If you’ve ever had the (mis)fortune of counseling a quarreling couple, the biggest hurdle you’ll face is the fact none of the parties would accept blame for the crisis their relationship is going through. Each person points to the other’s fault and concludes the other person caused the problem. Indeed, Self-probe is most inconvenient. It’s always very easy to put culpability on the doorstep of your spouse while you give yourself a clean bill of health.
A woman complains of a terrible fight with her husband and all the hurtful things he said to him. Yes, that man is wrong and very wrong. But ask her if that was all that led to the fight. When you probe deeper, most times you’ll find out that as the man hurled hurtful words on her, she hurled it back – probably found more painful words. And so even though someone instigated the fight, another person encouraged it, poured fuel into it until it snowballed. In the end, both are culpable because it takes two to fight.
If she had kept her likewise obligation of not insulting back when insulted, that fight could have been totally avoided. Under such atmosphere, there could have been a greater chance for the husband’s conscience to be pricked for treating his wife so badly; for him to apologise and for their relationship to be restored.
But by retaliating, you would have committed the very offense you’re accusing your partner for and thus, he would no longer be more guilty than you. Why then would he need to apologise since both of you have now wronged each other? To claim he did it first would be a futile defense. He gave you hate, you paid back hate; whereas it takes love to conquer hate. Hate cannot conquer hate. Hurtful words can never conquer hurtful words, only graceful words can. Dishonour and insubordination cannot conquer an unloving man; only honour can. High-handedness cannot conquer a disrespectful wife, only sacrificial love can.
You see, there is a wisdom the bible revealed to us in Romans 12:19. See what it says:
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:19-21 KJV
Have you seen the wisdom? When you treat your partner the opposite way they treated you, you will heap a coal of fire on their head. They’ll become restless and unsettled. Their conscience will trouble them until they’ve retraced their steps and sought your forgiveness. This is the most effective way to bring them to repentance. If this doesn’t work, I doubt if anything else can work better. But the moment you retaliate, you immediately ease their conscience from that burden; the fight continues and the hope of recovery is lost.
It’s always a struggle in counseling to make warring couples to focus on themselves – to see that eventhough their partners were wrong, if they had kept their Likewise obligation to be like Jesus, in most cases there would never have been crisis.
As we conclude this aspect of our study, I hope you’ll focus on yourself as a husband or wife. Stop giving yourself excuses. Unless you make a personal decision to keep your own obligation at all cost, sincerely you’ll never keep it. It’s never always the case for both parties to keep their obligations at the same time. Sometimes or more often, one of you (who may have shamefully decided to become like Jesus very slowly) may falter. So if you want to keep yours only when your partner keep theirs, none of you will keep anything.
As a wife, stop saying, if my husband was wealthy, financially responsible and a sacrificial lover, who’ll not respect and submit to such a man? That’s a big lie. If your husband was wealthy and financially responsible, it may excite you at the beginning, but after some time, that would have become your normal life. You would have gotten used to having a wealthy, financially responsible and loving man that it would no longer be a big deal to you after a little while. That’s the nature of man.
It is only what we’ve not attained that has great value in our esteemation; the moment we achieve it, it stops “shacking” us. It becomes so normal. And so, fact is many wives who have men that pay for everything struggle to honour and submit to their husbands. I’ve been in the midst of married men of wide-ranging economic brackets and I was shocked to see both poor and wealthy husbands complaining of the same thing: lack of respect and submisison from their wives – including the woman who drives a Jeep that her husband bought for her. If you’ll keep this obligation my sister, it will have to be your personal decision notwithstanding what your husband is or is not.
In the same vein a man should never excuse himself for not loving his wife as Christ loved the Church because his wife is obstinate and difficult. “If only she can become submissive, who’ll not love such a woman?” Fact is many men have respectful and submissive wives but rather than love her sacrificially, they took advantage of that very submission to further maltreat their wives. A man can also get used to having a submissive wife that he stops seeing it as a big deal – oblivious of how scarce such a woman is.
If you do not make a personal decision to love her regardless of what she is, you’re not yet ready to keep this obligation.
On this note, I beckon on you brothers and sisters to take a personal responsibility to reflect Jesus in your matrimony at all cost and at all times without waiting for your partner. It is only then that you’ll know the peace and joy that makes a Christian home a place where the presence of the Lord dwells.
Peniela E. Akintujoye.
©️Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye| email@example.com