I believe for most of that one year, God had been molding our character and unity as a couple. And He still is.
We learnt to be independent from our parents and at the same time, to be depended on God together; instilling steel into the back bone of our marriage.
Not everything has been ‘and-they-lived-happily-ever-after’ though. We do have our crazy moments where we fall from lovers to enemies in an instant; from hugging to strangling each other. Haha…
For most parts of those moments, they primarily stemmed from our differences in personality, gender traits and personal habits. For instance, I’m the outgoing and adventurous sort while my wife is more reserved and safe.
So you can imagine how we can unknowingly or knowingly unnerve each other. That’s explosive couple-discovery! Haha…
Fun as it may seems but there’s no doubt that marriage is hard work. There are loads of loving and forgiving to do each day on top of the practical challenges that need to be tackled.
Nonetheless, I give thanks for an awesome first year (and the latter years ahead) of marriage. Indeed, God is good!
Below are some alarming statistics extracted from PastorBurnout.com. It clearly shows that when marriage competes with ministry, there can only be one outcome – everyone loses.
13% of active pastors are divorced.
25% of pastors’ wives see their husband’s work schedule as a source of conflict.
33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.
45% of pastors’ wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout.
52% of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family’s well-being and health.
80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.
80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.
No one can deny and undermine the significant role of marriages in building a strong society.
Strong marriages provide children with a safe and secure environment where they can find support and develop uprightly. And studies have shown that children from broken homes or dysfunctional families are more likely to become young offenders.
When families breakdown, society pays a heavy price. This is clear to see with the recent occurence of gang-related fights that erupted in Downtown East and Bukit Panjang.
However, the opposite end is also true- strong families lead to a strong society.
Marriage versus ministry
Sadly, I think the health and longevity of marriages in the Christian community have often been overlooked among churches in general, with ‘ministry’ often taking more priority.
This narrow-minded and erroneous thinking is stemmed in a belief that God and His ministry (which often refers to church-related work) are closely intertwined and their priority should never be compromised.
Hence, it is not uncommon for couples to feel as if marriage is in conflict with ministry. The attitude seems to be: “Marriage is important, but my ministry is for God, and He deserves 100 percent.”
Perhaps the bluntness of the above statement is something that we would never say in a blatant manner.
Normally, this type of thinking creeps in subtly, especially among church leaders and members that are considered committed to a church’s vision and mission.
Because of ‘ministry’, very often our marriages are left at the back burner. And our spouse and children are the unfortunate casualties due to our negligence.
Marriage is ministry
Early this year, a Barna survey revealed that Christians suffered the highest rates of divorce when compared with other groups of religion. That is both alarming and disturbing.
“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)”
1 Timothy 3:1-7 (NIV)
In the light of scripture and understanding God’s heart, I’m against that old thinking and order of priority. If not, how different are we from non-Christians who pursue careers at the expense of their marriages?
As the above scripture suggests, the biblical order of priority ought to be our relationship with God first, followed by our marriage and then ministry (which can refer to our church or secular work).
Personally, I believe that marriage is a ministry like no other; a God-given platform to impact lives within our families and the best opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for generations.
When our marriages are thriving, we can truly be “salt and light” in our society by building a strong social foundation through our families to make a lasting change with the next generation.
With Valentine’s approaching, below are some jokes on love and marriage to set is in the mood amid the doom and gloom:
- It doesn’t matter how often a married man changes his job, he still ends up with the same boss
- My wife and I always compromise; I admit I’m wrong and she agrees with me
- A couple was having a discussion about family finances. Finally the husband exploded, “If it weren’t for my money, the house wouldn’t be here!”
The wife replied, “My dear, if it weren’t for your money, I wouldn’t be here.”
- When a newly married couple smiles, everyone knows why
When a ten-year married couple smiles, everyone wonders why
- A little boy asked his father, “Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?”
And the father replied, “I don’t know, son, I’m still paying for it.”
- The most effective way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once
- First Guy (proudly): “My wife’s an angel!” Second Guy: “You’re lucky, mine’s still alive.”
- Boring husband: Honey, why are you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger? Bored wife: Because I married the wrong man!
- When a man opens the door of his car for his wife, you can be sure of one thing: either the car is new or the wife
- If you do NOT have a wife – You are missing Some thing in your life
If you have a wife – You are missing So Many things in your life