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Can Two Walk Together? The Beginning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Two Walk Together?

The Beginning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright

Copyright © 2015 by Garikai Katsere 

All rights reserved. 

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review. 

ISBN: 978-0-7974-6618-0

 

Can Two Walk Together? The Beginning

 

Cover and book design by: Lazarous Safarao

Published by: gmkatserebooks

 

[email protected]

: garikaimoniquekatsere

garikai.katsere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dedication

Five years of marriage to a beautiful wife, Monique Katsere

 

To my lovely princess, Vanessa and the prince of the house, Paul.

 

You have becoming my breathing ground and I leave you with this legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

First and foremost, I would like to give thanks to the Almighty God for making my life unique and for giving me the most prudent wife I could have ever imagined.

 

I thank my wife Monique who has become my heart beat and has been on my side through thick and thin.

 

I would also like to acknowledge my now deceased father, Alexander Katsere for the encouragement he gave me from the beginning of my relationship and my deceased brother Rufaro Katsere who loved Monique to the core, my mother and my mother in law for being on our side at all times.

 

My gratitude also goes to Bishop Prof. Manjoro and Mother General Dr A.C Manjoro for the unwavering love for this marriage

 

Reverend Faithful Mutibvu has been a pillar of support in this relationship.

 

My pastors Overseer and Amai Shanobi who are always are concerned about our well being even when we are not in Zimbabwe.

 

Chananda, I owe you a lot for the love you have shown to Monique.

 

Lastly I would like to thank Pastors Humberto, Mirvelyis Dallan and Irelis for the prayers and love they showed us whilst we were in Cuba. We are forever indebted to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreword

I can never forget one thing I said when I was in high school. My mom and I were watching the news and I was so frightened and impacted by the portrayal of Africa to the point where I blurted out, “that is one place I will never visit”. As I think back to that day, it brings a smile to my face, because I have been to Africa and I grew to love and care for Africa, so much that I miss living there. This brings to memory a bible verse, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there? Nathanael asked.” Likewise I asked, “Africa can anything good come out of there?”

 

My answer is a resounding yes; my husband is a testimony that something good can come out of Africa. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband who has helped me to grow, specifically in my spiritual life. There has been times when I was rebuked by him but I have learnt that he does it out of love and also for me to continue growing. If I tell you that life has been a bed of roses, that would be a blatant lie; we have had trying times but because of love and with God’s help, what could be stumbling blocks are turned into stepping stones. We are about to reach 5 years of marriage and it seems like just yesterday. Our lives have intertwined, we are neither Africans nor Americans something new has come to life a splendid mixture of both cultures.

 

This book tells how two persons from different continents with very different cultures, can successfully become one in marriage. You will read about our courtship and the difficulties we experienced before our families gave us their blessings for marriage. For those of you who are thinking about getting into a relationship, this book gives information on how God guided the author through prayer and counseling

from pastors to find his soul mate. No matter what your age, go ahead and read of how God guides his children even when it seems like He’s taking you down an impossible path.

 

Monique V. Katsere (Eng)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Introduction ………………………………………………….1

Prayer…………………………………………………………3

Time ………………………………………………………….4

Trusting in the Lord…………………………………………..8

Discernment …………………………………………………10

Confirmation …………………………………………………14

Doubt…………………………………………………………24

Preparation……………………………………………………27

The Beginning ……………………………………………….35

Talk…………………………………………………………..37

Third Cord …………………………………………………..44

I am sorry…………………………………………………….49

Testimonies…………………………………………………..53

Acceptance……………………………………………………56

Mentorship……………………………………………………58

Conclusion……………………………………………………60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

The bible starts with a very astounding verse: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Of course it could have started with all kinds of clichés but it began with “in the beginning…” For our human minds, all beginnings are difficult to handle. Take it in the physical or the natural. Many have tried to lose weight, even going to the extremes of trying all sorts of remedies but to no avail as they get frustrated even before they start; for to begin is a tall order. I would even want to get into God’s shoes for a moment and go into the supernatural. This is my own imagination. He could have said why create the earth when these people at one time will sin against me. It should have been hard but of course He is a loving God and He did it for us anyway.

 

It’s only natural when beginning something new – relationship/courtship/dating – to desire instant maturity. But where does everything begin? This is a question I always asked myself. Being a Christian, my desire was to have a God fearing wife. This thought would frighten me because I would say to myself I have never really gone out (dated) with someone in my life. I had tried some few relationships when I was at school but this was because everyone was getting a girlfriend I guess. For records sake never got to be with one! As Christians, be it a young man or woman; the desire of a God fearing spouse is very paramount. But the question still arises: where does everything begin?

 

I have chosen to write this book with its title: “Can two walk together?” and not maybe steps to courtship or how to be in a relationship etc. As you peruse through this book, you will notice that it was written on the basis of what I experienced during my courtship, so this may also serve you as a guideline. The intention of this book is to provide a guideline to situations that arise before and during courtship. This has been a difficult title to choose but when I just saw Amos 3:3 it rang cymbals and bells because the issue of relationships is two sided and we will learn later that there is a need for a third element in our relationships.

 

The question still remains: But where does everything begin? Do I go flirting around? Do I go the dating route? Do I buy flowers to impress that special lady? Where does it really begin? As I stated earlier, this book is based on my personal experience so I will endeavour to relate to you “How it began for me”.

 

I was privileged to start going to church at an early age and taught basic bible principles. Growing up, one experiences different things as a teenager, experimenting with this and that. It was not until I reached A’ level when I was really taught about marriage principles. We were taught about the nitty-gritty’s of parenthood, being a good spouse and living in a family life. The sad thing though was no one talked about “the before” of the marriage. I would have my ears completely open hoping to hear something about courtship. The only issue that was discussed was: no sex before marriage. Guess it was so controversial and confusing to discuss about this. One thing though, I really liked about these lectures at my former high school was that they emphasized the need to start praying for our future spouses. Age eighteen and this was not in my mind.

 

This comes to the first point: “But where does it begin?” Everything has to have a beginning. It sets the pace to the finality of events. God had to create the earth and the heavens in the beginning so that in the end Adam and Eve could wander around and enjoy its fullness. Think about this; had God just created the first couple before He created the earth, they would have been hanging somewhere because it states in the second verse of Genesis chapter one that the earth was formless and empty. Beginnings set the path you are going to follow for you to reach the final destiny; that is marriage.

 

Many young people get disappointed to note that what they would think is the right person turns out to be a person who you just like and maybe never grow to love. For us to see a beautiful sponge cake, a base was set up first. I remember when we were young and it would be a Saturday afternoon and everyone at home. My mother would insist on baking a sponge cake. There was only one problem with all this; we did not have an electrical mixer. So we had to take turns to mix the butter and sugar and after 30 minutes we would go to my mother to ask if it was now ready for the next stage. Of course the answer would be ‘keep mixing my boys’. Sometimes we would go the half done route. Knowing she would have taken a nap, we would mix a little and when we thought it was done we would add the eggs. What a mess! The mixture before hand would dangle on top of the eggs no matter how hard we mixed it with our rustic hand mixer. At the end, the cake would not come out as soft as the name implies.

