A Voice Crying-out in the Wilderness of Marriage
(Part 4 of ‘Let’s Talk about Marriage’, part of the ‘In Marriage’ Series)
Although we were stuck and simply going through the motions—allowing the wind to carry us—we knew we were in the right place to receive the help we needed. So we encouraged each other to hang in there. I guess that’s the equivalent of saying to someone, ‘Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage,’ based on Psalm 27:14.
Years passed, our child was rapidly developing and our parental skills were in need of upgrading. The thread was unravelling at the seams of our marriage and we were getting weary. It was evident through our behaviour that we were silently crying out for help. But who would come to our rescue?
My husband was beginning to lose hope in ever getting that guidance from within the church. Everyone seemed so busy in taking care of the mundane. It was evident after a while that the upkeep of the church building, the regular attendance at church events and giving to all the various causes were far more important than proclaiming the truth of the gospel.
I felt let down by the church. I had vouched for the church. After all, I grew up in the church and I believed I had a fair understanding of what the purpose of the church was. Unfortunately, none of our needs (especially marital) were met.
For my husband, a men’s fellowship would be the starting point of having, not just men he could bounce ideas off but a place where he would certainly get biblical understanding of his role as a husband and a father.
I too had a similar idea of the ‘Women’s Ministry’. I envisaged it addressing issues to do with wives and mothers somewhow. I was a young wife and mother needing direction. I had hopes that it would prepare me to be a better wife and mother.
Unfortunately both my husband and I were disappointed to find that the matters of marriage and parenting were never on the agenda. There were no current teaching through sermons, neither did they entertain the idea for introducing marriage or parenting programmes or resources we could take away and educate ourselves.
Instead of the help we signed up for, we were introduced to additional weekly, monthly and yearly church activities which added more pressure to our already stuck marriage—stuck in a repetitive cycle of ‘going with the flow’—our marriage was in a state of stagnation.
Those ministry groups (men’s and women’s fellowship) simply prepared us for church activities, conventions and moderating duties.
It broke my heart to see how many opportunities were presented before those leaders who failed to see the need of the flock. Many of those sheep who went astray were simply neglected sheep. They weren’t being fed even though the sign of malnourishment was evident. This is why, like one crying out in the wilderness of marriage and parenting, I am encouraging church leaders to preach the Word, ‘in and out of season’.
Our young people will not learn about Christian marriage from school or out in the wider community. They will experience it at home. If Christian parents do not know what their responsibilities are, as parents, they will not know how to train up their children according to (Deuteronomy 6:5-9, 11:18-22 & Proverbs 22:6).
Therefore, the elders/leaders of the church have a responsibility to those Christian parents to teach from the pulpit what the Lord requires of us. The same is required for the Christian couple before, during and after marriage. It’s an ongoing life-long training/discipleship process.
The Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) of 2 Timothy 4:1-2 puts it this way:
“Tell everyone God’s message. Be ready at all times to do whatever is needed. Tell people what they need to do, tell them when they are doing wrong, and encourage them. Do this with great patience and careful teaching.”
The journey continues in part 5 ~ Complaints from unmet needs