– By Lydia Meshoe
A wedding is easy but a marriage is hard work – from both husband and wife! If you are too lazy to work in the garden or decide to ignore the weeds, the weeds will choke the good plants. By God’s grace, we are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and we give God all the glory!
We first met at Turfloop, the University of the North, from where we both graduated in 1975. As students, we decided to live for Christ in an uncompromising manner and to be good testimonies of how young people should live. Our love for and fear of God was the determining factor! We were far away from our parents and pastors, but we knew that God was expecting us to live righteously for Him at all times.
In 1976, we joined Christ For All Nations (CFAN) under Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. Mr and Mrs Bonnke were great role models for us as a young couple. We got married on the 2nd of October 1976.
There are practical things that we did over the years that contributed to making our marriage work:
- We were both committed to make our marriage work. We were and still are committed to go through obstacles, bumps, and hurdles. A husband must be committed to love his wife as Christ loved the Church and a wife must be committed to submit to her husband. We both decided to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
- We assumed 100% of the responsibility for addressing misunderstandings and resolving marital conflicts. The 50/50 concept in marriage does not work well. Each person must assume 100% responsibility to make their marriage to work.
- We chose to forgive one another whenever there were faults, hurts, or misunderstandings. We also chose not to keep a record of wrongs. This meant never raising past mistakes and failures in arguments.
- We chose to make conflict resolution a priority in our lives and not winning an argument. When one wins an argument, there is a loser in the house. But when you resolve a problem amicably, you have two winners in the house.
- We decided to never say anything derogatory about one another’s personality. Proverbs 11:12 tells us that ‘he who belittles and despises his neighbour lacks sense.’
- We made prayer a very important part of our marriage and family. We pray together and for one another on a daily basis.
- We chose to be transparent and to walk in truth at all times. We never lied to, or hid anything from one another. We were transparent about our whereabouts and our finances.
- We were determined to please the Lord. When we were separated and alone due to ministry or businesses reasons, we were determined to remain faithful to each other.
There are sacrifices we had to make as we established the ministry. We had to work from the bottom up. We realised that the only job that started at the top was the job of grave digging. It’s not easy but there’s a joy of moving upward step by step.
When we started our family, as a wife I knew there were seasons in a woman’s life. It was a joy and privilege to stay home with the children whilst my husband went to CFAN crusades. It was a great honour to travel with him later when the children were older. I was also committed to supporting my husband all the way in whatever God wanted him to do, including him being a leader in politics! My husband was also not intimidated by what God called me to do, but instead encouraged me to fulfil my calling.
After working with CFAN for ten and a half years, we started a church in Vosloorus called Hope of Glory Tabernacle in 1988. We gave much into the ministry while not neglecting our family. Even when the church grew, the ingredient that kept us together was love. Our first allegiance was to Jesus and then to one another. It is easier to draw closer to one another when we first draw close to Jesus Christ.
Love is not just a feeling; it is a choice. It is not what you say to your spouse but what you do that counts. One can say “I love you honey, sweetheart” but what effort do you put into what you say? Remember that it is not what is wrong that many times ruins a marriage. Good things, done at the wrong time or in the wrong manner, can destroy a marriage!
For those who have been married for long, be careful not to take one another for granted. There are a few examples one can give but we will give only 2 for now. Spending all your time on the phone while sitting together as a couple is taking your spouse for granted. Spending all of your the time on the computer at home while the children are trying to get your attention or while your spouse is trying to communicate what transpired during the day, is taking them for granted. Let home be home and the workplace be the workplace.
Keep working at your marriage. Even after 40 years, we realise that we’ve got to keep working at it! There must also be passion to love one another and to love the children. Lastly, choose to do it God’s way, for God’s way is the best! By God’s grace we have made it. Your marriage will also make it if, as husband and wife, you decide to follow God’s instructions as written in His Word.