 

As a young person, we should be able to set the right base from the onset. A sponge cake needs a good butter mix so we also need to have the right mix. Prayer is the base that is needed for this mix. One would quickly refer to the verse: “A good wife comes from the Lord” (Proverbs 19:14) but one should also remember that this same book reminds us from the beginning that it is wisdom from the Lord which has a bearing on a good wife. Reading through chapters 5-7 of the book of Proverbs, the bible explicitly warns us to keep on guard our hearts. Our hearts guard our wisdom by fearing His name. Fearing His name comes from seeking His presence that is PRAYER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer

The Lord Jesus always made prayer His top priority. Before choosing His first 12 labourers, the Apostles, He prayed all evening. Then He chose them and sent them into the harvest (Luke 6:12-13). He did not have to beg them or plead with them. He prayed and God the Father moved in their hearts and they were ready!

 

Prayer is essential in relationship matters just as it is necessary to deposit money in a savings account so that it accumulates interest. We have different desires in life speaking of which I would pray to God that I desire a wife who is the same height as me, complexion wise should be almost the same as me, educated, but one of my greatest desires was a wife who knows how to cook better than me. It seemed awkward that I would pray for something like this but remember the bible says that His ears are not too heavy that He cannot hear us Isaiah 59:1b. He truly heard me. Prayers make all the difference. As one teacher of the word of God once put it across saying that we have become an “instant” seeking generation. We drink instant chocolate, coffee. He went on to explain that anything that comes instant does not last. This is why it is important to begin somewhere but not only begin but begin with a strong base. He went on to explain that before the instant coffees came along, the granules of coffee were put to the boil and until you smell the aroma of the coffee getting into your nerves (with goose bumps accompanied), only then would one know that the coffee was ready to drink.

 

Why pray then if God is going to provide the aroma of the coffee right into your nerves when it’s done? People have talked about instant love and some talk about growing in love but all this should be backed by something and that is prayer. As young people, there is a need to pray for your future spouse. Just as you would pray for a job, a car, a house, or whatever breakthrough you desire in your life; the same applies to your future spouse. It really helped me to have this constant touch with God about such an issue, easy it may seem but once you make the wrong decision can have devastating effects on the rest of your life.

 

How do I pray? What do I really pray for? These were some of the questions that continued pondering in my mind. There were other priorities in my life. I wanted to serve God on a higher level, have a good education - actually desiring to go and study outside the country on a scholarship and then this and that. I mentioned earlier some of the attributes that I desired my wife (future) to have. One thing that went amiss was the time frame in which I wanted this to happen. I had even set up a time frame! I said to myself, I will get married by 21 years and by the time I reach 40 years my child will be going to university. For sure I was praying with the right thoughts but was it in Gods timing? Would I have finished school, where would I have been in my spiritual life at the end of 21 years? This comes to the second point in “Can two walk together?”: “But where does everything begin”- TIME..

 

 

 

Time

If we scrutinize in depth the first chapter of the bible, we realize that our God is an orderly God. Everything was prescribed in its timing. Light came before the separation of the water(sky) which came before the land and sea which came before the vegetation, which came before the lights, which came before the creatures of the sea and the birds which came before man. Thinking a little about this sequence just shows me that God’s timing is always the right one. In biology we would learn that plants need light to photosynthesize but living creatures need the product of that photosynthesis which is the oxygen. My ways are above your ways (Isaiah 55:9); the timing of the Lord is way ahead of our timing. It took us a millennium to realize this but God already had it figured out. I had surely been praying for the right wife who would fulfill my desires but was my timing ok? Precisely no! One would ask how I would have known that my timing was not in the will of God. Remember, I had so many wants before the Lord: good education, elevated spiritual level, acquirement of assets, a good wife etc. God took the method He used to create the earth and heavens and prioritized everything according to what He wanted to be completed first and move on to something else.

 

No wonder I never got a girlfriend at the age of 21. Looking back at the resolutions I made in the year 2000, something struck me. I never included anything about a wife, it was more about seeking a higher spiritual level with God, even had a theme for my christian life for that year which was: Christianity not a ground of foolishness but power – reach out for Jesus and in my social year it was: Business is war – life is war, beat the struggle. Perusing over the resolutions I made that year I mentioned nothing to do with a wife. God works in His timing. I have heard some people say that she got married too early or she ought to have a problem because she has reached such a mature age and is not yet married. It is always God’s timing that prevails. Isaac was 40 years old when he got married to Rebekah (Genesis 25:20). It’s only when we submit to God’s will and timing that He will move according to His favour and perform a work in us.

 

This reminds me of when I started courting Monique. I said to God I want to get married at the age of 25 years and everything looked so perfect. My friend had wedded in December; so according to our human minds it was now our turn to do the honours. I remember the pressure we would receive from other Christians. I even went on to look for a suitable wedding venue but to cut the long story short, we never got married then. For a relationship to begin, it has to be within the time frame of God. We cannot run away from this important concept of Gods-timing.

 

But the questions still continued to pound my mind. How? When? What? These were all dialogue boxes hanging above my head. I had been told to pray for a good wife but how was I supposed to do it. Was I supposed to start by conducting a survey of the girls I interacted with and focus my eyes on this “very special” one? Was I to go to the girl I liked and tell her that I was praying for her? Surely when subjects of relationships were mentioned in school, if you did not have a girlfriend/boyfriend your mind was quickened towards it.

 

We should not operate in an indirect relationship with God. We are not to be like what I used to do in school. When it was time for Maths, I would quickly look at the back of the book where the answers were already printed in black and bold ink and as “clever” as I was, would work out the equations with an answer already in my mind. I already knew that if the limit was ∞ then there was no way it will be 0 because I knew the answer. I did not think this method would fail and it was one of those days that everyone was cracking their heads and as always I had already found my way to the answer as “I knew it”. Little did I know that the answer at the back of the book was wrong and the problem had been corrected in the teachers’ manual. The rest of the story you would guess. The point is when we are beginning a courtship we need to hear directly from God. In another chapter we will talk about hearing from God. We cannot first see what is good for our eyes and then go back to God and pray that you need a good spouse whereas we already have what is “good”. The bible talks about seeking first His kingdom and all these things shall be added unto us. I made the same blunder as with the Maths subject.

 

It occurred to me that I started rolling my eyes around looking for the best and then started to pray. Then, I saw one! She had all the attributes I would have liked in a wife and there she was and even started to ask her out in an indirect way. Was not sure about it but at least, I had heard from other people saying that relationships which start at school are the ones which turn out to be strong marriages. I now had a picture of the person I wanted. Remember God is not an invisible God. He is more than direct and visible to our lives. The end result of all this was that a friend of mine was already in line and well that was one down. It was like a confirmation and later we will talk about the importance of confirmation in our start to relationships which are within God’s will.

