A Nigerian gospel artist Osinachi Nwachuckwu, singer of the famous song Ekuweme (You are the living God) has died. The reason for her death was said to be a battle with throat cancer but different videos and articles with pieces of evidence, say that the cause of her death was as a result of being in an abusive marriage.
The sad part of this story is that the church that she used to fellowship with and entrusted this information of her marital struggle, told her to endure and keep going on with the marriage not knowing that telling her to stay would lead to her demise.
An Asian couple from America, had a different marital issue, which they chose to solve by remaining married but living separately. Adnan husband to Sauna said “I know for some people this may seem really unusual and unconventional but for our marriage it worked wonders.” After staying together for some years, Adnan and Sauna started to feel like they were taking each other for granted. They didn’t make as much effort as they liked in terms of intimacy and how they treated each other. Having decided to move to different houses that are 15 minutes apart, in a quest to improve their marriage Sauna says, “I think that distance really makes the heart grow fonder and its definitely made us a lot happier. It has made us closer and more intimate. When we are together we are inseparable.”
From the extreme marital issues down to the seemingly minimal issues, this institution is one that is unique and definitely not one-size-fits-all. However, marriage does have one institution that ought to govern it, personal preference aside.
Speaking on the same Rev Tom Otieno, Vicar and Marriage Counsellor says, “A romantic relationship is by nature a risky affair. Passion without boundaries can be disastrous. To bring immature and undeveloped aspects of our character into an adult romantic relationship is dangerous.”
It is true that many marriages suffer because of the unresolved personal flaws that the two individuals have not dealt with and ought to seek help with on a personal level.
He adds that, “Honesty with each other is very important. Even if a couple says that they do not have many differences in a romantic relationship, they need to find out what they are hiding from each other. Many have issues but they do not know how to navigate those issues.”
Before I give out some pointers on reasons to stay, I’d like to point out that every marriage has unique issues and each issue has different solutions. So don’t put yourself in a box when it comes to the different kinds of conflict that come up in marriage, both extreme and the mundane.
In further discussion, Rev. Tom states that “The marriage relationship is a reflection of Christ’s relationship with His church. As Christ is the only one who could die for the world, and the church has to be the one representing Him on earth. Likewise, in marriage one does not lose their individual identity. Marriage is where one crucifies self and does not live for selfish gain but they live for godly interest.”
And this is where most problems stem from. The loss of identity in marriage or not being able to trace who you are, especially one’s purpose is a huge problem because it can easily trickle down into the day to day conflicts that happen in marriage.
A lot of couples try to find ways of solving their matrimonial predicaments, only to realize it takes a lot of work and effort to stay in a healthy marriage.
Rev Tom advises, “When a person is well defined it helps them to see what God wants them to see about the other and themselves.”
He also points out that our relationships need to be based on freedom and must not infringe on the others personhood especially their choices.
One thing is for sure, that manipulation is a dark road and the fact that it is an infringement on the soul is what breaks couples apart.
So why should you stay in marriage? Well, extreme unique cases aside for now, here are some realities that will help you form a good foundation in order to create a marriage worth staying in.
Mutual Submission: an attitude of humility is what should run through the marriage. Respecting one another and loving one another is something that will hold your relationship together even in conflict.
The Wife’s submission: This is supposed to be unconditional submission and is not pegged on oppression but rather upholding respect for your husband, ‘as is pleasing to the LORD’. It is something that if the wife would seek God’s help to do, can be done without reservation if as a wife you find submission difficult.
A Husbands unconditional and sacrificial love: When the husband loves his wife sacrificially he covers his marriage and his home. Like wise if the husband struggles with this he should seek God’s help.
Death to self: Love each other as you love yourselves, there must be the death of selfishness.
Enthronement of Christ in our marriage: The agreement between husband and wife that we do not allow any other person to rule but Christ.
We must look deep within ourselves and ask ‘If God created marriage, have I been seeking solutions in the wrong place?’