“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4: 2-3
This week, I wish to explore the topic of relationships with you. I will reflect on the quality of my relationships in my BC (Before Christ) life, including my relationship with my other half. I’ll have to warn you though, this piece isn’t like your typical romance novel, it’s rather far from it. As with each of my writing, my intention is always to highlight the goodness of God in every situation; especially in those difficult times.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
God’s Perfect love
I aim to share how God’s perfect love serves as a constant reminder of how to love those who can be sometimes unloving. More importantly, the piece looks at how God’s ideal image of love can sometimes be difficult to achieve. However, with the dawn of a new day, new opportunities arise to become a better version of ourselves in whichever roles we must perform i.e., the role of a wife, mother, daughter or a friend.
Love is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love has no fear; it does not worry; love keeps no records of wrongs; never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I take great pleasure in knowing that the tools for any relationship, are written in the Bible. This is our relationship manual! The word of God will equip us in those not so romantic moments. With God in the centre of all our relationships, our unions will grow from strength to strength.
How amazing is this?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV
My BC( Before Christ) Life – The beginning of a controlling personality
Mother migrated from the Caribbean in 1999. With three children to support and being a single woman at the time, she had to find work elsewhere. Throughout my childhood, I saw a woman who was in control; she was reliable and quite a high achiever. I loved this fighting spirit! For me, being in control meant that a greater trust was placed in myself, than in others. This pattern of thinking consumed every part of me, including the various social roles I performed. I had forgotten that mother needed this fighting spirit. When I tied the knot, I struggled with accepting my role as a wife. My controlling nature, was part of me. How could I ever change?
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Ephesians 5:22 NIV
When I became a Christian, I knew that this was going to be one of my major struggles. These struggles just don’t disappear the moment one become saved! Baptism isn’t a magic wand, it’s just the beginning. Jesus didn’t just submerged under water by John the Baptist, then went home and had a cup of tea. He got pretty busy after!
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1 NIV
Jesus spent years resisting temptation, growing in faith and developing his relationship with his father. Interestingly, we can say the same about marriages. After taking those vows, we will spend years overcoming challenges to increase our faith. These challenges will enable us to develop a closer relationship not only with our spouses, but with our Heavenly Father.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3
So, I prayed about my attitude towards submission. I asked God to provide opportunities to be a better version of a wife. I desired for the Holy Spirit to work in me, until this aspect of my former self became a blur. I needed to fully accept that I had a helper and I am to learn to embrace this.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
Changes In Myself
Each new day brought about microscopic changes in myself. I focused on changing myself, how could I be a better me?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:4 NIV
In moments where I was tempted to act like the BC wife, my silent partner ( The Holy Spirit) would nudge me on the shoulder, He would remind me of God’s words.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:24).
I recalled going out with a friend one day, she asked quite an interesting question. Without hesitation, I responded, “I’ll need to speak to my husband about this first.” I couldn’t believe it! In my BC life, I never truly looked for an opinion from my other half, but a confirmation.
Yes, I know I have a mind of my own, we all do. However, in that moment, I was reminded of the importance of my spouse’s involvement in the decision making process. This does not mean I am to agree with all of the opinions shared, especially opinions which are not of God! (God comes before our spouses). However, it highlighted that we were part of a team.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22
Changing Others “The Fixer“
I was always one to try and change others, to “fix” others. When I fell in love with Christ, one of my desires was for others to love Christ as much as I did ( I wrote about this in , Envy : Another form of cancer ). I had experienced Christ love in my life and this love still keeps me going. Naturally, I wanted this for my loved ones, but I wanted them to love Him on my timing.
I was never a patient person, so I couldn’t understand why there were no sudden changes in their behaviour. Can I say this? I have now improved in this aspect of myself, however, I am very much aware that God will need to provide further opportunities for growth and he does this daily.