 

Reading through many books, I realize that they basically talk about the do’s and dont’s in a courtship. There is nothing wrong with these books and they have actually helped to foment my relationship and to know what is required of me. I had the privilege of traveling to many countries and naturally I would visit the churches in those respective countries. There are different concepts on how to address these how, when, why, who questions. At one church I went to in Venezuela, girls were supposed to cover their heads with veils and I believe it was done so that boys do not look so much at the styles of the hair and all those details. They were not even allowed to wear make-up; they were supposed to present themselves as natural as possible. Nevertheless, in the same country I went to another church and the interaction between young men and women was phenomenal. In these high-rated interactions, a girl even came up to me and asked me for my number and precisely told me of her intentions of wanting to get married to me. Wow! That was phenomenal! It made me realize the lack of knowledge we have as youth growing up in a Christian environment.

 

When is the right time to start praying for a spouse? It seemed odd to me, as I mentioned earlier to start praying for a wife at such a tender age. Let me not astound you. I believe the moment you start seeing that the focus is changing merely from being all friends to a more a specific one then its time to start practicing what I term the ‘kneeology’ game. What I mean with this is that your priorities start to shift. You now seem to be making up your mind on certain issues without consulting another friend, and then it’s high time you need to start praying for such. Do not get me wrong. It is good to put everything into the hands of the Lord but they are circumstances when you are not even thinking about this relationship issue that you are presented with you future spouse. The fact still remains: bank your prayers in heaven “for where your treasure is your heart is”. If you desire a spouse from the Lord, let it already be treasured in the heavens and how God is going to work it out is none of your business! I will again refer to Isaac. First, the timing was “now out of hand” according to our own standards of this world but also, he did not have to labour that much to get a good wife who would carry two nations within her. Reading from Genesis 24, Abraham makes a declaration for a wife for Isaac. A prayer is a declaration that you make before God so that you make your request known to God. After having made this prayer, the chief servant found it more than easy to find a wife for Isaac. Laban tried to make Rebecca stay for 10 days but this was not the Lord had ascribed to.

 

Surely when we start praying, let us not take control of God; that will never work. God knows the desires of our hearts but we should also remember He is in control. He being in control also means we should be able to listen when He says its time. From Proverbs we read abut a young man who is turned into bed by a woman because of not having wisdom which is ultimately not listening from God. Does God say: “Gary, this is the time to pray or you think about it?” I believe as I said earlier it’s a matter of personal conviction where you feel this is the right time.

 

Growing up, we have different moments in life. When you are in primary school, your desire is to get subject prizes (that of course was my personal desire and would cry profusely if I did not get one), in secondary school you are thinking of how many subjects you are going to take and how many you are going to drop and high school is even trickier as you try to determine the subjects which suits best what you desire to study at university and thereafter. What I am saying is that there comes a moment in life that would determine the right time for a spouse. I never prayed for a car and house whilst in school until recently when I now felt the desire of such.

 

What do I pray for? It may seem too far stretched but here is the point. The bible says in Proverbs that enjoy the wife of your youth. Note it does not say the girlfriend of your youth. It says the wife. But it does just not end there. It says in verse 20 of Proverbs 5 “why should you be infatuated, my son with a loose woman and embrace the bosom of an adventuress”. Am I saying that you should pray for good bosoms or a lovely hind (verse 19)? As a Christian who knows how to put to good use your requests before God, should know how to ask. James precisely warns us of not receiving what we desire just because we ask wrongly. What did I pray for, one may ask? I prayed for a wife, who would be almost the same height as me; similar complexion. Of all the physical appearances I desired, I never asked God for a woman with “good bosoms” nor a lovely hind because this did not even matter to me. What was important to me was the face! It was the face that mattered to me. Did I know the meaning of beautiful? When would I be able to say this one is beautiful? Anyways, my prayer was as such! There were three main things I really wanted: the face coupled with a God-fearing woman and definitely who knows how to cook better than me! Did I say I prayed for a house wife who would look after me, no! I prayed for someone as the bible mentions in Proverbs 31. This was my desire and your personal desire does not have to follow suite. Remember our thoughts never match with God’s thoughts. Never will they! This reminds me of Hosea, he was told by God to take a wife of harlotry. Ouch! A wife of harlotry! Oh God not me, he could have said anything but Hosea 1:3: “So he went and took…” Here is an interesting thing. We ought to pray for what we desire but remember God has the final say, Proverbs 19:21. Do you think it ever passed over Hosea’s head to get married to a harlot? I don’t think so but he conformed to the will of God.

 

As we might have understood, the beginning is difficult to commence. But there is always fulfillment at the end if the beginning is executed well. It makes you take your goals seriously and aim to finish the race. Beginnings fire up a desire in our lives and when you desire something it becomes a dream which has a need to be accomplished. If it had not that I “began” by having a desire to write this book then you would not be reading this book. It all started with a will to start. Was it easy? You can ask me that again. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all understanding. This comes to another point of beginning – TRUSTING and staying rooted in the word of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trusting in the Lord

It is surprising nowadays as youth that we get carried away about what we desire in our spouses without really giving a thought how we are supposed to climb the ladder. Be warned, a ladder may have many steps but as the bible precisely says “the Lord orders these steps” Proverbs 16:9. We need to uphold our trust in the Lord. Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. I love dramas and comedies. Better still if they are dramas that depict a real life story speaking of which some have really encouraged and strengthened me before and during my courtship. Yes, the bible says in the counsel of many advisers but whose report are you going to believe? Are you going to follow the footsteps of people merely acting (who most of the times have had it all wrong in their non-screen relationships) or are we going to stand on the word of God?

 

As I started writing this book (my first by the way in a series of many to come), many questions I pause were actually personal questions I would ask myself. I believe also that these are questions which are asked by many as they venture into this phase of life – easy it may seem but a whole lot more complicated. But does it have to be so complicated when we have a Father who is in heaven who is ready day and night to listen and look at our pleas. Interestingly enough, the bible talks about God resting on the 7th day. Do I read anywhere else He rests? This just means He is there for us 24-7, 365 days a year for us. Trusting in God is putting our willingness and believing that we can rely on His goodness, strength and ability. Most of the time, we are more enthusiastic to follow the first part of this trusting. We are usually the more willing to believe. That’s why Jesus had to say “the spirit is willing but the flesh…” We are always willing to partake in this trust but to rely takes another big step of faith. How can I rely on God that He will give me a good spouse? Is there anyway I can put God to the responsibility of a spouse search for me? Something interesting happens before the Great Deluge. Genesis 6:2 states that “the sons of God saw the daughters of men were beautiful and they married any of them they chose” Man chose to take the responsibility into their hands and did as they wished not knowing that it can only be the Lord who undertakes this responsibility.

