Recently, we held different training and equipping seminars in several villages. These seminars addressed issues amongst the whole body, leaders, women, intercessors, youth (anyone not married) and couples. We know that marriage is a hot topic and many issues surround it.
It is not that uncommon for a pastor to preach a fiery sermon but then come home and beat his wife. In fact some pastors constantly make their wife stay home from church to take care of the home and cook. The wife silently dies inside, so as not to disrupt "the work of God."
Well, Amethyst and I started to preach from Ephesians 5 about how in marriage the relationship between a man and a woman is to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church. I would give illustrations questioning societal issues and misconceptions about marriage. For example, it is not uncommon for the man to be unemployed and sit around all day long. All the while, the wife is expected to take care of the kids, take care of the crops, gather food, find firewood, fetch water, take care of the kids, amongst a variety of other tasks… On top of this, if the man is hungry and the food is not served yet, he’ll get mad and kick over the boiling pot of beans. Then he may even begin to beat his wife. After all that, his wife is expected to give him sex whenever he wants.
After saying this, the women all sort of looked at each other, snickered and all together nodded with agreement. Some even said, “This is exactly what happens!” Others shouted, “Very much so!”
The men all began to blush and I asked the men, “If your best friend saw you cooking and even as a joke he kicked over the beans, you would punch them.” Then I asked the men, “If you treat your wife like this, should you expect them to love you?”
Then I gave an example of the men who are great providers and take care of their family but the wife might have lots of disrespect. I asked the women, “Do you think it is very respectful to completely harass and show contempt for your husband when he is a good provider and trying to do everything right?”
It is a new revelation for many of the men and women. We are careful to use examples that are common with both men and women so as to not paint the other gender in the wrong light. It is like a light bulb goes on and many people question themselves to see if they are treating their spouse in the right way.
Then we give a time of question and answer for both the men and women. One time a man stood up and asked, “Is it ever okay to beat your wife?” I hesitated and thought about it and said, sure you can beat your wife but don’t expect to be treated very well by your wife. If you treat your wife like a donkey don’t be upset when she behaves like one back to you. Then I went on to say in a serious voice, “Well let me ask you this… would you like to be beaten by your wife for being late making the food after a long, hard day of work?” The man looked at me and then shook his head and I think he answered his own question by my question back to him.
It was a blessed time to be able to challenge culture and to make many of the Congolese begin to see how culture must be changed. After the marriage seminar many of the Congolese were appreciative and happy to hear a new Biblical teaching. We left them with the verse in 1 Peter 3:7 that Husbands must show honor to their wives so that their prayers won’t be hindered. The Congo will experience revival when the prayers of husbands are no longer hindered.