Marriage is Synonymous to Adjustment (Philips & Reupah)
Pastor Priji interviews Philips and Reupah on the topic of marriage and essential elements in your preparation for and after the wedding.
Welcome to this morning’s episode of marriage talk with Philips and Reupah.
Pastor Priji: It has been a joy getting to know the both of you and the way you’ve spoken into our lives and mentored us in different areas. It’s good to have you both together on our podcast.
Philips and Reupah: It’s a lovely experience to be on the podcast and talk on the topic of marriage which is so close to our heart.
Pastor Priji: How would you define marriage?
Philips: For the singles, I would say experience it; For the married people, I would say get back to the origin of where it all started to understand marriage.
God started by saying it is not good for man to be alone and then He says, “I will give you a suitable companion”. So I believe marriage is synonymous with companionship.
God goes on to say, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife and the two shall become one”. The oneness here is not just physical oneness; we believe it is representing the Trinity where the Three are One, and this is replicated in marriage when God said ‘let us create man in our own image’ and He made the two to become one. So in a way marriage is a representation of God’s Trinitarian image on earth. This is how God intended it to be
and I believe it is the same today when we get into marriage. It is for the companionship, oneness and to represent God in our family.
Reupah: The words companionship and oneness may sound very simple, but it is hard work. It cannot be formed like our school or college friendships; this oneness is to represent, resemble and reflect the Trinitarian God.
Pastor Priji: If it is hard work, then it definitely means that it will develop character in both the man and the woman. How does marriage form character? How does it challenge our thoughts and behavior? Many times we think that marriage is for perfect people and ideal couples. Can you explain how marriage can be helpful in building character and becoming the person God intends us to be?
Reupah: Building character is like using sandpaper to smoothen the rough edges. Both the man and the woman have rough edges when they come in to marriage. God uses marriage to smoothen the roughness and prepare the man and the woman to reflect more of Christ. When we talk of character formation it is not to be the perfect couple with a happily ever after; it is to be more like Christ. To be more like Christ requires a lot of shedding off, getting rid of wrong thoughts and feelings, letting go of one’s preference and letting the other person have their preference. We need to let go and let our love rule.
Philips: Marriage is a molder. It molds our character. Personally, it revealed to me how selfish I am and I did not realize that till I got married. I learned over a period of time that selfishness needs to get killed in marriage. God brings marriage to let us know what it means to love with agape love. God commands us to think of the other person better than yourself. If we can apply this in marriage, it is easier to live it outside.
Pastor Priji: What is the one main element or advice you would give couples, the one thing they absolutely need in marriage?
Reupah: Many times individuals get into marriage saying they will not change, no matter what. If you think you do not want to change, please stay single; marriage is not for you. Marriage will and has to bring change. There is a lot of giving in and giving up and that can only happen when we decide to change.
Philips: Marriage is synonymous to adjustment. Both have to learn to give up their position. If you are not willing, if you’ve been a selfish person having your way all along, you need to be prepared to give up that position as you come into marriage. Unless you do that, you will not be able to come into the oneness God intends for you. For that to happen, there is a level of intention required. Many think that once they get married, things will fall in to place. The bad news is,
it doesn’t and that’s why many marriages fail.
You need to be willing to change and be intentional about making your marriage work.
Pastor Priji: Many of us, particularly in our Indian context, think getting married is the end goal and there’s nothing to be done after marriage. What is your perspective on that?
Philips: When we do premarital counselling, we help people understand that there’s a difference between wedding and marriage. We do a lot of preparation for the one hour wedding. We are willing to go out of our way for the wedding. Marriage starts after the wedding and that’s for a lifetime.
We have been married for over 17 years now and we are still discovering things about each other, still learning to be patient with each other, still get irritated in some areas.. and that’s part of the process God uses in maturing us in our relationship with each other and also maturing us as individuals.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t focus on a great wedding and comprise on a good marriage. It is better to have it the other way around.
One of the main relationships to which God compares His relationship with His people, is marriage. The Bible begins with marriage in Genesis chapter 1 and 2, and ends with marriage in Revelation Chapter 21 and 22. That’s how important marriage is to God. When the people of Israel failed, God said they were prostituting themselves and He compares it to a husband and wife relation. So God is saying there is a commitment needed which is lifetime, to grow together, to have fun, to cry together.. it’s not an easy journey but it is worthwhile because it is God’s design and it is the best.
Reupah: My mind went to the day we are going to get married as a church to Christ for eternity. When God was looking at marriage for us, it wasn’t just to have a wedding, it was to explore the beauty He intended and planned in the institution of marriage. It’s been a fun journey for us.
Philips: We have had our valleys, but when you are intentional, you don’t give up and you know there’s a greater purpose than a little conflict and that helps us to keep going.
Pastor Priji: Rashmi and I have always believed that most marriages fail because of the lack of godly mentors/ parents/ counselors. How important is the role of mentors or pastors and he accountability towards them, even after marriage?
Reupah: What I’ve observed is that some people get married quickly without any premarital counselling, some attend a short session, and some attend the whole seven courses of premarital we offer. We have never asked them to come back and knock on our door when they need help. But the premarital course has enabled them to know the situations where they need to consult and seek help. So when there is an argument that hasn’t been settled, I have noticed that these individuals come back and that is because of the mentorship and their comfort with the mentors they are working with.
Philips: To add, never underestimate the need for mentors. Many conflicts are for such silly reasons and it either breaks the marriage or they continue to live together with a strain in the relationship.
As a mentor, when a couple confides in us, we reflect back to them what’s happening by asking some pointed questions and they come to the realize how silly the problem is and they are able to go back and work at it. Maybe after couple of such conflicts they mature enough to avoid it and this helps them continue on. If mentors are not there, (and by mentor I mean anybody with whom they can confide and who can help them neutrally without taking sides), marriages may break; they may live together under the same roof as roommates but the companionship is robbed from the marriage.
I would advise young people going in to marriage to go for premarital counselling. Find a senior couple both of you trust and can open up with and fall back on.
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