This piece is a follow up on the previous article. The inspiration came while I was having a chat with my wife and we encountered something that was an eye-opener. I believe if it was an eye-opener to myself and my wife, it can open any other eyes. The previous article before this one was titled: The Two Legs that Upholds and Sustains Effective Marriages. So, having considered the two legs that every marriage rests on, it is important to go beyond the two legs. If all I have are my legs, how much effectiveness can I command on the earth. So, beyond having legs, I also require something else. So, we want to consider: The Two Indispensable Hands of Effective Marriages.
When you look at marriages across the world, whether young marriages or old marriages, the ones that are fulfilling the purpose for which God has ordained them, what are the things that we could observe from them that we could learn from? What are the things that have brought about their effectiveness as a people? “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh” that is marriage. Apart from the two legs, we actually did examine two other things in the previous article. They are: companionship and help. Do we understand? There was not found a helper comparable for the man. So, those things were not the things the marriage was supposed to rest on. They were things that the marriage was supposed to be about. So, in this piece, we want to look at two things that every marriage requires to be effective.
If a man or a woman, you are married, and you want your marriage to move from where it is to effectiveness, these two hands are indispensable. The two indispensable hands, you cannot do without them, if you want your marriage to be an effective one. Let us consider very quickly 1 Corinthians chapter 13:11, the Bible says, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” This could also explain how many marriages started: marriages that started at a point where a man or a woman could be childish, but in love, and willing to submit. How it is possible for a man and woman to get married and all they see is “dimly”, I see him dimly, I see her dimly. But later they see clearly.
Now, “I know in part,” there are certain things I know about my wife, certain things I know about my husband, maybe this happens at the beginning of the marriage. Also, many marriages have ended even while couples only have partial knowledge of the other person. It is not all marriages that translated into their level of knowledge, where you say, “I know my husband, just as I am known.” Maybe this is a picture that we can meditate upon briefly. But let us go to the main Scripture in the book of 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” In the previous article, we examined love as the first leg that every marriage must rest on. And we put that love squarely on the shoulder of the man, even though it is expected that a woman should love her husband, the duty of love rest squarely on the shoulder of a man, you cannot choose to love as a man, you must love. The only thing you can choose is whom you want to love. At the beginning you may have options on whom you want to love.
As soon as you have found a sister, you can no longer choose whether to love or not to love her; you are duty-bound to love. The Bible didn’t say, “Husbands, you might love your wives [it will be a very beautiful thing if you accidentally stumble into love with your wife],” the Bible says, “husbands love your wife.” So, love is a duty resting on the shoulder of a man. Going forward, The Bible says, “Now abide,” in the life of brother Gboyega and marriage, “faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” We have dealt with love previously in the message titled “The two legs of effective marriages” to a good degree. Now, let's look at faith and hope; these two are the hands of effective marriages.
So, let's start with faith as a hand in effective marriage. In Hebrews chapter 11 from verse 1 to verse 3. “Now faith is the substance of the things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony…” by it; they use it. I see it as a tool. Usually, tools are held in the hand, right! So, without faith, we could say they wouldn't have obtained a good testimony, even though the testimony was there. It was a possibility. It could be a potential testimony. You could get married this year, it is also possible that in the next 70 years, if Jesus tarries, you could remain with the same woman, and you are happy and fulfilled in it. It's a possibility but it's not yet a reality. But if that possibility will become a reality, there is something you will need to obtain that possibility; and the Bible calls it (that hand) faith. For example, if I want to carry my Bible, I require my hand, at least, one of my hands. My legs can’t help to do it, it has not been trained for the same purpose. I required my hand to do it. So, we are examining something that you cannot do without, no matter your gender and agenda, and peculiarity in marriage, you cannot do without this hand called faith. The Bible says “by it, elders”, people that came and got married before you, they got a good testimony.
So, when you look at their marriage, whether you read it in the books or in the Bible, what are the things that brought about the good testimony that you love about them? The Bible says it is their faith. So, they had faith and with their faith they got the testimony. “By faith we understand the world were framed by the word of God so that the things which seeing were not made of the things that are visible.” By faith we understand, brother Gboyega understands; sister Lara understands. By faith, the marriage, the fruitfulness, the finances, the raising of the children, is contained in the word. In Romans 10:17: “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” So, there is a marriage between faith and the word of God. Without the word of God, there is no faith.
