Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What Does a Marriage Pit Bull Do on The National Day of Prayer?

Two Fun Facts:
1. The longest married individuals were married 86 years.
2. This week I texted my bride Elyssa three new nicknames for us and of the three, she liked the nickname, marriage pit bulls.

My bride will tell her story soon on why marrying pit bulls resonates with her. Below is a dense post, so strap on for the ride on why it resonates with me and what opportunities await us on this National Day of Prayer.

How I Became a Marriage Pit Bull
The best I way explain my heighten marriage pit-bull senses; sniffing, tenacity and getting all alarmed about the integrity of marriage, started with my upbringing. I had an upbringing where my parents were not married, nor was I raised by either. Also, the romance (dating or marital) relationships in the homes of my upbringing were rampant with short-term relationships, infidelity, and pain. Usually, it was one of the two individuals in those relationships who were driven by their arbitrary definition of how to date or do marry.

By my senior year of high school, I was disgusted with the carnage happening in the relationships in my home. Even though I wasn't yet a Christian, I decided to become sexually celibate (not based on religious knowledge or motivation). Nothing "illegal" was happening with those relationships, but it was every bit disheartening to see talent put on hold, emotions confused and exploited, and sheer lack of fulfillment was abounding. Witnessing this suffering and pain was the beginning of my birth as a marriage relationship pit bull.

Fast forward, 1994, by the mid of the senior year, I became a follower of Jesus Christ. Joined the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church and for about six months before going away to college, I did significant learning about God. Singing in the Brooklyn Tabernacle Youth Chorale, and seeing genuine Christianity lived out with spirit-filled effectiveness, and unpretending was transformative for me. This spiritual turn around is the beginning of my birth as a God pit-bull. I went off to seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and it too furthered my God and relationship pit-bull.
Fast forward to Fall of 2013, I learned how to model at Actors Models and Talent for Christ (AMTC).

 I was doing part-time church ministry pastoral work and then I got the green light and bright clarity from God that I'm-not-called-to-be-single. I got hard-core in looking for my bride. The year-plus leading up to marriage was built on intense learning about God from an average of 45 minutes daily prayer and scripture reading. This in-depth personal scripture learning was on top of three plus years of consecutively yearly reading the Bible from cover-to-cover. This is how I got started as a Christian-marriage pit bull and primed for the honeymoon living mindset.

The year leading up to marriage to my bride Elyssa, I got clarity about these bullet points:
1.      Marriage is a good and an all-consuming transformation that occurs. It is by the original marriage design to let you become totally utterly different (as individuals for the best from who you were before getting married if the spouse lets loose the Holy Spirit work). Also, this transformation created an excellent new combined unit, in that this indivisible union with your spouse does now exist with a unique life-calling for your union. (I’ll be including the primary scriptures from which came my thoughts. Amplified Bible Translation (ABT) Genesis 2:18 – 2:25; 1)
a.       “Now the Lord God said, it is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him…(Geneisi-2:24) Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis-2:25) And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.”
b.      So “God created man in His image, in the image and likeness of God, He created him; male and female (Genesis 1:27). He created them … And God saw everything that He had made and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely. And there was evening, and there was morning, a sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31)
  1. Adam and Eve’s disobedience and their failures blemish God’s design of marriage since they were by God's first imitators of marriage. (Genesis 3:1-24)
    1. Genesis 3:1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”… [v3:17],  To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
    2. Although this failure happened, in the remaining part of the Bible doesn’t show that God changed His mind about the goodness and creation of marriage. Even though, there were other violators of marriage, even with frequent offenders to the design of marriage, this doesn't change God's mind about his design. In the Bible marriage remains a good thing and a major capstone for blessings
  2. Jesus was the all-time reiteration of the original marriage design.
    1. Ephesians 3:22-33, 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,  his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 
May I have permission to talk heart-to-heart with you without blaming or shaming? Going forward, I pray may nothing I speak will bring shame, judgment, or condemnation.
We have been given in Ephesians 5, whether currently a husband or a wife, (or a single person with a desire to be married in the future) the marriage story that in Genesis no longer confuses us. Ephesians 5 sums up the one key thing Jesus did in his three years on earth which was to model the right function of a husband and clarify the role of the wife. We now don’t have a gap on how to go about marriage since the life of Jesus gave us the example, both for the bride and groom to learn their role.

