(Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, Vijayawada, India) A major project of mine for the last year has been learning about Indian marriages, not just cultural practices but mind sets, values, perspectives, expectations and emotional involvements. Basically for them marriage is all about duty, not relationship. If love happens, fine, but it is not expected or even needed. These arranged marriages are all about duty, duty, duty. American marriages are the opposite. But I didn’t want to try to impose an American standard on them, and our marriages aren’t always that great anyway. We don’t seem to have the last word in husband wife relationships!
That means teaching what the Bible says, Bible principles, and having them apply it to their own marriages. I focused on the husband being a loving leader and showing unconditional love to his wife. The wives’ session was about a submissive spirit, submission being an inner attitude of trusting God and respecting husband, not an outer duty. Then the children’s message was about showing them unconditional love and using consistent, loving discipline and using natural consequences. Their child raising ideas are very different than ours and the Bible’s as well.
The last sessions was an exposition and application of I Corinthians 13 about love and what it really is. It all helped me refocus on what really matters in my life and family as well – giving unconditional love. It sounds so easy but definitely is not! It’s how God loves us, though, and to be like Him we must show it to others, especially those closest to us.
Anyway, both conferences went very, very well. They want more next time, and numerous other pastors want their pastors’ conference next year to be a marriage conference with their wives. Moses and I agree that would be good and what we’ll do. I look forward to that, especially if I can bring Nancy along and have her involved as well.
So anyway, thanks for your prayers about these marriage conferences. And make sure you focus on showing unconditional love to your mate today. I don’t want to have to come back home to a lot of marriage counseling right away!
by Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer, Christian Training Organization