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Lessons From A Dysfunctional Marriage (Part B)

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Continued from the previous post

So far, Jacob’s love for his wife, Rachel demonstrates to us that love can exist even in a dysfunctional marriage. This man did some unexpected things for his wife.

Application for husbands:

Husbands, love your wives.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, – Ephesians 5:25

 

You can love your wife even when she is complicated to deal with. Rachel was not easy to love. She seemed to want everything and then some; never content.

Your wife is designed and wired to receive your love. She has that as a basic need. Love is not an emotion, but an act of the will. You must be captivated by something deeper than just the physical attributes of your wife – something about her character, inner beauty and the decision you made to love her – that is how Christ loves the church. He valued us to the extent that He was willing to die for our sake – and He did! Your love will lead you to treat your wife as something valuable and precious to you. Your love will direct you to invest in and pay a price for her.

How much are you willing to spend on her?

How much time are you willing to spend with her?

Jacob’s love for Rachel was so patient that it didn’t consider her complexity

One would think that Rachel was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside, but that is far from true. She is not the best example of a wife. In addition to being a thief and a liar , she was an envious woman. Rachel had everything that a woman would want – great physical appearance, married from wealth into wealth, and husband’s love. Can you imagine, the man wept for her, but she was never satisfied. She had what her sister didn’t have and she wanted what her sister had. Greed!

 

Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die!” – Genesis 30:1

A spirit of discontentment can lead one to live a miserable life – always grumbling and complaining. So, to fulfill her own desires, on two occasions she gave Bilhah, her maid, to Jacob to have children with. She named the second son Naphtali because she wrestled with Leah.

3 So she said, “Here is my maid Bilhah; go in to her, and she will bear a child on my knees, that I also may have children by her.” 4 Then she gave him Bilhah her maid as wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5 And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has judged my case; and He has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. 7 And Rachel’s maid Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, “With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and indeed I have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali. – Genesis 30:3-8

Contentious woman?

 

Rachel wants even what Leah’s 4-year-old child had collected. When Leah questions her behavior, Rachel puts a ‘payment’ on it. She was aware that Leah was empty of her husband’s love.

14 Now Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”

15 But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?”

And Rachel said, “Therefore he will lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.” – Genesis 30:14-15

Calculating and conniving woman?

Eventually, Rachel conceives and bears a son. She names her first son Joseph, which means God will add me another (Genesis 30:24). One would think she would be so grateful that her problems would cease.

Discontentment is a spirit

The spirit of discontentment can cut short one’s life. It led to Rachel’s death when she was bearing a second son. She was so dissatisfied that she wanted even what her father had. Remember we mentioned earlier that Rachel stole from her father (without Jacob’s knowledge). The idols she stole were the equivalent of the title deeds of the possessions of Laban. As they left Laban’s home he pursued them to recover his idols and this offended Jacob, who unknowingly placed a curse on his wife, saying, “With whomever you find your gods, do not let him live” . (Genesis 31:33-35).

Discontentment or dissatisfaction is an issue of the heart. It has nothing to do with what you have or don’t have in your life. Believe it or not, contentment is not about the amount of money you have in the bank or how educated you are or how many children you have.

How is your contentment level as a wife?

Are you a satisfied woman?

Are you always murmuring and complaining?

 

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, – Philippians 2:14

 

After their release from bondage, the children of Israel allowed the spirit of discontentment to creep in among them. They complained.

 

That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” – Numbers 14:1-3

Are you always comparing yourself with others and have to always be #1?

This is a killer of most marriages today: competing with others and comparing yourself with them.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. – 1Timothy 6:6

 

May God bless your heart so that you will be content and save your marriage.

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Lessons From A Dysfunctional Marriage (Part A)

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Soap operas can be interesting and a little far-fetched, too. When I was younger, I enjoyed watching them but as I got older, wiser and busier, they’re no longer my cup of tea. Nevertheless, I still get a good share of them from the Bible. The story of Jacob and Rachel Genesis 29:1-12 is one of such soaps.

The story of Jacob, the swindler, who later God changed his name to Israel, spans a whole ten chapters of the book of Genesis. Chapter 27 gives an account of how he received his blessing from his father, Isaac by treachery. Although old and dim sighted, Isaac could tell that something wasn’t right when Jacob presented himself for the blessing; the voice and skin texture didn’t match. Nevertheless, Isaac must have remembered this prophecy:

 

23 And the Lord said to her:

“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.” – Genesis 25:23

 

After usurping his brother, Esau, (Genesis 27:36) to avoid his wrath, Jacob escapes to his maternal uncle, Laban’s home. (This is the same Laban who negotiated Rebekah’s dowry when Eliezar was sent by Abraham to find a wife for Isaac.)

