Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A Polygamous Life

My blog today is based on the story of a man with two wives. In the part of the world where I come from polygamy is no strange phenomenon, it's just part of the culture that a man can marry more than one wife at any given time. But the state of the home that such a marriage will produce leaves much to be desired.
So, this man from Nigeria is married to two wives and it has been so for well over 30years. But when he sits and recounts the events of his life, the greatest regret he says he has is entering into the polygamous life style.
As it is impossible to love both women equally and also impossible to love both women as himself unconditionally as the Lord has commanded the husband to do, his home is hanging imbalanced. Naturally he feels a little more affection for the second wife above the first, yet the first wife tends to hold him in high esteem and treat him with more respect and love more than the second wife.
In the Nigerian culture, with the older generation, there is rarely the case of divorce. We find divorce been heard of more with the younger generations but not with the older ones who have been married for upward of 30-40years. So this man is not thinking of divorcing any of his wives, he is unable to bring the two women together as one entity, and so his marital life is in a way, a big mess.
However, one thing I discovered in this marriage situation is that God has favoured the first wife above the second. Her own children are doing better in life as adults than the children of the second wife. The success rate of the children of the first wife is higher than that of the second wife. And who is it that does not want to be identified with success? So this man in question wants to be known as the father of the children of the first wife more than the children of the second wife, yet he loves his second wife more than his first.
In all of this I see God's unsearchable wisdom, He has decided to be fair to the unloved wife and then bless her with successful children who will love and care for her in old age. But I always ask myself this question, is the pleasure of having two wives worth the trouble of having to cope with the strife, malice, jealousy, and even hatred associated with polygamy?
From the days of the Bible, going by the examples of polygamy found in the Bible to this present generation, it is common knowledge that polygamy is usually characterized by things like malice, strife, jealousy and hatred. It will take the grace of God for a polygamous home to enjoy as much peace, love and harmony as that of a home built on one man and one wife marriage.
In as much as God has not spoken against polygamy directly, and a polygamous man is still opened to receiving grace and favour from God such as one received by Jacob and David, yet Paul says a polygamous man is not allowed to hold a position of leadership among the congregation of the men of God.

1 Timothy 3:1-4
Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.

It is important to know and appreciate that one quality the Lord looks at as He picks a shepherd over His people is that such a shepherd is not married to more than one wife. Such a leader is suppose to be one that leads by good example even as it entails the issue of marriage and the home. This is so because a leader is unable to lead effective in an atmosphere of hatred, malice, chaos which are major attributes of polygamy.
When God observed that it was not good for a man to be alone, from the ribs of the man, He formed a wife for him. It was okay by God's design that a man can afford a missing rib out of which a wife was made for him. But there will be an imbalance in the bone structure of the man if God had to take more than one rib, thus taking two or more ribs to form wives.
If only the men can understand and appreciate that they carry more weight than they are designed by God to carry when they marry more than one wife. Based on God's plan for the man, there is room for just one wife as it is just one rib missing in him. If for any reason more than one rib was extracted by God from the man, there will be a bigger vacuum in the man's life where more than one wife will be required to fill. But God who created man and who knows what lies ahead for the man He created has made room in his life to accommodate just one wife and the only wife needed to make the man complete and fulfilled.
My little word for the man is this, just as it is important for the woman to seek and obtain the approval and leading of God before accepting a marriage proposal, so is it important for the man to seek the face of God and allow the Lord lead them to the woman He has made for them. When you let God make and present a wife to you just as He did for Adam and also for Isaac, the need to take a second wife will not arise, because the Lord will present to you the exact match of you in your wife noting that the God who created her made her from the rib He took out of your body.
When we consider the polygamous stories of the Bible we will notice that those who went into the polygamous style of marriage where those who did not seek God before picking a wife for themselves. There is no marriage crisis that is beyond the reach of God to solve when we are wise enough to hand over the situation to him. But when because of the lust of the flesh a man decides to take a second wife for himself, he is tending towards over-stuffing the vacuum in his life that most probably will lead to more chaos than he originally bargained for.
In order to avoid polygamy that culminate in marital crisis, its important that a man seeks the face of God before making a marriage covenant with any woman. As for you woman I will advise this, a man who has a wife in his life and home is not God's best for you to marry. There is a man from whose ribs God formed you. Seek God's face for that one man and marry him. May the Lord help us.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Sex and Marriage

I shared a post on this topic sometimes last year and till date it remains my post with the highest pageviews. In truth there is the need to speak and speak again on the issue of sex and marriage. And just like I wrote in my last post, if there is adequate knowledge on the issue of sex and marriage, a lot of marriage issues will be solved.
Sex and communication in marriage goes hand in hand, and just like someone quoted, we can't expect a beautiful sex life in a marriage that is lacking in love and good communication. In fact for some couples, sex is a way of showing love and appreciation for each other. So it is just common knowledge to say that sex and love goes hand in hand.

