Marriage is a lifelong relationship that involves an irrevocable absolute commitment to each other in the relationship. As life is often characterized by different times and seasons, so also is marriage. Not knowing how to manage your seasons in life may lead to disastrous consequences for that marriage. Part of the vows taken during wedding ceremonies is the commitment to stay with each other through all seasons. For example, the vow include accepting to stay with your spouse in times of plenty and in times of lack (for richer, for poorer), in sickness and in health, till death do you part according to God’s holy law. Sometimes, I wonder if couples who take such vows understand the importance of the vows. It is easy to make a commitment but must times very difficult to fulfill. In these days when you have fair-weather husbands and wives, a person must be sure not to be married to a wrong partner. Some will even tell you that the vow they took was for richer for richest. On a lighter mood some interpret to mean for good for stay and for worst for go. If you made a vow to stay with your spouse through thick and thin make sure you keep your vow. Eccl 5: 4-6 ‘’When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? Just as every marriage comes with challenges, ministry or being a servant also comes with its attendant challenges. Looking at the parable of the two builders in the bible, you will discover that the same conditions befell the two buildings. The descending rains, the overwhelming floods and the blowing winds were the constant attacks against the building. Matt 7: 25 ‘’….and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.’’ There is no marriage that is completely shielded against the storms of life. No wonder the bible says if you fail in the days of adversity your strength is small (prov. 24: 10). You will not know how strong you are until you face the storms of life. When job faced his own storm within few months his wife who could not understand told him to curse God and die. But, her husband replied her by rebuking her that she was speaking like one of those foolish women. He said a man who receives good from the hand of God must also be prepared to receive evil. In all of these, job did not sin nor accuse God falsely. How many women dare see God behind what they pass through, and those challenges as his sweet messengers? As servants of God, we must understand that everything God permits in his mercy to come across our ways are all part of his making. Has the bible not affirmed it saying: ‘’…..all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose’’ for them (Rom 8: 28)? Could you be a woman who is about to quit your marriage because your family or ministry is passing through some tough times? I want to advice you not to. A man once wrote a book titled TOUGH TIMES NEVER LAST BUT TOUGH PEOPLE DO. You need inner strength to see you through tough times. This strength comes only from the lord who is your strength. Don’t give up or leave your husband in this time of crisis. Stay close to him and endure it because the thickest part of the night is just the breaking of a new day. You will yet have cause to laugh again. Through weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Ps 30: 5. You may not know how sweet laughter can be if you have never wept before. The time of abundance is only meaningful when you have prayed and had cause to wait for many days for provisions. Cold water is quite refreshing only when a man just returned from the heat of the sun. Marriage is not a bed of roses as it is often believed. Yet, roses also come with thorns through they appear beautiful to behold. It is unfortunate that among ministers of God today, the rate of divorce is on the increase. People are no longer ready to endure the pains and the hardship that come with ministry. Ministry comes with its own challenges. The way to fire-proof your marriage is to remain committed to each other and to the marriage vows you took before God and all the witnesses on your wedding day. The bible says it is better not to make a vow than to make it only to turn back later to say it was a mistake. Challenges of life come in various ways ranging from delay in child bearing, financial lack, sickness, to accident, etc. Abraham and Sarah had to live with the challenges of childlessness for 25 years. Yet, they waited together until God visited them. Sarah named her son Isaac because she said God had made her to laugh and everyone who heard about her miracle would rejoice with her. Have you been weeping because of a promise that looks delayed? Your delay is not denial. Hold on to God and you will see the salvation of God. Another example of a relationship of “going with” and “staying together” through the changing seasons of life is that of Ruth and Naomi in the book of Ruth. After Naomi had lost her husband and two sons in the land of Moab, she felt it was time to return to Bethlehem because God had visited his people. Ruth, her daughter-in-law decided to go with her to her country. See her commitment in ruth 1: 16-17. She faced the reality of an uncertain future because she did not have a child for her husband, yet, that did not deter her from following her mother-in-law. Because she endured the initial challenge of lack and settling down with her mother-in-law, God honoured her by giving her a son, Obed, who eventually became the grandfather of David through whom Jesus was born. Are prepared to stay with your spouse no matter what happens? Marriage is a journey of faith and you don’t know what will happen to you inside the relationship. All we known is that all will be well at the end of the day. There can be no testimonies without tests and trials of life. For you to have testimonies, you must be prepared to pass through test and trials of life. The scripture tells us in James 1:2-4: “Recon it nothing but joy, my brethren, whenever you find yourselves hedged in by various trials, be assured that the testing of your faith leads to power of endurance. Only let endurance have perfect results so that you may become perfect and complete, deficient in nothing.” (WNT) Every trial is meant to work something your life and ministry so that you may be perfect and mature and wanting nothing. God does not want you to be incomplete. Therefore, he must pass you through various schools of trials. Trials are not meant to break you but make you what you ought to be. If you dodge the trials today by looking for shortcuts or other routes of escape you will still have to pass through them, this will only prolong your day of manifestation. If God is taking your family through the school of faith and you dodge it or complain or you will always go to people from whom you borrow, God will block the channels so that you can look up to him alone. Sister, I encourage you to say with your husband, encourage and support him. When we started the work we are doing today, God did not start big with us, but we thank God today for all he has done. And, we are sure God is about to launching us to what eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither has it entered into the hearts of men. Those who see with the eyes of God see what others don’t see. Look up and stop looking around you or comparing your ministry with others. The path he has ordained for you to pass through may not be exactly the same as that of others. Job tells us not to despise the days of little beginnings for our latter end shall be great increased. You may already be wondering in your hearts how your family will survive the hard times in our country and you begin to lose your sleep. Stop making those calculations, because God is there for you. It looks as if when you are just rejoicing that you have overcome one challenge, another one is bombarding you on the other side. Stay on; he is your very present help in the time of need. Ps 46: 1. Call upon him and he will deliver you. He makes a way in the wilderness and causes springs of water to flow in the desert places. It is better to remain faithful to your spouse and be devoted to your relationship. God is about to change your story. He will give you a new song. He gives songs in the night. What you are passing through is just temporal and will soon be past. God has reserved something greater and glorious for you. God bless you.

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