Now, the Bible says by faith our marriage and everything about it, is framed by the word of God so that the things we would see in the marriage are not made of the things that are already seeing in it. There are many things we don’t see in the marriage, and when we don’t see them, we get demoralized. We're like when will these things become visible in my marriage, when will my wife, and my husband start behaving like this, or when will my husband stop behaving like this? these are the things we don't see, but they are things we want to see. But the Bible says, “By faith, we understand that the world, everything around us, were framed by the word of God. And so that the things which are seen were not made of the visible things.”
The things that we see all around us, were not made by visible particles, in short, things that are seen were made by the things that are not seen. But it was by the word of God, through faith, not by the words of men, not by newspaper reports, not by daily reports, not by the security report, but the Word of God. The opposite of faith is fear. We can also understand that, while a good hand is called faith, a bad or crippled and disabled hand is called fear. By that, you cannot obtain any good testimony. What then is this telling us? Let us go back the book of Hebrews 1.
In Hebrews chapter 11 verses 1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,” in reality, when you get married, there are things you must hope for. Everything will not be available at the beginning. The man may not look it, the woman may not look it, and there are chances that your fears are more visible than your faith in the life of the man or the woman. What if she wakes up and says, “I'm not a good man and she leaves me?” This preoccupies many of us, and that's the only thing we are thinking about. But the Bible says, “Faith is the substance of the things you are hoping for in your marriage.” If it will ever become a reality, in time, it must be by faith. So, if you drop faith, then forget about any good thing ever showing up in your marriage, then your life and marriage become matters a matter of an accident. Things could accidentally happen, and may not accidentally happen. I don't know if you understand. You don't want to have an accident more than once on any matter. People don't want to repeat accidents. It happens suddenly, unexpectedly without you knowing anything about it. When do people ask you how did you end up like this? I don't know. Nobody can claim I was in charge of the accident, and I can recreate it. It doesn't happen. So, it's your life and your marriage. If the things happening in your life will not be a matter of accident, your life must be powered by faith. And it was being expressed by the confession of the Word of God.
When there are things, you don't see, you are not fixated on the things you are not seeing. You understand that there are things you are hoping for. But if the things you're hoping for will ever become a reality, you require faith because faith is like the vehicle that conveys you into the things you are hoping for. There will be a big gap between where you are and your hope if there is no faith. At this point, I might have to be joining the two together and before that, I want to begin to consider with us now the second hand of marriage. Because I can only do little explaining one without the other. You cannot treat a hand in isolation f the other. They bare like two things that are yoked together and therefore you cannot separate them and analyse them. Let us look at a Scripture that shows us hope as the hand that even God engaged on the earth. Acts of the Apostles chapter 17:22:28
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.
We are God's offspring; God produced us, yet we don't know Him. However, He did not give up that we don't know Him. It is possible for a man or a woman to get married and they only have a dim interface or understanding of each other. Similarly, that is how it is possible that a people don't also know God, yet God is not far from anyone. But what does God do when He finds himself in a situation where people don't even know Him? Maybe we could learn from that what a man or a woman could do, even though he or she was married, yet the spouse didn’t know him or her. The Bible says, “ 26 And He has made from one [j]blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”
He did everything He did in the hope that they might grope for Him. To grope means too long for something or seeking out. God did everything He did in hope that they might grope for Him. How many women can do many things in their marriages in the hope that their husbands will grope for them? Likewise, the men, in the hope that their wives will grope for them? God, even though we are His offspring, by birth, we are supposed to be sensible enough to gravitate towards our father; yet we don't know Him. We don't yearn for Him nor be with Him. We don't want to become one with Him, but the essence of God's activities is to become one with us. God wants us to be one with Him. That's how a man and a woman are expected to be in marriage; and the grand agenda is that you should become one flesh — share in your souls as of one Spirit.
But it happens usually that we don't always start like that. There is an expectation, but we give up so early, we get discouraged too early, and we lose confidence. It is generally believed that when a man does not have access to water, he could survive for certain days. When a man does not have access to food, he could survive for certain days. When a man does not have access to many things, he may survive for a certain time. But when a man does not have access to hope, he would not survive it. The moment any human being loses hope in a thing, the man is willing to give it up. If it is life, the man or woman is willing to give it up. If people have an inch of hope, no matter how tiny mustard seed it could be, could make a man live on.
How many Nigerians are frustrated? They don't have anything, yet they are of little hope, so it is common for a Nigerian to be suffering and smiling. It is not because of the things they lack; it is because of what they have; a little hope. You cannot compare the hope with the hope that Americans have in their government. They have bigger hopes. Many Nigerians went to the university with hope that when they graduated would get a job, they didn't get a job but still hope that before we know it, they would just be a job and because of that, they have not killed themselves, why? There is hope. The moment a man loses hope that there will be a job for him in Nigeria, he will either kill himself or he wants to leave Nigeria.