 

Going back to an earlier verse in Proverbs 19:14, the word of God precisely talks about wealth (representing the things of this world) is inherited from our parents but a prudent wife just comes from the Lord. Things which come from the Lord just have to be laboured for in a special way and that is done by trusting in Him. Just as our fathers labour to get wealth they leave for us as their children, a different situation arises when it comes to a good spouse; we also labour. How is that? By wholly trusting in Him. He is the author of our faith and He desires the best for us. Trusting in God means to be deeply rooted in what God wants for your life. We can never be able to know who our excellent spouse is going to be if we do not seek His presence. Are we going to seek His presence only because we need what is good? No ways! Just being close to the Maker has an advantage to our lives. Deuteronomy 29:29 explicitly says that “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us…” Secret things are revealed to us when we anchor ourselves in the mystery of the cross which Paul explains in a fashionable way in that Christ is head of the church, he becomes like a husband searching dearly for his wife which is the church. We ought to be more submissive to the Father and be able to know His will and promises if we are to be rooted in His presence and seeking His face constantly.

 

One would then say I hear so many voices when I pray. Elijah was at the mountain of God that is Mount Horeb (in our present case could be taken as being in a church) and a powerful wind that tore the mountain, shattering the rocks before the Lord but the Lord was not in the wind (1Kings 19:11). Then there was an earthquake, then fire and finally a gentle whisper. The Lord spoke to Elijah after the gentle whisper had come. Interestingly enough when Elijah heard (verse13), he went and stood at mouth of the cave to hear what the Lord had to say. Remember Elijah was at Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. He was a willing partner in this trust issue. He had not only gone anywhere to listen to God but he was at Mount Horeb. We need to be at the right place to be able to trust God for the beginning to be good for us. Being rooted in the cave of the mountain of God will make us not waiver with any earthly phenomenon that comes by.

 

Great and powerful wind that tore the mountain and shattered the rocks – we see these signs evident in our search for a spouse. We are praying towards this issue and we see with our physical eyes ‘a great and powerful wind’. This wind does not only show its greatness and power but goes on to shatter the rocks. You cannot sleep, you are overwhelmed, you cannot get this person out of you head, you picture different scenarios even for a wedding. If you are the Garikai type you start imagining someone who would support you in praise and worship. Wow! The feeling is just tremendous. Remember you are at the mountain of God knowing well that you are in the cave, then there is no way this wind will just pass without taking advantage of it. There comes another issue to light: “But where does it begin?” This involves the spirit of DISCERNMENT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discernment

We have talked about trust being the willingness to believe and rely. We need to rely on what the Spirit of God is saying to our lives. Galatians 5:16: “Walk in the spirit…” to walk into something is being inside the same thing. We talk about walking “into” room. We do not say walk by a room because we are covered by the room and we are inside. Inside takes a lot of trusting. If it’s a house, we have to make a decision to unlock the door, use the lever or knob, turn it and then open the door for us to enter into the room. Of interest is that when we are inside the house we do not really desire to have the door to be opened the whole night so we lock it and we walk around the house as we wish and with all confidence. But why would we decide on such and not just leave the door opened. The same verse finishes it all”…ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”. We are inside so that we seek protection from the outside, which is from thieves Jesus said we do not know the hour they will come. Just the same as the situation of the house, we need to trust in that when we are inside the Spirit we are not going to entertain the desires of outside.

 

Yes we are walking in the Spirit but the earthquakes, fire, winds are going to come. When am I going to listen to that gentle whisper? When am I going to discern that this is the right person to be with? As much as we would want to run away from trusting in God, we need this more than ever. I John 4:1 says: “do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God”. We need to know the direction we are taking from the beginning. Listen to choose and believe the voice of truth. But how can I really discern? How does this testing of spirits work in my life? I had the very same questions when I was about to enter my relationship with Monique. For me it became worse because there had been a lot of voices.

 

I did my studies in Cuba, graduating as a geological engineer. Whilst in Cuba I met my lovely wife and am grateful to God that I went to this country though in my mind, I never thought anything like this would happen. Before I left for Cuba, my parents sat down with me early in the morning. I bet it’s customary to give advice in the morning as it is good to do your devotion in the morning. Good advice they gave me which really helped me to continue though life was tough for me in Cuba. What is still thrust in my mind is the last piece of advice they gave me. It startled me a bit, not only that I was still a young guy waiting to experiment a whole new world but also that it had never crossed my mind at all. My parents started like this: ‘Garikai, you are now growing up and as you go out of the country, you are going to meet different kinds of girls’. It was shocking that my parents had decided to talk to me about this. Anyway they continued like this: ‘We do not want to discourage you but please if you can, get married to a Zimbabwean, if not someone from within the region’.

 

Another surprise for me! Who in their right minds was going to think of marriage when what you really want is to get educated? My parents finished of by holding a New Testament bible and told me to continue to look up for inspiration and side ways for information. My reaction to all this: I became a Sarah. I laughed my lungs out because this was one of the last items on my mind. I was thinking of the beach and everything associated with it. Little did I know that in some five years to come, it was going to be like a heavy backdrop on me whilst trying to discern the right one for my life. This was one spirit I had to test and see whether it was from God. Was it a bad idea they put across? No ways! I think it was one of the best advices they gave me. It taught me to wait for the right one. As in the case of Elijah, we should not be carried away by anything that is said. A great and mighty wind may come but we should not overlook the fact that God is the one in control.

 

As I said earlier, discerning the right one takes a lot of trusting in God. A thing I learnt is that to have this spirit of discernment, we ought to practice it daily in our lives. It does not come when we are folding our arms. The bible says the sluggard will always say ah there is a lion in the street and becomes afraid to face the street because of not being accustomed to the lion in the street. We have to go out in the ‘street’ to be well acquainted of what the lion looks like so that we just do not shout out that there is a lion. Anyway the real lion we have is our Lion of the tribe of Judah-Jesus. What I am trying to say with all this? Just as we have to walk in the spirit, we have to use our spirit of discernment more often. We just can’t hurriedly do things. We practice it each and everyday. It does not take you to be a great preacher but only takes your will of where you want to end up in the marriage bay. God wants to know where we stand when it comes to His promises.

 

There had been a lot of voices coming into my life but as I increased in the Lord, the more I perceived on how to defend myself. Some people would come to me and say: “You definitely need a girlfriend, can’t you see that you are all stressed up?” Worse still, some would come with a girl to my room and then they would give a funny excuse of going to the toilet and they would never come back, only to realize that it was a plot for them to entice me. The word of God says when sinners entice you, do not consent. This is how we can discern. It goes on to say in I John 4 that when a spirit acknowledges Christ, it is from God. This definitely of setting me up was not from God. How could I have known then? A famous anecdote is told about how a man was stranded on a cliff and hope came to him when all of a sudden, a helicopter came from nowhere. The guys shouted to him but he played the deaf guy. The more they shouted from the helicopter, the deafer he became. In his heart, he would say that God promised His angels that they will rescue him from all harm. Of interest is how this anecdote is always finished in that God can be sending you rescue but that made me think otherwise. According to the discernment I got from this was that all that mattered to these people was that I get a girlfriend and ultimately have sex with this girl as they had brought a vicious looking girl who just wanted money in exchange for sex and would have left me devastated spiritually. These were non-christians who were doing this to me, of course it was the easiest to discern. What about when it comes to Christians?