In the East, he arrives by a well where he meets some people; they engage in a conversation and he learns that they knew Laban. They also inform him that the shepherdess who was coming in their direction is Rachel, Laban’s daughter. Jacob tries to get these people to water the sheep and then go feed them, but they say that they’re waiting for everyone else to come so that (in numbers) the stone can be rolled for the flock to be watered. Translation: Man, this stone is too heavy for the few of us – we can’t, so let’s wait for more manpower.

 

Jacob’s love for Rachel was so deep that it could wait

 

Jacob sees Rachel and is instantly love-struck and energized. Not waiting, he rolls the stone all by himself and waters Rachel’s sheep (Genesis 29:10)! Then kisses[i] Rachel, and weeps aloud (Genesis 29:11).

Far from infatuation, Jacob’s love propels him to offer to work (without pay) for 7 years for Rachel’s hand in marriage.

 

20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her. – Genesis 29:11

 

Isn’t it noteworthy that true love CAN wait?

 

Jacob’s love for Rachel was so determined that it could never give up

 

Something bizarre happens and Jacob ends up with the wrong woman.

 

25 So it came to pass in the morning, that behold, it was Leah. And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?” – Genesis 29:25

 

The swindler has just been swindled! Unbelievably, Jacob doesn’t throw in the towel. He serves Laban still another seven years for the love of his life (Genesis 29:30b).

 

To what lengths can you go for the woman that you love?

 

Jacob’s love for Rachel was so considerate that it could protect

 

After being married many years, when time came to leave Laban’s and journey back home, Jacob’s love for Rachel can be seen in how he planned the procession. He puts Rachel behind everybody so that should they come in the face of danger, the last shall be saved. He protected her and the sons she bore to him Genesis 33:2.

 

Jacob’s love for Rachel was so patient that it could endure

 

Suffice to mention here that Rachel’s initial struggle with infertility was not an issue for Jacob. He loved her, regardless.

 

Is your wife conscious of your love right now? Does she sense anger, bitterness or coldness from you today or is it love?

 

At 147 years old, Jacob was still talking about Rachel, who had died many years before.

 

7 But as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died beside me in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was but a little distance to go to Ephrath; and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).” – Genesis 48:7

 

Rachel was not forgotten by Jacob.

 

Continue reading here.

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[i] This kiss is the kind of holy kiss mentioned in 2 Corinthians13:12, Romans 16:16, 1 Peter 5:14 – it is not sexual

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Great Lessons From a Failed Marriage

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David was  a man after God’s own heart, but he’s not what we can call a good example of a husband, seeing as he had a failed marriage. From 1 Samuel 18:17-28 we are told that after the woman he had been promised was given to another man, David married her sister, Michal. This arrangement, as well as the previous one, was made by Saul, Michal’s father – David’s father-in-law.

From the word go, Saul had ill-intentions toward David (that had nothing to do with his daughters) but he devised a way to use his own daughter to try and kill him. It is apparent that he was a selfish in-law and we can learn some lessons here.

3 Lessons to Learn From David and Michal’s Marriage

I. In-laws, when given a chance, can completely destroy a marriage.

Apart from Saul not giving Merab to David as initially promised, he sought to kill him (David). This must have hurt David he had trouble forgiving Saul. Michal, however, had done the right thing – giving priority to her marriage by saving her husband from harm. Yet, David did not separate/set apart Michal from Saul – he imposed the sins of her father on her. It didn’t matter that his wife had no control over the deeds of her father. David should have been able to see Michal as a separate individual from her father.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24

Marriage never works until a couple, both, leave their parents to cleave to each other. Different strictures come into play because a new completely independent family unit has been created, not added to the existing of either side. The parent-child relationship changes; it does not deteriorate but is adjusted within new bounds. Yet, it doesn’t absolve the couple from certain specific God-given assignments, such as taking care of a widowed mother or an incapacitated parent. Honoring parents is something that will continue to be in play even as the marriage is lived out, but it should not be enslaving. It must be done in agreement and order of priority and not at the expense of your nuclear family. In the same vein, parents are now no longer as responsible as they were over their grown and married children. They cannot run the new home – a margin that David failed to draw.

