Is she worth fighting for – Better Half: The Partner

What is the one key quality that a woman considering marriage should have?

5yrtyrtWe are doing a series that seeks to define the woman as God defines her: Is she worth fighting for? Who is that woman worth fighting for? Today we look at the third role of the woman worth fighting for, God’s dream girl. What is the one key quality that a woman considering marriage should have? 

This sermon is good for married men; it will help you encourage, celebrate and appreciate your wife. Single men, we are talking about the kind of woman you are preparing to engage. Most young men look forward to being husbands one day. Keep praying and prepare yourself. For dads, this is what to speak into and nurture your daughter to become. Women, I am sure you want to know what qualities make you the kind of woman that would make a great bride and wife.

The dream of almost every girl is to find the love of her life, a life-companion, a partner in the business of life. Not every woman finds a partner, but generally every woman wants to find companionship, share love and do life with a man of her choice. For the young women past teenage, it is more than a dream. It is a hope! For those close to and after 30, there is great faith being exercised and they feel that it needs to happen.

For some, late 30s and early 40s, if the dream has not happened, it may become either an issue of stress or resignation. It becomes harder because socially a woman is expected to wait to be approached, even when she can see a potential man around her.

All single ladies are walking in the gift of singlehood (not limitation or disadvantage) and are as feminine as it gets. While some women will experience marriage, it does not complete a woman. Marriage is a gift from God. It is a great arrangement for intimacy, companionship, family and pursuit of life goals.

After a few weeks or months or years, some women wake up to the reality of drama and pain in marriage. They realize that the call to be a covenant partner to another is difficult. Dreams may turn into drama, delight into distress, celebration into complaint and hope of a happy-ever-after could turn into devastating separation or divorce.

The question ladies looking forward to marriage are asking is this: What does the woman worth fighting for in marriage look like? For the married women, the question is: Am I doing okay? Am I playing out my femininity right in the relationship? As a separated, divorced or widowed woman, various questions may emerge: Did I make some horrible mistakes? If I am to have a second chance, how would I be a better wife? And if I never want to do this again, how do I still play to my partner design as a woman?

Being a partner is a significant part of femininity. We will endeavor to describe a great Partner: To Have and To Hold.

S. Mbevi: Alright! You have walked with single women trusting God for marriage. What frustrations do they go through? How can they live a full live even when Prince Charming delays or does not show up at all?

C. Wanjau: The three big frustrations for a single woman are the proverbial clock, pressure and loneliness. As years go by, single women begin to fret that the biological clock is ticking and they fear not being able to have children. Women as we have been saying are more relational and feel keenly the need for a mate, a person whom they can share life with. I would begin by saying that these are very valid and legitimate needs. These are longings that are part of our makeup. My major caution is allowing yourself to be preoccupied with marriage and children as the only purpose that you can pursue. This leads to lots of frustration and many women have made unwise decisions during this phase only to regret later.

S. Mbevi: Pst C, I hear men say the ‘empowered woman’ is harder to relate to than women in our mum’s generation. She has a voice, so she will not take nonsense or passivity. She has a career to pursue, so she is not be there all the time to ‘meet all the needs’ of the man. She wants to enjoy marriage just like the man does, unlike in the past when it was more about the man. Is that a problem?

C. Wanjau: No, I do not think there is anything wrong with being empowered. I think though that there are forces that couples are unaware of bombarding marriages.

For example, the rise of feminism, while empowering the woman has in some aspects disempowered the man, meaning we have more assertive women. Get me right, I am not saying that empowering women takes away from the man. Paradoxically though, while women enjoy the empowered state they get frustrated with the modern man. The attitudes women and men bring into marriage have been shaped by the prevailing gender perspectives.

Another force influencing marriage is media. Media portrays an image of marriage that is completely unrealistic and I was a victim of this. Earlier in our marriage one of the causes of our fights was that my husband was not romantic i.e. date nights where we gaze into each other’s eyes like Mexicans. Now I came to understand that as soon as we got married, my husband’s focus shifted to providing for the family – is this romantic – No! The normal day to day life is not as romantic but it builds solidity in the relationship. I have come to believe that the romance we see on media is because the guys have been paid to be mushy.