 

It came to be that during my Christian walk that the Senior Pastor was determined that this girl from the United States of America (USA) was destined to be my girlfriend. For sure she was beautiful and after all this was my pastor telling me this. Wow! Hard decision to make! As I said earlier on, when a great and powerful wind comes by, we become overwhelmed and can’t sleep, this is exactly what happened to me. To me, this great and powerful wind was the right one. Surely it was because the man of God had said it. To add to my confusion, a lot of Christians were just talking about it. This was supposed to be God. Not everyone could talk of the same girl over and over again like this. Then all of a sudden something struck my mind. My pastor had talked about a girlfriend. Was that all it was supposed to be? My girlfriend? If it was truly from God, why not wife? There it was. I learnt a very difficult but encouraging verse which I have ever since advised people getting to start a relationship. The word of God speaks about the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and your entire mind”. What did this really mean to my life in relation to this? My mind was surely excited about this development. Finally, I was going to get it out of my head. The soul controls the feelings. I felt a great urge of having a girlfriend. Besides this would make my so called friends accept me as they had changed girlfriends as they change clothes. Was my heart ready to love? Not at all! Love was the last item on my list at that time. I was not ready to love anyone. I was happy with my love for the brethren and God.

 

Later on, it became a benchmark for me to know where I go with this spirit of discernment. For me to be able to know that this is from God, my heart, my soul and my mind have to concur and bring out one thing called love. That’s basically what that verse talks about. I like the order given by Jesus: heart, then the soul and finally the mind. Our minds lead us to think of many things that we sometimes do not even accomplish. The mind is a soup pottage. A pottage will take in all kinds of vegetables and even meat. That limits it to becoming something more tangible, something recognizable. It’s sad but the mind will never really achieve what we want for a good spouse. At no time does the bible say test the mind nor does it say test the soul but it says test the spirit. We rely on the Holy Spirit for our discernment. It used to surprise me that the bible speaks about guarding you heart, hiding the word of God in our hearts. Why not the soul, why not the mind? The soul is controlled by feelings and for sure feelings come and go. In another chapter we will talk about growing to love and love at first sight. If we go through the book of Psalms, we see that it’s full of emotions. Some really depressing, some which really make you jump and start to praise God. As we go from one psalm to another, the emotional status changes but there is one thing very central to the heart of the Psalms, it’s all about elevating God in praise and worship and that comes from the heart. It is very important thereof to practice the spirit of discernment as we praise and worship.

 

As Christians, we need this as a tool for our decision making in who is going to be our spouse. As I remember this anecdote from Bishop Manjoro (Dr.) that he was swept off the ground when he heard this sweet voice singing and he was confident that he would love such a voice to wake up to, which knows how to praise and worship. Where it was and how it came to be is out of the scope of this book but this was a way of him meeting his spouse. Am I saying that everyone should have a singing partner? Praise and worship is not only about singing. We praise God in different ways. All that is being emphasized is that worship comes from the heart where the spirit resides which helps us to discern the right from the wrong.

 

One day as were talking about what really attracted us to each other, I was taken aback by what Monique had to say. I had never really wanted to know. Looking at the cover of this book, it would be difficult to know that I am much shorter than Monique. As she answered my question, I was thinking in my mind what could have really made her attracted to me. Away with my meekness, Monique could have been married to any of the sporty looking guys. She could have gone out with a guy of a lighter complexion, taller and one who would have been tired of luring her to win her affection. Then without thinking much she said: ‘The way you present yourself in praise and worship really echoed in my life’. Wow! I had never heard of this. Actually this was unheard of. A girl loving a man for the way he praises and worship. I was startled and became the more enthusiastic. I am the kind of worshipper who jumps around and becomes crazy and to some that’s pure madness. I just love to praise and worship my God. It gives me great joy but never thought what I radiated would have an effect to that extent that someone would get to love me only for this. The heart controls what you desire. It was only when my wife had her heart moved that she became sure that this was one man who she was prepared to live with for the rest of her life.

 

The secret therefore to discernment is that there should be a conjuncture of the heart, mind and soul. I have heard people say that the issue of love is a matter of the heart. This is very true. It’s a matter of the desire of your spirit. I have found something interesting in great men of God who I have heard prophecy over young people. I used to find this to be very queer. They would say: ‘receive a wife’. I would then say to myself why do they not prophecy the specific name of the wife. I then realized something that for sure love is a matter of the heart. They prophecy a good wife for one but the issue remains with the heart where I explained in an earlier chapter that it is where desires are propelled which light a fire for a dream or goal to be accomplished and in this case, marriage.

 

Definitely, we need a spirit of discernment. Many offers came to me during my search to finding the right one. Some were really good. I remember that there was a girl who actually started going to church because she knew I liked her. I could also have fallen for this booby trap but God is so gracious. He led me to learn of a new concept in life concerning this relationship saga. Remember, I am not outlining the steps to a great courtship. These are guidelines and are to be used in conjunction with each other at any given moment. I learnt then of what is called Confirmation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confirmation

This little concept of confirming runs hand in hand with the spirit of discernment. This may seem confusing to some but God guiding us, it’s as flawless as it can ever be. Did Jesus say it was going to be easy? He actually prayed that we remain in the world. We have been led to believe so many things for beginning a relationship of walking together. Do we believe what the television says? Do we listen to the advice we are given on talk and reality shows? Should we shun it? As we go on learning about the beginning of walking together, let these questions be unraveled into answers for you as we learn of this great concept of confirmation.

 

Gideon replied, “If I have found favour in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you who is talking to me “Judges 6:17. Matthew 12:39, “But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign but no sign shall be given to them”. What a controversy! Do we need early warning systems for the beginning? Gideon is saying that he needs a sign but Jesus himself is saying no sign will be given. Pretty confusing and a great contradiction it may seem. Having enjoyed my time of courtship, I will tell you this really worked for me to get a jump start in a God-led courtship; a courtship whereby God began by confirming to me so many things towards my being with Monique.