II. A marriage cannot thrive or succeed without the love of a husband for his wife.

Michal is the first and only woman to be said to love her husband. After risking her life and saving him from death, David abandoned her. For 10 years, he never came back nor send for her to join him. In addition, he married other wives when he was in exile. Don’t you think news must have come back to Michal? I think so. Consequently, she must have been deeply hurt to the point where her love turned to bitterness, anger, and even hatred. Here was a woman who lacked security in her husband’s love.

Meanwhile, David is enjoying victory upon victory. On this instance, he succeeds in bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem. He is overjoyed and returns to bless his household only to be met by Michal Unloved!

“Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul come out to meet David, and said, ‘How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!’” – 2 Samuel 6:20

She is not even concerned about the things of God at this point. She despises David in her heart. She is disturbed about how the maids looked at him. She is jealous and insecure because David is not affectionate toward her.

Earlier, in David’s absentia, she had been married off to Paltiel for several years. All was quiet and peaceful. She was doing well in that house and they loved each other – until David shows up to claim her and Paltiel is devastated. He weeps for her.

“Then her husband went along with her to Bahurim, weeping behind her. So Abner said to him, ‘Go, return!’ And he returned.” – 2 Samuel 3:16

Beware! The wife you don’t value and cherish could thrive in another man’s house where there is love.

The bitterness in Michal had eroded her love for God. She develops a demeaning attitude toward her husband. She is more concerned with how the royal family looks before men rather than before God. Accordingly, out of the abundance of her heart, Michal speaks and snuffs out the life of her future.

If you are single, be careful how you worship. Make sure your spouse-to-be loves God and worships as you do. Otherwise, you will have problems.

Do you love your wife? Can she say yes if we asked her that question in public?

III. Every man wants to be celebrated at home.

When Michal spoke with sarcasm against David’s worship, he responded thus:

“And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.” – 2 Samuel 6:22

David acknowledged the celebration, honor, respect and admiration of maids (commoners) rather than the dishonor and bashing from a queen!

This dishonor severed and separated the two and they never enjoyed intimacy again until she died. This is implied in 2 Samuel 6:23.

David is showered with celebration everywhere except in his own home.

Do you celebrate your husband?

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Why Are You Single? Mom Wants to Know

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I recently sat at church watching two kids roam up and down the aisle as their mother chased after them. The father set back swiping his finger across his iPad as my friend turned to me with a smirk on her face.

“Your future.” She said.

“Girl, you know you’ll get there first.” I replied.

“God forbid.” She screeched.

These were the type of conversations we had while getting a glimpse into the lives of the married couples at church. As we went out for walks, stopped by Starbucks for coffee, wrestled with menu items during ladies night, or just walked around throughout our day.

We all had a strong opinion on marriage and parenting. Unfortunately, most of it was negative. Sure our parents wanted us to get married, we shared stories of our family members trying to set us up on blind dates, of friends swearing they had found the right person for us, of church members, aunties, and even our dear mothers asking “Why are you single?”.

We had created a circle around us where our calendars were filled with outdoor activities, concerts, dinners and fellowship events. Each week we would text or call each other to ask what we were doing that weekend.

We were laughing at marriage. In fact, we were standing strong against it. Remembering the mother that struggled with her three sons at the restaurant, the husband that handed over his daughter with a soiled diaper to his wife, or simply the lack of affection we witnessed by watching other marriages.

Deep down we are just scared to accept someone into our comfortable circle and independent routine. Sure we may have witnessed a few problems in marriages, we may expect our future husbands to help us with the kids or even have a less traditional view of marriage. But, for many of us “single ladies” I realized our perspective on marriage was based on 1) our parent’s marriage and 2) our analysis of other marriages.

The problem is a five-minute glimpse into someone’s life says very little about that person let alone a marriage. It also makes the assumption that all marriages are the same, that we are doomed to repeat the problems of our parent’s marriage or we too will become the wife chasing after her kids down the aisle at church.

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12

As a single person I’ve stopped comparing myself with others, I’ve also made a conscious effort to redefine what my marriage will look like when I get married. To take the positive qualities of my parent’s marriage and to work on the things I’m concerned about. I’ve realized that being open to marriage is the first step to marriage. Understanding that the comparisons I had about other marriages are probably far from the truth.

Now when my mother asks me about marriage I am clear about my fears and why I am still single, I understand that meeting the person God has for me is important, but so is accepting that marriage requires constant work. That it is sacred and should not be based on my fears, for God commands us not to live in fear.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

We Want to Know:

What have you learned about being a single Christian?

Has your perspective about marriage changed over the years?
 

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