BY MARGARET ELLIS
For those of you who had the opportunity to read the first part of this series, you will agree that this one is long overdue. In the last article, I shared that the purpose of marriage is designed first to fulfill God’s mandate in our lives. Marriage was the first institution that God established in the earth and not only did he speak it into existence he also facilitated the process. According to the bible, God created man (Adam) and then woman (Eve) out of his ribs for the sole purpose of being his wife and helpmate. Once God brought the two together, it was established that “man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and the two of them shall become one flesh”. Before the purpose of the union was defined though, the vision for the two of them already existed. In the first scripture in the bible – Genesis 1, it is written that God created all the earth and everything in it (plants of all sorts, birds in the air, fishes in the sea, animals of all breed) and set man over this prestigious office to be the general overseer of his estate. He spoke a decree over man to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and govern it. Besides speaking his vision for man, God also defined the purpose for which marriage should exist between a man and woman (to cling together and become one). Since we have a mandate to build our homes and build a lasting marriage which glorifies God, we have to invest in learning and teaching each other how to balance life and marriage to fulfill God’s mandate.
My husband and I believe that marriage as an institution demands for learning and acquisition of new knowledge and in some instances, just friendly reminders of the things we already know. If you’re like us, you would agree that it is challenging at times to give our marriages the attention it deserves because life demands for so much from us and we feel pulled in different directions. For these reasons, we welcome the acquiring and sharing of pertinent information to keep ourselves knowledgeable. Today, I want to share some tips my husband and I have learned and utilize to maintain balance in our relationship.
1. Eat together – you may agree that our society in general is moving away from the valuable tradition of togetherness. Most of us have missed the mark on the knowledge that relationships can be mended, hurts healed, forgiveness taking place when we gather together around the table to partake in a meal that was prepared with so much love. You can even take this a step further by engaging the family members in the preparation, cooking and setting up of the table. There’s power in working together and breathing an environment of love and support in the home. Besides, time spent in the kitchen and dining area can be used to carry on deep and meaningful conversations.
2. Understand each other’s needs and wants- keep in mind that a man has a great need to be honored while a woman has a greater need to be respected. I find that even though a man may not demand for it, he thrives on being appreciated and valued. For most women, their desire is to feel secure, feel heard and understood and these happen to be characteristics of “respect”. Remember, it is on always the big things that matter, rather; a sincere “thank you”, “I appreciate you”, “I apologize, I’m sorry”, “I love you” and the list goes on, could very well be the miracle that your spouse is desperately longing for.
3. Be submissive to each other – There seems to exist a misconception about submissiveness in our society and for this reason, it is worth mentioning that submission in its right context does not constitute to weakness but rather; it means that one has reached a certain level of maturity to be able to exercise “meekness” which simply means ‘strength under control’. Besides, submission to one another in marriage is a biblical principal; “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” Ephesians 5:21 (KJV).
4. Agree on matters – It has been established that a husband and wife are considered “one flesh” and for this reason, they must support each other even in decision making. A successful marriage requires both parties to understand each other’s drives, motives, fears and insecurities for pushing forward or backwards on a particular issue. Agreeing on matters also requires in-depth conversations sometimes and a lot of flexibility.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate – keeping an open line of communication in a relationship can be challenging at times because it requires bring all issues, concerns, challenges and needs/wants to the table. Embracing the culture of honest and open communication in a marriage can mitigate the possibility of dealing with internal struggles which in some cases could lead to isolation, withdrawal, mental distractions, emotional distance etc which all have a negative effect in the relationship.
I want to leave you with the words of wisdom I learned from the webinar I attended a few months ago. The facilitator shared that: marriage goes through three phases: “Ecstasy” (excitement, honeymoon), “Fantasy” (perfection, cuteness), and then “Reality” (when what was once cute and okay now becomes unacceptable). He explained it further by adding that marriage has the “engagement ring” (Ecstasy), “marriage ring” (Fantasy) and “suffer ring” (reality). My parting word is to encourage you that it does not matter what season you find yourself in, God is with you every step of the way. Just do your part and leave the rest to him.
Margaret Ellis is a Gambian native, marriage coach and blogger who enjoys sharing her rich heritage with the world through her writing, speaking, ministration, teaching, and relationships with others. Margaret can be described in many ways however; she is known to many as being passionate, driven, nurturing and a mentor who always seeks opportunities to learn and share her knowledge with others. She is constantly motivated by an empowering statement she once heard which stated: “God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us.