Equality in Marriage

Today’s post comes from our regular contributor David Etim, who is writing from Lagos, Nigeria. He writes about the ways he finds equality as necessary in a faith-centered marriage.

In a globalized world that is filled with cross-cultural relationships and marriages, I have been thinking a lot on how it is possible to build a healthy and growing family where the woman (wife) is unjustly treated and she is not in decision-making position in the family. To be honest I believe this injustice goes against my faith.

The Scriptures has many guidelines on marriage and gender equality. We can see it captured in Ecclesiastes for example : ” Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better” ( 4:9 TLB ). So, ” Live happily with the woman you love….” ( Ecclesiastes 9:9 TLB).

In the light of this, and in all honesty, “Marriage is honorable.” So, at this moment in my life, I believe my dignity is not in my strength, nor my skill; it is in my God-ordained friend, counselor and loving wife, mother and real partner for life. “….A gift too wonderful for words!”  ( 2 Corinthians 9:15 NLT). To find this equal partnership is a great honor that I take very seriously.  ” ….What is important is faith expressing itself in love” ( Galatians 5:6NLT).

 As it has happened, Barack Obama is the President of the United States of America today not just because his parents disobeyed the law criminalizing marriage between Whites and Blacks at that time, but more importantly their cross-cultural marriage has a divine tinge, as we might see in their love and in his actions.

In this globalized world, equality in love is one of the most consistent and striking findings that I have discovered through my faith.

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Love is a Choice

Today’s post from David of Lagos, Nigeria helps us transition from the theme of Love into our March theme of Choices. David shares with us how his faith helped him navigate the choices and challenges of his love life. So here’s David’s wisdom for all of us, as we navigate our own choices, our own loves, and our own spiritual journeys.

We live in a world of choices. Love is a choice. Dating and marriage are choices. According to the oft quotes phrase by Chinese philosopher Laozi, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” My journey of a thousand miles in search of a life partner began with the first step of a choice.

During my days working as a career banker my search for love was rather pathetic; I made choices, and my love life hit a brick wall twice. During these years of disappointment and rejection, I made up my mind never to engage myself into another relationship.

I chose to remain single in life, never to marry. I strongly believe that singlehood is a choice not a curse. I held onto Isaiah 56, especially verses 3 and 5 in the The Living Bible translation, which say, “…Don’t let them think that I will make you a second-class citizens. And this is for the eunuchs too. I will give them – in my house, within my walls a name far greater than the honor they would have received from having sons and daughters….”.

Yet, I also learned from Scriptures how others made better choices about who to marry, and I also understood that the choice of a life partner shows a lot about our priorities in life. I learned that spiritual qualities are more important than physical appearance. I discovered a plan towards marriage when God says, “….Remember that in God’s plan men and women need each other” ( 1 Corinthians 11:11 TLB ) and ” I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do….” (Galatians 5:16 TLB ).

From my experiences and readings I realized life can be fulfilling when you are connected to someone worth living forever. At this point in my life, I would love to say, “Holy Spirit thank You for the closed doors. Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, you were re-directing me to something better……a marriage of spiritual qualities and special comfort.” This is my dream, wish and prayer for that special person whom the Holy Spirit chooses…but for now, I remain single.

Life is full of choices and life is very interesting. I found strength in the Scriptures, and now I am like a pearl merchant on the lookout for choice pearl…… “All I need is faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).

Heartbreak, Marriage, and Divorce–Love Embraces It All

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By: Autumn Elizabeth

I’ve been thinking a lot about the life I would have now, if I were still married. I’ve been thinking about all the things in this life I have now I would have missed, and all the things I would have gained. Life isn’t always as simple as we’d like it to be. There isn’t just married and divorced, now and then. Everything bleeds together, and a little bit of the past always seeps out of a broken heart.

I’ve watched people lose everything when partnerships break, and I’ve seen people gain unbelievable freedom, I’ve seen divorce law work against everyone, and marriage inequality leave people without a legal leg to stand on.  I’ve seen the end of a marriage strip people of dignity and faith, and I’ve seen it restore belief.  I’ve seen all this in the lives of others, and in my own life.

I’ve also thought a lot about what it means to move on, to start over, and if that’s even possible. I think for some people moving on involves taking down pictures, and throwing away old love letters. But my elopement celebration pictures are still buried somewhere on Facebook, beneath almost two years of photos from my new life living abroad, but they’re still there. For me, the past doesn’t go away, life just steps in, putting ever more distance between the now and the used to be.

I haven’t forgotten how the refusal of my church to bless my same-sex union tested my faith in religion, but I also remember how the end of that union brought me closer to understanding the ways divine loves works through us all.  Where there is love, there is God, and my life, before and after my divorce, has been filled with love. Heartbreak just made me look at that love differently. Our hearts may be fragile and easy to break, the love of the universe is far sturdier.

Love flows through broken hearts, and wedding vows, it continues whether we erase our past or relish it, whether governments and churches sanctify or vilify it. Love continues even when we doubt its very existence. Love is there, in the smile of a stranger, and the hug of a friend, in the blessings and the break-ups.  Love lives, today and every day, and even the whole world’s collective heartaches can’t break it.

I’ve seen a lot for my time on this planet. I’ve been engaged to my high school sweetheart, I’ve eloped to Paris with a brave Midwestern woman , I’ve had an un-blessed, illegal marriage, and a lawless divorce,  and I’ve moved across an ocean for a new love. Everything bleeds together, the good and bad, the past and the present, the wedding vows and the divorce papers, it all runs together and somehow love embraces it all.