Saturday, June 22, 2019

Foundational Laws of Marriage - The Law of Pursuit

One of the most common misconceptions I have seen/heard about marriage is this “If I marry the right person, the emotions will happen naturally and effortlessly throughout our marriage.” Have you heard that before? Another variation of it is “If my emotions change toward my spouse, I must have married the wrong person.” Nothing can be farther from the truth. Marriage is not a stroll in the park. It is work – real work! You must work at your relationship. Couples often worked hard pursuing each other when dating, but after years of marriage, they often stop working at their relationship.
“Therefore, shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife….”. To “hold fast” or “cleave” in Hebrew means to pursue with energy. It means to” run after it.” Intimacy is always the result of effort. Where you invest yourself, you’ll be passionate. Good marriages don’t just happen automatically-they are the byproduct of long-term, consistent effort. That you are working at your marriage is not a sign that you married the wrong person. No! Everyone who has a great marriage worked at it and still does till now.
Men especially need to pay attention to this law. Men mostly operate the “point system”. The feel that positive events, experiences, and actions should fuel relationships and emotions long term. So, a man buys a flower for his wife and in his mind, that’s a point scored. Help with the dishes, another point. Buy her a gift, maybe 2 points. That could easily be 5 points if the gift is a piece of nice jewelry…. like real gold 😊. The problem is this: all points expire at midnight! You’d need to start a new day on a clean state. The points you scored today will rarely satisfy your wife tomorrow. You’ve got to work at it every day. Your wife wants to hear “I love you” every day. It doesn’t matter if you said it 20 times the previous day. She wants you to recharge her emotional tank on a regular basis. Buying an expensive gift once and expecting that that would cover for the next 3 months is delusionary. You must pursue, daily.
Women can apply this as well. Though men are not stuck on a point system, you’d still need to “pursue” your husband daily. What were the things you did that attracted you to him during the courtship years? Do you still do them? Are you still fun to be with like it used to be? I know some of you reading this are frustrated right now, and maybe you are even about to call it quits. You are saying to yourself “this is not the man I married”! He sure is. Don’t fall into the misconception that if there are no more emotions, or feeling, then you have fallen out of love, and there is no way back. That cannot be true. You need to remember when you both pursued each other, and the things you did at the very beginning that made you fall in love.
Let us offer some suggestions on how you can both practice this law and pursue each other:
How can the man pursue his wife daily?
  • Enter and know her inner world: Daily conversations, physical and emotional presence, lending a hand, etc.
  • Care for her heart: Reassure her of your love constantly (in words and in action), be playful, flirty and light-hearted at appropriate times
  • Have her back in all things: Your wife needs to be secured in every aspect
  • Take time to be with her: give her time and attention, plan playtime together, plan date nights uninterrupted by phones and work, be spontaneous.
  • Give her your affection: Too much time should not pass in-between hugs, kisses, and “I love you”.
  • Be romantic: Get her flowers. Write a note/poem or whatever she likes.
  • Pray with her and for her. She needs you leading the family altar.
How can the woman pursue her husband daily?
  • Make your home a safe place: Men value peace and tranquility
  • Put a filter over your mouth: Let your words communicate respect and honour. This is a mega need for men.
  • Pray with him and pray for him: Have prayer times together. Be his prayer warrior and lift him up in prayers.
  • Initiate in the bedroom. Men and women are wired differently. He will appreciate it a lot if you’d initiate. Flirt with him.
Please, feel free to share other ideas that you believe will aid the pursuit of your spouse.

Foundational Laws of Marriage - The Law of Priority

One of the striking and helpful truth Bukola and I have learned about marriage in recent times is on the Foundational Laws of Marriage. We first heard about it from one of our marriage mentors, Jimmy Evans. It’s been a huge blessing. We have shared it with a lot of couples, at an individual level and even with groups. I believe that it is something every couple who is serious about marital bliss should have a critical look at.

While many people desperately want a marriage that succeeds, fewer and fewer really believe that it can happen for them. It’s difficult to find successful marriages when there are so many casualties in relationships. All around us, the statistics speak – and the numbers are not great! Only about 20% of couples really enjoy marital bliss. How should you then position to ensure that your marriage succeeds?
In the next few posts, we want to share the “Foundational Laws of Marriage” with you. God created marriage based on these foundational laws, and when you obey these laws, your marriage is guaranteed to work. It is God’s way of “doing” marriage.
Law 1: The Law of Priority:
This is perhaps the 1st place that I see many couples missing it. The law of priority simply states that marriage works only in the 1st place. Marriage is designed to operate as the top priority, except for your personal relationship with God. If marriage is not your top priority, it will not work. Please, note that the only thing that is permitted to take priority over your marriage is your “walk” with God – not your “work” for Him. Work, children, career, hobbies and the likes, cannot be ahead of your marriage if you want it to work the way it was designed.
Your spouse would resist naturally when your priorities are out of order – when they feel that something else is “deemed” to be of higher priority than your marriage. Legitimate jealousy then sets in and disrupts things further. We are not saying that your work, career or children are not important. They are. They are all good things, but they can be out of priority if you place them ahead of your marriage.
The 1st instruction God gave Adam on marriage was this “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife…. (Gen 2:24). In other words, a man will have to re-adjust his priorities and make unity with his wife a top priority.
How then do you establish the right priority in your marriage?
Priorities must be proven in real terms, and not just in words
It is more than just telling your spouse “you are my number 1”. It is good to say that, but it is better to “prove” it. Here are a couple of ways to “prove” it
  • Sacrifice – What are you willing to give up in order to prioritize your spouse? Golf? Soccer? Social media? Excessive meetings?
  • Time – Making a conscious effort to spend quality time with your spouse, often.
  • Energy – Investing the best of your energy meeting your spouse’s needs.
  • Attitude – Your attitude must show and communicate that you really want to be with your spouse.
Priorities must be constantly protected from good things out of priority.
Most times, the things that compete for your time and attention are not particularly bad things, I suppose. A great career aspiration isn’t bad. Working for God in a local assembly is a great thing to do. Spending time with the kids is awesome, isn’t it? The problem comes when these things are out of priority and starts to take the place of God, or your spouse.
We have set an order of priority in our own marriage: God, Marriage, Children, Career/Work, Church, Extended family and friends, hobbies and interests, etc.
Is your priority out of order? Think about that and discuss with your spouse. 
See you soon!