On June 30th Saturday morning, three hours before I was getting married, I received a phone call from my sister. She called to inform me that our father was very upset about something but he would not go into details about what was bothering him. My father and the rest of my family had driven over six hundred fifty to watch me get married. I hung the phone up and I jump into my car and rush over to the hotel right away. The hotel was only ten minutes away but while I was driving, my mind was wondering what had caused him to have this drastic change of heart.
When I arrived at the hotel, I went to my father’s room to find out why he was so upset. I asked him had someone did something to upset him or offended him. He responded by saying no one had done anything wrong but he was now having second thoughts about coming all the way to see me get married. You asked Elder Strong what was it that was bothering him that he did not want to see his own son get married. His reason why he felt that way was due to him thinking about his own past marriages and how they had ended in divorce. His first marriage with my mother lasted for sixteen years but ended in divorce because of domestic violence and infidelity. His second marriage only lasted a few years but also ended in divorce because he could not resist eating from the fruit of infidelity again. I shared with my father that I really appreciated his concerns for me and wanting to make sure I was making the right decision for my life. However, I assured him that the Lord brought me my future wife and I had not picked her from my own efforts. When Samson when and selected his own wife which was a Philistine woman things did not turn out well for him at the end (Judges 14:1-4). However, when Adam allowed the Lord to bring him a wife their marriage was not only blessed but would set the template for all future marriages to come (Genesis 2:21-25).
As I look back seventeen years later, the Lord has shown me that the key to a man having A God-Centered Marriage is should be established upon three points. The first point for a man to have a successful marriage is his marriage must be covered in the anointing of God. The second important point for a man to have a successful marriage is understanding that married is not a contract but a covenant relationship. A final important point for a man and a woman to have a successful marriage is for both of them to work and operate as one.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Matthew 19:5-7).
You need God’s anointing on your marriage
As my marriage ceremony was coming to a conclusion at the instruction of my pastor my wife and me had exchanged our vows and placed our wedding bands on our ring fingers. After placing the rings on our fingers we both went off to the side of the pulpit to blow out our individual candles which represented the years of us being single. We came back over to the center of the pulpit and my pastor then asked me to pray for my new wife before the Lord and those in attendance. As I began to pray, my pastor took her pastoral mantle and began to wrap it around the both of us as I was praying for my wife. The pastoral mantle which a pastor wears represents God’s anointing upon his or her life as a representative before God’s people. The rest of the congregation and my pastor joint in agreement with me praying for the covering of our marriage and the Lord blessings our union. The atmosphere of the room felt like it became charged and we all felt the tangible presence in our midst together. My pastor then declared over my wife and me that the anointing of the Lord was upon our marriage and she then pronounced us Mr. and Mrs. Walter S Strong III.
The same mantle that a pastor wears in his local church is the same mantle that a man wears as a husband and spiritual head in his marriage relationship. If you are getting married for the first time either at a church or at the justice of peace you both need the presence of the Lord in your marriage. If you have already been married, five, ten or twenty-five years or more, you too understand that you need the anointing of God to cover your marriage each day. Being married to the one you have decided to spend the rest of your life with is a special and beautiful blessing. However, to stay and maintain being marriage for several years takes a whole lot of sacrifice, compromise, and work. In Ecclesiastes 4:7-12, the word of God says that “two are better than one and that a threefold cord is not easily broken”. When two people declare to one another that they love one another, I do not believe that their declaration of affection is really genuine love. I believe the two people really care for one another but they have not yet learned what it means to love someone in married. The point I believe that a married couple began to learn how to love one another is when adversity comes into their married and they are able to weather the storms together. It is the type of love that is forged in the furnace of affliction that God’s anointing destroys every yoke, tears down every stronghold and breaks every generation curse so that their God-Centered Marriage is a testimony to others.
Marriage is a covenant and not a contract
Marriage is a covenant relationship that entered into by a man and a woman which is honored and blessed by the Lord. Marriage is not a contract that a man and woman have with one another today and later on they feel they no longer want and end it in divorce. Marriage is not two people who are single living together but are not married in the eyes of the state and the eyes of the Lord. A God-centered marriage happens when each partner understands each other roles and does their very best to support one another in carrying out their loving duties. A man understands that the role of the husband is to “love his wife even as Christ love his bride which is the church” (Ephesians 5:22-28). The woman that the Lord has given him is evidence before the world that he has obtained favor from the Lord and that she is his good thing (Proverbs 18:22). A wife that knows she is loved by her man will submit to her own husband as unto the Lord. Her husband trusts her with all his heart knowing that she is a virtuous woman and she will always seek to do bless him and do him no harm all the days of his life (Proverbs 31:10-12).
Jesus said to His disciples in the last days “that iniquity will abound and the love of many would grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). The love that Jesus spoke about was not the brotherly or Philia love which is the love between two friends. The love that Jesus spoke about was not the love that parents have for their children what is called in the Greek” language “Storge”. He was not talking about Eros love which is a physical love between a husband and a wife sexually. However, the love that Jesus spoke about in Matthew’s gospel was Agape love which is God’s, unconditional love. The Lord demonstrated this love to us by allowing His Son to die on the cross for us while we yet still sinners (Romans 5:8). The unconditional love that a husband and a wife demonstrate towards one another is a sign of their covenant relationship. When decisions have to be made regarding our professional careers and where the family should live for the next ten to twenty years the decision they both come to will be made from the basis of unconditional love for one another. When they are faced with major health concerns their covenant relationship will help them both to stay up in the midnight hours waiting for their loved one to get better. The world is learning that the reality show marriages are not the answer to having a happy married in your life. However, what people are craving and yearning to have are real, passionate and God-center marriages.
Operating together as one
One of my favorite commercial that I have seen on television that speaks about operating as one is a Navy Seal’s footprints commercial. A team of seals which the commercial does not reveal how many come on the shore of the beach to complete their mission. It is very dark at night and a set of footprints are there for the moment but are shortly washed away by the incoming tide of water. The commercial conveys to its viewers two important messages about the Navy Seals unit and when they are called into action. The first message that I took from the commercial is that when Navy Seals are in action they come quickly to do what they were assigned to do and are gone before anyone else knows they were there on land. A second message that the commercial shows the viewer is that there is one set up footprints on the beach when the Navy Seal team is on the shore of the beach. The one set of footprints does not tell the person watching the commercial how many men are in the Navy Seal team. However, what the one set of footprints does tell us that no matter how many people are on the team, each of the seal members all operates as one together for the good of the mission.
In a marriage, a husband and a wife must learn to operate as one together in their covenant relationship with one another. A husband and wife must operate as one when it comes to communication, intimacy, and finances. When a husband and wife are not on the same page together this will allow circumstances, people or the enemy to bring discord in their marriage. The word of God says in Amos 3:3 the New Living Translation, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction”? Yes, it is true that women and men can most times speaks two different languages about a particular issue in their relationship. The woman may speak about the issue in great details and length but when the man speak about the issue he is very direct about what needs to be done. I believe for a married couple to operate together as one when it comes to issues like communication, intimacy or finances they both must be willing to take time and listen to the other person. When a man or woman feels that the other person is actively listening to what the other one has to say, both parties are able to work out their differences and accomplish the mission and operates together as one.