Until I became an “accidental” relationship counsellor having to help several people from different backgrounds walk through their decision making process, I never appreciated sufficiently the privilege to have been born by parents who gave no rules or restrictions as to who I cannot marry. There was just one rule: the fellow must be truly born again with a clear life to show for it. Other factors like tribe, church denomination or economic status were irrelevant.
As a result of this as you can imagine, the pool from which I could marry was very wide, unlike some of you. And indeed, before I came to my Rehoboth, I had love projects with people from virtually all the major tribes and denominations of our country. ??
Conversely as a counsellor, I have had to bear the pain together with many friends and followers who have either been led or met by God’s providence great prospective life partners but by virtue of certain stereotypes of their parents or some which they personally hold, they couldn’t make a success of those possibilities.
For some weeks prior to now, we’ve made a strong case for seeking God’s guidance when making a choice of who to marry. That God is the best match-maker who knows our current and future needs and can more than anyone else make for us and point to us a suitable partner.
But I need to let you know that you can’t seek God’s recommendation without an open mind. You can’t on one hand ask God to choose for you and then you add a caveat, “I don’t want anyone from Ijebu land.” God doesn’t recognize those boundaries. In Christ Jesus the bible says, there is neither Jew nor Gentile. There is neither Yoruba nor Igbo. There is neither Edo nor Tangale. All of us belong to a new tribe – Christianity, which if truly followed indeed transforms us from the behavioural patterns and limitations of our individual tribes unto the very life of Jesus, our new tribe. How difficult is it then for two people with a new culture of the life of Christ to live together peaceably?
God also doesn’t recognize our denominational boundaries. There is one body of Christ. We were the ones who erected the walls. The only question heaven raises regarding any life is whether that life has experienced the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. As long as the answer is Yes, the name of the local assembly s/he attends is irrelevant.
About four times at different points in my journey to Rehoboth, I was led by the Lord regarding marital choices; there was none of the occasions that God led me to someone who attends my christian denomination. The first ever leading I’ll receive (and the most spectacular of all) was to a sister who fellowshipped at the Believers Love World.
If you know how conservative my Christian background was, you’ll wonder why God will even mute the idea of someone who attends The Believers Love World a.k.a. Christ Embassy. Let me tell you the answer. God doesn’t see any difference between herself and I. What we consider as differences are usually not the weightier matters of Christianity. Here is the weightier matter: We are both His children, washed in the blood of the lamb, regenerated and renewed on our inside by the Holy Ghost with a new life to show for it.
I have therefore learnt by experience that God can recommend a wife or husband to you from any christian denomination. If you do not develop love and acceptance for the entire body of Christ therefore, you may find it difficult to accept who God may consider as suitable for you. If you’re then a denominational dogmatist, maybe you shouldn’t waste God’s time with any request for His recommendation.
I once interacted with a sister within the LST community who had been getting concerned about not being in a relationship. When she gave me the long list of denominations she cannot marry from, I understood why she was not in a relationship. Only a limited group of people can marry her. By her long list of stereotypes, she had inadvertently reduced the pool of those she can marry, and increased her odd of remaining single for a long time.
Some people are bent on marrying only rich guys. If he is not rich here and now, he is out of the pool. Unfortunately, God doesn’t have respect for any man based on material possessions. He only respects men who fear him and tremble at His word. And it is only such men that will bring you joy and peace in marriage. But He can see the end from the beginning. We’ve seen several men who had nothing but God saw their future and today they are stupendously blessed. If it is God’s wisdom you seek, be open to accepting anyone He brings even if they don’t have much possessions to presently show for it.
Lastly, there are physical stereotypes that many of us hold dear to our hearts which can stand in the way of finding God’s will for our lives. Nice as they may be, they mustn’t be cast in stone. Who says only a light complexioned is fair to look upon? Fallacy of the highest order. Black is so beautiful. Who says short people aren’t great spouses and achievers. The Vice President is one. Some of you would have said no to his proposal on account of his height. Who says only big breasts are lovely? The smaller ones have been proven by many medical researches to be more sensitive to touch.
All I’m saying is that no one is disadvantaged. There is strength in every specie of God’s creation. And so even in our fantasies of physical qualities, we must submit to the overriding wisdom of God. He sees not as men see. Men put all attention on the physical appearance, but God looks at the heart.
The heart is indeed of greater importance to the success of marriage. Many look good on the outside but on the inside they are full of dead men’s bones. Whited sepulchres Jesus called them. When they unleash the venom of their tongues on their husband, he losses even the desire to see them around him. What value is beauty when there is no peace? And how will a woman appreciate six packs it they are only engaged to batter her smooth face at the slightest provocation.
May God help us to put more attention on that which is of greater price in the sight of the Lord – a heart that is tender, teachable, malleable, kind, merciful and responsive to the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Peniela E. Akintujoye.
©️Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye| email@example.com