1 Corinthian 7:2-5 (NIV)
But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfil his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

From the passage above we are able to understand the mind of God with regards to the issue of sex in marriage. There is another view to the topic of sex in marriage been highlighted in this passage. Paul is regarding sex between couples as a duty they both have to fulfill towards each other. Although it is an act closely related to the love a man and his wife feels for each other, yet it is a duty that they have to fulfill towards each other in marriage. 
What this tells me and I will like to share is that even when for any reason you are angry with your spouse and/or you fall out of love with your spouse, you still owe him/her the duty of sex. And for no reason is a man allowed to deprive his wife access to his body and likewise the wife is not allowed to deprive her husband her body as the Bible says the wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to the husband, and the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to the wife. 
One interesting thing I have found to be true is that even when couples are having misunderstandings or any form of quarrel and yet do not deprive themselves of sex, it's the easiest way to make up and end the quarrel without having to go through the stress of settling matters verbally. And when I realized this, I acknowledge how deep the wisdom of God is when through Paul the Lord said the husband and his wife should not deprive each other of sex.
Looking at it critically, it's almost impossible for the husband and his wife to carry on with their fight much longer after they have shared eachother's body. So we can rightly conclude that sex is also a means of restoring love in a marriage.
There are quite a number of functions sex plays in marriage, it's keep warm, it produces a sense of love and togetherness in marriage and it yields a fruit that outlives the couples in the children they birth forth. But there are some issues that cannot be overlooked as I summon the courage to share this post on sex in marriage. The issue is this: Is it possible to have a functional sex life with your spouse after you have discovered he/she cheated on you?
Once I was talking to a lady about life's experiences and how it is so very possible to reconcile and move on with marriage after an episode of someone discovering that he/her spouse has cheated on them. The first thing she said was, "If I ever find out that my husband is cheating on me I don't think that marriage can continue because even if I forgive him, I can't give my body to him again." I totally agreed with her, because other than the sense of betrayal one feels, there is also irritation that can follow at the mere thought of knowing that your husband or wife has offered his/her bare body to someone else.
But this is where the grace of God comes in, this is where having a mind of Christ comes in. Mere love does not solve a problem such as this, it takes a mind that has been rejuvenated by Christ Jesus not just to forgive a cheating spouse, but also to be able to continue to carry on with the obedience to the word of God, noting that God said the wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband, and the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife, He did not give an exception to the rule. So in fulfilling God's purpose for your marriage you need to bare in mind that whether your husband cheated on you or not still your body belongs to him and God says do not deprive him of that body. And the same goes for the husband, whether your wife cheated on you or not, your body belongs to her and you should not deprive her of what belongs to her. After all Christ gave himself for us all body, soul and spirit while we were yet sinners.
Now to know if this is actually possible in reality, because many will think it easy to write this than actually practice it. Well by the grace of God I am a witness to what I write. It was not easy but I am here, past my troubled years in marriage and now a happily married woman. I didn't have to change husbands, but I let God work in my husband to bring the desired change in his life and mine.
By this post I do not encourage cheating in marriage, it breeds betrayal and a lack of trust that is so very hard to store, but by the grace of God what I aim to achieve, is help a marriage restore love and the need to rejuvenate the sex function back into the marriage after the discovery of a cheating spouse. 

Proverbs 5:18-20
May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 
A loving doe, a graceful deer - may her breast satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. 
Why, my son, be captivated with another man's wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

It truth there is no perfect marriage and no perfect couple, but you can work towards perfection and enjoy all that God has in store for you in marriage and to learn each day more about making your marriage a success and strife continuously to make every moment of your marriage life a beautiful one. No stranger can  work your marriage out for you. It's your marriage and so the effort will have to come from you. May God help us as we follow after Him.