S. Mbevi: Okay, so gender attitudes and unrealistic expectations have negatively affected marriage you say. Well, let us go back to our text and learn three qualities of a great partner. I Sam 25: 32-43 Pst C, why do ladies marry bad or foolish men? I suggest many of them are gold diggers, do you think Abigail was?

C. Wanjau: No woman wants to marry someone who cannot feed himself and his family. True, some women today are treasure hunters. Sometimes as ladies we make some mistakes. We marry a not-so-good person believing we will fix them or they will settle down when we get together. That is a huge risk. Other girls get blinded by ‘love’ or promises and run off with a fool, and the pain follows later. Others marry a good man who turns foolish with time.

S. Mbevi: Great analysis. From Abigail, we see that a great partner is committed! Commitment means given to or dedicated to walking with another or doing something. Abigail was ready to still serve and intercede for Nabal, the fool. Then after the man passed on, she said yes to David, a man with potential but not much to show for it yet. He was a fugitive, living in caves. She was willing to leave the comfort of her residence to follow David. That is commitment.

C. Wanjau: Pst S, when I hear this commitment story I get anxious. Can you imagine being committed to a fool? There are enough fools around: take the guy who is living off his wife’s income; or the guy who is violent or the one who is unfaithful – perhaps in Abigail’s time there were no STD’S!

S. Mbevi: Commitment is not being blind to or accommodating of anything. You commit to a relationship with a person you picked, but you deal with issues that come up.

There is one thing we need to understand. When you make your marriage vows, you do so before the living God. It is a covenant between God and yourselves. In this covenant God knows you are both unable to live up to your marriage vows and so He commits to help you. When your husband is straying or not playing his part invoke this covenant, have a conversation. This is the power of making a covenant with God. He promises to defend you and fight for you. For Abigail, God fought for her.

C. Wanjau: True, but more often than not a marriage hangs on the commitment of the wife. Men seem to waiver faster and more often. I wonder why. But ladies, let us commit and the let us trust God to help us deal with the rest. Also, let us not commit too soon even before we know what kind of a man we are committing to.

S. Mbevi: I hear you; we need to pray for the men. I think commitment is a dedication to relationship. And it is seen in other relationships way before and beyond marriage. A single woman learns commitment first to God, then to those around her: Ruth demonstrated commitment to Naomi after her husband died. That commitment eventually got her to Boaz. Unmarried women show commitment in what they do and the relationships they have. Pst C, are women generally more committing – as in giving of their heart fully into a relationship than men? I hear that from ladies.

C. Wanjau: Yes, I think we are more trusting. Half-hearted commitment for a woman is like learned behavior: Once beaten twice shy, past wounds, revenge, fear and when we sense trouble! As ladies we have to deal with these inner issues so that they do not get in the way of our commitment.

S. Mbevi: A great partner is committed and submissive! She is humble to serve and let another lead or walk alongside her. Abby demonstrated such a humble spirit: the way she bowed before David and talked to him. She also respected her husband, even though she knew he was a fool, to his death. She addressed him with respect and honored him when she came back from interceding for him and the family. She was submissive.

C. Wanjau: Pst S, this S word is not popular to women. We sense that when men say submission, they mean that a woman should not have a say or opinion, should not question wrong decisions, should not demand respect and should be treated as second to the man. We have suffered a lot under that word.

S. Mbevi: Glad you have brought that up. Submission does not mean subjugation. Submission is willful honor and deference to another, who is an equal but plays a different role. It is to honor or respect another and to let them. Submission also means ‘subject to the mission.’ It is serving one’s role in the relational mission.

C. Wanjau: So what you are saying is that we are equal. My opinion counts just like his. I am not lesser. Secondly that submission is not demanded behavior; it is given willfully. It is an honor to the recipient, a trust he should steward well; and that sometimes I submit by having someone have their way.

S. Mbevi: Exactly. We are equal in the marriage and other relationships though our roles are different. It is impractical to have a dance without a lead dancer. Ephesians 5:21, 22, 25  Husbands serve their wives through sacrificial, selfless love. Wives serve their husbands through submissive love. Both are acts of service. And it all reflects the divine relationship between Christ and the church.

C. Wanjau: When you put it that way it makes it sound more honorable. But the fact is culture and male ego have left many women passionately opposed to that word, submission. This word has been abused to men’s advantage.

