By Francis Ewherido
The story of Hosea’s marriage to Gomer is one that gives a lot of men heartache; a story of an unfaithful wife— who always slept with other men. But God encouraged Hosea to marry his adulterous.
That marriage tells a story; it is a metaphor for Israel’s unfaithfulness to God and God’s undying and unconditional love for his people. Abraham and Sarah’s marriage tells us stories of God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His promises; even when man sometimes derails (Abraham fathered another child through Sarah’s maid, Hagar). The marriage also gives us an insight into why Abraham is today referred to as our father of faith.
Isaac’s marriage to Rebecca reminds us that marriage is a tripartite union with God as the nexus… (Genesis 24:12-14) as confirmed in Proverbs 19:14. Houses and wealth can be inherited from parents, but only the Lord can give a sensible wife.
Basically, every marriage tells a story; the question is what story is your marriage telling? Is it a story of a good marriage or a bad one? like Hosea’s—a metaphor? Is God using your marriage to prepare you for an assignment unknown to you? Is God trying to increase your wisdom, to help others, by finding a solution to that difficult spouse or troubled child or is your marriage one huge fraud meant to deceive people, seemingly happy outside, but boiling inside?Is functioning well?
When we talk about the story your marriage tells, we are not talking of the made up story you tell to deceive the world, but the real story of your marriage. Made up stories linger only for a while… like a pack of cards it will collapse someday. It is stupid making up stories to please the world.
Marriage, as an institution, should not have room for make up to please the people. Remember when you had your wedding amidst crowd who came to rejoice with you. When the celebration was over and it was time to retire to the room, how many guests followed you? In my case, as in all the cases I know, it was only my wife and I. It is that lonely and personal. Why bother about other people’s opinions.
So why do you think you need to deceive people that you have a “perfect” marriage, spending all your time and energy to perpetrate this lie; meanwhile, the odour oozing out of your marriage is contrary. Marriage is primarily a union between a man and woman; it needs constant attention and nourishment, if not decay will set in. As the union grows in age and number, new challenges will arise,and you need to face these challenges and surmount them. As you sincerely go through the daily motions of matrimony, including parenthood, the story of your marriage begins to evolve. That story is not make belief, it is rather the sum total of the consequences of your actions and in-actions.
Sometimes the defining moment of your story can be surmounting challenges that crippled other marriages; it can be taking in your unmarried pregnant teenage daughter and tending her until she delivers, instead of sending her far away to live with a relative or secretly aborting the pregnancy because it is a shame to you as the senior pastor, general overseer, elder, respected member or knight of the church or because it is demeaning to your socio-economic status.
Happily your story is not like your finger prints or your DNA which are unchangeable. You can change your story for the better. May be all you need to do is to reorder your priorities and put family first instead of career or financial pursuits. That way, spouse and children will take their rightful place in your life. Or maybe, what you need is an attitudinal change towards your spouse and children. Rather than see them as liabilities and drain pipes begin to see them as assets and blessings. Sometimes we create problems where none exists. Oh! you have been sulking because all your children are girls. Congratulations, you should be grateful you have kids; what about those who do not have any? Wait a minute, the legendary former American President, Bill Clinton, has only one child, a daughter!
Sometimes kicking out a bad habit is all you need to change your story. That alcoholism that has prevented you from being a responsible spouse and parent, is it not time to stop it? That chronic gambling that has prevented you from meeting your financial obligations to your family; can you not summon the will power and put a stop to it? Yes, you can. Just take your case to God in prayers for forgiveness and healing. You can change your story for the better for your sake, your family’s and the larger society.
Perhaps changing our individual stories for the better is one of the challenges Nigerians need to surmount to realise its full potentials: everybody, or at least a lot of us, from the mightiest to the lowliest, making efforts to change our story for the better so that we all churn out better products (children) that constitute the larger society. All those in authority today and in the past are products of families. Is it not possible that our leadership problems started from the family unit? What about the kidnappers, armed robbers, fraudsters, rapists and other deviants? If so, I think it is time we, as individuals, make efforts to remove that speck from our eyes so that we can sufficiently see to clear the log we see in the eyes of our neighbours.
Our society needs cleaning up… but it is not going to happen if we expect only those in higher authority—(all parents and the older children in the family are all in authority… .) Every one of us has some cleaning up to do; I concede that the bulk of the clean-up rests at the doorstep of those in higher authority.