Quest for Independence
Is it necessary for couples to be independent of each other in Marriage? To what extent can you go? And what are the dangers, Pastor Priji discusses some of them from the scriptures.
Many married couples struggle with understanding how much one should be dependent on their spouse. What is God’s heart in this matter? Does He want a man and woman to be independent or dependent on each other? To what extent should one depend on their spouse for emotional, financial, sexual, physical needs?
Let’s take a look at what Apostle Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians Chapter 7. He says it is the duty of a husband and wife to give themselves to each other completely. That means there has to be a high level of emotional and sexual dependence on each other. I’ve heard stories of people who would feel distant and unhappy in their marriage and they try to fill the void they experience through television, pornography, extra marital affairs or by engaging in ungodly conversations. If you’re going through something like this, you’re in a very dangerous place and it’s just a matter of time before your marriage comes crashing down.
This includes sexual as well as emotional fulfillment. The only other Person you can depend on more than your spouse, is God. Everybody else comes after your spouse. When you live a life like that where your emotional dependence and sexual fulfillment comes only from your spouse, it’s important to be dependent. Sometimes it becomes a struggle to be away from your spouse, especially if you’re required to travel due to your job or ministry commitments. Let the Lord fill that void in your heart.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians Chapter 7, there can be times when you get separated for awhile, when you want to take time out to spend in the presence of God. If you do separate from each other for a time like that, make sure to get back to that place of intimacy so that the enemy will not be able to tempt you with anything else. That is something we have to keep as a foundation in marriage.
Independence is good in marriage, but should not be to the extent that you’re emotionally and sexually dependent on somebody else. There are needs that you can only talk to a person of the same gender. There are places where men can minister to men and women to women and you receive encouragement from that fellowship, yet it cannot lead to a greater attachment than what you have with your spouse.
I have seen people getting attached to their spiritual leaders and even that can harm a marriage. It is beneficial to be attached to your spiritual leaders and honor them. When it is at the cost of your marriage, it does not please the heart of God because God ordained marriage before church and ministry. Your primary mission, as a married man, starts at home.
That is why Paul encouraged the young people in his church in Corinth to not get into marriage if they are not willing to give it their 100 percent because a married man’s interests are divided. He cannot give his 100 percent to the world and not give anything to his family.
On the other hand, let’s look at the issue of being too dependent – and this is especially for the women. Women depend on their man in a very great measure sometimes to the extent that it is unhealthy and their individuality is lost in their marriage.
In the Bible we see amazing wise godly women like Ruth and Abigail.
Read Proverbs Chapter 31. In this chapter, we see a woman who is so industrious, talented and intentional about her day. The Bible calls her virtuous. It says she will bring riches to him. She is not dependent on her servant girls or her husband or the world around her. She is looking out for the future of the family. The God of the Bible calls a woman like this a virtuous woman. Read the whole chapter and see how much of this description fits you.
This doesn’t mean you become so caught up that your career desires overcome your attachment to your family. May God give you the strength and make you the kind of woman described in Proverbs 31.
As a husband, don’t overwork your wife and exasperate her. Give her all the love, attention and time she deserves.
As a wife, when you are a hardworking independent personality, you will only bring joy to your family. You will be a delight to them.
You may ask if it is dangerous to be so independent. Yes, there are dangers associated with being so independent. Sometimes people get deviated from their family and get into extra marital affairs.
No commitment or ambition should separate you from each other. The Bible advises a very healthy combination of being dependent and independent. God intended us to be interdependent as much as we are independent, to lean on each other for every desire and need, even as we pursue our dreams and God given desires.
The best way you can experience independence in your marriage, with a healthy balance of being dependent, is by keeping God at the center and as the most important person in your marriage. When you do that, your marriage is definitely going to be fruitful.
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