By Joseph & Margaret Mutitika, Married for 17 years with two children
The Mutitika’s will be sharing on the sacredness of marriage – Their marriage experiences. The good, the bad & the ugly. As a Kingdom couple, how have they been able to navigate the challenges of life towards enjoying a good marriage?
THE SACREDNESS OF MARRIAGE
During a time when many godly marriages fail and end up in divorce or separation, we acknowledge that it takes a lot of faith in God, dedication, and commitment to make a marriage work. We would like to start by stating that our marriage is not necessarily the best but we don’t shy away from testifying of the faithfulness of God. We trust Him to keep us, and even when challenges come our way, God remains our way-maker.
Here is our head start…
We understand that marriage is sacred because it was instituted by God according to Genesis 2:18.
Now the Lord God said, “It is not good (beneficial) for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper [one who balances him—a counterpart who is] suitable and complementary for him.” Amp
It wasn’t a man that came up with the idea of marriage but God. Marriage is the union and life partnership between a man (male) and a woman (female). God brings the two people together to accomplish a divine assignment which is beyond procreation.
As a couple, we have had some tough times including when I was a minister in training (for pastoral work). At this time, I was working very long hours. I spent very minimal time at home with my wife and kids. The monetary allowance was also minimal which meant that we survived on a very tight budget at home. However, we did not allow our emotions to get on the way, we remained sober during this time.
Communication in marriage is very key. If the head of the family receives a certain direction from God, and he clearly communicates it to the wife then it will be easy for both. Two cannot walk together unless they agree. I (Margy) knew Joe was in the perfect will of God when doing this pastoral training so I supported him fully. At some point, things were tough with a small baby and I told God I have released Joe fully to serve in the church office. Then God’s grace was multiplied to and for me to be able to handle things at home. We are both grateful to God for the lessons learned then, and the training my husband got from the church office.
Now in the case where one spouse is out of the will of God, there will be confusion. We believe the Holy Ghost is able to reveal to both of you God’s will. It’s important to note that not every time will a couple pick God’s direction at the same time. But again discussing issues is key. Let the other spouse express their concerns pertaining the decision as you submit to one another as unto Christ.
Marriage is not easy and at the same time, it’s easy. Problems start when one expects his/her spouse to be a perfect being. However, if one allows the spouse to “be” and when you need to correct something you do with love, there will be less friction in the union.
Some of our good moments include when we are ministering together as a couple in a mission and when discussing issues.
How did you meet?
It’s a long story but to shorten it, we met on the road as I (Margy) was escorting Joe’s sister who was my friend at that time. The sister then introduced me to her brother, “meet my brother.” Later after, we started exchanging Christian books as family friends. As they say, the rest is history.
After four years, Joe proposed and I said yes. It’s been almost two decades now.
Just like teenagers, women sometimes get cranky on some days (blame hormones). How do you (Joe) handle it? Do you hide till it passes or do you stay put and wait for fireballs since they can be thrown at anyone?
I have to always remind myself (Joe) that I need to remain sane in the situation. When both parties are up in an argument, the situation will only become worse. I choose to dwell on truth and not give in to emotions. This is a great mark of leadership of the man in the marriage.
When the man remains sane he exemplify Christ. When the hormones of the woman are everywhere, its very important for the man to remain cool. It helps shape the woman into Christlikeness. Not every said word shapes a woman, oftentimes, the calm spirit in a man can help the woman learn how to tame her emotions. With time, a wife can learn how to have decent conversations without arguing.
Interestingly for us, by God’s grace, we rarely get heated arguments. We differ sometimes yet respecting one another but it doesn’t last. We apologize to one another and move on with life.
One of the strains on marriages often is emotional – either the wife feels unheard or the husband feels nagged/pressured. How have you worked on the kinks of communication and communion? These kinks are inevitable as you are very different human beings.
Respect for each other has been very key for us. We are conscious that we are both wired differently. No one is really superior nor inferior – just different. This has helped us a great deal to manage to cope with our differences as human beings.
This calls for both partners to daily die to self while considering and putting the other person first.
How do you deal with pride which comes from hurt and unforgiveness which is borne from the above question?
Men and women are wired differently. Men are more logical while ladies are more emotional (both given by God). Now, the place of balance becomes key here – when we were younger in marriage, I (Margy) would ask my husband a question and he would not answer because he was glued on the TV watching a football match. When the match was over I would be mute because I was hurt. Then Joe would be like, “You are unusually quiet today?” He had no clue at all that I was hurt. Then I would open up and pour my pain on how he was not listening to me just to realize he didn’t even hear the question. Joe would be like, “Sorry dear, my mind was on the screen.” Over time, I have learned that I was talking at the wrong time so my approach changed. There is no point in talking to him while he is watching his matches. I allow him to finish then I can get his full attention.
