With REV. A. A. OPARA
IF you want to enjoy marriage as God ordained it to be you must understand these principles and apply then in your home.
The principle of subjectivity This principle tells us that “Christ is the head of the man and the man is the head of the wife that means the wife should submit herself to the husband and the husband must see Christ as his head, and not see himself as a mountain.
“Wives submit yourselves into your own husbands as unto the lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church Eph 5:22-23
“But I would have you know that the head of everyman is Christ and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” 1 Corll; 3
The principle of reciprocal love
The foundation for the Christian marriage is love; mutual love and mutual consent. This is the reference to the Bible concept of God finding a “help meet” for Adams. God said “I will make him an help meet for him” Gen2:18.
From one of the ribs of Adam was Eve created. This epitomizes love because the rib bones protect the heart which in the rejoin of love.
Therefore reciprocal love for husband and wife sustains the Christian marriage.
Love in marriage is a clear fulfillment of all the levels of love theologically speaking – Agape, Phileo and Ero – the agape love binds you together in the union of Christ. The binding love in Christ that must keep the union; then expression of “Phileo” that makes the couple relate as close friends or confidants to each other; and “eros” -the love that attracts each other for sexual desire. It is in Christian marriage you find this three levels of love fully manifested.
Hence Paul wrote concerning love in marriage:
“Husbands love your wives even as Christ also loved the church so ought man to love their wives as their own bodies. HE THAT LOVETH HIS WIFE, LOVETH HIMSELF” EPH 5:25,28
And the woman in turn most show love and reverence to the husband.
“And the wife see that she reverence her husband” Eph 5:33.
THE PRINCIPLE OF MUTUAL KNOWLEDGE
The Bible advises the husband to treat the wife “according to knowledge” (1 Pet 3:7) the man in the early years of marriage should study the wife likewise the wife should study the husband. Mannerisms or attitudes or behavioural patterns hitherto hidden during your courtship years or months shall begin to manifest in the early periods of marriage. The study enables you to know how to understand and respond to each other for a peaceful home. The weaknesses of each they can be prayerfully overcome. You are not to allow such weaknesses become bones of contention in the home -but to see how to assist and help each other to manage a happy home.
THE PRINCIPLE OF MUTUAL HOME UPKEEP
The husband ideally is the bread winner of the family- the builder of the family but the wife is the keeper of the family. They need this knowledge to run a successful home. Whole the man provides for the family upkeep the woman should render her support. For if a man “provides not for his own and specifically for those of his own house…. He-is worse than an infidel” 1Tim 5:8. Equally the wife must be “sober love her husband, love her children chaste … keeper at home” Tit 2:4
She also “ looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness “Prov 3 1:27.
No wife should be idle but complement the efforts of the husband in the upkeep of the home.
THE PRINCIPLE OF THIRD PARTY NON- INTERFERENCE
When young couples have not spent time enough to study each other in marriage, they end up quarreling over very little things and begin to report themselves to friends and in-laws. This can be the beginning of a crumbling marriage. Two persons come together in love, they are not saints in themselves, but according to grace. Misunderstandings can arise, but don’t let such go out of proportion.
Avoid third party interference in friends or relations. Learn to accommodate each other.. But if there be the need you may consult your church marriage counselors than friends or relations.
THE PRINCIPLE OF BODY NON DENIAL
This has to do with sexual activities in marriage which Dr Elton observes nourishes the Christian marriage which is a holy union. The man should not deny the woman nor the woman deny the man. The Bible is emphatic about this and warns that any such denial could lead to the devil tempting the other and thus the beginning of marital crisis
“Defraud ye not one another … that Satan tempt, ye not for your incontinency” lCor7:5 .
FAMILY ALTAR PRINCIPLE
The Christian marriage is brought about by the grace of God and sustainable through contact with the lord in prayers. The man and woman must develop the need to pray together as a family and when the children begin to come, they join in this family prayers which is commonly called family Alter. The children therefore develop the habit of praying. It is good and advisable to observe family Alter at least twice a day- early in the morning before you set out for the day and last thing at night before you go to sleep. With consistent prayer God will keep the marriage, guide the couple lead them and bless them. This will be a happy home.
THE PRINCIPLE OF DETERMINATION
This principle underlies the fact that if a marriage will work or fail largely depends on the couple to make it work. You must do all you can to make your marriage work knowing the pains you cause yourselves and the inconveniences you may cause others should the marriage breakup.
A failed marriage never pleases God. Therefore you must be patient with each other, tolerate each other respect yourselves; respect your in-laws; avoid whatever will be a hindrance to a happy home. Remember Paul determined to succeed in his mission proclaimed thus:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me” Phil 4:13 You too can do all things through Christ who giveth you strength learn to lean on the lord Jesus always. Remember each one is accountable to the Lord. Roms 14:12.