Appreciate and enjoy each other by Lady Evang. Esther Ogunbayeje

“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun- all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labour under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 9:9

“If I had known that it was going to be our last time together I would have kissed him over and over.” That was the most painful thing for this woman when she heard of her husband’s death. Before leaving the house in the morning, the husband had asked her for a kiss, but she refused, not knowing that it would be his last request and their last time together. This was her regret when she was told that her husband passed away. It pained her because she could not bring him back to let him know how much she loved and cared for him. But it was too late. Death denied her this opportunity. How often people do regret of what they do or fail to do, crying over spilled milk! 

But we do not have to wait till separation, divorce or death knocks at the door before we appreciate ourselves. We do not have to live or have empty shell marriages. It is not funny that when couples declare their love, dream and appreciation for each other leading to marriage; they promise to stay together and build their lives. Then down the line, they allow things and people to come in between them- challenges, work, and even children. They mark faults and keep the records of wrongs, they forget themselves and neglect each other, They make excuses for not being there for each other, they allow things that are meant to be blessings to the marriage to get in the way of their love for each other and sometimes they fight over flimsy things; forgetting that life is very short and each day they live together is part of their entire lives.  It is sad that some people realise these too late.

Some people also forget that whatever has a beginning has middle and an end and that these three parts are important to success in life- even in marriage. In life, whatever has a beginning must have an end. And for marriage, it is “till death do us part”. The purpose of God is that we make our marriages to be successful and enjoyable, that is why the beginning of a marriage is not the only important aspect of a marriage but the live that we live in it. The beginning of a marriage is not the end, whatever is allowed or done in the middle adds up to make a better or worse end of it. To God, marriage is designed to last, it is meant to be joyful and fruitful. “Then God blessed them, and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it.” Genesis 1:28.

God blesses marriage because He knows that, the cars that we have and our properties are not our lots on earth but the life that we leave with our spouses “For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labour under the sun” Ecclesiastes 9:9. The love that we show and receive from our spouses are the real enjoyment of life aside the joy of salvation.

This is a mystery that some people do not know. Whatever comes as a result of love and enjoyment is addition- even children. But unfortunately, some people deny themselves of their own portion of life by not showing appreciation to their spouse. In every husband or wife there is a gem that God deposits which He expects us to mine and enjoy. It is our duty to do this with patience and love.

We must know that recognition of your spouse’s worth comes before appreciation. Adam recognised Eve as the bone of his bone and the flesh of his flesh and he saw her different from everything around him in the garden. The garden that we are in is the world, it is full of different things and people but our spouse is different from them all.  Also, appreciation comes before enjoyment. And after recognition, Abraham showed appreciation and then they started to enjoy themselves “And Adam said: This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman…and they were both naked, the man and the wife, and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2: 23-25. To enjoy each other, God did His part by bringing them together, they did their part for them to enjoy each other. God loves marriage, He blesses it and desires that it is enjoyed.

For these to happen, it is necessary for a couple to:
1. Acknowledge and accept each other’s differences and uniqueness. Two people can only join together without friction when there is acceptance of differences and working towards making the marriage to work. And this is not going to happen in a day. It might even take the whole of the marriage journey to do these.

2.Daily appreciate each other as appreciation promotes love. Celebrate each other. No marriage can work where only the differences are pronounced or where only the faults are announced. Marriages that work are the ones where strength and good points of others are appreciated.

3.Build their marriage on God’s word. God’s word never fails. God’s word is not for the Church alone. It is applicable to all areas of life- marriage not excluded.

4.Have a maintenance culture- Whatever is not properly maintained will not last- marriage not exempted. A marriage that is neglected or abandoned can quickly become prey to the prowling lions. Marriages must be maintained with love, patience, care, prayer, and vigilance etc. 

5.Find time for each other- As precious as time is, it can be misuse or abused, time is precious but the one spent on building relationship with one’s spouse is not a waste. It is a worthwhile investment. If there is any time to enjoy your spouse, it is now.  Do not waste time, enjoy the blessings of God and be grateful. Appreciate your spouse and enjoy your lot.

6.Stop comparing your marriage with others. Sometimes, the grass is only greener in other people’s field. Work with what God has given you, build your lives together patiently and in love and see if others will not admire you.

Conclusively, perhaps there is need for reconciliation with your spouse, why not do it now and stop denying yourself of your God-given blessing? There is only one life, meant to be enjoyed in God and this is possible. Now is the time, do not hesitate.

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