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Friday, 23 June 2017

Rape & Marriage

Lately I have read some articles about sex in marriage on my social media timeline and sincerely I have learned quite a lot from them. But I also came across a post where a young woman was asking for help on the note that she was raped by her husband. I had waited a while to see if someone would comment on that particular post cause it was on a group forum, but when none was forthcoming I decided to drop my thought. That same thought is what I will be sharing with you on today’s post by the special grace of God.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5
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 prayers. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of lack of self-control. 

My first thought to this grave allegation of this wonderful wife is, what is her definition of rape? From what the dictionary says, rape is simply defined as "unlawful sexual intercourse." Can one then say that because a man who makes love or has sexual intercourse with his lawfully wedded wife without her consent has raped her? This is an issue that can be debated, but here is my own line of argument on it.
From what I have read in the scripture above, a man’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife, and in the same manner, a woman’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. Now for a man taking hold of his wife’s body which also belongs to him as her lawfully wedded husband without her consent, can we then call that rape based on the revelation of the word of God in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5. Now, is it possible to steal what you own because rape can actually be likened to theft. This is one of my reasons for questioning this woman’s grievous allegation from a wife to a husband and others like it.
Then we find again in 1 Corinthian 7:3-5 that a wife should not deprive her husband; neither should a husband deprive his wife except for mutual consent. From my own understanding of the word of God, what the Bible says requires consent is the abstinence from sex between a husband and his wife and not a wife requiring consent before she can have sex with her husband or a husband requiring consent in order to have sex with his wife. So this allegation is a bit ambiguous for me to accept. The Bible says a spouse must seek consent before abstinence of sex and the world system says a spouse must seek consent before sex takes place. If this issue of consent before sex is required between two adults that are not married then I will agree with it in totality. But when they are married, its a different ball game entirely going by the discovery made in the Bible. We should bear in mind that sex outside of marriage is forbidden by God. 
Now some of the comments that came after I posted my comment, argued contrary to my opinion, and the general consensus was that a man who loves his wife would not rape her or forcefully have sex with her. There are a lot of write ups posted from other websites that showed that marital rape is actually possible and it was also associated with domestic violence, and to men who lack respect and regard for women.
I don’t disagree with whatever ideology and logic given to the explanation of domestic rape, but I have based all of my life on the Bible approach and God’s interpretation has made more sense to me than anything else. A man who longs to have sex with his wife is a man who loves his wife enough to share his body with her and likewise a woman who seeks sex with her husband must love him enough to want to share her body with him unreservedly. It is when love is lacking that a man or woman will require consent from their spouse before they can engage in sex with them.  This man or woman could as well have shared his/her body with another woman/man outside of the marriage but choose his wife or her husband above all and I believe this gesture should appreciated and reciprocated. And going by what I am reading in the Bible a man or woman does not need the consent of their spouses for sex to take place. I do not mean to sound cruel, but this is what the Bible says.
But I need to add more to this so we can have a better understanding of the matter. Sex should be a show of love between married couples. Sex is the physical expression of the emotion of love between a husband and his wife. But sex is also a duty for married couples as we can understand from scripture above. So as a husband or wife you should to be up to your duty on all issues in your union including sex, in obedience to the will of God for your marriage. When you lack interest in this aspect of your duty or you lack motivation, it’s a thing worth praying to God about.
I was once in that phase in my marriage where I detested sex. But the moment I read the scripture in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 and realized that sex is a duty I owed my husband and lacked motivation in, I began to pray. I asked God for help and in His faithfulness God heard me and helped me and that aspect of my marital life is not lacking anymore. Because I made up my mind to always please my husband not because he deserved it or not, but because pleasing my husband means pleasing God who has asked me to submit to my husband as unto the Lord. Now I have overcome my dislike for sex. 
I appreciate that sometimes a woman or man may be stressed up either physically or emotionally and as such might not be inclined to sex at that time. But this should be for just a short period of time. The body needs rest in truth but its still not an excuse based on the Bible to abstain from sex. But if both agree to a short break to overcome fatigue, I believe there is nothing wrong with that.
But it is ungodly for a woman or man to use sex as a punitive tool in marriage. Prolonged abstinence from sex in marriage as a means to punish each other or for any other reason at all is not godly. For a woman or man to say that because he/she is upset or angry with her/his spouse and so they won’t make love with each other is absolutely wrong. Deal with your anger, pray that the Lord would help you manage your anger and then get together with your spouse. Jesus said you should not allow dawn to meet you angry with anyone at all least of all your spouse.
At the moment of sexual pleasure between married couples, all negative emotions are eroded; anger and hatred fades away at the point of intimacy and God in His wisdom says you two should not deprive one another that opportunity of reconciliation without verbal apology. He knows how sex can help your marriage grow, He put it there for a purpose and so He says do not deprive one another.    
Some others have put forward the fact that marital rape is associated with domestic violence. I have always maintained that domestic violence is an avoidable phenomenon in a marriage where God and wisdom is allowed to have free-play in. When a woman is submitting to her husband as unto the Lord in obedience to the word of God, she pleases God and pleases her husband too (and that is the hidden truth). By pleasing her husband she is attracting her husband’s love and when she is attracting her husband’s love, he will make her a priority in his life. When she is a priority in his life, he is caring for her and loving her and so he is pleasing her in return. When this is what plays out in your marriage, then domestic violence has no business in your union. Rape and disrespect for your woman dignity will have no place in your union. These are simple things that we have made so complicated due to pride of life, ignorance, lack of contentment, greed and hardness of heart. Otherwise this should not be. 

