A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.
1 Kings 12:6-14
Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you recommend me to answer these people?” he asked.
Solomon with all his wisdom and splendor intrigues me. The Bible says that he had a council of elders who served his father David, and still served with him during his reign, yet he was a man of wisdom and could handle perplexing situation presented to him.
He did not gloat over his wisdom, veiled by pride, entangled in self-importance– but had the humility to ask of the elders – for they had gone through various seasons in Israel and had seen other Kings rule before him. They had something to say, they had a lot to give to Solomon. He did what was necessary, godly, commendable, true, just, lovely, noble (Philippians 4:8), and drank at their feet.
But his son Rehoboam did not regard their counsel. He rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. (1st Kings 12:8)
When about to get married, seek a godly couple to walk with. It’s not only important, its urgent, it’s prudent. But you see, most of us put up our ladder against the wrong wall, more so when seeking advice. We think we know it all. We work with assumptions and presumptions based on the information we have at hand. We never subject ourselves to counsel, godly counsel – after all its us who are in the said situation – right?
If you want to make a sound decision, ask someone who has gone before you. It’s not all that complicated. It’s not being weak. It’s not a sign of being indecisive. Solomon had never been a king before, so it was very likely that he would have made errors by omission or commission if he did not listen to the elders.
The elders were at a different season than he was. They had seen different kings rule with their different styles and were in a position to advise him on how to go about certain administrative issues.
They were at a different season of life.
Now, if you want to get married, of course just like Rehoboam, the first people who will know about your relationship will be your peers. They know your coffee dates, your strolls, your struggles, your intrigues and your patterns. It is all well and in order. Most of the time, our friends really come through for us during hard times.
Your friends will easily identify with you because you are at the same level, with the same struggles and in the same season of life. But then pertinent issues come and decisions that should be holistically thought through with all seriousness like marriage come. Such, require people or a person that has gone before you.
Unfortunately, we get wise in our own eyes. We disregard wisdom just like Rehoboam and run to our peers – people we grew up with. The people who serve you. Do you think that they will be keen enough to remove the speck in your eye?
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
Look at the people you grew up with? Most of the them still refer to you by your pet names, the names that you were known with in the village and in the small circles you grew up in.
Most of them, never see you through the eyes of the present. They always see you as – the one we grew up with. The eyes of the past.
It is highly unlikely that they will tell you an unadulterated truth. Most of your peers’ sooth you because they are getting something from you, you will get a favor from you, they are afraid of losing your friendship and others are envious. Your “death” will be their joy.
By all means, friends are good, but serious matters such as marriage, require a person or people who will not fear telling you the truth and can call out your bad attitude when need be.
Does it mean that you should take their advice as it is? Not necessarily. The Bible tells us to “TEST AND APPROVE” what is God’s will, His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2). Marriages are not built the same, but the principles never change. Take what works for you, but by and large, they cannot give you advice with the intent of seeing you fail.
Ask as many questions as you can. There is not a single soul on earth that succeeded without questioning. Ask and Ask.
While at it, there are times that your best couple might offer a different suggestion than yours. Take a bow in humility and listen. The word of the Lord often drives us to a point of humility. There will be no way that you will tap into their wisdom with the “knowledge that puffs up”- 1st Corinthians 8:1
Unfortunately, that’s the problem we have at hand. Just because you have read a zillion books about marriage doesn’t mean that you got the experience of living it out!
Knowledge is great! Have it! Store it. But marriage is a different spectrum all together. Listen from someone who has been through that season. Take a posture of humility. Shun from pride and obstinacy that comes with a little knowledge. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
A small amount of knowledge can make you think you know it all, leading you straight into the death trap of overconfidence. Leaping and jumping to invalid conclusions based on what you do know without taking into account the things that you don’t know is dangerous.
Little knowledge doesn’t work a marriage out!
Walk closely with your best couple! They have seen more days than you! More seasons than you and could help you draw better conclusions about a certain dead lock in your marriage.
What about them that do not have a close couple? Find a godly couple who can walk with you or can confide in in-case of an impasse, but most importantly, watch who you walk with! Yes! Every marathon needs marathoners of the same spirit. People who will run with you in the long haul and uphold you when all seems stuck. You cannot have an amazing marriage if all you have are people who advice you wrongly!
Look at the friends who advised Rehoboam.
This is what they told Rehoboam to say:
1 Kings 12:10
They provoked him, “Thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs’”
Who says that in his right mind? Be careful of whom you associate with. Some will advise you to answer your husband back, after all “you are not a door mat!”
Some will advise you to slap your wife, after all, “women are weaker and you are the ‘man of the house’.”
Some will advise you to have cheat – after all, everyone does it!
Be very careful of the path of sin. Sin is deceitful and it appeals to you according to your situation. Hard seasons come in every marriage, but in those hard times, who advises you? Who will pray with you? Who will walk with you in soberness of mind and spirit?
If you run to them that don’t regard marriages, then it will be easy for you to trample down what you were both building. So many marriages could have been saved if they got the right counsel.
Lest we forget, not every person who has gone before has a sane advice. Advise devoid of bitterness and vendetta. So ask of the Lord to show you whom to confide in. Older doesn’t mean mature in mind and heart.
David once said, I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation, I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. (Psalm 119:99–100)
Mediating and living according to the word of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. Psalm 111:10. The buck stops with the Lord. If the Lord doesn’t approve of it, then do not do it.
Do not be hardened either that you will not listen to Him!
God cannot create a beautiful covenant called marriage and at the same time inspire women to discredit their husbands. He cannot tell a husband to be physically abusive or emotionally abusive to the wife!
A heart of humility subjects us to submission to Christ then to each other, and to them that of godly counsel.
Find a godly couple to walk with you!