forth a child after actively enduring labour, so should our marriages be.
Hollywood movies are a mere fiction of what marriage is all about. Marriage is not just about the kissing, walking hand in hand under the moon, counting every star till you fall asleep in your beloved arms – marriage is a hard covenant to keep.
Seasons come that test the very bond, shaking every hard held belief, that makes you question if you did what was right in the first place.
HOW DO YOU KEEP THE COVENANT IN HARD TIMES?
During the hardest season of our marriage, i actively pursued God in selfishness. I know you are asking, how do you pursue God and are still selfish?
Yes i did so.
I was quick to tell the Lord how undeserving my husband is, yet, i did not want the Holy Spirit walking with me down to the very dark corners of my heart.
I did not want to be humbled and i quickly gave myself discounts, saying that my bad attitude was warranted. After all, my husband was not living up to my expectations.
I excused my selfishness as a by product of how my husband was.
I reported him to Christ, but i didn’t want my own score card.
How does Christ work on a heart that is not wiling to be pummeled? The answer is, he cannot unless invited.
The Lord taught me otherwise. Instead of changing my husband, he asked me TO CHANGE FIRST!
I felt betrayed.
How can God ask me to keep a covenant, while my husband isn’t doing his level best to keep it too!
How can i change for him?
The truth is, i wasn’t changing for him, i changing for HIM!
For Christ, not for my husband.
You see, that’s where we miss the whole point during a hard season of marriage. We think that if our husbands become cold, we should too.
If they ignore us, we should serve a double dose of the same.
It’s true, we nurture what we are given – but that’s not what Christ wants us to do.
Plus it never salvages whatever scraps that need to be salvaged.
We are to keep the covenant even during the hard seasons of our marriages.
God shows us evidently when the word of the Lord came to Hosea son of Beeri to go marry a harlot. I can imagine his shock and surprise.
Who would want to be subjected to such “cruelty.” I choose to call it so, because it seems unfathomable.
But he did so to symbolize that indeed marriage, is not just about happiness but for pursuing righteousness in the land of hard. That when you pursue righteousness, happiness tags along!
The problem is that we think that our faithfulness to our spouses is contingent on their reciprocity.
We decide that our faithfulness our spouses is determined by how much they will change. That could not be further from the truth.
Do not make your faithfulness to your spouse dependent on how much they will change, because the truth is, some simply take longer to change.
The covenant of marriage is about pleasing the LORD, doing all, as unto the Lord no matter how crushing your spouse can be!
Yes, pursuing righteousness, and “Happy” tags along!
I can see you cringing! Hard one right there! Whether we want to accept or not, that is the ULTIMATE truth! That is the gospel.
The faithful spouse preaches about the gospel, the union of the church and Christ, with how much they remain true.
Your spouse can change, but what if they don’t change tomorrow or next year?
How will you manage?
You see, sorrow too, tells the gospel, just like the merry part.
Christ bore our sins, it wasn’t an easy part. The sacrifice was huge and painful.
If you are getting married, or have been married, sacrifice will be part and parcel of your lives. Pain too is part of marriage.
Forbearance will be fruit.
If things turn for the better as you pray, thank the Lord and keep praying, but do not make your faithfulness dependent on how much your spouse turns around.
Hard gospel right?
If truly you believe that marriage is sacred, a bond broken only by death, then you will face it in a new light. Knowing that it might not be easy, but it will be as UNTO THE LORD, and this is the part that most people in courtship aren’t told or don’t want to face.
That you will keep praying and pursuing your spouse in love, moving towards them even when thy least deserve it.
You will trust God on behalf of your husband or wife if you do not trust them anyway.
You will focus on pleasing the Lord, for in turn, he will mold your spouse on your behalf.
You see the difference between them that are godly and ungodly is not that the two never experience heartaches in marriage or in the world.
The difference is what each decide to do, and how they choose to act with whatever uncomfortable situation they have.
The godly will embrace the season with gladness, of course with tears, knowing that each trial gives them a chance to bear a fruit of brokenness, love, unselfishness and grace.
They will patiently endure the season, knowing that there are more rewarding times ahead.
They will desperately cling to the Lord’s promise of a hope for a bright future.
Though weary, they will never faint and they will push on with a will determined to do as the Lord requires them to do.
They will honor their marriage covenant – This is hard, and very unnatural for a human being!
The ungodly will justify their hurt. They will hurt their spouses, meting out justice for whatever wrongs were committed to them.
They will abscond their duties, run away from responsibilities, care less about what their spouses think.
They will subvert the will of God for their own will.
They will not honor their vows and marriage covenant – This is easy, and occurs very natural to us.
So what can we do when hard seasons hit us below the belt in marriage?
Begin right there. Where you are.
The Lord asks, just like he asked Moses, “What do you have in your hand?”
You have arms that can lift up, a voice that can cry out and knees that can bend down in prayer.
Shift your focus from your spouse to the Lord.
Ask the Lord for grace to pray for them because it’s to hard to pray a “prayer of love.” It’s easier to pray for retribution.
Know that the Lord is God and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
He understands our fallibility and frailties.
He knows how much you pray, he knows how much you seek his face, he knows your sacrifices. He will change your spouse in due time.
Keep the covenant in the hard season of marriage for the Lord will not hold you accountable for your spouses actions, but will HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE FOR HOW YOU CHOOSE TO ACT TOWARDS THEM IN THAT HARD SEASON.