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Wife in Hannah

In today’s discovery on marriage, I am trusting God to help us consider the marriage story of Hannah as found in 1 Samuel chapter 1. In this scripture we will notice some interesting things that happened in that marriage. First it was a polygamous marriage setting with one wife having many children and the other one having none.
The second thing to note is that Hannah who was the barren wife was the one loved by the husband (1 Samuel 1:5). So we see a wife loved by her husband, preferred to her rival in marriage but she appears to be the godly one.
What has endeared me to Hannah of the Bible is the calm and humble way with which she handled her situation. Though she was in great distress and wouldn’t eat over the challenging situation she was faced with, yet she didn’t throw any tantrums neither was she involved in the blame game. She didn’t attempt to fight back because her husband’s other wife continually provoked her to irritation.
A lot of women would agree to the fact that it’s enough heart ache that you have to share your husband with another woman, but that this other woman would continually provoke you to irritation and mock you because of your challenges was more than enough reason to fight back. But rather than Hannah do anything irrational, she cried to God. The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 1:10 that in bitterness of heart, Hannah prayed her heart out to God in Shiloh. Hannah so prayed that the prophet of the sanctuary thought she was drunk.  
In faithfulness the Bible tells us that God answered her prayers and the Shiloh visit for the following year meet her with a bouncing baby boy which she dedicated to God in fulfillment of her covenant with God. That baby boy born as a result of bitter prayers became one of the greatest prophets of Bible times. Kings reverend him and regarded his words as words directly from the Lord. But the mention of Peninnah and that of her children didn’t go beyond the first chapter of the book of 1 Samuel.
This is a very different story from that of Rachel the loved wife of Jacob in Genesis 29:14-31:55. Both Hannah and Rachel had their wombs closed by the Lord yet they were loved by their husbands. Rachel made so much fuse about her situation and would always hold her husband responsible for her challenge. But Hannah recognized her problem, and though she was depressed about it, yet she had the wisdom and temperament to run to God and cry to God who was able to take away her misery.
Peninnah provoked Hannah with the intention to irritate her, but Rachel on the other hand was jealous of her sister. So we see two women faced with exactly the same predicament yet they handled it differently. Hannah gave birth to a prophet and lived happily ever after with her loving husband but Rachel died at childbirth. Hannah justified the love her husband had for her, but Rachel was a disgrace in the life of her husband.
Situations similar to this are still happening in our world today. I know of a woman whose husband abandoned her for another woman, but rather than do the needful and run to God with a pure heart, she disdained her husband. As of the last I heard of this woman’s story, her husband is with the third wife and she is still nursing the grudge and abhorring hatred for him. This hatred has not changed the situation for her or brought her husband back to him, rather it’s making it worse by the day.
We’ve all had painful experiences about marriage and I have shared my own story on this blog more than once. But the outcomes of those experiences are determined by the way we handle them. When you allow your emotions to rule your reactions to trying situations in your marriage a favorable outcome is not guaranteed. But when in wisdom you submit your situation to God and allow him lead you on what to do and how to do it, you will enjoy peace, joy, love and harmony in your marriage. Unfortunately the end always justifies the means.   