Each day, I am more accepting of the truth, which is, everything happens in God’s time. This has brought about some positive changes. I am calmer and more understanding.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19 NIV
I am accepting of the fact that God knows the plans He has for others. While I understand the need to plant seeds in all of my relationships, I am no longer one to force change upon others with my words. Instead of being that annoying BC spouse, I “annoy” God instead. He won’t ever get tired of my prayers.
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Proverbs 21:9 NIV
Forceful language will only cause conflict in our homes, but praying will bring about miracles. God will work to convert others through us, but by our actions much more than our words.
In the same way you wives must submit to your husbands, so that if any of them do not believe God’s word, your conduct will win them over to believe. It will not be necessary for you to say a word, because they will see how pure and reverent your conduct is.
1 Peter 3:1-2 GNB
Praying Over My Husband’s Head
Can I tell you this? This is the “Rolls Royce” of any marriage. I learnt the concept of praying over my husband’s head from one of my many readings. Sisters, it works!
Let’s go back to a time when we were dating our other half. The moment he did some funny business, I’ll call his mother. At that time, she was his head, so I’ll go straight to her (typical 16 year old behaviour right? Yes, how mature.)
The moment one becomes married, a new head is in charge. In times where I need further consultation, I go over his head by going one step above; I consult God.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24 NIV
Ladies, I have seen decisions overturned in a matter of hours, after my many consultations. On one occasion, God used physical elements to block a decision. I remember whispering to God, ” I know that’s you!” Let me say this, when God knows how much you love him! He will ALWAYS look over you and your family.
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24 NIV
You’re probably thinking, why does the wife have to do all the work? He should treat me in the same manner? Yes, it’s also the duty of our spouses to do the same.
“In the same way, you husbands must give honour to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” Peter 3:7 NIV
In my BC life, some horrible thoughts would flood my mind and guess what, they were acted upon. I’m tired of being the one to jump first? It looks like I’m doing all the forgiving? I’m tired of saying sorry first. Does this sound familiar?
Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.” -Proverbs 24:29 NIV
So, why should or how do we keep on doing good if this good is not reciprocated? Well, I keep on doing good because it is God’s command. Humans are complex, everchanging beings, who will sometimes disappoint us. The moment doing good is dependent on the goodness of others, we are more likely to quit, if that goodness is not returned. However, if we keep on doing good because it’s God command, nothing will ever stop us from pushing through with goodness.
So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. Galatians 6:9 GNB
A Perfect Love
Although relationships are not perfect, they can be pretty awesome right? In those difficult times, we naturally forget those wonderful times. What gives me hope in such times is the fact that we once had a difficult relationship with God, but look at us now!
God loved us when we were most unloving. Where would we have been if God had given up on us? Sometimes, our other half may be unworthy of our love, but we cannot give up on them. This line of thought has brought humility to my heart and enabled me to be the most loving on difficult circumstances.
But God has shown us how much he loves us — it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! Romans 5:8 GNB
Today, we are reconciled through Christ. Through Christ, we have the power to overcome every obstacle that we encounter in our relationships.
Grow in Love
If we remain in Christ and he remains in us, we will definitely have the strength to grow.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV
We will grow in joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control, then we can love (Galatians 5: 22-23). Love will cover a multitude of sins ( 1 Peter 4: 8 NIV). By deeply loving others, we will learn to continuously forgive others, in the same way God continuously forgive our imperfect selves.
“Forgive them father, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23: 34 NIV
The moment we realise we are imperfect, then we understand that our relationships will not be perfect. However, God’s grace is sufficient. Through the power of the Holy Sprit, He will teach us to love others in a way which pleases him. If we allow God to work in us, we can grow to become more like Jesus each day. We will grow in love.
Today, I pray for God’s continuous guidance in your relationships. May you create great memories together and may you remember those moments in difficult times.I pray that you allow God to be the centre of all your relationships.
May your home be built on God’s example of love, so your children can understand what it truly means to love God and others.
I pray that God’s love will surround you and your families. May His perfect love be with you always 🙂