Wow, after 5 years, 3 kids, 3 different jobs and 4 different coutries we've lived in, I can say our marriage grows sweeter every day. Everyday we learn and grow. We've had our serious ups and downs, but what has made it work? The answer is God.
We are from two different coutries, totally different families, different social classes and totally different backgrounds, but we fell in love. Through the stresses we encountered,even very early on in our marriage, it would have been easy to fall out of love. But one thing we always did and that was to set aside a Marriage Bible study night. It's our own private Bible Study with each other. And now that we have the kids, we have a family one too, but it doesn't stop us from having our marriage Bible Study.
This is a time when we get out our Bible or sometimes a Marriage devotional book and read through it together then discuss our Marriage. We discuss what makes marriage work, how we can improve ours and what makes marriages break and how to never do that. We tell each other what we love about them, and sometimes, we suggest things that need to be improved. Then we just talk and discuss whatever and we pray.
Through hard times we've done this. Through good times we've done it. When our heart wasn't in it, we did this. When we were angry and frustrated, we've done this and when we were experiencing the best times in our marriage and life, we've still done this. And it has caused us to grow so close and love each other so much. It constantly reminds us that our marriage is a priority, before our jobs, before our status as parents,before our kids, before our money matters, before everything except God and our relationship with Him. After God is our marriage.
There's been times when I've had to talk things through with God. Like when we first came back to the States. My husband is from Africa. We had lived in Turkey, then Nigeria, then China and was just coming to the States. For me, it was coming back home. For him it was coming to an all new country, he'd never been in before. We got married while living in Turkey. Had our Son while living in Nigeria, had our daughter while living in China and so we came here with our two kids. Our son was almost two and our daughter was five months.
In China, I was working and He was a stay home dad during our last 6 months there. This was really hard for him, especially being from Africa, but we knew we were there to be a light and represent Christ. Still he had a hard time adjusting to being a stay home dad. Sometimes, I'd come home and he was sooo moody. I was tired and a little jealous too cause the kids were so attached to him. Of course this caused some stress. At first, I didn't know how to keep my mouth shut or watch my words. And he... he didn't know how to talk things out, if he was frustrated, he just didn't talk, which made me even angrier. We'd still have our marriage Bible study, but it was like two caged animals at times. Angry, frustrated, feeling like the other didn't really understand what we were going through etc... Then when we came to the States and had to move in with my parents, things got even harder.
At first it went smooth, then it just got tough. We were use to being our own family and making our own decisions in our own little home and suddenly, we feel like kids again, yet we have our own kids. I was frustrated, he was frustrated. I wanted to be the woman of my own house and he wanted to be the man of the house, but we couldn't cause we were staying with someone else and they were the man and woman of the house. Finally things climaxed and we both knew, that our marriage is priority. We've gotta move and at least, try to make it on our own. He had a temp job and I was a housewife and Mom. Yuk, I'd always been the career woman and had a super hard time adjusting to being housewife and Mom. Those were hard times. I took to Journaling with God. I'd write to God how I was feeling and all my frustrations. Then I'd write back, what God was saying to me about what I wrote and what the Bible had to say. This really helped me understand my husband more and the commitment we had to our marriage. It helped me soo much. But we worked through that time and came out stronger and more committed. And when we stepped out in faith and got our own apartment, God met every one of our needs and gave us wisdom and thriftiness. He also gave us another wonderful son. He has continued to bless us.
What I would say to all married couples is to set aside a night once a week where you have a marriage Bible Study. Commit to study what God's Word says about your marriage and talk intimately, sharing the Word, prayer, your feelings and thoughts with each other. Also, Journal with God about the things on your heart concerning your marriage and write down what you feel He is saying to you and what His Word has to say about what you've wrote. It will help you in so many awesome ways.
May all the married couples out there, experience the benefits of an intimate and private marriage Bible Study.
Erica Ndaguba is married to a wonderful Nigerian man and they have 4 wonderful kids. They've been married 7 years. She's lived 6 years on the mission field and returned to the States 4 years ago. She used to teach ESL but now she's a fulltime housewife and mother.