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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Helping Each Other Grow

14/6/2017
On bended knees, I apologize for another long break in posting something for you to read and learn from. But I feel your prayers and with me rounding up with what I have to do, I pray that I will be able to give myself wholly to reaching out to you again.
My pastor preached a message about two Sundays ago in church and what really ministered to me in that message was in the theme Bible passage that he preached on.

Ephesians 4:14-16 (NLT)
 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.  

This Bible passage cannot be more fitting for today’s marriage world and just as my pastor was preaching and making continual reference to this passage the one thing that kept coming to my mind was today’s marriage.
Quite a number of times I have noticed that speaking to women on marriage issues, the first thing that comes as a response is that if the women have to do so much in and for their marriages, what do the men have to contribute in and for their marriages. It always appear that the women have to do it all. And the men have concluded that women are the most difficult and complicated living creature to live with. And each time I hear or read stuff like this, my heart bleeds.
Every day the women claim they feel deprived in the world, they want equality with the men and they have practically left their own special work undone while preying into what the man should do and how the man and woman were created equal and should be regarded as such. And the men have become laid back. They have told themselves that women are so difficult and so should just be abandoned. You hear things like “if you show her love there is a problem, if you don’t show her love there is also a problem. So just let go and enjoy your life.” So a man would leave the wife that God has asked him to love and care for and spends more time with his friends in the name of hang outs. So the man has also left his special work undone.
Every time you hear vocal women encourage other women not to let themselves get repressed by the men. They push for gender equality. They tell the woman she is to be respected and all these they do in the name of helping the woman build her self esteem and have a voice and a say in the scheme of things. And so they pumped up the women folk. These pumped up women go home and begin to act strange and start to demand respect and claim equality with their husbands. Sooner than later their marriages are in trouble. In no time the once peaceful home is heading for a divorce in the name of irreconcilable differences. Every day the numbers of failed marriages are growing at an alarming rate.
These so called women encouragers are those Paul says we should be weary of; their message is so clever that they sound like the truth, but they are pack of lies. They are sweet to the ears but have its destroying effects on the heart. When you hear messages like this, try measure them with the truth of the Bible. If God says a wife should submit to her husband as unto God, that alone should let you know that the wife and husband are not equal in the hierarchy of the home. Anybody attempting to teach you equality between the husband and the wife is sowing a seed of destruction in your home. Such a person should not be entertained.
If a woman is claiming equality with another man outside of the marriage setting I might not condemn that; if the man you say you are equal to irrespective of gender is not your husband, then its okay. But this doctrine should not be introduced into the marriage setting. When it comes to the marriage, the husband is the head over his wife as Christ is the head over the husband (Ephesians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 11:3). In marriage and in the home, the husband and wife are not equal. The husband is the head of the wife. 
One important truth about marriage that is taught in the theme scripture for this is post is that when you do your own special work in your marriage, you help your spouse to grow. The more you improve on yourself in doing your own special work in that marriage the more you lift your spouse up to grow and own up to his/her own special work and with diligence at work your marriage is healthy, growing and full of love. You do not need to bother much about the performance of your spouse in doing his/her special work, but the more you get yourself better in doing your own special work the more you make room for growth even in the life of your spouse and the more you create an enabling environment for your spouse to do his/her special work too. No wonder Peter said in 1 Peter 3 that a woman will win her unbelieving husband to the Lord through the purity and reverence of her life shinning through her submission to her husband. 
A husband whose wife is yet to be the ideal wife he wants her to be, can only help his wife to grow into what he wants her to be by loving her unconditionally like Christ loves the church. The more he loves his wife the more he helps her grow. And when he loves and keeps loving, it will get to a point the Lord will touch her heart and create in her the will she needs to want to reciprocate the love her husband is showering on her which in turn makes her want to do only those things that are pleasing to her loving husband. In no time the marriage has grown and the home is full of love.
In the same manner, a wife who wants to bring out the good in her husband would do so effectively by submitting to him as unto the Lord. The more you submit to your husband, the more you please him; and the more you please your husband, the more he loves you. In no time you would have drawn out the love of your husband for you. You would have earned his love and helped him to grow. The more your husband loves you, the more he cares for you and pours generously into your life. The more he pours into your life the more God pours into his own life too.
This is God’s way of bringing about positive changes in the lives of His people. For marriage to thrive, those in it should be totally selfless, patient and willing to help the other grow. The more of your special work that you do diligently, the more growth you bring about in the life of your spouse and the more your marriage grows and then the more your home is filled with love. 
Think about it.  