You can’t have hope that you will prosper in Nigeria and you want to go to Ghana or any other country. The moment you say you are leaving Nigeria, there is no more hope. When there is no more hope for a man in a marriage; the man will say, ‘I will rather remain single than live in this house with you.’ When there is no hope for a woman in a marriage, the woman will say, ‘I should go and stay in my father's house than stay in your house.’ Marriages break not because people don't have money or they don't have this or that; it is because there is no more hope. Okay, take, for instance, you had come from the office as a man, and then you met the bed scattered, the room dirty from the entrance or the outside to the room, and to the toilet everywhere is dirty, and you're like saying, ‘my wife, these things, I'm allergic to smell, can you please, clean up this place?’ And she said, “My husband, I'm sorry, I will do it.” Maybe you have done that for one year, and suddenly, you just got exhausted of hope, and you are like, “when will you ever change, let me tell you, if you have not changed for one year, you can never change, there is no hope for you.”
If the man is not careful, he will get out of the marriage. The things that make people divorce, check it, they've endured it for a while. They just got to a point and they said, “we have it no more, no more endurance, no more hope, you can never change. You were 25 when I married you and you were doing it, now, you are 48, and you are still doing it.” Have you not wondered why somebody will leave a marriage of 20 years, or 30 years; “I have endured it enough, no more.” So, when there is no more hope in a marriage, you cannot see a future in a man or a woman, and you want to give it up.
When a woman is full of hope either through revelation concerning the future of her husband or marriage, even if the woman is suffering today in the marriage, she will be telling herself, “There is a place we are going, I will endure.” But imagine a woman who had seen nothing, and what the man does is complain or abuse or do something else, you can only endure a little when there is no vision, there is nothing you are hoping for. So, you give it up; ‘I cannot come and kill myself.’ “Even if I were to die with you here, there is still nothing that this marriage will amount to.” So, people give it up. They exchange such marriages for things that are ephemeral, somebody promises them something small, tiny somewhere else, it may not even be in marriage, it could be outside marriage, then they give the marriage up. They have no idea of anything good coming out of the marriage.
So, if there is going to be a lasting marriage, if there's going to be a marriage that is beyond endurance to exploits, then there is going to be a vivid picture of the future of the marriage. This is not about love and submission; we are talking about two hands that we need. I must be able to see where my family will be in years to come. I must be able to see where my husband will be or my wife will be in years to come; and as the responsibility of a woman that wants to get married. Don't look at how much he has now. Have you not seen marriages that started with the husband having a good job, but ended with the wife getting a better job while the husband lost his job? When a man wants to marry, the family of the wife will be asking, what kind of job are you doing? They want to know how you're taking care of yourself. When God wants to set up certain people, the husband will have a good job, then they will do everything. After the wedding has been concluded less than one year into marriage, the man loses his job.
When you begin to say, “my daughter can't marry you, if you have no job,” I think the best thing to do is to ask him about the future; “do you have a good future,” not a good job because that job is not permanent. It's temporary. I had a job before I told my wife, I was going to marry her. But I have to leave the job to get married. So, what did you expect my wife to do in such a situation? Yet some people didn’t get a job when they got married, but as soon as they get married, from one job to another, to the point of having businesses. If the first thing you are doing is “how much do you have now, what job do you or have?” These things don’t last. You're looking at a woman, and she’s looking packaged; everything is fine, fine, fine, fine — that will not last. What feature do you see in her?
Have you started looking at your wife at 75? When you see her at 75, would you still say ‘I love you? If you cannot say I love you, then don’t marry her, otherwise, God will judge you. No marriage is about now. Every marriage is about the future. When you get married, you don't even get pregnant immediately. You get pregnant in the future. You give birth to children in the future. The children who go to school in the future, will graduate from school in the future. The children will get married in the future. Everything is in hope, you hope that your husband will impregnate you as a woman, you will carry the pregnancy, and give birth, and you will raise the children and send them to school. Everything is about hope and expectation.
The Bible says, “Surely, there is a thereafter, there is a future, and the expectation of the righteous shall not be cut off.” That is why it's better for you to engage in marriage with a righteous woman or a righteous man. A man who has faith, a man who has hope; hope defines the future. It encompasses the future, where are we going? What are we hoping for? What are we expecting? There is a marriage between hope and expectation. What are we expecting? In the next five years of our marriage, what are we expecting so that we can know how we engage our faith in driving the vehicle to it? When I got married to my wife till date, we always have a minimum of five years’ expectations. And it got so serious that they always happen because we put all of our faith into it. No matter how you see us now, it is not a sudden thing. If you reverse us back to ten years ago, now, we may still come back to the same point. Except God gives us a different vision; a different expectation.
