In the excitement of ‘falling in love forever’ and prospects of ‘making love all night long’ we forget (or simply don’t realize) the reality that nothing works until we work it; especially the hard work on our own character in marriage all life long.
SPEAK NO EVIL
When you are a gifted speaker one of your greatest temptations is accepting invitations to address things you have no expertise or experience in or have no particular passion for, just because you’ve got the gift of the gab. For integrity sake, I’ve always strived to not fall prey to that trap just because “I can talk.” Early in my career as a communicator one of the things I promised myself was to not preach or bring the exhortation at a wedding ceremony for a long time until I had walked long enough in those matrimonial shoes. For me that was a minimum of three years; now it’s been 10.
Since I married my friend of 15 years on August 12, 2006 I’ve had the privilege of conducting and speaking at a few weddings of various kinds: African, North American, Chinese, Messianic Jew… you name it. And I always tend to speak on what others would rather not.
WHAT’S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?
“Already?!” I exclaim again and again. “But (s)he was many years my junior!” “Did they not just get married?” The rate of divorce in society today worries me to no end; but especially among those who call themselves Christians. One of the factors that pushed me out of not speaking or writing much about marriage was heart-wrenching conversation after conversation about several younger medical colleagues of mine whose marriages had come apart. And it’s not just the Christian doctors; it’s a myriad others.
So why do people still want to get married? Why do some societies actually even pressure people into marriage as if it’s the best thing in the world if we very well know that half of these will be dissolved before the first anniversary? On some social media platforms I know of, divorce is not only normal, it is actively encouraged. What’s all the fuss about weddings then?
The following BIG four ‘features and benefits’ may be why the majority want to marry, what excites all of us who attend weddings and what most counsellors and preachers will talk about:
- Companionship—”It is not good for man to be alone.”
- Cause—a suitable help to accomplish your life’s mission/purpose together.
- Coitus—OK, that’s doctor language; what ‘mere mortals’ call “sex.” Trust me, that alone is worth getting married for! [But then again for the heathen, what’s sex got to do with marriage, right?!]
- Children—both child-bearing and child-rearing in a loving, safe and stable socio-economic and spiritual context.
I may expand on these ‘big four’ in my future writing. My emphasis today is the fifth ‘C’ which nobody talks about much.
THE MISSING ‘C’
Yes, all these four Cs are worth making a fuss about and jubilating at weddings over but one of the most important reasons why God made marriage yet which I hardly hear anybody talking about is this fifth ‘C’ which I want to spend the rest of this blog on: Character.
This, for me, has been my #1 lesson in the mere 10 years I’ve been married (my parents are about hitting forty and both maternal and paternal grandparents made it over half a century in marriage before both grandmas passed away). A key ‘feature and benefit’ of marriage is character construction.
CRUCIBLE & COLLEGE
If you ever did Chemistry experiments in school you most likely used a crucible. It is a container in the lab in which substances are mixed at very high temperatures. Yeah, that’s what marriage is. It is a crucible. Nothing in the world produces as much heat to bring out impurities and form character like marriage! Nothing!
Yes, medical school was tough and moulded the character of my mates and I. Yet if I told you the number of smart, young doctors who finished medical school with excellence and yet are checking out from the ‘heat in the kitchen’ of marriage you will be shell-shocked! It’s not about smartness (the head), it’s not even about skillfulness (the hands), it’s about character (the heart!).
Nothing shapes us like marriage and that is why people can successfully run Fortune 500 companies, like the chap who run a multinational with over 300,000 employees worldwide but could not keep a single marriage! How many world record-setting athletes and multiple-award winning artistes don’t we know who dazzle us with their giftedness but the least said about the marriages the better? O, and archbishops who supervise hundreds of churches and tens of thousands of congregants around the world and cast out big big demons but cannot keep one marriage!
One of God’s highest purposes for making man is so that we look like him—God has always wanted us to look like him—“let us make man in our image and likeness.” Marriage is God’s best laboratory and school for that process of spiritual transformation; some call it “discipleship.” Character formation, the spiritual transformation of one another to become more and more like Christ, is one of the highest ‘features and benefits’ of Christian marriage and yet nobody wants to ‘dampen’ the excitement to talk about that.
