The default modes of successful marriages – Part II

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“Love is meaningless where there is no sacrifice. Loving your wife will require you to give up certain preferences, especially the ones that do not impact directly on the direction or vision of the family.”

Last week, we began to examine the subject of default modes of successful marriages. We dealt extensively with the responsibilities of the woman in the union.

As I began to write about the man’s default, I am reminded about a situation that happened while I was in courtship with my wife. She had acted in a way that I didn’t like and I wanted to exert myself as the head of the union by getting angry to show her my displeasure. Looking back, I know better that you don’t need to exert yourself to show you are the head. Just lead! 

Being the head as a man does not mean you are the better person in the union and should not give you a superiority complex. Being the head puts a responsibility on you.

When you start your marital journey, it’s okay for your wife to submit because she has to but as you grow, make it a goal for her to submit because she wants to. It should be because she has been able to prove that following your leadership has paid off. 

To the man, he says; 

Husbands, Love! The love here is not a feeling but is the one called ‘agape’ which means, “I love you period.” It is not love based on conditions. This love is not even predicated on her actions or inaction but a God ordained default setting for a man. Loving her entails understanding her and a willingness to make excuses for her.

What you love, you protect from harm and hurt. What you love you accept unconditionally. The man must understand that he is married to a woman not a fellow man and that should help him manage his expectations of her. 

One thing that explains love the most is unconditional acceptance. You cannot change a spouse you don’t accept. The story of the prodigal son explains this in that when the lost son came home, the father embraced him despite his appearance before asking for a change of garment (Luke chapter 15).

Most times, we want to do the opposite with our wives. We want them to change their garments before embracing them. I accept my wife’s strengths and weakness and I do my best never to allow her doubt my unconditional acceptance. That is the key to enjoying your spouse. 

The love here is compared to the kind of love that Christ has for us that He gave up his life. ‘Love your wife’ is a huge one for the man and it’s also not dependent on whether she submits or not. This means that the love is meaningless where there is no sacrifice. Loving your wife will require you to give up certain preferences, especially the ones that do not impact directly on the direction or vision of the family. This love means willingness to come down from your glory like Jesus did to bring her to glory also. This love is far from the hormonal rush you experience especially in courtship but the one that wants to sacrifice. 

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That the man is the head of the home means that the success of the home depends on him largely. Just think for a moment what the head does in the body. All the functionality of the body depends on the head. It gives direction to the entire body.

The brain, the eyes, the ears, the mouth and the nose are all positioned right in the head which makes the role of the man very significant. The outcome of your home depends on how well you carry out your responsibility. 

The above default modes of marriage will serve as pillars that will make a marriage strong, solid and happy.

Your marriage will succeed! 

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The Default Modes of Successful Marriages

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We all know what default setting means on our devices. It means the way the manufacturer made it to be in the beginning before we started to put our stuff in it. Sometimes it is called factory setting. Just as our devices have a default setting, God has a default mode for marriage. Each party in the union has his or her factory setting that makes the union a great place to be. 

It’s important we are all clear that marriage is God’s idea and therefore His default mode for the institution remains the best for us all to be. Every time we refuse to embrace His design, we definitely malfunction. Interestingly, He also specified the mode of each party in the book of Ephesians and it can be simply summarized in one word for each one in the union. 

For The Woman He says; 

Wives, submit..meaning a disposition of willingness to give in even though you feel your opinion is better. It does not in any way mean that the woman is the inferior one in the marriage institution. If anything the admonition to submit means that you have the same capacity and value as the man does but for the purpose of order, you give up your position. No wonder it’s important for a woman to marry a man who follows God so that she can be secured because her default mode must always be to submit as unto God. 

The wisdom here is that when your husband does not have a reason to doubt your mode, which is submission, you will command greater influence than trying to prove you’re right and rub your opinion in his face. For example, your husband should be confident that you trust his judgment and leadership of the family. It does not mean that he is perfect. He is not the head because he is ahead or because he is more intelligent but because that is the order that God has set. Don’t constantly and openly disregard what your husband says; neither should your words towards him be demeaning. Whenever you make him feel less than what God has made him to be, he will begin to malfunction. 

The fact that your husband is the head does not mean you are the tail. Anything below the head starts from the neck and they all have influence on what happens to the head. Have you ever imagined the head without a body or vice versa? It can only happen in a movie! We live in a real world. 

It’s not surprising that God wired men the way he did and there is an instruction of submission to the women. Little wonder it is said that respect ranks the highest in all of men’s primary need even above sex and food. When he does not get it from home, he might be tempted to look elsewhere for it. Respect your husband. Let your actions show that you honour him as the head of the home.

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My wife and I have this understanding as a foundation of our marriage and that has helped us to navigate marital challenges that breaks homes down. When we have a family decision to make, even though my wife has her opinion and how she feels we should go about it, yet she subjects it for final ratification from me. This makes me feel seriously respected and  I don’t even try to manufacture reasons why it shouldn’t be done that way. 

The call to being a wife is the call to embrace God’s default mode of submission. That God said you should submit means that you are a person of substance and quality. Have you heard this phrase before ‘first amongst equals’? This applies in marriage. It is not to say the women folks are lesser beings but it is for the purpose of order in the union. When the Bible calls the woman a weaker vessel, it does mean the man also is weak in a sense. It means she’s fragile and fragile things get protected and handled with care. Make it easy for your husband to handle you with care by your vulnerability and making submission your default mode. 

Watch out for the next article as I will be talking about what the default mode is for the men. Till then, have in mind that your responsibility is not predicated on your spouse’s action or inaction.