Going for the best picture
HAPPY MARRIAGE MEMOS
by John Kpikpi
Last week’s post ‘What picture of marriage is in your mind?’ generated this question from one of our readers: “What picture of marriage is in God’s mind?” So in this post we’ll start to ‘paint’ the picture of marriage that was in God’s mind when he first set up marriage.
As we would expect from someone who made the heavens and the earth, God’s picture of marriage is beautiful and grand, with different facets to it, and we shall take our time over the next four posts to look at each ‘petal’ of this beautiful flower in turn.
The first petal is this: God wants every husband and wife to be very good friends to each other who care for each other and support each other in their daily lives – in the little things and in the big things. Another word for this is companionship.
When we were in school every student longed to have a book called ‘The Student’s Companion’. The idea was to keep this book close by you everywhere you went so that you could look inside it for advice about any situation or challenge a student might meet. God intends that a husband and wife should be each other’s daily companion. If we want to succeed in building a happy and secure marriage we will need to adopt this part of God’s picture of marriage and make it one of the petals of our own marriage. What will this mean in practice?
1. Companionship in marriage means knowing who your number one companion is. A husband’s companion is, first and foremost, his wife and not his work colleagues or his brothers or his mother. Likewise, a wife’s closest companion is her husband – not her children or other lady friends, nor her boss or, even, her pastor. Companionship involves thinking about our spouse before any other person and prioritizing being good friends to each other in the midst of all the competing demands and calls on our friendship.
2. Companionship in marriage means staying close. A husband and wife should plan to live in the same country, in the same city, in the same house and in the same bedroom – and they should share the same bed! Now that is companionship! I know that on every point I’ve made here, many people will disagree but everything I’ve seen whilst caring for people’s marriages over the last few decades tells me that God’s plan is still the best. I remember telling a lady who asked me whether making regular visits to her husband’s abode was not good enough that “Your husband is meant to be your home, he’s not supposed to be a tourist site!” Likewise, men, your wife is not meant to be a tourist destination but rather your home. Some men assume that once they have rented or built a house for their wives, then their job is done and they can now go and live elsewhere! No, no, no! That’s only the first part of your job as a husband. The bigger part of your work is to stay close together with your wife and be available to her and work to become one with her. You, and not the physical building, are her home!
3. Companionship in marriage means spending time together. Make time for each other so you can share your joys and pains. When your husband or wife returns from work, get him or her a refreshing drink and ask, “How was your day?” Listen to each other well. Turn off the TV and other social media ‘time thieves’ (such as facebook, whatsapp etc) and make sure you are focused on each other. Now that is being a good companion! Can you imagine a teacher who never comes to class or who continually arrives late so that there is only five minutes of the lesson left each time? A husband or wife who arrives home late every day and has only five minutes of time and energy for his or her spouse is not doing his or her work as a husband or wife! Very soon he or she is going to get a query! And several queries can lead to something …..!
4. Companionship in marriage means doing fun things together. Take your wife out. The girl who wanted to go out with you when you first met is still in there and still wants to go out with you. So go out for walks or to a restaurant to enjoy some food together. Why don’t you ask her to choose one fun thing she’d like just you and her to do this week? And wives, ask your special companion about the one fun thing he would like to do today. If you prioritize companionship with each other, you will begin to see some lovely things happen in your home. Go for it and enjoy each other’s company!