I thought I was patient until I got married. I always knew I was prideful but not this much until I started this journey with the most wonderful woman in the world. Trust me, I look much more like Christ today than I did ten years ago, thanks to this thing called marriage. And I’m not even ‘there’ yet (you can ask Anyele my wife!) You and I may decide to ‘check out’ of our marriages for a myriad reasons, chief of them in my generation being “irreconcilable differences.’ Perhaps the secular and godless can say that, but for a Christ follower, is there anything more irreconcilable than sinful us and a perfect God? Yet He came to us and sought us out to reconcile us to Himself as His forever bride “while we were still sinners.”
If we don’t give up but keep up the hard work of “submit[ing[ to one another out of reverence for Christ;” if wives would submit to their husbands in everything as the Church (bride) submits to Christ (bridegroom); if we husbands would love our wives just as Christ loved the Church to the point of sacrificial death we all will be daily transformed more and more into the image of Christ and the longevity of our marriages will actually seem rather like a byproduct.
Your true measure of spirituality is not who you are in church but who you are at home! No better discipleship school in the world than marriage! I did medical school for eight years (and another 2 years of housemanship) before getting my full certificate to practice but marriage is a ‘strange’ college where, as they say, you get your certificate even before you start the course!!
As Ephesians 5 portrays, marriage is this beautiful picture of Christ and His Church, and God wants you and I to mirror this HIGH standard! Don’t try to lower the standard to what you can do; get on your knees and plead for GRACE to reach those heights only God can empower us to! If you’ve decided to or are contemplating this thing called marriage, welcome to the college of discipleship; welcome to the crucible of character formation! If you will both submit to Christ, His Word and His Ways, you will both look like Him more and more!
This is not just the hard work of will power or self-help I speak of but a work of grace; if we will allow it. There is grace enough for the marriage journey. “11For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-12)
MARRIAGE IS AWESOME!
Marriage is not just society’s idea; although today’s Supreme Courts and local governments think this is their invention and can tweak it however they want. Marriage is God’s idea and it is awesome when done God’s way! God made it and said it was good.
Marriage is awesome! The companionship is great!, helping each other in accomplishing our purpose is wonderful!, the sex is literally breathtaking!, the children a blessing!… and the character formation, phenomenal! Don’t just endure, enjoy! None of us is qualified to say “marriage doesn’t work” until we’ve worked it the way the Designer planned it.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
I have always admired you and Anyele, and I pray for Grace to walk this road when it gets to my turn.
God bless you all.
What you admire, you attract!
Receive the same grace and MORE, Priscilla!
Am blessed by this piece Doc. God bless you richly and may you enjoy divine bliss in your marriage and ministry
Thanks Sylvester. Amen to that. And I pray the same and more for you!
Great Blog Post. Love it loads!
Thanks for reading. Keep sharing it. And above all, LET’S JUST DO IT!
Thanks and God bless you for such insightful revelations. Keep shining!!!
Thanks and amen! You keep shining too. Don’t settle!
WOW!!!! Powerful revelations!!! God Richly Bless you and may your marriage continue to thrive and be an example to countless others!!!
Thanks and amen!
May you WOW! us all too with yours!
Thanks for sharing your experience Sir. So happy you touched on the commission to us from JESUS on marriage – Wives SUBMIT to your Husbands, Husbands LOVE your wives as Christ loved the church (Sacrificial Love).
I hear women complaining about ‘submitting’ all the time until they hear me explain what it means to love to the point of death–then they realize they have a better deal than the men! You submit and live; we love and DIE!!
Thank you Yaw. I realized same when I married my wife.
Lol! I’m sure SHE realized it even more! Lol!
Press on, Collins!
God bless you for this wisdom filled truth. I am more confident of marriage now.
Maame Esi, go in the strength of the LORD. HE is faithful!
God bless you. Well said
God bless you too, Benjamin!
This is life changing.Thanks a million. You’ve given me a different outlook on marriage. God bless you!
God bless you too. And may you be an equal blessing to others!
Dear brother in the Lord,thanks for opening my soul to this amazing deep secret…may His grace see u through.