Margy, how do you deal with all the testosterone in the house since you are the only female in the family? The guys may want to watch wrestling and football all year round.
Margy has had to also get a football team to support though she keeps changing based on performance.
Sometimes she threatens the boys that she will adopt a daughter, especially during football matches. But in general, she truly enjoys the energy in the house. The boys do help in house chores like washing dishes – you will think there is a football match in the kitchen.
About kids, what determines how many you want to sire & raise? Like in your case what was the point of agreement? Did God speak to you before as He did with Obadiah (father to John the Baptist), Joseph (Husband to Mary), or Manoah & his wife (Samson’s parents) on who your children will be in life? Or did you just discern later after they were born and knew their line of calling?
We agreed before we wedded on the number of children we would have.
We did not hear from God about how many children we were to have – we made our judgment. God has given us a Spirit of sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) so we can make some decisions on our own.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].Amp
In the area of calling for our children, we have been keen to watch them and pray for them. We know partially what their areas of calling are, as purpose unfolds with time. We sometimes have to sacrifice for the sake of developing the call upon their lives. We also keep revisiting the issue of purpose with them. It is a journey that should take its course over a long period of time.
This might sound petty for those who love house chores but some women dont. In the absence of a house help, how do you manage house chores? Is it a woman’s responsibility or do you share?
Personally I (Margy) like house chores so it has never been an issue for us. Having said that, I believe that the woman should manage the home. Delegating duties to the house help and the children but not to your husband. This doesn’t mean husbands should not participate but out of their own willingness.
I (Joe) also think its important for the wife to request for help when house chores are overwhelming. A reasonable husband should step in anytime. I do so myself especially when we are all in the house like during the weekends.
African culture has also contributed to this, where African men feel that house chores are women’s work. I would like to apply Kingdom culture and also mix with African culture. If culture advocates for a woman to take house chores and she is also a professional (working outside the home),
Kingdom culture will be the Man to lend a hand to the wife in doing house chores.
We should also appreciate that we are graced differently. For example, I (Margy) don’t enjoy ironing clothes, but I will iron for Joe nevertheless.
When he is free, he irons his and mine comfortably.
If you were to advise two young lovers who are about to identify their help meet or who are about to commit to courtship, what are the key areas you would ask them to start praying for and asking each other hard questions before walking down the aisle?
To identity the right person you need to use parameters that are beyond physical attributes. The beauty of the heart is superior to outer beauty. What can be seen with physical eyes is temporal but what cannot be seen is eternal.
Some critical questions to ask and reach an agreement for those getting into courtship should be about handling finances, how to raise children, handling of in-laws, etc. It’s mind-blowing to know that most born again young ladies and gents are at this age struggling to choose the right person because of not asking these pertinent and life-changing questions.
Prayer is key in making such decisions. Hear for yourself if the man or woman is the right spouse for you.
Consider what God’s purpose for each one of you is so you are compatible for life and heading in the same direction.
Also pray that God will mould you first for Him (God)and then mould your spouse for Him( God) not just for each other. The analogy of the triangle to demonstrate marriage is key. The husband and the wife are at the base corners while God is at the apex of the triangle. The more the two move closer to the apex (closer to God), the more closer they get as a couple.
Marriage is a journey, you will keep learning and unlearning to learn. There will be no better marriage than yours so guard it with all your heart. You owe no one an explanation but God, the author of your union.
When planning your wedding and settling in marriage (for the newlywed), only do that which you can afford to sustain. Don’t try to impress people then live a stressful life that will in turn destroy your marriage.
Please touch on finances – did you do financial counselling before marriage? How is money distributed in your home? Are there expenses for the woman and those for the man?
We will share what has worked for us but its not a formula that may apply to everyone. From the word go, we were very open to each other on finances – mine is his and his is mine. Our finances are one as we are one.
Transparency and openness has helped us. There’s a time when my wife was contributing more to the family budget than myself. I (Joe) wasn’t lazing in the house, I was in training. I didn’t feel intimidated because she didn’t use that fact as weapon to beat me to size. The money we each earn belongs to each of us. When you agree on values and priorities, money will not be a cause of disharmony in the marriage but a tool that propels your union and family forward.
To foster financial trust in a marriage, integrity is the main drive. One has to demonstrate a level of integrity to be trusted. We know of a couple where the wife had saved some good money and she allowed the husband to be a co-signatory. When she went to the bank after a while, she found all the money (in millions) had been withdrawn by the husband. This became the end of that marriage. This was a really sad story. Some spouses have not developed themselves to be trustworthy, that’s why you find the more disciplined spouse has to keep finances away. It’s disheartening to one spouse when the other partner lacks integrity.
Sadly, such similar situations are happening more often than not, even in church circles. We had the honour to steer a married couples’ meeting in a certain church. Men complained that they couldn’t trust their wives with their ATM passwords for fear that they will withdraw and do projects for the parents (wives’ parents). And we have heard of women who have different accounts because they can’t trust their husbands in joint accounts.