 

But what is a confirmation? A confirmation is basically evidence for the truth or correctness of something. A confirmation is established on the basis of truth. It checks out the validity of something but one interesting aspect of a confirmation is that the outcome is always tangible. A confirmation is a sign which becomes visible and tangible. How does it come about? It could be through visions, dreams, tangible objects, man/woman of God, ordinary people in our walk of life etc. As Christians, they help us to take form. Our nature is built to make and eventually destroy (in many cases) dreams. I have heard at funerals people mentioning about ‘another group of unfulfilled dreams going down to the grave’. This is very true. We desire to have many things, desire to do many things, desire to see many things but the ultimate question always arises: Is it the Lord’s will? The bible outrightly says “…instead you ought to say, if the Lord’s will…” James 4:15. It is will of God that we should seek after Him. In His word, God demonstrates something very simple but practical. He pauses to us a question: “which of you if his son asks for bread will give him a stone…how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him”. We have always viewed this passage of the bible as always talking about receiving tangible goods but it also extents to the secret things of the Lord as we have learnt earlier. We can ask for the will of God by way of confirmation. This does not apply only to the issue at hand in this book but concerns all the different aspects of our lives. He is just so gracious to reveal these to us.

 

“Then the Lord called Samuel…and then ran to Eli…I did not call you said Eli”. For us to understand the concept of confirmation, we have to comprehend that we do not make it happen but God is in control. We have to know what, who, where to run to when we seek a direction for an issue as beginning a relationship. Are they all going to be the same? Watch this: “in the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne…Isaiah 6:1. These two people are being called by the Lord but the signs they received are completely different. We are all unique in God’s sight although we are all made in His likeness. Don’t ask me about this, it’s called the mystery of the cross. I am dwelling so much on the issue of understanding confirmations as it is very crucial in the beginning. Solomon warns us in Ecclesiastes not to make rash decisions before man or God. It is usual that we run to any door which opens in our sight. Concerning a relationship would mean a young man who prays incessantly, a beautiful girl who sings gracefully. Why do I give these extremes? As I write this book, which is meant for the Christian fraternity, we often get carried away with such things that we call ultimate signs.

 

The response of God concerning who is supposed to be your spouse should just flow like a spring. He waits on us to open our lives to Him that we listen and see with our spiritual ears and eyes the things that He has prepared for us. This chapter starts of with a passage from Judges 6 about a young man named Gideon. As many of you may know, Gideon was supposed to be the last person God visited. Why is that so? He was of the weakest clan in Manasseh and to add on to that, he was the least in his family (vs15). We would have expected that God turns to the Levites who were responsible for all the ministering before the Lord. They were more favourable to receive a visitation from the Lord but alas it was Gideon. With this background, we go on to find out what Gideon does. He questions God. Is it bad to question God? Gideon provides an answer to all these questions. He went on to seek a sign if [and only if] favour was in [your eyes]. He wanted a sign. He actually demanded for a confirmation. How come, he being the least was being granted this privilege of meeting the Lord? To my own opinion, he was more than justified for his denial of receiving an angel. The presence of God was confined to the Ark of the Covenant and here he was threshing wheat in a winepress. Wow! This was too real to be good.

 

As we go on about seeking for the right spouse, we are often caught unawares threshing wheat in a winepress. What does this mean? It only means that sometimes satan has taken so much advantage of our background, our weakness that he wants us to be in the wrong place for the wrong reason. How could Gideon be threshing wheat in a winepress? This was dignity at its lowest. When God started speaking about Monique being my wife, I was at my weakest. I had just been delivered from sexual impurity. It had become so rife in my life. I was like Gideon, threshing wheat in a winepress [church] but my thoughts were all covered at threshing wheat. What am I trying to say? For you to be able to receive a sign from God, move away your thoughts from the winepress and thresh wheat at the threshing floor. Had I not been delivered from this sexual impurity then I would have never heard the correct word from God. “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior”. I thought all hope had gone in my life but He still called me “the apple of His eye”.

 

We read that Gideon asks for a first sign from the Lord. An earlier verse will indicate to us that “when the angel of the Lord appeared” and consequently we hear the “Lord answered”. It does not matter if it’s the Lord who is going to speak directly to you ear, He sends someone, something; there and there we have to be able to discern that it is the Lord. Before Gideon seeks for confirmation, He asks God or rather questions God. I love the way He questions. This is the person who really was a mighty warrior, a man of valor. You are really in doubt, start by reclaiming the promises of God.

 

“With the tip of the staff that was in his hand the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flares from the rock consuming the meat and the bread…when Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord he exclaimed” Judges6:21-22. Gideon really wanted to know if it was the angel of the Lord who had appeared to him at the winepress. Reading from an earlier verse Jesus says: “an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign”. Was it wrong then for Gideon to do this? Absolutely not! We need to confirm from God, His will. Remember, “all things works for good of those who love him and have been called according to His purpose”. We only have the right to ask for a confirmation form God when we truly love Him and we are glued to His promises, even in this relationship issue. We cannot come before God with our eyes already glued on the “great and mighty wind” and ask for a sign from God. That is the same reason Jesus emphasizes an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign but none will be given to it. Do not ever imagine that when you are outside the will of God, you will receive anything. God is not a son of man that He should conform to our pleasures, our adultery, and our evilness. For sure, He does not tolerate any of this. Gideon was addressed as a mighty man of valour. That calls for something as we seek God for a confirmation of who is going to be the love of your life.

 

Is once enough? No one ever said it was. In fact, Gideon goes on to do the extraordinary. His faith moved to a higher level. He did not go excited about one vision, one dream, one word but became mightier in his quest to seek for a sign from God. God had just delivered me from sexual impurity. In my mind, I had a quest of serving God in higher terms. This was the end of October. I was happy to be out of such a deep pit which had threatened my relationship with God. I was back on my feet and obviously the last thing on my mind was to have a relationship. In fact, I was preparing towards my youth pastors wedding, Lennox and as a praise and worship leader I was supposed to prepare a number of things for this same wedding. Little did I know that the Lord was opening a door for someone who had been wretched like me.

 

This friend of mine was the youth pastor of the International Youth Christian Fraternity. He was the one in charge of the province of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba. We used to fellowship so much together, whether it be in my room or at his house. Out of the blue, he asks me: “What do you think of Monique?” Very easy question to answer, so I thought to myself. To cut the long story short Monique was my co-praise and worship leader at this Christian fraternity. We had sung together at different occasions. We had fellowshipped together at different stages of our lives at university. The only problem was that we were “sworn enemies”. Sworn enemies in that we both liked our space and were too proud even to greet each other. So this was an easy question to answer. I poured all the negative attributes I could think of. He started laughing. I didn’t see why this was a laughable matter. I had just told him my piece of mind. This was the 7th of December as I remember this day vividly. We were supposed to leave for Havana, Cuba later in the day to plan his wedding. He goes on to say: ‘Do you know its Monique’s birthday today?’ You would have expected me to have said: ‘do I care’ but nevertheless something different happened. For the first time I sighed deeply and kept quiet. This was an unusual form I was taking. I, Garikai Katsere concerned about some girl’s birthday, no ways! I will take myself into Mary’s shoes, mother of Jesus when the angel of the Lord appeared to her. “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be” Luke 1:29. I became troubled but like the angel told Mary that favour was upon her, it was like my youth pastor was telling me that somewhere in my heart I could have a place for Monique. Ok, this was getting out of hand. Never had in my mind occurred that Monique and I could become engaged in a relationship. This may sound very monotonous but this is for someone who really desires to know how God works with this issue of confirmation. The one thing I realized later in some few hours to come was that God had already started speaking about my spouse. At that moment goose bumps were now the order of the day. I did not know what was happening.

