I read a story about Tony Toto, of Allentown, PA. He operated a pizza parlor there. Tony Toto survived at least 5 attempts on his life, all arranged for or carried out by his dear wife, Frances, & her lover. Twice she arranged for assailants to beat him over the head with baseball bats. On one occasion she put a tripwire across the basement stairs in their house, hoping that he would trip over it & plummet to his death. Twice she arranged for him to be shot. The first time she drugged his chicken soup so he would sleep soundly and he was shot in the head, but miraculously survived. The second time he was shot in the chest, but only sustained minor injuries. Even more miraculous than Tony’s survival was his attitude toward his wife once he found out she was responsible for all of this. Tony said that he held his wife blameless. When she was found guilty & sent to prison for arranging for his murder, he took their 4 children & visited her every week – every single week. Then when she was released from prison, she went back to their red brick home to resume her married life with Tony. With his arm around her, Tony said, “We’re more in love now than ever before.Wow! What a man! This is one very rare case, but how many people can live up with this? I am sure a lot of people would have thrown out the woman at the first attempt or probably kill her in the process. What is happening to our homes and marriages today?
From recent study done in the US, about 49% of all marriages end in divorce and you might think the odds of failure of marriages will be much less for couples heavily involved in the church but I am sorry to shock you, it is not so. Ministries today reports the divorce rate up 279% in the last 27years, this is a frightening statistics.
Taking a survey of all ministers in all denominations, 50% of their marriages will end in divorce. An ABC broadcast reports that the divorce rate in the “Bible Belt” is 50% higher than in other areas of the US. The Christian-Based Research Group reported in January 2000, that 21% of atheists and agnostics will or have experienced divorce while 29% denominational Christians and 34% of non-denominational Christians will or have experienced divorce. This is a rebuke to the church! Where are we getting it wrong?
Most marriages are predicated on faulty foundations and marriages with such foundation cannot last. People get into marriage for the wrong reasons for some it is the wealth that will be available at their disposal, others for reasons other than genuine love entrench in God’s approval.
Is your marriage going through a strain? Are you so stressed and worked up that you are already thinking of calling it a quit? Divorce should not be an option, you can work this through. During my counseling sessions, I have asked couples ‘what attracted them to each other in the first place and if that object of attraction is still present.’
Most marriages get into murky waters when there is a down shift in the relational disposition of either or both partners. When the gifts stops coming, when the communication becomes brief and formal, when the romantic sparks becomes extinguished… then watch out, you are standing on a divorce bomb waiting to explode.
Let me share with you some secrets that I have shared with my audience. It is embedded in the four-letter word L.O.V.E. I am not saying love by mouth but this is love from the very depth of your soul, it’s a connection you must have with your spouse, if anything comes in between this connection then you are on a dangerous path. Let’s look at this together:
L – Living for One Another: Living for one another is one of the strong keys to living together till ‘death do you path.’ It means your spouse becomes the reason for your living. When you live for another it means you are dead to self, it means you are broken. At this stage, it is not about your qualification nor is it about how much money you earn more than your spouse… the moment you begin to see yourself as the more important part of the relationship then you are digging the grave for your marriage. When you live for one another, then you will grow in each other.
O – Open Up to One Another: Secrecy is a silent and gradual terminator of the peace and joy within the home. Many homes have been destroyed as a result of secrets that were believed to have been kept but later came to the fore. Your spouse has the right to know everything; that is why you are married. You owe each other that obligation. Open to one another and you will enjoy the peace that passes all understanding. Many people have held back secrets from their spouses which later inflamed them and their marriage never remained the same again.
Openness rides on the wings of a healthy communication within the marriage. Couples, if when together are at loose of what to discuss or say to each other are already exhibiting symptoms of ‘communication wilt.’ Communication must be fun, informal and sincere. Openness is the first defense against external infiltration into your marriage. Be open about everything. Genesis 2:25 says “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.” There is no shame in being open. These should include our finances, sex, relationships and every other area.
V- Value for One Another: Value means worth. When you value your spouse then he/she is worth more than all the valuables of the world put together. A man who values his wife will not treat her as a slave. Learn to appreciate your wife. Treat her as the queen that she is and let her feel that sense of worth. How do you treat your husband? Do you discuss her with your friends and by extension make him a laughing-stock before them. Do you disrespect each other before extended family members? Value means you are sensitive to the needs of your spouse and that you hold each other in high esteem. Do you value your spouse?
E – Encourage One Another: Your spouse should be your first pastor. It is not every problem or misunderstanding you take to the church or your parents. Be the shoulder upon which your spouse can lean on. There is power when you agree on something together. Rather than place curses on each other, make positive declarations of a better life together.
There are women who bathe their husbands with curse and true to their word, the man will never make progress and you cannot expect to have peace in return in such situation, the devil will succeed in turning that home to a battle field. Encourage and pray for another.
The success of one should be the joy and success of another. Don’t take your spouse to the threshing floor of the public, when he is ridiculed you will also be humiliated in your home. Make Jesus your focus. Face that challenge together and see God come out strong on your behalf. Your family will be beauty to behold and a reference point in the comity of families. God bless you Big.