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Tiny Spark

It’s no gain saying that many people have entered into grievous trouble simply by the words of their mouth and in the same manner, quite a number of people have received huge favors for their lives simply by the fruit of their mouth. A man looking for a job will either get employed or turned down by the product of his mouth. What he says at the job interview before the panel will determine whether he gets the job or not. In the same manner, the life and death of a marriage is closely tied to the product of our mouths. There are a lot of times that a spouse will be going through domestic violence in marriage not as a result of physical abuse, but as a result of emotional abuse resulting from the product of the mouth. As a matter of fact a lot of physical abuse in marriage originated from verbal abuse which also is the product of the mouth and so the Bible says that the power of life and death is in the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit (Proverbs 18:21).

Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 18:6, 7
A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.
A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.

Proverbs 18:21
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit.

James3:2, 5-6, 9-10
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body.

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

If I don’t write anything more asides these Bible passages, I am sure the message would have been passed, but so that we really appreciate the impact of our tongue on the outcome of our marriages I will try to put in some explanation.
Marriage is like a venture that you invest in, what you put into it, is what you get out of it in multiple folds whether you are the husband or the wife. Now we are learning from Proverbs 16:24 that pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones; the more you want to harvest the fruits of pleasant words from your marriage, the more you invest pleasant words into that marriage. But you will only be on a mission of self deceit if you believe that when you invest cruel words in your marriage, pleasant words will come back to you. Do not be fooled.
Then another angle to look at this issue from is that when fire is burning, it is put off with water. Fire is hot and water is cold. For a man who wants to do the will of God and succeed, you don’t repay cruelty or cruel words with another cruel word or cruel action. Rather than such a marriage to thrive, it burns out and dies. When your spouse hits you with cruel words and you respond with pleasant word, you get a pleasant reward from God for the wisdom you have applied while your spouse gets a reward fitting for his/her cruel words from God Who is a constant witness and judge over your marriage. The continuous pour of your own pleasant words into that marriage erodes the cruel words of your spouse and soon you see in him/her a changed person whose cruelty has been killed by your kindness and love and he/she also learns to speak pleasantly. Your pleasant words will then be yielding for you pleasant words even from your spouse.
The volume of water you require to quench a fire depends on the magnitude of the fire. Small fire would require small amount of water and huge fire would require large volumes of water. So the pleasant words you require to quench the cruelty of words from your spouse depends on how cruel he/she is. The more the cruelty, the more the pleasant words that should come from you to him/her. Don’t wait for your spouse to tender an apology; you, who know to seek the peace and prosperity of your home and marriage should work for it more. Over time, the apologies will come pouring in.
Then one thing we need to understand is that what we say with our mouths, good or bad, carry a lot of weight. Remember the power of life and death is in the tongue. What you confess with your mouth over the life of your spouse will find a means of manifestation in his/her life. You cannot call your spouse a fool and still expect him/her to act wisely. If you have called him/her a fool then you should expect only foolish acts from him/her. Even if he/she will act wisely to everyone else, when it comes to you, he will be a fool because that is what you have called him/her. In the same manner, if you call your spouse lazy, wicked, mean, these words will always find a means to manifest and so it is important that we are guide the words of our mouth in marriage. When your spouse is not fulfilling his/her responsibility in marriage, pray for such a spouse. Hand him/her over to God who is able to do in the life your spouse what you or your negative out-pour over his/her life can do. And with faith in God, it won't be long before you start to see the changes you desire manifest in the life of your spouse with God at work and with your cooperation intact. 
When you bless your spouse with the words that you speak to him/her and over his/her life, you will see blessings manifest in his/her life and indeed you will be a part-taker of that same blessing because you and your spouse are one in flesh and spirit before God. And in the same manner when all that comes out of your mouth to your spouse are curses, you will also part-take of the curse because you and your spouse are one in flesh and spirit before God.

The Bible says we are allowed to be angry, but in our anger we should avoid sin. The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it eat its fruit. What fruits are you eating from the produce of your tongue? Are they sweet fruits like the honeycomb, or bitter/soar fruits? Whatever it is, you need to know that what you put in is what comes out for you. You can build your marriage on the foundation of pleasant and encouraging words, and you can kill it and pull it down by cruel and cursed words. If you want sweetness, sow sweetness, beginning with pleasant words.  


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