Marriage “is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Eph 5:32, 33)
Marriage is more than a marriage certificate. It is more spiritual than physical. The Bible calls marriage ‘a great mystery’. No one can describe it in human words. But one thing is clear: without God, marriage will fail. My husband and I are happily married for 45 years. God alone takes the glory for our strong and happy marriage. We have made many mistakes along the way and we have learned many lessons from them. The Bible is our ‘marriage manual’. As a wife, it is my duty to know the general principles of life by which my husband ‘operates’. These principles are not legalistic, cold or rigid. As my husband matures spiritually, these ideas change for the better. I have to change too so that there is no ‘gap’ between us. It is like tango dancing… It is my duty to study my husband and analyze his way of life, his strategy of life. I prayerfully listen when he talks. I want to know ‘from where he comes from and where he is going’. I want to know why he says this or that. If I hear something that I consider ‘wrong’, I pray for wisdom, to understand ‘his point of view’. I do not rigidly or blindly insist on my ‘better’ opinion, even if ‘I am right’. What I may see as wrong may be something he considers as good. Many things are relatives. Like my husband says when he preached from Romans 14, these are ‘matters of indifference’. The truth is that family and social background influence our choices.
For example, if my husband tells me how he expects me to behave in a particular situation, if I agree with him, then it is easy, for the two of us. But if I see things differently, it is hard for me to submit to what I consider ‘wrong’. What do I do? As a young wife I used to correct him immediately saying: ‘Sorry, I do not agree with you. What about my way?’ Then we argue to and fro for some time, provoking and becoming angry with one another. It will take a long time to forgive and forget the hurt caused by such arguments. But as time went by, I learned to be more patient with him and with myself. I learned to humble myself and to see things from his perspective too. I now know that I do not have to be right all the time. These days, if he says something I disagree with, I keep calm and quiet. I meditate on his proposal trying to find the good in it and ‘a common ground’. Then I go and pray. I ask God to show me why does my husband sees this matter so differently than me. God helps me to understand him. This is great gain! God helps me to submit and to love him even when it is hard. Marriage is work. Lazy people should not marry. Prayer is more important than food or sex. The reason why I take all this trouble to understand my husband is not because I want to submit and please him only for today. I want to understand him as a person so that things will be easier between us in the future. For me, each pain must go to God in prayer and become a seed of love, for a deeper knowing and appreciation of my husband. Submission is my harvest of wisdom and love. To God be all the glory!

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