People have all sorts of opinions about romantic relationships often informed by past experiences or seasons. In terms of negative opinions around these types of relationships, you generally find 2 stories which either begin with “Men /women are xxx” or “Relationships are xxx”.
We often like to blame situations, conditions and other people for our failures instead of taking responsibility for how our relationships turn out. When you really think about it, a romantic relationship is between two people. Just 2 human beings. 2. TWO.
This means that when a relationship fails chances are you are 50% of the problem, either because of your poor choice of a partner; your conduct/attitude; or your weaknesses. There are cases where the relationship is “walking dead” – it’s existing but not living. In a worst case scenario, a relationship can be so complicated and toxic it ends in tragedy.
But… What if it isn’t all that complicated or confusing. What if I told you the possibility of a happy and fulfilling relationship with a man is not only very possible but much simpler than you ever thought? What if you knew that God gave us a “blueprint” on how we are to relate and consequently live happy lives with our partners? Would that not be treasure to seek out?
“A strong relationship requires choosing to love each other even in those moments when you struggle to like each other.” – Unknown
Firstly, a disclaimer : there are various factors that can contribute to the trajectory of a relationship but in this article we will look at the basics in a “normal” setup where most people mess up due to conduct, lack of knowledge or their weaknesses getting the better of them. In addition, people live their lives differently so it’s up to you to then apply the knowledge you will get here to your vibe. Cool.
By the way I also did a survey with 60+ men to ask questions around this topic. More on that in Part 2 next week.
Okay let’s get the ball rolling.
The Blueprint from God.
I attended a bachelor party where one Athi-Ho Mlanjana gave a short nugget on how to relate with the better half. The nugget was mostly based on the familiar Ephesians 5 text. He said “The specific instructions given to the husband and the wife in the verses speak to the basic needs of both parties which help keep the relationship healthy. Basically men want to be respected, to feel like a King while Women NEED security (emotionally etc)”.
This made a lot of sense to me and helped me understand a great deal of situations in my relationship then. So while preparing for this article I decided to search all other instructions outside Ephesians concerning relations between a man and a woman in the bible to see if there is consistency in what the elder taught.
What I found is that men are called to love their woman and to love as Christ loved, while women are called to submit to their husband as unto the Lord. I thought about it and I realised that if women have to submit then it’s logical for them to desire security as the elder (Athi) said.
Submission is defined as the action of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person. Therefore if any woman is to yield to the will or authority of her husband it is logical that she would want to make sure that she is covered emotionally, physically and even financially (and all the woman said “yes!”). In other words she needs to make sure that she will be loved and cared for.
“…If any woman is to yield to the will or authority of her husband it is logical that…. she needs to make sure that she will be loved and cared for.” – Simon Bwerinofa
I am yet to find a passage in scripture where women are instructed to love (perhaps the way men should love) their husbands. There is what seems to be an exception in the book of Titus chapter 2 verse 4 where younger woman are instructed to love their husbands and children. However when you continue reading in the very next verse (5) (which is a continuation of the same sentence from verse 4) it speaks of being subject to their husbands.
Before I go any further please note this is not to say men do not need love. Wilful submission in itself is an indication of love. We are speaking of roles in relations here.
For the poetic, submission is completion. Since Eve was formed from a part of Adam, Eve should rightly “submit” into Adam – not because she is less but because the two will be whole. He will be complete and she will be covered in his love completely.
I made a table of some of the verses from the bible on the matter (please click on the verses to read them). I left out others in Timothy and Corinthians as they do not directly speak to the context of this article. Bona the consistency fam.
|Ephesians 5:22 & 24||Submit to husband|
|Ephesians 5:25 & 28||Love wife|
|Ephesians 5:33||Love wife||Respect husband|
|1 Peter 3:1; 5 – 6||Submit to husband|
|1 Peter 3:7 (GNT)||Respect wife|
|Love wife||Submit to husband|
|Titus 2:4-5||Love husband
Submit to husband
Of particular interest in these verses is 1 Peter 3:1 which says, and I quote: “Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your husbands, so that even if they refuse to believe the word, they will be won over without words by the behavior of their wives (2) when they see your pure and reverent demeanor.…”.
It’s clear from the above text that the salvation of your husband can hugely depend on your submission and conduct. If your man is not “straight” he can be won over by submission and conduct. This also nullifies the fact that you won’t submit because he is “not righteous” by whatever standard.
So now that we have an idea of the “blueprint” the next logical questions are:-
What does submission to a man entail?
What does loving a woman entail?
I can’t tell you much about the latter – that’s for a woman to say. What I can talk about is “loving” a man which we will cover in detail in the next blogpost i.e. Part 2.
Until next time,
Simon Bwerinofa is a young, single and patriotic African who loves God. He is gifted in “making things happen”, loves the process of creating something from nothing or simply solving problems using technology. He has a passion to inspire people to live positive lives and reach their potential. A musician, photographer, athlete and tech entrepreneur.
Thank you Simon for willingly sharing your heart and reflections on romantic relationships in our Christianity and African culture. We look forward to your next instalment!
Dear reader, please go ahead and share your understanding of this piece and any questions/thoughts you may have. This month our brothers are taking over our platform and giving us a peak into their mind and heart, helping us to see them right. Let’s show them some love and engage them in the comments section below!