About 2 months ago I saw this photo of one my flickr contact’s grandparents www.flickr.com/photos/christiana-noelle/2344939582/ and I absolutely loved it! Aren’t they angelic and so wonderful and beautiful together? To me older couples have always represented what true love between a man and woman mean…somehow to a young man’s mind time always seemed the real test of a true love. (This may or may not be true.)
However, I didn’t know any older couples I could photograph! For some reason later that night I went through some older folders of photographs and found this picture I’ve taken last year while I went on a trip! This picture is of a German Christian couple.
I was going to talk about relationships—that’s why I am posting this photo so late—but the truth of the matter I can’t simply because I’ve never been in one! I’ve loved before, but have never been loved by a woman so I really can’t talk about a topic from one point of view; that simply won’t do the topic justice.
Then I remembered my favourite verses in regard to knowing what God expects from a Christian husband or wife to be like. But the truth of the matter those verses are not very popular to us, Christians, I don’t know why though. I’ve noticed people who quote such verses sometimes are looked upon as being “legalistic”, “close minded”, or “self-righteous”. Other times verses like these are explained as being written by Paul (as if the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with writing God’s Word!) to a certain group of people in Paul’s times, and that they don’t apply to us anymore!
Being a single Christian male I have many fears and the main one is that my marriage will end up in divorce, or living a miserable marriage life. Let me tell you a story:
A certain Iraqi Christian man was in Canada was considered a very godly man. He married an Iraqi lady living in Canada too who was born in a “Christian” family and was considered “Christian” too. (When I write “Christian” I mean not having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.)
Let me explain a bit about the Arabic culture so you understand this story better. You see most Arabic girls grow up dreaming about getting married—to many that’s their highest goal in life. They dream of the perfect marriage, perfect man, perfect kids, and just a simple happy life. They yearn to be wives and mothers, and even being a housewife is a dream to them. Most don’t date (that doesn’t mean they don’t have crushes on actors, singers, or classmates, etc, and they could’ve had have men asked their hand in marriage, or been engaged), and so when they get married it is like a dream come true! They finally feel they are the princess they have desired to be.
The man was a professional photographer but he usually refused to photograph weddings because he objected to the way most people dress in weddings, and he didn’t want to put himself in a situation he didn’t want to be in. He could explain the Word of God so clearly and had such deep understanding of the scripture that people usually went to him to know what the Bible teaches about a certain topic.
About 10 years later (they had a son by then) after she and her son came back from visiting her family in another city her neighbour told her that they had visitors over because she saw a couple strange cars in their garage. So she had her suspicions because she doesn’t know anyone with those cars descriptions. So one day while he was out she went through his stuff and found some phone number, and as she kept searching she found a box of photos of semi-naked women taken in their house. He got enraged when confronted with the photos, and even threatened to kill her with a knife at one time.
A short period afterwards their marriage ended in divorce. Of course she was devastated by what happened. I don’t think any woman dreams of her husband doing such a thing. For most people in North America they could’ve probably worked on their marriage, but for Arabs what he had done was as Great as committing adultery.
A couple years later he re-married and has a son right now from his 2nd marriage. She on the other hand suffers from his actions until today. She feels rejected, unwanted, unloved, undesired and so on—all the emotions a person might feel when they go through something this emotionally crushing. I mean, I cannot describe to you the emotional damage he inflicted on her.
The sad part is that as an Arab man he could remarry, the culture does not frown on that, but she as a woman is unlikely to get married again. If he didn’t get married a 2nd time, may be there was a chance they could reconcile.
But I wanted to talk about here is not cultures but faith. How could a man do such a thing? How could he move on with his life after making a mess of their marriage, while letting her stranded back with the mess he left behind him? How can he go to church again? How could he pray again? Can he ask God for anything anymore? Of course, she right now rejects any notion of Jesus Christ; can you blame her after marrying a Christian man who treated her like that? He even refuses to pay child support and rarely (rarely as once every year or so!) sees his 1st son! I mean, here was a man who was above reproach!
This story scares me because I ask myself sometimes, “What if I end up doing something like this man did? How can I ever fix a mistake like that? How can I face my God, my wife, or kids? How do I live with myself afterwards?” I mean, here is a man who had way more knowledge of God’s Word than I have and he did such a thing…what makes me think I can be a godly husband?
And the biggest doubt I have that deals with relationships is this: I simply cannot bring myself to believe that one day when I get married my wife will love me. The idea is just too abstract to me—I don’t even understand it. I mean, I can imagine myself loving my wife more than myself, but I have no clue what it means that a wife loves her husband. I know this my sound silly to you, but I really don’t have an understanding of that concept.
I don’t know why though. I think because I had grown in a Middle Eastern country where a man is evaluated by what he does and how much money he brings home. I can’t recall many instances, if any, where I saw a woman genuinely loves her husband for who he is. Most women completely forget about their husbands once they have children, and they simply direct all their love, attention, and care to their children.
One time an Arabic woman (I won’t mention the country she and her husband from, because I am not targeting people in my writings, but behaviours) was talking so politely to her husband and when he left the room she made a funny, sarcastic, and disrespecting gesture with her face about him. I mean that was shocking! He didn’t say anything or do anything that would’ve suggested she feels that way towards him, especially that they have been married over 20 years!