 

I asked my youth pastor why he was telling me all this and he told me for the same reason I had become nervous. I tried to be a Gideon, hiding behind the fact that he was the least in his family. I told him there was no way I can ever be with a person like Monique. He started laughing again. He had not even asked if I liked Monique and here I was already defending myself. This was around 11am. I quickly stormed out of the room and rushed to Monique’s room which was about some 3 minute walk from mine. I knocked her door and before I could greet her she paused a question and not in the most pleasant ways. She asked me if I had forgotten. Before I was about to answer, she slammed the door to my face. What had I done wrong? Was it a crime to forget some ‘girls’ birthday? I knocked the door and there she was again. For the first time she looked different to me so I thought to myself. I apologized for forgetting her birthday but why on earth was I apologizing. I had no obligation with this girl and here I was saying I was sorry. Instead of accepting my apology, she started yelling at me. She told me that I was so inconsiderate and that she knew my birthday was on the 31st of January. I sank low and was pleading with the earth to swallow me. To end this part of the story I ended up rushing to buy her a box of chocolates and taking her to lunch just to make up for this one. But was I entitled to do this? I had no strings attached to her.

 

When I went back to my room, it dawned to me God works in mysterious ways, because His ways are just higher than ours, I mean way higher than ours. That’s our Father for us! Gideon knew about the favour of God but He was still in doubt. This is the spirit which makes us not want to go a step further. Doubt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doubt

What if it does not work? What if he/she is not the right one for me? What if she/he will hurt me? What if, what if, what if? Gideon said: “how can I save Israel?” People are looking at me. I am the least of the family. What if it does not work? People will start jeering at me for trying the impossible but one thing I have learnt is that “with God everything is more than possible”. He says: “I will be with you” Judges 6:16. There is a point I would like to stress at this juncture. You must be living in the will of God. Your life can’t be in two worlds as this is a very important step you take in life. You just have to be glued to His word and promises.

 

Back in my room, I was puzzled with all this. What was I doing? Never had I shown my appreciation like this to a girl. I had grown to be the toughest guy on campus. I did not tolerate this girlfriend nonsense. My heart was glued to loving God and serving Him in our small church. Then it was quickened in my spirit. Something was happening here. Earlier on, in the month of November, whilst on a geology field trip to some other province, Monique had sent me an email. Funny though, I still keep all the emails she has written since then. She had never interacted with me on such a personal note. Nothing fancy but she told me something which still makes a beautiful song in my life. She wrote to me saying that some people are in our lives for a season and they come and go and some come for a reason so that they stay as a permanent feature in our lives. When I read this, I just said it was one of those forward emails. Now sitting in my room, I started to meditate on the events which were taking place. There it was! Had I missed this one then I would have missed the whole blessing.

 

I started praying to God and asking Him to reveal what He wanted for my life. This which had been ignited in my life was just too much for me to bear. I just needed loads of confirmation. As I prayed, I said Lord let everything flow like a spring if this is what You want for my life. Am I saying that all relationships must start this way? No. You will be surprised at the many stories behind many beginnings. As earlier stated, we are all unique. Earlier on we looked at two great prophets of the bible; Samuel and Isaiah. These were all called by God to do His great works but were called in the most unusual circumstances just as Gideon was called at a winepress, threshing wheat. For sure God’s works will forever remain a mystery. Quickly, I scrambled for my bible and there it was, I learnt of confirmation from this same chapter I am encouraging you with.

 

We talked at an earlier stage about God’s timing of events and not ours. Before I went to Havana with my friend, I invited Monique for lunch so that she could at least forgive me. Forgive me for what? I would ask myself. I had no strings attached but now since the banging of the door to my face, I felt this lump in my heart which I had never felt before. Was it love, compassion etc. I could not explain why I was acting this weird so I said to myself, God you know what I am going through. You start confirming your will in my life. Monique was the more enthusiastic to go out with me but as a person who watches over his time, I gave her an hour to spent with me. Later on she said that she thought I was the weirdest guy on earth because of not being the most impressive guy when it came to lunch. Did I care at that time what she thought? But why me? She never said this to anyone, only me. We went to a nearby restaurant and we started chatting about the upcoming wedding and a thought came to my mind. I definitely had to ask this girl out. Oops, this was not even in God’s timing. A friend of mine came by and helped himself to a chair at the table we were having lunch and sooner or later, a whole host of other friends from church came and joined us. We just looked at each other disapprovingly.

 

God is a God of order. He does not want us to do things as the pagans do. We just have to wait on Him to okay our lives. He is a sovereign God. In another chapter we will talk about how couples in the bible began their relationships. I am of the school of thought that God has an ultimate control over the beginning. Doctrines may be set up on how to go about the process of beginning a relationship but this still rests on the heart on who is going to be your spouse and one way to be sure of this is through God-given confirmations. I want to encourage you to never lose hope when it seems things are falling apart. Where had all these friends come from? This was ‘our’ time and they were interrupting. One of Monique’s friends who had just made herself available read my mind, I guess. She went on to comment on how lovely it was to see a couple such as us. Ouch! Disgusting! A couple! Who on earth told her this? This was becoming too much for one day but I was more relieved that I was going away for some days. I really pondered on what was happening. Could this be another confirmation? I really had to seek the Lord on this one. Honestly enough, when you heart is covered by the cloud of love, I tell you praying becomes the more difficult. I would pray but eish this would continue to haunt me. I was happy that I was going away.

 

“Gideon went in, prepared a young goat”. I started preparing myself spiritually and I don’t remember a time I prayed and fasted like this moment. I declared to myself a Daniel fast. I would only eat vegetables after breaking my fast. The weirder I looked to Monique. I started reclaiming those prayers that I had banked in my savings account. Now was not the time to ask God for this and that, it was a time of declaring His promises. We were now in Havana and my youth pastor starts talking to me, at first jeering at me and then taking matters to a serious note. Was this a confirmation on Gods part? Was I going to have the desire to test the spirits? Was it in God’s timing?

 

Being in love brings mixed feelings especially for the beginning. As Christians, we want to do the right thing because this is what we are called to do, to be righteous and holy before the Lord. We just need to be sure of what we are doing to be within the confines of the will of God. Confirmations downloaded from His own bosom will do the trick in our everyday walk with Him and better still for such a complicated issue as marriage. The exciting thing about all this is that it’s the Almighty who first instituted marriage so we do not have to worry about the mishaps that we have seen happening to others.

