Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
DEAR Raphael and Namukolo,
My husband and I have been married for more than five years. Our marriage has not been a happy one as we often fight. As our children are growing, I think it is time we became a better example to them.
I have therefore started seeing a prophet from a friend’s church and he has advised me to reject the spirit of failure in our marriage and to claim the spirit of success.
As we are at the beginning of a new year, what would be your advice to us to help us settle down and enjoy a more successful marriage?
We commend you for your desire to experience a more mature and successful marriage in the New Year.
However, just rejecting the spirit of failure in your marriage will not solve the prevailing problems. It might sound militant and spiritual to denounce one spirit or another but real solutions will only come as we apply ourselves in ways that God Himself has prescribed to us in His word.
God created us to be responsible beings and He gave us His word by which we should order our lives. Psalms 119:130: The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
You must start by auditing your marriage and listing down your areas of major conflict. Then you must try and establish when these conflicts began. If most of the problems can be traced to the very beginning of your marriage, then your problems are most probably foundational. Foundational problems are deeply rooted in your characters. Who you are and how you respond to various situations. Many enter marriage with excess baggage in form of defective characters. These defects might be a bad temper, pride, lack of self-discipline, telling lies, gossip, etc. As we interact with others, these defects become a hindrance and they degenerate into actual conflict.
Foundational problems can only be resolved by a change in our characters. It is not easy to change our characters because they can be traced back to our childhood and they are deeply rooted in our sinful nature. We therefore need divine intervention – God’s help to transform our characters. This is the reason why we need to be delivered from our sins. And for this reason, Jesus Christ came into the world to deliver us from being slaves to sin. When we surrender our lives to Christ, He promises to transform our sinful natures.
Ezekiel 36:26-27: And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
However, your problems might not be foundational. They might have arisen from your complete failure to resolve them or from unsatisfactory resolutions. Unresolved problems accumulate over time and evolve into other complications. In the end, the two of you might end up reacting to reactions. Many couples do not know how to amicably resolve their differences. They resort to quarrelling or blame shifting.
There are a number of things you can do to map a better way forward.
You must commit to finding a lasting solution to all your frequently recurring challenges.
You must start with a self-assessment and critique. Many of us when faced with problems in our relationships are quick to point at our partners as being the cause. But like the saying goes, ‘It takes two to tangle’. Try and identify your contribution to the fighting and start working on your own weaknesses. You might not be able to do anything about the weaknesses of your partner but there is a lot you can do about your own.
Acknowledging and working on your weakness will require that you be ready to apologise for your wrongs without insisting that your spouse should do the same. The Bible teaches us that a soft or gentle answer turns away anger. Proverbs 15:1: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
It might take some time before your spouse begins to get challenged by your new humbler approach, but it will encourage him to change too.
The final thing you might need to do is to approach a counsellor for help. The counsellor can help you to conduct the auditing of your marriage and also to carry out the resolving process.
Psalms 119:105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
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