Having strong Kingdom values contributes a lot to trust in marriage. The values should be from God. It’s about building according to the original design as stated in Ephesians 5:29-33,
For no one ever hated his own body, but [instead] he nourishes and protects and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members (parts) of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined [and be faithfully devoted] to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery [of two becoming one] is great; but I am speaking with reference to [the relationship of] Christ and the church. However, each man among you [without exception] is to love his wife as his very own self [with behavior worthy of respect and esteem, always seeking the best for her with an attitude of lovingkindness], and the wife [must see to it] that she respects and delights in her husband [that she notices him and prefers him and treats him with loving concern, treasuring him, honoring him, and holding him dear].Amp
Verse 31 states that they shall be one. That oneness is the one which will help a couple build as one, not as two. If the couple trusts each other with their bodies, why not in other areas? Does this mean we have our priorities warped? If the Word of God remains our constitution, then we will adhere to it. Truth is, a spouse cannot really change the other, you can only share in love what you think is right. If the partner is willing to change as per the Word, trust is built and the couple can enjoy a richer life together.
Take note that oneness starts immediately after consummation. However, when trust is broken thereafter, it will not negate the oneness. Oneness doesn’t mean that the couple will automatically do things as one. On the contrary, trust is worked through a period of time.
How can couples deal with insecurities and worry in marriage?
Insecurity is broad and can be experienced from any side. Insecurity can even start while courting. If one doesn’t deal with it then, it will resurface in marriage.
Insecurity is a major concern in marriages. Some men are insecure when their wives interact with other men. When you know that it’s not monitoring that will keep your spouse faithful, you will be a free man. When both spouses are in love with God first, then their marriage foundation is solid. What you have committed to God He is able to keep.
2 Timothy 1:12 for I know Him [and I am personally acquainted with Him] whom I have believed [with absolute trust and confidence in Him and in the truth of His deity], and I am persuaded [beyond any doubt] that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until [b]that day [when I stand before Him].
The same peace of mind will apply even when you consider the future of your marriage.
When we were courting, I (Margy) had male friends from the church I was attending and Joe also had female friends from the church he was attending. Over time, we both got to know these friends in our lives. Some of his friends and mine friends became “our ” friends. It’s important to know how to handle such situations in order to avoid making your spouse uncomfortable and plant seeds of insecurities in their hearts and minds.
I (Margy) worked in the hotel industry for a long time. If I noticed any male with ill motives, I would immediately share with Joe when I get home. I believe the moment one of the spouses keeps secrets, it’s the beginning of chaos.
Are there winning arguments in marriage?
I personally don’t bother myself whether I win in an argument or not. I endeavor to willingly submit to the truth. I think truth should be allowed to carry the day.
How do you deal with interference from others eg in-laws or friends.
Interference from friends and in-laws should be candidly addressed. Each spouse should handle his/her people/family and friends who attempt to interfere in the marriage. Partners should protect each other from unnecessary pressure from family and friends.
Also note that there are battles not worthy picking from relatives. The ladies might say the in-laws don’t love them. It’s not always obvious to be loved by strangers at a glance. If you keep boundaries, speak the truth always and maintain that, with time they will subscribe to the truth. And if they don’t, you still hold on to the truth .
Couples should also not do anything to impress the in-laws, just do what is right and only that which you can sustain.
Spouses should not favour their side (family and relatives) even when it is clear they (family and relatives) are wrong. If the spouse that is wronged has tried to address the issue but in vain, I believe wisdom will be to engage a third party – either the best couple or a spiritual father.
What would be your advice to couples who have unbeliever partners? How should they conduct themselves from finances, character, truth, integrity, to raising kid’s e.t.c. (That is, a couple who before they had seen the light, they were already married)
Good thing with the author of marriage, God knew it will occur. 1 Peter 3:1-2
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate, not as inferior, but out of respect for the responsibilities entrusted to husbands and their accountability to God, and so partnering with them] so that even if some do not obey the word [of God], they may be won over [to Christ] without discussion by the godly lives of their wives, when they see your modest and respectful behavior [together with your devotion and appreciation—love your husband, encourage him, and enjoy him as a blessing from God]. Amp
This scripture I believe is applicable either way, not only the women. The spouse who has the truth (believer) will have to demonstrate Christlikeness to the unbeliever spouse. Having said that, in some areas like finances if the unbelieving spouse has not demonstrated integrity, wisdom is not to expose the finances to him or her. You can embark on investment which will benefit the whole family (him/her) included. Remember God is our Father (source of all spirits), He will give the believing spouse grace and wisdom to handle the situation.
