Come to think of it, most of the traditional ideas about the things we thought sustain marriages have all been found not to be the real deal when it comes to a marriage that would last. For example, sex does not keep or sustain any marriage. If sex does, there won't be so much adultery as we have it today. The faintest idea that could cross the mind of any one today is to think a man or a woman would remain in marriage just because of sex alone.
Also, money does not sustain any marriage. If money does, most married billionaires who we have seen today to have divorced their spouses would not have. Recently, Jeff Bezos and his wife perfected their divorce. The couples had been married for nearly three decades. These are power couples so to say, when you look at their financial status. Even after settling his wife, Jeff Bezos still remains the richest man in the world. His wife, MacKenzie on the other hand, is about $35billion dollars richer after the divorce settlements were finalised, and the world's third wealthiest woman. So, it isn't about the money so to say. If money makes marriage remain committed forever, then these two individuals should not have contemplated divorce in the first place.
What other things can we possibly think of? Marrying a Prince or a Princess does not equate you would have a successful or perfect marriage either. Like seriously, Prince Williams, the Duke of Cambridge, was just rumoured to have cheated on his wife, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, with her best friend, Rosy. That tells you that infidelity also runs in one of the World's most elitist royal family. We can go on and on, talking about all the mundane things that we have assumed in the past that would make marriage effective. But the truth is this, the world is drastically changing, and some of these ideas as well are changing with it.
It is time we go back to the basis of what makes successful marriages. Now, it is true that love brings a man and woman together, and if that love happens to be true, and devoid of infatuation; then they go ahead to consider marriage. However, as good as loving that woman or man may seems, the ultimate thing that sustains most effective marriages apart from love, is loyalty. To be loyal simply means to remain committed to your partner come what may. This point, I must emphasize, is where a lot of couples get it wrong.
If a man or woman is caught in adultery, it becomes a matter of unfaithfulness, and that is simply because they are not loyal in the first place to their partners. If a man or woman is caught having extra-marital affairs, even while married, it is simply a lack of loyalty.
Many couples have substitute faithfulness to mean loyalty in marriage, and here lies one of the fundamental problems confronting many marriages today. But loyalty far outweighs just staying faithful to your husband or wife. A man may be faithful to his wife, but may not be loyal to her. The case of Leah and Jacob is a typical example of this scenario. Leah struggled for so many years for her husband's loyalty in the area of being loved. When you read Genesis 29:31-35, you would understand this.
"When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32 So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.” 33 Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. 34 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing."
From that Bible passage, despite that Leah had given birth to children for her husband, she still felt so much unloved. Jacob was faithful, but he still did not love Leah as much as he should. With Rachael is where his heart belongs. So, each child birth from Leah, she felt it was a consolation, and probably the husband's loyalty would be drawn to her based on that. But that never happened. When Reuben came, she felt "The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me." It never happened. And then, Simeon came, and she felt, "Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also."
And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, "Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." This kept on till Judah came. When Judah came on the scene, she said "Now I will praise the Lord." Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing for a while. Now, this example was sighted to let us know that a man or woman being faithful to their spouses in marriage, does not translate into loyalty. Loyalty in marriage cannot be overemphasized. Loyalty comes from the heart, and it is usually not as a result of what the other person does or does not do. It simply connotes that you remain committed to your spouse come what may.
For a woman, it means whether your husband has money or not, you are still loyal to him. In this instance for example, many women can become unfaithful to their husbands just because the man cannot meet their financial obligations. For a man, loyalty means whether your wife satisfies you sexually or not, you are still loyal to her. It means you won't go about seeking for sexual satisfaction somewhere else, while acting faithfulness back at home. I believe most marriage counselling should emphasize more on the place of loyalty, rather than they do with faithfulness. Although the two words appear to be similar, but they are different in context.
In conclusion, if there is anything you must learn before considering getting married, it is loyalty. Our capacity to be loyal is one of our beautiful traits as humans, and not deploying it in our marriage would make it an unproductive venture. Don't be a man or a woman who is faithful to his or her partner, but deep down, their loyalty is somewhere else.
[Centre for New Dimension Leadership]