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Marriage will continue to be relevant no matter the situation, say clerics


Taiwo Akinola

There is a strain on the marriage institution, with many homes falling apart. Domestic violence is on the rise, as well as divorce rate. What can be done to rescue this institution, which many believed was first instituted by God?OMIKO AWA and ISAAC TAIWO report.

‘Successful Marriages Based On Sacrifice, Commitment’
(Ernest Nwokolo, Pastor in charge of Marriage Committee, He’s Alive Chapel, FESTAC, Lagos)
Marriage is God’s idea. He has not only set it up, but given principles and nuggets to navigate and keep it intact. The Bible is replete with key ideas, values, ethics and morals that should make a marriage work, but unfortunately the world’s outlook and orientation are diametrically opposed to them. Some of these critical principles that should keep marriage intact are: knowing that marriage is a covenant and not a contract. In covenant, the two parties work together to make things work; even in the face of their weaknesses and strength. Covenant says: ‘I will do this to help you do that and even if you don’t do that I will still help you to attain what you are expected to do.’ It is not the same with contract where the principle is, ‘if you do this, I will do that and if you don’t, consider the contract over.’

Others are forgiveness, truthfulness, learning the art of conflict resolution and learning to communicate. Successful marriages are based on sacrifice and commitment. Couples must always think of what they can ‘give’ into the marriage and not just what they can ‘take’ out of it.Marriage, no matter the world situation will continue to be relevant. The male and female genders cannot do with each other. Men are left-sided thinkers — objective and logical while women are right-sided thinkers — subjective and intuitive. Both sides are needed for effective working of the family and child rearing.

God hates divorce as stipulated in the book of Malachi 2:16. Every conflict between couples can be resolved. In Matt 5:32, Jesus indicated that sexual immorality maybe a ground for divorce; however, it is not a direct license as forgiveness can also absolve sexual immorality.

Under the current social arrangements, separation might be justified where there is intractable violence. Couples having this problem must urgently submit themselves for counseling and continue until full resolution. In some cases there might be need for separation, while the counseling/therapy lasts. This is to protect lives.

It is advisable couples avoid third parties when they have conflicts, but when it cannot be settled by the two people involved, they should look for a third party that is knowledgeable in conflict resolution, respected by both sides, not a relation to any of the sides and has passion to see the issue resolved. Relatives are usually not the best resort for conflict resolution.

‘Challenges Occur When Couples Do Not Fear God’
(Primate Theophilus Olabayo is the Prophet and Founder, Evangelical Church of Yahweh, Worldwide)
SOME challenges emanate in marriage when couples do not fear God, which sometimes could lead to divorce. God instituted marriage and people who say it is no longer relevant must be frustrated and do not know why God instituted it.

God hates divorce and wants marriage to be in accordance to His precepts. When there is fear of God in the family, there would be no problem that would lead to husband and wife exchanging blows, let alone abusing themselves.Going back to families for solution to problems is an aberration that is not acceptable to God. Couples should rather visit genuine ministers of God for counseling, instead of going to their parents who might not be in the Lord and not acquainted with what God says about marriage.

‘Those Who Claim Marriage Is No Longer Relevant Are Ignorant Of God’s Plan’
(Professor Adebayo Akinde is the Archbishop (Emeritus) of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos and Bishop of Lagos Mainland, Anglican Communion)
THOSE who claim marriage is no longer relevant are alien to the truth about God and the institution of marriage. No one can say what God, the Almighty, started is no more relevant.Challenges in marriage could be traced to couples not praying together, fasting and waiting upon the Lord together and always doing things approved of God together. God hates divorce; he plans marriage to be ‘until death do couples apart.’ If couples daily live the life approved of God, they would live above the challenges in marriage. When they learn to accept each others’ lapses, they will overcome any challenge.

‘Seek Counsel From Genuine Ministers Of God’
(Apostle Joel Olasunkanmi Iyiola is Founder/General Overseer of Bible Based Church, Ibadan)
WHENEVER there is any challenge in one’s marriage, the best thing for couples to do is to go back to God, who instituted marriage for necessary solution. When a vehicle is bad, we go back to the manufacturers who would fix the problem. Marriage is relevant any time and day because Christian marriage speaks about the marriage of the Church and the Son of God. So marriage is always relevant to God.

