Marriage: Assets and Liabilities
By: Deji Yesufu
There is a growing phenomenon in our day: young men are refusing to marry. It is beyond the economic issue that many people have posited as the reason why many boys are refusing to enter holy matrimony. The foremost reason for this marriage-phobia is the plethora of bad marriages that pervade the land. Marriages are either broken and couples divorced; or, they are on the verge of breaking; or, they have embarked on masked divorce: with the husband leaving the wife and children in one part of the country and going to live in another part – claiming he has gone there for work. Other men simply leave the country and start up another life in a different country – while they leave the wife to look after the children with the monthly dollars they send home. Marriages have not always been great; even when I was growing up, many marriages I witnessed were bad – most of them just patching along. In this essay, I want to make an argument for marriages and explain why, in spite of all the challenges that this institution comes with, we can still make the best of it. Our young men need not fear committing to marriage because we can make the marriage institution work.
When a company or cooperation buys up another company or cooperation in the business world, it is said that the new company is buying up both the assets and the liabilities of the company up for sale. Marriage is a similar thing: when a young man seeks the hand of a woman in marriage, he is actually buying the assets and the liabilities of that woman from her parent. What good business men do is that they do their investigations: they ensure that the assets far outweigh the liabilities on ground, and then they pay for the outstanding. In a similar fashion, a young man entering into marriage must do his fact findings through courtship. In the process, he will find both assets and liabilities in the lady he is seeking. He should then consider whether by marrying this lady, he would be able to enjoy the assets, while he endures the liabilities. Let us, at this juncture, look at some assets that marriages come with. Then we would look at some liabilities and see how to minimize them, and even suggest how, in the wonderful sovereignty of God, these liabilities can become assets in future. I would then end this essay by making a strong case for marriages and show our young men why they ought not to fear entering the institution of holy matrimony.
Assets. Marriage is a good thing: the Bible says that he that finds a wife, find a good thing and obtains favor from God. As my daughter grows up, I see the reason why God particularly designed women to be beautiful. The idea, really, is that men will desire them and that they can be sought after and brought into the marriage covenant quickly. I see a dangerous trend in our day of education, degrees and careers. Young girls, who ought to be married off at their prime, using that period of their life, ages 18 to 25, to get an education. They then get that education, get that career, but by the time they are looking for a husband, they are too old; they are beyond their prime and are becoming less desirable for men. So, there is no reason why a young girl, who is done with secondary school, cannot be shipped off into holy matrimony. She should continue her university in her husband’s house! There the man can enjoy all her assets of beauty and ability to bear children, while he guards her with a God-given jealousy – both of them growing up into maturity and grace. The assets of beauty and a well-crafted body that a woman has, is given to her by God, for her husband. There is no reason why this should be kept from the man.
Liabilities. It is from these very suggestions that liabilities begin to show up. It begins with the parent of the girl. The young girl is seen as some kind of property, on whom they have made some investment and from whom they must get some profit. A faulty worldview is already implanted in the minds of our young girls, and they grow up into womanhood with this thinking. A biblical understanding of the woman being a help-meet for the man is almost entirely jettisoned. The woman is brought up to think that she is equal with her husband, and the idea of biblical submission is imbibed only in name alone and never in practice. The absence of a Christian worldview both in the family of the man and the wife leads almost entirely to a union that is destined for the rocks from the start. Assets such as looks (handsome or beautiful), intelligence, strength, height, economic advantage, etc, will very quickly degenerate to liabilities in the absence of a biblical worldview in the marriage.
When I write on marriage, people quickly conclude that I am projecting these thoughts from my own marriage. Of course, I am. Except that the people thinking these thoughts forget that even I, the writer, also possess my own liabilities. Only my dear wife knows what it means to live with a man who is worried about things no one is bothered about in society. My wife still tells me of the horror she was plunged in when she received a call in April 2017 that I had been arrested by the Nigerian Police for protesting a Pentecostal Pastor at the University of Ibadan. How, as she often puts it, I live within my own head. You will not understand this until you realize that I brought liabilities into my marriage also. I see the stability that my children enjoy – and I see now that no child will be normal whose mother left him with a father at age 11, to seek greener pastures abroad – which is my story; and fact is that I am lucky to have turned out sane to some extent. So, when we talk about assets and liabilities, we should understand that the two parties bring these things into the home and it will take the grace of God to sort them out.
Having invited God into the discussion, perhaps we should consider what God’s word has to say about marriage. Jesus says “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder…” (Matthew 19:6). It is God that joins a defective man to a woman with liabilities. No matter what else may be said about my marriage, I tell anyone who cares to hear that it is God that joined me to my wife. It is the reason why when any issue comes up within the union, I go to the One who brought about the idea – and usually not to men. In the wonderful sovereignty of God, what you and I consider a liability in our spouses is designed by God for a higher purpose. The critical and discerning husband will, unfortunately, have his wife as his guinea pig. It will take a while for him to realize that his critical tendencies are not meant for his spouse but for, perhaps, the ministry God has committed to his hands. The wife with a penchant for order will realize soon enough that her management skill is not meant to control her husband but a greater assignment in the wider world. Even where sin appears in a marriage, under the blood of Jesus, and through the grace of God, a higher purpose can be achieved.
Soon enough we discover that the solution to marital issues is not hopping to the next available woman – because when you do that, you leave one set of asset and liabilities, and go on to imbibe another. Most men who indulge polygamy reach the conclusion that the first was the best – another wife is totally not needed. The man enjoys the assets, and he patiently endures the liability. Hopefully, marriage covenants can be secured early when man and wife are young. This permits for them to simply grow together into adult life. It is also beneficial that young marriages are covenanted within a local church with a minister to oversee them. The man needs to be continually reminded to love his wife – regardless of whatever liabilities she brings to the marriage. The woman needs to be reminded to be submitted to her husband, regardless of the issues he might have. Husband and wife need to be reminded to pray together and pray for each other. The devil is running on rampage – seeking homes to destroy. It takes the supernatural grace of God for homes to be preserved these days.
So, young man, if you have found a woman that you desire as wife, regardless of the liabilities she may bring to the union, take her assets and marry her. Find a minister of the gospel (please be discerning here because there are too many hirelings out there) to guide you both through courtship. Take a leap of faith into marriage and you are likely to realize that marriage is not as bad as you think. The assets will very likely surpass the liabilities, and in the days when the liability might want to sink you in despair, God will show up for you and make a way of escape. The other option is to wallow in suspicion all of your life and then reach an age where you find yourself marrying out of desperation. At that point, you will marry your fears and the liabilities will come and hunt you. The best time to marry is to marry when you and your spouse are young. Then you both will grow into one another – you will enjoy each other’s assets and it is possible that the liabilities that older life bring into marriage will be absent from yours because you have simply grown together.
I hope you find this helpful.
Deji Yesufu is the Pastor of Providence Reformed Baptist Church, Ibadan. He is the author of HUMANITY.