Thanks and amen! May ‘the word become flesh’ in your life and mine! Blessings, Foster! And shine like the ‘nsoroma’ you are! 🙂
Wow,!thanks for your reply.l did loved it.With Christ in me i am shinning brighter in His glory.Amen!
just got married. will be applying this. Bless you.
May you receive God’s special GRACE for marriage! It WILL work! It is well!
Thank you Dr Perbi! This is great! God bless you and may He give us the grace to work it out as planned by the designer. I’m getting married in some few months and I must say, I gave up when the heat in the crucible became hoter. Thanks to God for the grace and strength that has brought us this far! God has been faithful! Thanks a lot!
Enjoy the heat. God will use it to shape you in INCREDIBLE ways; so He can trust and use you for INCREDIBLE things!
Keep me posted!
This has really given me a confirmation of thoughts I have been struggling with on how to make a marriage work. I have always believed that it goes beyond the four C’s. And yes CHARACTER FORMATION IS PHENOMENAL!. You have really inspired me and as I pray for the grace of God in shaping and sharpening my character to glorify Him….I look forward to having a successful marriage (When i get married….lol), and faithfully applying this knowledge to attain God’s intentions for marriage. Wives remember that you ought to learn to love your husbands too…it is very important!. God bless you Dr. Perbi.
Well… keep me posted when you’re actually in the CRUCIBLE 🙂
Blessings on you, Irene!
Amen !! and I will certainly keep you posted.
Building a good Character is indeed central to building a good marriage. None of us can work out marriage our own way. God instituted it. As such, we ought to “do it God’s way” so that we could have peaceful joyful marriages. I believe that in this dying world, working marriage out our way=Divorce. No wonder it’s on the rise now. May we accept and walk in the Grace of God made available to us to build good Christ-like characters that will help make our marriages 5- Star marriages.
For we the singles, let us begin building good characters now before we even get there. Grace is available.
God bless you Dr. and may He give you Grace to enjoy more years of marriage. I salute.
Remember, there is nothing like “irreconcilable differences”
You’ll make a very good preacher! Preach on! Lol!
But as Jesus said, “blessed are you if you know all these things and DO them!” May we be Doers, us all!
Really? I bless God oo.
Amen. I pray to be a perfect Doer when my appointed time comes……
Mehn.. Thank you very.. I have really learnt a lot… God richly bless you and your family..
I remember the first time I heard you preach at ICGC Eagles Temple Gbawe… Mehn.. I was blessed… Thank you.
Thanks and many blessings, Emmanuel!
I’ll see you at Eagles Temple in November, DV!
Thanks and may God grant grace to live it out!
Thanks for this. A real eye opener. Next month I’ll be 2 year in the CRUCIBLE, praying for grace. God bless you Doc and enjoy longer blissful years together.
MORE Grace, Brenda! MUCH MORE Grace!
‘CRUCIBLE’ indeed. Thank you Dr. God continue to Bless you and your family. I bet if all could come to this understanding and be ready to change… divorce court will be empty… What sometimes amazes me is seeing Christian lawyers who are ‘specialist’ in divorce… hmmm. It is well! Jesus is Lord!
The part about I thought I was patient till I got married resonated so much with me. I agree with you on this piece a 100 and more . God bless you.
Thanks Esi. There’s grace enough. God will help us!
In fact, I have learned a lot from this wonderful enlightenment. I am well informed and educated. Thanks a great deal Doc, be blessed.
Happy to serve. Spread the word. And o for grace to live it out, you and I!
The Grace O Lord! God bless you. Looking forward to learn from you and tap in your wisdom to forge ahead as well as you’re confidently doing Doc.
Thank you Dr Perbi.
My favourite fish! 🙂
Just came across this today.You couldn’t have put it better. We’re celebrating our 10th anniversary this year and nothing could have been far from the truth but when we persevere, God gives us the grace to grow. May we all seek God’s face and strive to be more like Christ as we leave a good legacy for our children and generations after them to follow. Thank you for this. God bless you!
Sarah, I’m glad we’re on the same page. Many more of us need to see things this way. Last weekend I did a wedding where I was super impressed that the young couple, in their customized vows, called each other “partners in sanctification.” That’s it!
In fact i just cannot find the right words. So far this marriage piece has just blown me off my feet. This is powerful. Thank you so much.