Most problems in marriages often stem from a clash of Systems – a catastrophic head on collision of three major systems and since each system has its own philosophy it means three philosophies might clash in any given union if adequate care is not taken.
There’s the secular humanism, there’s traditional African culture, as well as Judeo-Christian belief system. Each of these is a complete system, none needing succour from the other with each having its own philosophy, values and adjudicatory system…different outflows you might say. Regrettably they are operationally conflicting, their marital philosophies don’t agree, they are like Cartoon Network’s Tom and Jerry.
Secular humanism for instance rejects religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision making in marriage and so when couples operate a farrago of marital philosophies there’s bound to be misunderstanding and squabble… and this is what reinforces the confusion; because both you and your husband are Christians, you got married in church, it follows therefore that the Bible is the legal norm – the fundamental regulatory authority in your marriage. But you had to go through a traditional marriage ceremony to satisfy the autochthonous diktats of your tribe. You also formally got married under Common Law, you married at the court registry effectively bringing your marriage under the three systems. The average African christian elite goes through all three hoops, yet each of these marriages is actually adequate before God. We only go through each process to satisfy different requirements and generate certain outcomes not minding its after-effect (some couples become impoverished after marriage). Each of these systems is recognised by God as a marriage. Whatever a society defines as a marital process is what God accepts.
For Adam and Eve; a society of two – a mere pronouncement and behavioural agreement was sufficient. Adam simply called Eve bone of bones, flesh of flesh, it was a simple equation (symbolic declaration of binary union by Adam + Agreement from Eve = Marriage). If in your society the paying of bride price or hunting for the eel fish is what defines marriage, God will recognise it, and if drinking two cups of boiling water or juice and frog-jumping is the ceremony of marriage in your community, God will recognise it as well. Yes, it does seem like I’m bursting a few religious bubbles about marriages but truth is truth. God recognises traditional marriages as much as he recognises Common Law weddings or church weddings.
But since convention insists you go through all three ceremonies then you have to determine which you want to operationalize, you have to determine which will regulate your marriage. Each system defines roles, responsibilities and expectations. If you don’t resolve the logic of your marriage there’ll be clashes, false expectations and disenchantments. A marriage can’t run on two contradictory systems there’ll be issues. If the wife holds on to secular humanism and the husband holds on to traditional African culture, there’s going to be conflict ditto if the man assumes Judeo-Christian marital philosophy but the woman is on a secular humanism platform. It’s a clash of titans and a house divided against itself cannot stand says the bible. There’s bound to be a contest of viewpoints.
This clash of titans often becomes apparent in a conflict situation…Which system will you adopt to resolve issues? Traditional African culture says to call the families and elders, they (families and elders) constitute the judicial system, they can review the administrative decisions of a husband (he’s just local government)…The federal might lies with the elders. It’s a Presbyterian system – government by elders. The constitution is culture and tradition.
The Judeo-Christian belief system on the other hand employs the bible as the regulatory framework; it integrates the Pastor…I am sure you can see the clash already. The systems clash because of underlying differences in philosophies. One peculiarity of the African traditional marriage system is that the woman marries the man AND his family, she is hierarchically junior to her husband’s brothers and there’s pecking order among in-law wives and this can often lead to inconsistencies. The Judeo-Christian system in its own right says the man must leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife which in logical term dictates he must bond with his wife’s family.
In a secularist system however both partners are co-captains, none has a higher governmental position. The Judeo-Christian system on the other hand says in governmental structure the man is the head of the home while the traditional African system is a dictatorship of one (Remember Idi Amin of Uganda or General Abacha of Nigeria)… a wife can’t confront her husband in the traditional African system, that’s suicidal.
So in essence you guys (husband and wife) have to make up your minds on which system you want to follow. If you choose to operate the Judeo-Christian system according to your faith then you can’t escape Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 5:22-24 MSG: “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.” …It is that simple and plain!
Here’s the continuation of the Paul’s adjuration though often ignored: Ephesians 5:25-28 MSG: ‘Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church – a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor – since they’re already “one” in marriage.’
If you go by this then I can’t see your marriage derailing but of course it’s wholly dependent on you two and the good thing is, Paul never married so no one can accuse him of prejudice or bias.
Marriage is a very, very powerful institution… It’s incredibly potent and all that’s required is for you make it work…Will you make it work?