In a day and age where every person has become a marriage counsellor even those who don’t pray neither can successfully handle a bible class, there’s a proper need to scripturally address a pertinent matter emerging in CHRISTIAN marriages. First and foremost, Marriage is of God, honourable and should be desired by and for all.
Hebrews 13:4 KJV Marriage is honourable in all.
Secondly, it’s a choice you make, even though prayerfully and you can choose not to make as well prayerfully too
1 Corinthians 7:8-9 KJV I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.
9] But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
1 Corinthians 7:39 KJV The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
Things do go wrong in all human relationships.
Pastor and flock
2 Corinthians 13:2,10 KJV I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:
10] Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
Amongst Fellow ministers
Acts 15:39 KJV And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
Amongst believers generally
1 Corinthians 11:18 KJV For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
A whole lot of apostolic teaching deals with love, forgiveness and forbearance amongst Believers, marriage is sure one of such.
This day and age many a believer aren’t taught the love walk and so resort to television, social media guidance for most relationships Words like “am leaving him or her”, “it’s over”, “I can’t continue”, etc. are rampant and were mostly gleaned from the world.
Yet scriptures teach that we be cautious with this world and its ideas.
Romans 12:2 KJV And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We are to renew our minds and ensure we aren’t entrapped with a world which finds nothing wrong with sex without marriage and even tags it “baby mama” and consciously teaches such illicit sex in sitcoms and movies and even its celebrities.
We are to be circumspect.
Ephesians 5:15 KJV See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
It means carefully.
Marriages are built on forgiveness and believing the best of each other.
Human Loyalty can be shaky,
Only Gods faithfulness is reliable and enduring, yet we His children have the capacity to be trustworthy.
Hence scriptures teach two fundamentals for all marriages
Ephesians 5:22,25 KJV Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Love and submit
Both words entail a whole lot
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 KJV Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5] Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7] Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Ephesians 5:21 KJV Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
It means in honour and reverence for the Lord
Colossians 3:18 KJV Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
I dare say, if many of our men paid more attention to bible studies and understand love isn’t just about romance, a treat on Cayman Islands, buying gifts, great sex etc. rather virtues of character only found in Christ, if they do, we might save more marriages.
We might …
And I dare say too if many women paid more attention to the Word rather than Africa Magic, telemundo, Linda Ikeji’s blog etc. they will understand what honor, respect mean
They will know respect and honor keeps marriages more than beauty and sex and worst still ” saying your mind ”
1 Peter 3:5-6 KJV For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:  Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
She called him lord, master not honey pie, sugar belly etc.
Nothing wrong in pet names but from the word, he is your head not just your lover.
Being married to a none believer (before you received Christ yourself I mean) isn’t an excuse to behave badly and treat him or her with disrespect
Whilst I fully understand the Pauline teaching on love and submit in Ephesians and Colossians were strictly for believers, scriptures also instruct on marriage to none believers
1 Corinthians 7:12-13 KJV But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.  And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
Don’t seek to leave for such reasons
1 Corinthians 7:27 KJV Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed.
Take note of the words “if he/ she be pleased to dwell” as I will touch this later as a critical part.
Peter gave another angle to the same scenario
1 Peter 3:1-2 KJV Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;  While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
Conduct must be godly and such that glorifies Christ even though he’s a non-believer.
You mustn’t shirk your marital duties for fasting and prayer or church meetings.
You must be his wife and her husband as the case applies.
So, when storms arise in marriages we must always seek for peace and reconciliation at all times
Hebrews 12:14 KJV Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
We are to avoid strife, anger, bitterness, evil speaking and malice in our marriages
Romans 12:18 KJV If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Do all you can to stay in peace.
Ephesians 4:26,31 KJV Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
This is needed in ALL relationships including marriage
Strife is a no-no
1 Corinthians 3:3 KJV For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
It’s for men who aren’t born again.
Nagging, fault finding etc. are works of the flesh
We are dead to the flesh and alive in the spirit
Galatians 5:24-25 KJV And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Strife i.e. contention, consistent arguing and nagging are devilish
James 3:15-16 KJV This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.  For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Even though you might be making Worldly sense and getting social media applause, Gods word is a rock which outlives human opinions.
As believers, whether as parties in marriages or third/ interested parties called upon to mediate or give counsel we MUST pursue peace at all costs!
At all costs!
We must pray to change situations too.
James 5:16 KJV … The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
If your marriage isn’t working well, pray!
James 5:13 KJV Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.
Many times we hardly explore these scriptural options before resorting to the world’s quick fixes.
We are believers and must act on the word.
To find believers having multiple pre-marital break ups is enough distress and bad testimony, talk less of finding believers getting married several times in a life time.
We mustn’t treat our marriages like Hollywood or Nollywood.
It should be seen to glorify Christ.
For example, the home and marriage of a Christian minister should be exemplary.
1 Timothy 3:4-5 KJV One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;  (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
We must be examples to all believers
1 Timothy 4:12 KJV Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Some exceptions do arise.
And we do have Gods word and wisdom for these instances
I have found out several ministers are either at sea on such matters or feigning ignorance or just living in denial
First and foremost, marriage is not a life and death sentence.
For example, spouses do die and the living spouse can remarry.
1 Timothy 5:14 KJV I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
He refers to young widows.
We shall touch this too later.
Divorce is a word in the bible.
Deuteronomy 24:1 KJV When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she finds no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
It was even put to Jesus.
Matthew 19:7 KJV They say unto him, why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
But the term or word is not found after the Four gospels.
It’s not our primary way of treating marriages.
But then, questions have arisen. On domestic violence, rape (yes rape in marriage), incest, infidelity, fraud, deceit etc.
What should be done?
I must firstly submit that cases have their uniqueness and most times we must take each one in its merit.
I firmly believe marital counselling is beyond phone in programs or blogs rather a pastor’s duty.
Hence its safer for couples to seek counsel from where they receive spiritual oversight.
Hebrews 13:17 KJV Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
It’s safer than reading off some bitter lady or fellow on Facebook or Twitter.
I believe many marriages can be rescued, by Gods power I have helped out several and even in cases where divorce had been concluded in the courts.
God’s word and power is the answer.
However, in some exceptional cases we still have His Word…