This was originally published on The Naked Convos
I speak not as one who condemns you, but rather as one who understands you.
Some people may not understand why you think that a man/woman will never stay in a relationship with you.
Some people may not understand why you think that divorce is normal, “Once the man misbehaves, you toss him out the window” right?
They may not understand why you believe that you can never hold a marriage secure for years…
But I understand.
There are a lot of things that seeing your parents fight and claw at each others throat can do to you, and one of those things is that it can erase whatever thought of joy and togetherness between couples you may have had in your head.
I know how it is.
I know what watching neighbors having to settle quarrels between my mom and dad did to my psyche.
So you see, I was just like you.
My parents were divorced for 14 years plus before they came back together. I have tasted the tears running from my eyes when I was told that my mom won’t be staying with us anymore. I have cried while neighbors comforted me when my mom and dad were having a raging fight…AGAIN.
So I speak not as one who condemns, I speak as one who knows what you may be feeling/have felt in time past. And through what I write here today, I hope that you can also see the truth I want to pass across through my words.
I was on a twitter stroll sometime last year when I stumbled on a thread on twitter with different words of condemnation on a particular lady who said that she didn’t believe that marriage is a “do or die affair” She said that she believed that you could divorce your man as soon as he starts misbehaving (paraphrased), and I read through the tweets calling her “naive” and “someone who doesn’t really understand what marriage is all about”.
Yes, she may not really understand what marriage is all about but again, let’s not be quick to judge people. The reason for her beliefs just may be because of the kind of home she grew up in. You see, a person’s value system is usually as a result of their life experiences, associations, etc. And more often than not, a child from a broken home’s thoughts about marriage arise from the experience of having to watch their parents marriage disintegrate before their own eyes. So we shouldn’t be so quick to judge others.
Some of these persons who do not believe that the institution of marriage should be held sacred simply need to know the truth that I will spell out in this article. And if your views about marriage not being something that has any lasting value were shaped by your experience from a broken home, then this article is for you.
I understand that your heart was seared into half whenever mom and dad had a raging fight.
I understand that you could not laugh and play as a little child at home when mom and dad were around because their bickering and quarrels always made you sad.
I understand that you don’t think that marriage should be worked out because mom and dad never took steps to work for theirs…
But here’s the news flash dear, you are not your mom and dad. And mom and dad may not have gotten it right in their own marriage but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get it right too. In fact, mom and dad getting it wrong in their marriage should be a fuel for you to get it right in yours. We can either let our experiences shape us for good or for bad.
Here’s what I did with my experience of my mom and dad’s fights and divorce for 14 years and some things we can all adopt too…
1. First of all, I turned my own marital story over to God.
Yes, I realized that mom and dad had one foundational truth wrong and I determined to never repeat their own mistakes. They had The One who instituted marriage outside of their own marriage. And you can’t work with the product without a manufacturer’s manual – it is just not possible.
So first things first, I turned my own marital story over to God and left it at His table and it is still on His table.
I don’t date for dating sake.
I don’t do “test and go relationships”
I don’t do “let’s date and we will see how it goes”
I don’t enter into a relationship just because Mr man toasted me and I like him. Feelings are fickle and more often than not, deceive and blind us to what truly matters in a person.
So what do I do when someone starts showing interest in me?
First of all, the someone must be someone worth praying about. I don’t bother with praying about unbelievers (I know there’s a story on God directing a lady to a Muslim who later got converted, but that’s an exceptional case, I am not referring to that) or a man who doesn’t have a vision/purpose for his life yet. I mean, God has given me eyes to discern so I try to use them well.
But when a man who loves God comes my way, a man who has a purpose for his life well spelt out, he might not necessarily have gotten there yet, but he is a man with vision – when that kind of man comes my way, then I pray.
I pray for God to direct my paths and show me what’s up. Because yes, I understand that the man maybe good and godly but he still may not be the one for me so I go to my Father who can see the beginning from the end and I ask Him to direct my paths.
All I am saying is that, I have seen what leaving God out of the equation does to marriages and I have no intention to tow that line. I acknowledge God in all my paths including marriage and what does He do then? He shows me the path to take. And everyone should do this also.
Yes, marriage isn’t easy but when God is in it, you know that He has got your back and that’s what we should strive for. That’s something that our parents may have left out of the equation but it’s something that we can have – the manufacturer of the product showing us how to use the product.