God hates divorce according to Malachi 2:16 and this is because the children would suffer. In case of problems, it is advisable for couples to take their matter to the elders in the Church and not prophets. Many prophets are dangerous because of their wrong visions. Instead of helping marriage, they destroy it. So, seek counsel from genuine ministers of God.

‘Nothing Should Separate The Couple, Except Threat To Life’
(Pastor Alfred ‘Femi Ajifowowe is the General Overseer, Evangelical Christ Apostolic Church)
MARRIAGE is God’s institution. God’s name is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the Almighty. He created Adam and later created Eve also, the wife. Population of the world today is about seven billion and can be seen as the result of the laid down plan of God through marriage.

We need to follow the Word of God and read to our understanding, know His mind before we can enjoy our marriage. God’s Word is His manual and we know how germane the manual is to effective usage of any product. To understand His ways, we need to be well acquainted with His manual, the Bible and by that we can overcome the problems of marriage, have a good and peaceful home.

Marriage is very relevant today because it is for companionship. Husband and wife build the home. The house is God’s house. He only used both of them to build it and none should personally claim it to be his or hers. Reading the Word and applying it to their personal lives will go a long way to silencing every obstacle in marriage. Nothing should separate the couples, except when a partner threatens the life of the other.

‘Nothing Bad In Referring Some Problems To Couples’ Families’
(Bishop Oluwademilade Apata is the General Overseer of Divine Ewulomi Evangelical Church of Christ)
MOST challenges in marriage can be traced to couples’ upbringing, especially now that many ladies and men are not prepared for marriage from the home. Some parents match-make their children because they want their friendship to continue. They do not allow their children to seek the face of God by themselves. These parents fail to understand that there are laid down principles for marriage and marriages conducted in the manner of a family just giving their daughters or sons to another family friend would end up in chaos. Such marriages are built on challenges and they do not last.

There is nothing bad in referring some problems to couples’ families because they gave consent to the marriage and if there is problem, they should be involved. It is better than going to court, which may lead to divorce — God hates divorce.

‘Couples Should Work Together To Overcome Challenges’
(Bishop Stephen Adegbite is the Lord Bishop of the Diocese of Ikeja, Methodist Church Nigeria)
MANY couples go into marriage without considering the other side of it, which is ‘for better for worse.’ They do not know that even though marriage is God’s own institution, there would be some challenges.

However, if the marriage is rightly started with God, challenges would be manageable. When there are challenges, couples should remember the covenant they made that ‘it is for better for worse’ and this would keep them going. Carnal man cannot obey the commandment of God, so, to keep the sanctity of marriage, it is good for both of them to fear God and remain in His command and instructions. No man is allowed to turn the wife into a punching bag and the wife too should not abuse this privilege up to the point of beating the husband. Trial marriage or living together of man and woman without the interest of raising children is not acceptable to God who instituted marriage.

Another quick way of living above challenges is to live in love to the point that whatever is found in the mouth of the husband would be found in the mouth of the wife. Couples should pray together, read their Bible and fast. Fasting is a catalyst that would bring miracles to the home. Same sex marriage is not acceptable to God.

‘Don’t Solve Marital Challenges With Human Philosophy’
(Bishop Taiwo Akinola is the Founder and Presiding Bishop of Rhema Christian Church & Towers, Sango-Otta, Ogun State) PEOPLE who want to overcome marital challenges should appreciate that marriage is God’s institution and should desist from using human philosophy to tackle marital challenges. There are some guidelines to be observed which include: the husband to love his wife to the extent of seeing her as very important and integral part of the home. She is to be treated with dignity. She is the half of the man.

Secondly, the wife should submit to the husband as ordained by God. She should see the husband as the head of the home and her own head too. Submission brings joy to the home, the entire family, including the children. Children are expected to live by that biblical injunction that commands them to obey their parents. However, there are some difficult situations that may allow for temporary withdrawal by any of the couples, such as one of them becoming suicidal, or wanting to kill the partner. If there is no way of escape, the one at the mercy of the other could separate until the issue is resolved.

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