This Sunday my husband and I celebrate 17 years of marriage.
Our marriage has had twists and turns, ups and downs, good times and bad times. I have learnt so many valuable lessons throughout the past 17 years.
Today I was reminded of one key lesson as we went on an adventure in Cornwall with my family.
We set off on foot to a national trust property called Cotehele House in Calstock, Cornwall. We set off enthusiastically thinking that it was just a 20 minute walk. One and a half hours later, exhausted, out of breath and with some of us in tears we arrived at our destination. We had not anticipated the steep steep incline and long winding trek up a mountain !!! No one told us that we were going to have to climb a mountain! If we had known we would never have embarked on this journey.
There were times in our marriage when I really wondered why I had started on this journey. No one ever told me it would be so difficult. It was an uphill journey.
I have found that marriage has been an experience, a journey where there were moments I wanted to give up.
Muchada and I got married at a relatively young age and had what was commonly known as a “shotgun” wedding. I was pregnant and if Muchada had not married me I have no doubt my father would have found a shotgun and killed the him, hence the term shotgun wedding.
We migrated to England soon after our marriage. We left the comfort of family friends and everything we held dear to come to England. We initially came to study but ended up staying on due to the political and economic decline in Zimbabwe.
The first ten years were fraught with difficulty. We had so many challenges and packed it in quite a few times. Climbing the mountain was not fun at all. We literally gave up on one occasion. We went our separate ways and decided to give up.
I believe the turning point for us was when we really started to build a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God. We stopped being religious and submitted our lives to God. We asked for help and asked for guidance in every area. We both learnt the value of prayer and this scripture Proverbs 3:5-6 became an all time favourite.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
The teaching in the bible helped us to navigate the challenges of marriage together with Jesus being the centre.
Even as we walked up the mountain today I encouraged my children to keep going and without realising it I started quoting bible verses to them. Not in bible bashing sort of way but just that “come on you can do it , you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. You are more than a conqueror ! We can do this keep going, don’t give up.”
I realised the power of positive encouragers positive friends and supporters who use the word of God to give you encouragement.
In our marriage journey we have had other married couples encourage us to keep going. We needed other married couples to walk the journey together to pick us up when we were down.
We have parents, friends and prayer partners who encourage us to keep going. It still gets tough and we face different mountains but we overcome them through encouragement prayer and perserverance .
My mother taught me a lot about sticking through hard times and one of her favourite sayings was” Shinga Mwanawangu zvichanaka” which means Perservere my daughter it will be well. I have perservered and so has my long suffering husband, and can confidently say we are in a good place now. We have learnt coping mechanisms and strategies to cope through some of the challenges. I have no doubt that there will be more mountains to climb but with God on our side we can make it
I have taken an extract from this great book which sums up on God being the
centre. Thriving despite a difficult marriage –
Michael Misja and Chuck Misja
“Marriage means partnering with God. Holding a belief that God is in it.
He loves you and your spouse and is molding and shaping you. When we stand before a holy God and commit our lives to another, we become involved in a threesome. God is intensely involved in our marriage, whether it’s an easy or trying one. From the backyard to the bedroom, God is there. His heart desires good things for us. Yet we must understand that marriage is one of the prime ways he will shape our character. If you will commune with God, he will show you your passions and your selfishness as they are played out with your spouse. You’ll be challenged to love and grieve with an energy and wisdom that can be drawn only from his resources. He will not abandon you in your marital struggles. You are not journeying alone. Your pain is not without purpose. Thriving will not be possible unless God is working through you.”
I would like to categorically state that if you are in an abusive relationship one where there is any form of physical violence , emotional or psychological abuse then persevering is not an option. You should leave and get the appropriate help and support.
I have likened my marriage to climbing the mountain but the same can be found for any challenge in life. We face different challenges in life;
Raising children as a lone parent.
Going through a divorce
Death and grief
Challenges with children
Persevere , the view is always better from the top. Once you have reached the top the experience is always worth it and it doesn’t seem so bad. The sense of pride and achievement is wonderful.
The bible says Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, ( the people who persevere during trials ) for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.( God rewards people who persevere here on earth and also in eternity.