In light of the National Day of Prayer, I am listing what alarms me, a God, and marriage pit bull.
Now newly married, I can pit bull sniff a humongous difference between the Christian wedding day sermons compared to the non-ceremony Christian service sermon, (particularly on the same or comparable scripture text reference). The difference between for the non-wedding day sermon, is that there is a disproportionate low level of anticipation, enthusiasm, assurance, and goodness of marriage in the role of a husband and wife.  

Why does this alarm the sniffing marriage pit bull?
This seems to communicate low confidence in marriage, even the Christian basis for marriage, as explained above. However, God is the designer of marriage, and marriage is still His utter beauty—the husband and wife's role. With God through the daily dependence on the Holy Spirit and prayer by the husband and wife, the husband gains the ability to be the expert himself to that wife, and the wife gains the ability to be an exceptional wife to her husband. Shouldn’t this be believed and often celebrated, whenever we Christians communicate about marriage?
As a marriage and God Pit Bull sniffing, I smell that low confidence in marriage also leads to tainting how and where we find our completion or source of fulfillment. It seems so much easier to put our completion or fulfillment in our kids, our parents and siblings, social circles, our jobs, our old lives prior to marriage, and other options, but very little, or last and least in the spouse who is a fundamental completion to us (as per the original marriage design). This makes it possible to have a low confidence in marriage that makes us downplay fully embracing marriage when we are married ([Gen 2:25] And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence). Similarly, due to the low confidence in marriage, while we are single we don’t fully invest all our mind and soul to get really ready for marriage, due to the low confidence we have about marriage.
[This is a lot to cover at once. But interact with me and leave me a comment or a private message so I can hear you or discuss further with you on this if interested.]
Yes, I’ve been sniffing and am suspecting a negative or low confidence in the design of marriage seems to coexist with a cautious excitement about God, (and the church). I am still in the process of pit-bull sniffing, and therefore I am unsure which comes first; however so far, I’ve detected them to be a companion. The reverse is true, being jazzed for God’s design for marriage similar lights on fire my confidence in my husband role, Elyssa my bride succeeding in her role, and the criticality of marriage, (and the church). I am jazzed about God’s Holy Spirit is equipping us to be rock star husband and wife to each other. Yes, everyday recommitment is needed, but the Holy Spirit, and God's beautiful design of is an amazing resource from God!

What’s the resulting effect if not cured?
The alarm is that our marriage will be lived guarded, and safe (just as long as living expense and bills are paid, we have kids, life is enough). And thenThen, we will hope to pass on such a marriage to our children and hope they will live exactly as we did. Additionally, where it is our church that have a low confidence in marriage, it will under educate and downplay the mystery and the real living transformative organism of the Christian marriage union. Our Christian marriages will continue to suffer the same burn out rate of non-Christian marriages (that was the case, the last time I did a paper on this subject in seminary) because we enter or pass on marriage that we weren’t understanding of the original blueprint or disbelieving of the blueprint for marriage. We hadn’t really trusted in God’s design, or we didn’t stay exercising the fundamentals of marriage, i.e., Christ as our standard for the husband, and the church as our standard for the bride. Our Christian marriages aren’t irresistible, inspiring and making us increasingly braver by being in them.

What does the marriage pit-bull do in light of the National Day of Prayer?
Would you mind joining me in prayer? Below is a prayer.

For the married:Lord, in our marriage, in our husband roles, our wife roles, and in our local churches, may you be the one who sets the standard for what marriage is, and how the local church supports it. May we also look to you (only) as the one who will provide the strength of the Holy Spirit for us to perform our roles as a husband, as a wife or as the church. In the name of Jesus and thank you, Lord and Amen.
For the single:
Lord, in our singleness, and in our local churches, may you be the one who sets the standards for how we honor our body while we are single. Please, Lord, we surrender to you for your strength to stay-worth-the-wait (or spiritually rededicate ourselves-to-be-worth-the-wait). In the name of Jesus and thank you, Lord and Amen.

Lastly, three prayer invites:

·        Online prayer time for marriages, and singleness on the day of national day of prayer. We are looking to pray we just ten people from Kerr County Texas area, please message us, and we will coordinate our schedule to make the prayer happen (likely over the phone, we may extend this for another day if needed).

·        Find what local church community is doing for the National Day of Prayer, and if you can attend, bring to the table your prayer request for singleness and marriage relationships.
o   (For the National Day of Prayer in Kerr County Texas, The Prayer will be held on the front lawn of the Kerr County Courthouse from 12 noon - 1:00pm)

·        How about in your daily regular prayers? Can you explicitly remember dating and marriage relationships in your community, and around the globe?

Thanks dearly, yours

Wladimir and Elyssa Joseph, Honeymoon Living

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