A different expectation will drive, lead us to a different destination. But if it is the same vision God gave us, if God reverses us, we're going to get back to the same place because nothing is accidental. Do you understand? If God should reverse you, would you come back to the same place? If it is going to be, it is because you have these two hands working for you: Faith and Hope. It is not about now; it is about the future. Your wife will do things that will annoy you or offend you. You could feel betrayed in your marriage. Apostle Paul said “he was flogged several times.” He experienced all the hardship at the hands of people that he loved. Did you see him abandoning the people? No.
God, who is the Father did things in hope that we will grope for Him. If God was doing it in hope, it means the people were not doing it. At the moment God was saying these the people were away from Him. But he was doing it that in years to come the people will grope for Him. Imagine, the Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son Jesus, that Anyone that believes in the Son should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “Will not perish,” points to the future, but will in the future have everlasting life. God gave Jesus so that I, Joshua, will grope for Him; that Joshua will gravitate towards Jesus. And that's what happened to me. At a point in my life, I began to gravitate toward Jesus. And since then, I have stayed with Him. When God did it, He did it in hope that when I get to a certain age, I will gravitate towards Him, but what if I had chosen something else?
As a man, you have chosen to get married, in addition to your love, thank God, you love her. Thank God as a woman, you are willing to submit in marriage, but that may never last if there is no faith and hope. With hope, there will be no faith. For instance, as a woman, if you want to get pregnant, and you start buying things for the child that you want. And you start saying, “I'm buying these things for a boy because I want a boy,” there is first hope, then you are acting on the hope. When people see you buy things, they will call you a woman of faith or a man of faith. There can never be faith without hope. Your marriage may not be rosy, the Bible says, “Who has despised the days of little beginnings?” Every marriage will start small. Every marriage will go through things that may look rough and untidy. But if you believe that the hope that you have before you said yes, the hope you had on your wedding day before saying ‘I do’; there is always a fruitful future ahead of every marriage. You can only keep doing this because you have faith and hope, not just love and submission.
In reality, many people who claim to be in love, check them several years to come or in the future, it could look like they were lying when they said, “I love you,” what has gone wrong? There was no hope. So, when a man is telling you, ‘I love you, I love you. The question is what do you hope? Do you know what that hope implies? Now? Is it possible to hope for something you are seeing? Ideally, I hope for what you don't have, and I want you to have or pray you to have. Your husband is not a patient man, hope that he will become a patient man. Your job is to engage your faith to do things and say things and take him to places and stop him from places that will make him more patient. If you can do that your marriage will not be like the other marriages. It will be a better one. Check it, either pastor or bishop or prophet; everyone is facing one challenge or the other in marriage. What keeps them going, what makes them different from other marriages, is that they have a different hope and a different faith.
If you are married to a man that sleeps once it is 9 pm but will not wake again until the next day, and you think your greatness as a couple is tied to him burning the midnight candle, don't pack out of the marriage, don’t complain and be reporting him everywhere. Talk to the Holy Spirit. You have hope that he will be useful to God, himself, and his destiny in the night seasons, because of the hope, you will begin to sow seeds of prayer. You did not tell him he's always sleeping, because what people always do is to insult. Let's do things by faith for hope. I hope he will be useful in the night. Recently, I read an article where Pastor Adeboye was quoted to have said he cannot afford to sleep for 8 hours in a day because it would amount to him sleeping for a number of years in his life. He said he can’t do it. Doctors are advising him to be sleeping more, but he is helping them to understand that he cannot afford to sleep like that. And I have been meditating on that statement because that’s the picture of a man that is old, and I am still young. That is a man who has almost finished building, and I am still trying to start to build, and I am sleeping. Can I ever get to where is if I am sleeping half or one-quarter of my life away.
Imagine us engaging those part of those hours into the productive things that we want to do: the future you want to see, the work you want to do, that is you investing and acting in faith. You have not been into the future, but you are by faith; making your hope a reality. That university degree can still be a reality, the courses can still be done. Great things can be done in your life; things that your wife will see and say, ‘my husband, it was not a mistake that I married you if you start investing part of your night. If that is your expectation as a wife, you want your husband to wake up part of the night, with no complaints, and pray to God about it. Encourage him towards it, when he achieves it, even if it's one day, celebrate him, ‘my husband, you are so great, do you know, you kept your promise, you did it.
I pray that God will help us in Jesus’ name!