A family is a ministry. And God called his people to have a family of his mind – the right family. God ordained marriage as a holy union in which a husband was expected to help his wife’s weaknesses and a wife to work on her husband’s deficiencies because both of them are ONE (Isaiah 35: 3-4). The intention of God to create the first family in the Garden of Eden is to help themselves to achieve what they were created for (Genesis 2: 18). But because of the weakness of someone whose partner was not sensitive, Satan (Serpent) entered and scattered the family. God was annoyed, not only because they surrendered to the hand of the devil to penetrate their family but also because they shifted the blame on each other. No one accepted his/her fault. This was the beginning of domestic violence (Genesis 3).
Three components that cause long domestic violence
Ego and competition: Both husbands and wives want to display superiority. Nobody wants to bow for another. A husband wants his wife to take a step toward forgiveness because he sees himself as the head of the family. A wife claims a right that her husband is responsible for making a move for reconciliation any time domestic violence occurs. One does not want to accept one’s faults. This affected Adam and Eve too (Genesis 3).
Traditional configuration: The customs and practices of the family the couple brought up or trained affect God’s ordained family. For instance, a man whose father has never helped his mother at home will find it difficult to render domestic help when married. Also, a woman whose mother has never helped his father to pay for things at home when there is no money for his father or who has not helped his father iron his clothes will find it difficult to help his husband when married. The traditional family practices configured or programmed into their brains will begin to affect their immediate family.
Blame shifting: This issue is common these days, and it affects Adam and Eve too (Genesis 3). They ate from the tree God said they should not eat and God asked Adam what he had done. He said, “It was the woman you gave me.” God still asked Eve and Eve also said, “It was the serpent that deceived me.” Most misunderstandings in the home today lead to domestic violence because they cannot accept that we are faulty. No one is absent and no one is guilty. When an issue arises, both the husband and the wife should trace the area where he or she has been faulty and allow peace and restoration (Romans 12: 18), (2 Corinthians 13: 11).
Face the problem
Confrontation is always painful. You are hurt, angry, and upset. What do you do? You have two options: you either face the problem or “sweep it under the carpet.” There are two problems with the letter option. First, it is unbiblical, and second, things “under the carpet” have a way of adding up. Small molehills become big volcanoes that suddenly erupt in a mighty explosion. If you do not deal with the problem it will fester; anger will lead to resentment, then to bitterness, on to hatred, and according to the Bible, murder will reside in your heart. You will ultimately regress either into violence or silence (Mathew 5: 21-24.
Avoid revenge and recrimination
When one is very hurt, the natural tendency may be to lash out, hit back, or return pain for pain. Commonly, a wife will “punish” her husband by withholding sex or refusing to cook until he “sees sense” or begs for forgiveness. A husband may stay out till midnight; and refuse to help in the home or with the children. Both may retreat into silence or worse, violence. Such behavior is extremely destructive. The anger and foolishness of a moment may take days to repair. In the worst-case scenarios, it may never be repaired. We need to learn to forgive quickly and to put away childish behavior. Married couples need to take the fast track to maturity. We need to grow up, to pro-act not to react. We need to become Christ-like.
Choose the time
If you are angry, hungry or the house is full of children, this is not the time to sort things out.
If you are really angry, cool down! Take a walk around the block, pray, and wait until the children are in bed and the two can speak rationally and calmly.
Speak to the Lord before you speak to your spouse.
Tell him your distress. Lay your sorrow, and grief on the cross and ask Him to heal you.
This is what you did/said and this is how I perceived it.
Do not play the blame game.
It has no end if one is hunting then both are in pain. You are one. If one of you is hunting, the other partner should acknowledge that as a fact even if they are not convinced they have offended. Be magnanimous! Forgive! Release!
Solve the problem today.
Do not let the sun go down on your wrath. If there seems to be no solution, put it on hold, pray, and go to bed. It is surprising how different things can appear in the warm light of day. I can remember times early in our married life when we talked for hours trying to find out who was guilty of what, apportioning blame and scoring points. It became not only boring but also tiring! Eventually, we developed an excellent technique. It went something like this, “I love you. You love me. We do not know who is at fault. Let us go to bed and make love!” I recommend it heartily! It is certainly one in the eye for the great “troublemaker.”
Forgive and forget.
These amazing statements challenge our small-mindedness. To forgive is not to exonerate. That is God’s prerogative. Marriage should earn you a Ph.D. in forgiveness! One day, on my knees, I prayed this prayer, “Lord, show me my heart.” He showed me and immediately I almost regretted the prayer. I saw that my heart is desperately wicked”, and to Him, even my “acts of righteousness were as filthy rags,” Until then, I had a very high opinion of myself and a rather low potential for all kinds of horrible things, greed, envy, seeds of murder and many more.
I saw that my heart was capable of every kind of evil, but even worse, my heart was full of the very worst sin – pride. I saw that indeed I was a sinner saved by grace, utterly, utterly, deserving of hell. Though today I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ and altogether lovely, all this is only because of the grace and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ. How then can I refuse to forgive? “Sorry is one of the most powerful words in the English language and one that goes a long way in the marriage relationship (Mathew 6: 11, 12, 14, 15).
We simply cannot afford to withhold forgiveness from anyone who asks it of us. We can go one step further by freely forgiving everyone whether or not they ask. Forgiveness is a lifestyle and the Lord Jesus modeled it to us. I have heard all kinds of reasons for unforgiveness such as “They do not mean it,” “I do not feel like it,” and “They will do it again,” None of these is valid. Can you judge the state of your neighbor’s heart? Can you guarantee that you will never sin?
If you do not freely forgive from the heart and release your partner, then several things happen. Spiritually: You will not be forgiven; your prayers will be blocked; you will be bound; the person you do not forgive is also bound; you no longer have God’s wall of protection and the Bible implies that unforgiveness is torture. Physically: Doctors claim that anger and resentment (unforgiveness) predispose the body to high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, and arthritis. So, do yourself a favor, forgive, and release (Mathew 18: 18, 34, 35).
Restoration brings us closer together. Always accept your spouse’s apologies; give forgiveness even when it is not asked; pray together and put everything onto the cross, and affirm love.
Love covers a multitude of sins. Do not expose your spouse or your children. Do not go around telling people how awful he or she is. If you want to discuss anyone’s sins, confess your own. Are you your brother’s keeper? Yes. Does God cover you? Yes!
Prayer: Father, always give us the grace to forgive, to release, and to forget. Help us to forgive trespasses against us even as you freely forgive us. Help us to have a lifestyle of grace and forgiveness. Let us not give any room for the devil in our home in Jesus’ name. Amen
Rev. Dr. Paul Jinadu and Rev. Mrs. Kate Jinadu, General Overseer, New Covenant Church, London.