S. Mbevi: That is true Pst Carol. But we cannot throw away the baby with the bathwater. God, when he talked about submission, he was calling women to paint a picture of Christ. To submit is to be like Jesus. He was God but he submitted himself to serve and in the process became great: Philippians 2:5-9

C. Wanjau: This submission is such a struggle that we need Jesus for sure. It goes against the very human nature. There is a miss independent in every woman. She wants to do it her way and not have to refer or defer to another. I struggle with this myself, even though I am married to a great man.

S. Mbevi: I know, we are all broken. But look at the benefits Jesus got through submission: He got an opportunity to serve us into greatness. Thank God He submitted to the cross because I am free. Submission secures relationship.

Secondly, He was exalted and glorified. When a woman submits, she earns the glory that comes with it. She shares in the accomplishments and blessings of the other. Lastly, and most importantly, God honors the one who submits. Even when there was not much glory for Abigail to get from Nabal, God honored her through David and preserved her.

C. Wanjau: It is encouraging to see the benefits, and to know that at the end of it God is the master and rewarder of the submitted. So, A great partner is committed and submissive. What is the last quality?

S. Mbevi: A great partner is committed, submissive and supportive. She gets to support another for their welfare. Her joy is the success of those she is around. That is a noble thing. Abby genuinely wanted her husband to succeed – she begged for him. She affirmed David and showed support to his cause and the cause of the Lord. She allowed David to see a supportive partner in her. You don’t have to be married to be supportive to others. It is a quality everyone needs, including men.

C. Wanjau: That sounds great right there. I want to be an affirming, supportive woman. But Pst S, let me ask on behalf of many women, how do you support a man or person who is taking you to the bush? How do you support a person you do not agree with?

S. Mbevi: Great questions; no easy answers. I believe support is limited to shared values and wisdom. Support the man and his welfare. You do not support your husband in something that is wrong. Abby refused to support Nabal in refusing to help David. Secondly, you support a person in wise decisions. If it is not a wise decision, engage them. Involve friends or family if need be. But once a decision is made please be supportive even if it does not go your way.

C. Wanjau: Thanks for explaining that. It is especially difficult for those who us with unbelieving husbands or partners behaving badly. I guess we need God’s wisdom to deal with that. Each case will have its own merits.

S. Mbevi: Well put. The secret is the right attitude, submit to God Almighty and he will guide you as a woman the wise application of this. Femininity is a revelation of God’s image. The Holy Spirit is our helper. Is he weak? No! He is God. He is committed to us; in fact he lives in us. He is at work in us until we meet Jesus. He is also submissive, always pointing us to Jesus and working to glorify him. It is not about him. Lastly, he is supportive – he teaches us, reminds us, convicts us, comforts us and walks with us. As we experience the woman as a partner, we get to understand God the Holy Spirit. And he is available to teach every woman how to be like him.

C. Wanjau: Excellent – we have the Holy Spirit to walk with us in this journey. What is your word to the men?

S. Mbevi: Men, we are called to be like Christ in the way we relate to our wives. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to teach us sacrificial love. Married or not, we are to live a life submitted to Christ and graced with humility in our relational role. We need to ask God to forgive us in areas where we have not treated our wives or girlfriends right. We need to go home, apologize and change our ways.

C. Wanjau: We have said A great partner is committed, submissive and supportive. Women, many marriages have broken because of our prideful attitude. We have hurt many by willingly choosing someone to be our man then making ourselves difficult to lead. We need God to forgive us and teach us the attitude of Christ. But we have also been taken advantage of. We carry pain because of husbands, boyfriends who were not like Christ. Let us forgive and trust God for healing. May the past not dictate who we are.

S. Mbevi: That is true Pst Carol. God wants you to be his dream girls. As a great partner, you bless God and those around you. What if you surrendered today to God as a woman, married or not, and allowed him to change you and make you a committed, submissive and supportive woman, what would happen? Some relationships would be healed, new ones would be started, you would be free to live out our design in God, and God would be glorified. May true femininity be revealed in every woman.

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One Response to “Is she worth fighting for – Better Half: The Partner”

  1. Submission is a place of power. I knew that yet I refused to submit to my husband in taking drugs that were rotting my body. Now am with my step -dad and he forces me to take them. I don’t know what to do. I want to preach the Gospel but no pastor will hire me. Can you pastors work with me?

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