In the same way, you husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way [with great gentleness and tact, and with an intelligent regard for the marriage relationship], as with someone physically weaker, since she is a woman. Show her honor and respect as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered or ineffective. 1 Peter 3:7 Amp
The believing partner should keep doing what they know is right according to the Word of God. This is where Holy Spirit’s fruit of patience comes into play, which may be ‘the straw that will break the camel’s back’. This may be what will win the partner over to the truth. Of course one should not be patient in the face of life threatening abuse. Wisdom is very key.
When there is physical and emotional abuse and life-threatening ones, one should think of separation to give the abusive spouse time and if nothing changes, the way out is divorce. If one stays in such marriage and they end up dying from the abuse, they cannot fulfill purpose and marriage is a small portion in our God-given purpose. You need to get out to stay alive and fulfill your purpose.
How long does it take for one’s conversation (lifestyle) mentioned in 1 Peter 3:1-2 to win the other over? As in how long is the patience in the long-suffering especially if the fuel tank is running on the love of Christ that restrains (it’s almost done covering a multitude of sins)?
We believe maintaining a close walk with God is very key. Not a cliché. The Holy Ghost will supply strength when more patience is needed. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that love suffers long.
Sometimes you might encounter unbelief in your saved partner, how do you handle that?
Pray for them to come to the same understanding as you. Once you have shared your belief concerning a certain issue and he/she seems not to be catching up with that same truth, don’t push it down their throat or else they will end up submitting unhappily and grudgingly. Just pray for them. Remember that the Holy Spirit in you is also in them and he is able to do a quick work more than a thousand words you might want to instill in your spouse. Given time, they will catch up to the same truth. Just because you are married to each other, does not necessarily mean you will move at the same pace of growth spiritually. Everyone has to personally work out their salvation even as you continue to pray for them in love.
When we got married, I (Margy) used to find some things very strange yet I was a believer. My husband really fathered me in the things of God , and I thank God for that. He is a blessing. The one who has more light in a certain area, partner with God to pull the other spouse up with love. I love to apply the Scripture, “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”. Just be patient and labour of love for your spouse.
Could you touch on sex in marriage? If sex is initiated by God as opposed to by man, how do you involve Him in this area?
Spontaneity in sex spices up the event. By virtue of becoming one through marriage, God has given His stamp of approval. When sex is in the confines of marriage as ordained by God, He has already initiated it because we live in Him and in Him, we have our being. Just the same way you will not wait for God to initiate when to eat, so it is with sex.
This said, God, can give you incredible mind-blowing ways to spice it up so it is still important to rely on Him in this area just like in any other area of your marriage and life. Everything should happen in righteousness. Couples should allow God to empower them with the knowledge that appertains to human reproductive anatomy and being mindful of each other’s erogenous zones. Ignorance has led many astray in the quest for the elusive Orgasm. God’s instructions in this area will not be a formula for all couples – that is, not one fits all. Whatever God will instruct one couple might be different from another couple.
What we did is from the word go we prayed (am serious), to have a wonderful experience in sex and to date, it has been well. But the place of when to do it, that you can decide with your spouse.
Prayers for Couples and Families:
Our heavenly Father in Jesus name, we thank you for reminding us of your purpose concerning families. We thank you for everyone in this forum because you’ll take us to another level as we operate in the mind of Christ. We shall all have families that will be examples to many and many will be drawn to you. Thank you also for wisdom in parenting the children you have put in our custody. They will grow to be signs and wonders in their generation and accomplish your purpose on the earth. We thank you that you are such a good Father to us.
You have destined couples and families for greatness, and you know what each of them is meant to accomplish here on earth. So we ask you to fill each and every one of them with wisdom that is beyond their years, to work out their marriages with wisdom that only comes from you. The wisdom that brings honor and glory to your name. The wisdom that makes them worthy before you.
That they will have a discerning heart to know the difference between right and wrong and be able to judge with righteousness all things that pertain to godliness. We pray that your wisdom Lord shall be full of guidance. And with the help of the Holy Ghost, they will steer their marriages in the right direction and desire to love each other from a pure heart. We wish each other well at all times and commit to making our marriages work despite the challenges.
When couples and families feel weary strengthen them, when they are joyful let them empower each other to the next level. Let wisdom rule, reign and have its dominion in their marriages and in their homes. They are blessed in their coming in and going out. May the Holy Spirit continually be their guide from this day henceforth.
We believe you have heard our prayers. The confidence we have is that when we ask any thing in line with your will, you hear and answer our prayers. In Jesus name. Amen!
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS – JOSEPH & MARGARET MUTITIKA
Joseph Mutitika is an accountant by profession with over twenty years experience. His company is involved in consultancy in accounts and tax. He is also a farmer. He’s married to Margaret for seventeen years and they have two sons.
Margaret Mutitika is a social worker and a freelance beautician with over twenty-three years of experience. She is also a farmer. She’s married to Joseph for seventeen years and they have two sons.