[callout]This is a guest post from Pedro Okoro. Pedro is a pastor and award-winning author. He blogs on maximizing potential, fulfilling purpose, living life in all its fullness, and spiritual warfare. You can connect with Pedro via his blog, pedrookoro.com, or connect with him on Twitter. If you want to guest post on my blog, check out my guest post guidelines and submit your post.[/callout]
I know what you’re thinking. Can any good thing come out of the woods? But please hear me out. Because we can sometimes find pearls of wisdom in the most unlikely of places!
As the marital affairs of Tiger Woods grabbed headlines around the world in December 2009, I asked myself what lessons we could learn from Tiger about marriage and fidelity. And what would he do differently if he had another opportunity?
Here are my top 7!
1) Marriage is God-ordained and you need His blueprint for it to work.
Marriage was invented by God as a beautiful relationship between a man and woman. It isn’t a fad to go into on a whim. You rush into it at your peril—ask the tons of people who are enduring, instead of enjoying their marriages! Without an understanding of the purpose of marriage, abuse and failure are inevitable. God’s purpose for marriage is set out in His blueprint. For marriage to work, it must be according to God’s blueprint. Ask Tiger Woods!
2) There must be ‘leaving’ and ‘cleaving.’
For marriage to work, there must be:
Leaving: Both parties must forsake all others for the sake of the marriage. There must be no other sexual relationships. No soul ties. They must leave Mom and Dad. Leaving your parents doesn’t mean ignoring them or not spending any time with them. It means acknowledging that your marriage has created a new family that must be a higher priority.
Cleaving: The married couple must be joined and glued together. Cleaving to your spouse does not mean being with them every moment or not having meaningful friendships outside of your marriage. Cleaving means recognizing that you are joined, essentially “glued,” to your spouse.
Without leaving it is not possible for the couple to cleave to each other. And without cleaving to each other, the couple cannot truly become one flesh in the manner envisaged by God. Nor can they build a marriage that will endure hard times and be the beautiful relationship that God intends it to be.
3) After the honeymoon, love becomes a commitment.
For most couples, love starts off as a feeling. However, in marriage, once the honeymoon period is over, your love must become a commitment. You commit to love, keep, care for, and treasure them above all others until death. You wake up each morning and you make a conscious decision to love your spouse. There will be days you wake up and wonder, “Where did this woman come from?” Or you might think, “Where in the name of all that’s holy did I get this man?” But you choose to love them. Because you’re committed.
4) Love never dies.
Love is eternal. It doesn’t die. It’s simply not possible to fall out of love with somebody. Love may fade, if not properly nurtured. Love may be buried under the strain of the challenges and difficulties that every marriage inevitably faces. However, given the right conditions and ingredients, love can always be revived.
5) Divorce was not part of God’s original blueprint.
How do I know? Well, when the Pharisees asked Jesus about the lawfulness of divorce, He didn’t answer them ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Instead, He referred them to God’s original plan at creation! He said, “Haven’t you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one.” (Matt. 19:3-5, MSG). Divorce wasn’t part of God’s original plan for marriage. And for good reason too—you can’t untangle two people who have become one!
6) For marriage to work, the parties must be naked without feeling ashamed.
Everything must be open. No secrets. For a married couple to be naked without being embarrassed or ashamed signifies true oneness in every sense of the word. It speaks of total transparency, trust, and love.
7) The grass is never greener on the other side.
If it is green at all, it’s because the owners of the garden have looked after it! I would ask couples to find solutions to their problems through communication, counseling, and prayer. When resolved, the problems should make the couple better and stronger.
I must say I still have a lot to learn even though I have now been married for 19 years!
[reminder]How can you keep infidelity out of your marriage?[/reminder]