Your Marriage Token by Funke Olu-Jordan
Marriage is a covenant between two people of different gender, with a decision to live together till death separates them. It is consummated when the two parties come together as one flesh and in intimate relationship.
God established the institution of marriage to teach His children about relationship and oneness with Him. When the Pharisees challenged Jesus on the question of divorce saying that Moses gave them permission to put away their wives for just any excuse, Jesus straitened out the matter by explaining God’s intention thus: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh.” (Matt. 19:4-5). Marriage is that token of oneness: of two flesh becoming one, forever.
A token, as defined by Longman’s Dictionary is, “a formal something that represents a feeling, facts, events, etc.” It can “be done as a first sign, that an agreement, promise, etc will be kept and that more will be done later.” It can also be a gift.
After the flood, God gave the earth a token to tell the world he would never again destroy the earth with water. The token was a rainbow. He also gave us Jesus, His Son, as a token of His love to us and to redeem mankind from perdition.
In every relationship, there is always a token right from the period of dating. It is the token that affirms our confidence, trust and love for each other. It is the token that leads us to the altar. During this period many activities take place that bring excitement, memories and eventual decision for marriage.
However, it is sad that after the marriage is consummated, husband and wife neglect the token. They allow the comfort of marriage to make them forget the very thing that sustained their courtship and led them to the altar. A token is like a landmark which guides and points to a destination. When it is removed, one can be lost. Once the token of courtship is abandoned, forgotten or disdained, marriage can be challenging. A token has in its store precious memories capable of healing wounds.
While it varies from relationship to relationship, no one is the same. Every individual must spend time to reminiscent the token they saw in their spouse that led them to the altar. If it is dormant, it can be reactivated and fanned to flame again.
Time: Couples that stay together build together. In times of trouble, many couples easily forget periods when they made deliberate and concerted efforts to be together even when it was not convenient. How they created time to share, exchange gifts, romance, and discover one another. Most of these fade away with time, child rearing and the quest for survival.
Often, Christians gets carried away with work, ministry, religious activities, etc., and forget that their home is the first ministry and assignment. Most often it is difficult for women to immediately do away with the good memory of the time of courtship and dating. She longs for something that has suddenly become archaic. It is understandable how demanding our world is, but time must be created for a couple to be together.
Re-igniting such a time can be the token to resurrect a marriage that is comatose. But it requires a deliberate action. Love is action (1John 3:16,18). Laying down our lives for the brethren starts with how much sacrifice (time) we are willing to make for our relationships to be sustained in the Lord. If we cannot create time to be with our spouse, how can we create time to be with God? Even if we do, it is hypocritical. Our family is the litmus test for God to see if we have time for Him.
Continuous Dating Lifestyle: If marriage is to be sustained, there must be a deliberate effort on both parties to live a life of continuous dating after marriage. This requires time. Couples need to deliberately set aside time to maintain and continue a life of loving each other as they used to before marriage. When we spend friendly time together at the beginning of building our homes, it will not be difficult in the latter part of our lives when children are all grown up and are gone and we are all alone. It is in the cause of staying together that quality decisions are made about important issues. Memories are created and issues are resolved.
Jacob did not mind how long it would take him to wait to marry Rachael. He paid the sacrifice of time as a token of his affection for her. (Genesis 29:20). “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13).
Expressing Affection: There are several ways of expressing affection. But the example of Jesus is a beautiful way - He died for the Church. That is proof of his love and affection for the Church as the Head.
Affections between husband and wife must bring them into union with each other than just mere satisfaction of sensual pleasure. Working hard, praying, providing for the home, giving gifts and caring about important dates are wonderful ways to express affection. But if it doesn’t bring union, it doesn’t build the home. Paul said: “Above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” (Colossians 3:14).
Solomon had time to express affection to his wife (SOS 1:2; 2:16). It is very necessary to express our feelings to our partner, not only by actions, but also by words. Expressions are tonics towards a successful marriage.
Let us desire to keep alive our relationship by re-igniting that token which we were once willing to sacrifice for during courtship in order not to lose our marriages. We will find God when we search for Him with all our hearts.
A good home and marriage don’t just happen, they require effort of time, dating and expression. May God bless your home.
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