2. We must also learn to take our eyes away from our broken homes and the broken homes all around us and learn to fix it on homes that have stood the test of time.
If all you see/look out for is negativity, then all you’ll get is negativity also. There are godly marriages that I see all around, secure and wrapped in the love and joy that only God brings. That is my desire and that is what I fix my sights on and learn from.
3. I have also tried to learn what true love really is.
Most of our parents got divorced because they didn’t understand what true love is all about. How can you love when you don’t know the God who is love Himself? Some of our parents got divorced because of quarrels, bickering and a manic attempt of one or both of them to throw their weight around.
Now I speak not of assault and battery as anyone going through that situation should rightly run for their lives but some of our parents did not understand that love is actually a decision to love someone in good times and in bad times. They don’t know that “Love covers a multitude of sins”. They don’t know that they are to love their wives as Jesus loved the Church, giving up His life for her even when she didn’t deserve His love.
They don’t know that they are to submit to their husbands and cultivate a meek and gentle spirit, not a cantankerous spirit. They don’t know that they are love each other even despite their flaws. They don’t know that love bears all things, forgives all things and conquers all things.
Our mom and dad’s didn’t know that true love – the love that God requires us to have for our spouses works things out.
As much as I look out for godly marriages wrapped in joy and love, I also have no fairy tale views about marriage. I know that marriage is hard work and there will be times when he grates at my nerves and makes me raving mad at him, but I also know that God expects me to love him even in those times.
God doesn’t expect me to fix my sights on my feelings, he expects me to make that decision to love that man even when I feel like eating his head out. And that – that is what children from broken homes should let sink into us. It’s time to revamp our thinking.
As much as love stories are great to hear/read about… still, let not the pictures of couples and wedding pictures on BellaNaija fool you. If you want to have a great marriage, it must begin and end in God and you must be ready to work it out.
Let God’s view about marriage sink into you. Let Him into your marital life even from the choice you want to make maritally and God is faithful, if you seek Him, you will surely find Him. He will direct you and honor you even as you honor Him in every decision that you take in relationships.
Stop jumping from one relationship to another. And then when it breaks up you start thinking “yes, I know I can’t hold a relationship together just like mom couldn’t hold a relationship together.” No, your relationships are breaking up because you lack knowledge.
What you may even need right now isn’t a relationship. What you may need right now is a time out to fix yourself even in your singlehood. You don’t have to be in a relationship. You can be single and use the time to fix yourself, know yourself, know your purpose, improve and cultivate yourself in God, be content in singlehood and let God bring you into your next stage.
As long as you keep leaving God out of it like mom and dad did, things will not go well. If we kids from broken homes must shine forth the light in our own marriages, then we must do it with God in our boats. And we must understand the rudiments of marriage before we go into it. Butterfly feelings don’t last.
Look at that man really well, when he starts misbehaving and hurts you even when he doesn’t intend to, will you still work it out the way Christ worked it out with you? We must understand that our physical marriages are just expressions of our marriage with Christ. Christ loves us even when we act untoward towards Him and forgives us whenever we ask, can we love our spouses that way? We must understand what love is according to 1Corinthians 13 before rushing into marriage.
Don’t be fooled by the photoshopped wedding pictures, marriage is hard work and when you go in with the decision to work it out no matter what happens…
To love him/her no matter what may come to pass…
That – that is the difference between the marriages that last and the ones that don’t.
We maybe from broken homes but we aren’t broken. Don’t let the experiences of your parents become your own experience. God can mend all the issues from your past/present life experiences and turn them into an amazing story. In fact, He specializes in turning around the impossibilities to possibilities and in the sphere of living purposeful lives, He uses your past experiences to craft a wonderful future if you let Him.
Let Him craft a wonderful future with your marital story. Let God build it all and mend it all even from right now. Let Him into your marital story and watch what only Him can do with it.
To the children from broken homes:
I understand you, and I also hope that you understand the truth I have shared in this article too.
Your parent’s home may have been broken, but you are not broken.
Your parents marriage may have been broken but your future marriage does not have to broken too.
P.S – Temitope Ogunyinka, an awesome lady who used her broken home issues as a spring towards learning about how God’s love should in homes, just started a series on her blog.
The series which is in form of a story(yes, she writes Christian stories!) containing lessons we can learn in a home which may be wrapped in issues right now and it’s titled “broken pieces of me”.
I believe it would be of great help to all of us, even as the story unfolds.
Till next week’s love letter,
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