This probably sounds silly to you, like “so what?” But I really don’t dream, and rather not get married than be involved in a marriage like this.
I’ve had a couple of people telling me that I wanted a wife like my youngest uncle’s wife (www.flickr.com/photos/001fj/2152995301/in/set-72157603857…), and I simply answered them, “I want a wife who strives to be like Jesus, just as I desire to be like Jesus. My uncle’s wife just happened to be the person who represents Jesus the best to many people.”
When I came to Canada I was surprised to hear women say this often, “You know, all men are jerks…” As much as I can remember it seems that both men and women hurt each other in relationships for a reason or no reason. They both rush into marriage without letting God heal their emotional wounds, and that in turn dumps all their emotional packages on the other person until their marriage comes under so much strain that they wish they hadn’t gotten married in the 1st place.
I’ve seen many marriages and my uncle’s marriage to his wife is the only one that makes marriage look like a lifetime commitment that is worth to make.
I often times wonder how many married Christians think about the fact that others, especially singles, are observing the way they treat each other and taking notice. I wonder if we really care about what impact we leave on others. I just wonder.
I consistently pray for my future wife, my kids, my marriage as a whole and myself as a future husband. I know that God has a lot of work to do in me from fears, doubts, broken heart, wrong ideas or attitudes, etc.
I want to mention one thing here before I forget: You cannot dishonour and disrespect your parents and expect God to provide you with a wonderful spouse. I know, you are probably thinking, “What do my parents have to do with my marriage?” The answer is “a lot!”
If you do not appreciate your mother who offered you so much that no other person on the face of earth will ever be able to offer you a fraction of what she had, then you won’t appreciate your wife. If you don’t respect your earthly father whom you can see then you don’t respect your heavenly Father whom you can’t see, and if you don’t respect God He won’t bless you, nor will you respect your husband.
Let me give you an example. I know a family of nine children, their eldest is in his 60s and their youngest is in his late 30s. All nine children, the sons and daughters, are inconsiderate towards their mom (their dad had passed away 20 years ago) even as adults, except the youngest son. He used to work in a gas station and when he would come home late in the evening he would give his mom all the money had made and take her shopping in his car, and was so patient with her, loving and caring that no wonder she loves him the most. (Interestingly he is the only one of all nine children who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.)
She also had another son living with her, he on the other hand was the opposite of his youngest bother. He would yell at her, fight with her, disrespect her (she is over 80 years old right now) and never took her shopping or as much took her to a doctor’s appointment! Sometimes she would beg him to go buy bread for three days and he would refuse to do so!
To make the long story short, none of those children had/has successful marriages, interestingly especially the son I mentioned above. I mean, every time he makes a decision you ask yourself, “Is it possible he can make a worse decision next time?” It is like he is blinded, and that Satan has completely blinded him with darkness. Every step he has taken ended up being a failure but nothing compares to the decision he made of getting married. I mean, the word “disaster” makes his marriage life sound wonderful!
The youngest son on the other hand had gotten married too but to a wonderful Christian lady. I really can’t describe his marriage to you. I mean, God has blessed them with so much that I don’t know where to start: He has provided for them, there is joy in their lives, they often laugh and it is like they are living their childhood in their late 30s! God has repaid them for all the years Satan had tried to damage their lives. They are serving God joyful, without complaining and they are the only couple who truly know how to give! I mean, you know when you read acts and how the believers shared everything with each other? That’s exactly how they share their possessions, and the more they give the more God gives them. It is truly amazing. His wife is even more wonderful than him! And every time you see them it is like they are falling in love right in front of your eyes! It is truly a joy just being around them.
Why do I share those stories with you? Well, because the Bible says if we persevere in our faith and obedience then we are going to get rewarded. If I had told you what kind of persecutions the wife of the youngest son had endured from her family and especially her mom because she accepted Jesus Christ when she was a teenager, you would be surprised to know she is serving her mom, loving her and taking care of her because she is old right now and disabled. (Her mom actually tried to kill her three times because she became a born-again Christian!) But that’s the kind of attitude God rewards.
I really don’t have words of wisdom here, I just wanted to share with you my fears, thoughts, and doubts as a single Christian, and stories of God’s faithfulness to His followers.
Of course, the object of this writing is not to say that this culture fails at marriage, and this one not. I just used those examples because I thought they would be more interesting to you than repeating the countless cases we hear in the news and in churches! The question is not whether these things really happen or not, because we all know they happen a lot, and you probably know similar stories or even sadder ones. The object of this writing is for us to stop, think, evaluate our ways to see if they are according to God’s Word, confess, ask for forgiveness (from God and man!), repent, and pray for guidance…before it is too late and our hearts have drifted so far from God that His truth does not seem to make a difference for us anymore.
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer Great for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Matthew 5:13
I want to add one more thing: If you are single, or married, and wondering if God knows about your situation or cares about what your desires are, and what you are going and feeling, the answer is “Yes, He does”, but you have to persevere and pass the test—you have to obey Him.
(Guelph, ON; summer 2007.)