 

I was now skeptical about Monique. Of course it was a man of God talking to me but the bible also warns us about some of them, “they will secretly introduce destructive heresies” 2 Peter 2:1. This was becoming so confusing. Was it really God speaking? As I said earlier on, the response of God should flow like a spring. I looked back at the turn of events since the beginning of November. Monique sending me an email talking about reason and season, she shutting the door on me, my youth pastor talking about an issue I had never thought about and me inviting Monique over for lunch. This definitely had to be God, so I thought. Her friends had hinted something about it at the table. Wait! I also wanted to ask Monique out and all of a sudden the table was full of people. This could have been another confirmation or it was just eros love whereby you get excited and after sometime of calming down, you realize it was just something temporary. I had to test what was before me. That’s when I made a decision to take it a step further. I had to go the Gideon way. Judges 6:36-37”…I will place wool fleece…if there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand”. I definitely had to do this because the signs were so much or was it that I was getting excited and thinking that these were signs. We learn here of an important lesson here. There are confirmations which come unexpectedly and there are some we seek after. Gideon first was visited by the Lord but he went on to seek a confirmation on God’s part. I believe that a start to a relationship is about receiving first the grace of God. That’s why the bible talks about a prudent wife that comes from the Lord. We receive from the Lord and we have to be able to conceive within our hearts His will.

 

In the first chapter, I talked about how we would get excited when matters of the heart would be spoken about. We would dearly also want to get a ‘soul mate’. This is the feeling, I finally had. My friend was getting wedded in some 2 weeks and love was in the air but something kept tormenting me. It was no longer something I was just thinking about. It was not something I just felt about but it now also included something that I felt I had an urgent need to pray for. There it was! The need for my spirit to connect with God’s will. Love the Lord with all you heart, soul and mind. This was the secret to this love which was emanating within me. Let there be dew only on the fleece. Was I testing God? Was Gideon testing God? The bible explicitly tells us not to test God, only in the issue of tithes and offerings. I learnt at this point that testing is about determining the quality of a certain aspect. We test drive a car when we want to buy a new car just to see if it suits our needs. Students are tested just to know how much they have acquired. When Gideon went before the Lord, He had already seen the qualities of God. What he really wanted to do was to establish evidence of this truth which had been spoken to his life and that was confirming the will of God. I went on to do the same thing. One may ask why I needed to do all these things. I was facing a God-fearing woman, beautiful to just say part of the list. I had other personal dilemmas. I was now in my 5th and final year as an undergraduate student and was graduating in some seven months. Monique was from Belize, a country unknown to 90% of the people from my country. To some if you would mention British Honduras then a hint would come, otherwise to the many youngsters who dare not take history lessons, it’s a non-existent country. If I was to leave for Zimbabwe was I going to be able to see Monique again?

 

In my introduction, I talked about how it is in our nature to want instant maturity. There it was again. I was already thinking about how I was going to run a relationship without going through the first steps. Coupled to this, my country was undergoing the most difficult economic phase of its history. High inflation, economic and political derailment was the order of the day. How was I going to manage everything about a relationship in such a condition? This was all traumatizing. Monique was in her 3rd year and then I would have to wait two years for her to finish. Wow! I bet you have gone through such an experience whereby every negative thing that exists in this world outnumbers the positive. That’s exactly what was happening to me. More negatives poured around me. Culture difference, height difference, complexion difference, you can name it. I had drifted away from the Gideon spirit. There I was trying to figure out things on my own. Had I forgotten about God’s promise? This is very interesting and we should be able to take note of this in the beginning. Revelations 3:20 “…I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and him with Me”. Ultimately, what this verse is saying, you shut God out, He walks away. He is too much of a gentleman to wait upon you to make your own decisions in your own timing. Then I had to look at my fleece at this moment and just say oh God just make it wet and let the ground be dry.

 

It calls a great deal of expectancy for something you know you can’t see and that is called faith. You have to raise your hopes for a dry fleece and wet ground and vice versa especially with such a tantamount situation before you. I went to my youth pastors who were from my church and I said to myself, I just have to confirm about what was happening. I insist this was done on the basis of faith and not because this is what is supposed to happen to everyone. The importance of all this was the need to confirm. Samuel ran to Eli thinking that it was him who was calling him. Little did he know that it was the Lord calling until Eli confirmed it to him. Precisely what the bible teaches us in 2 Timothy 3:16 with the various situations in the bible are for us to gain wisdom and be able to act upon it. Everyone is unique in his or her own way.

 

My youth pastors at the church I used to fellowship with in Cuba saw me then with a troubled mind when I arrived at their home. They had never seen me so tense. I was nervous. I am the jovial type of guy but also show my emotions strongly, guess a weakness turned blessing.

 

In this instance, I decided to test the spirits. You may say why spirits when there was nothing to do with spirits? Yes there was. That’s where I was about to go wrong again. This is an issue of the heart and the spirit resides in the heart. We wrestle not against the rulers of this earth but against principalities. As Monique would put it ‘we are supernatural beings’. This was definitely a spiritually-natured issue so I had to consult with someone. Did I go to my youth pastors and tell them that I had seen Monique? I decided to act upon my faith. I told them that I had seen someone who might be fit to be my wife but was not going to give them a name. They did now know Monique as she was from another church. They said they were going to pray over it. Some few days later, we were outside the university campus; Monique, my youth pastor friend Lennox and his fiancée, discussing about how we were going to plan for their wedding. As we chatted, my youth pastors came by to see me. I saw the couple turn red with joy when they saw me, in particular my youth pastor’s wife. She immediately called me aside. I asked her if anything was wrong as she was now in tears. Little did I know that she was going to tell me something which would raise my faith to another level. She went on to say that the person I was standing with was the same person she had seen as she was praying.

 

This, I had only seen in movies like Facing the giants, The Climb. Never really thought it would happen. I had my fleece in my hand and of course wanted the dew to wet it and not the ground. This was way out of what I expected. Again I started questioning all this. The same question I had before. Height difference, nationality difference and all those differences I stated before. Though these questions were still lingering in my head, I was overjoyed by what was taking place. A spring was sprouting in my life. It was starting to flow more that I ever imagined. I believe that the first time Samuel ran to Eli and asked him about this calling him business in the middle of the night, he went back more enthusiastic. The bible tells us in an earlier verse that “Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favour with the Lord and with men” 1 Samuel 2:26. His enthusiasm had started as a young boy in that he was obedient to God and to man alike. But I also imagine this young man going back to his bed after Eli had told him that it was not him who called him. He could have dragged his feet as he went and lay down. He was quite sure that he had heard his name somewhere. Was this voice out of the ordinary? I guess not. This voice actually resembled Eli’s voice. That’s why he ran to him. Was this the voice of God speaking to my life again? One more problem had arisen within those days. I cannot confirm if this was God who wanted to me to be sure about where I stand.

 

Whilst I was cruising my studies, I had gotten to like this girl who was studying medicine. I imagined myself getting married to her in that I was going to be a geologist and her, a medical doctor. A perfect family in the 21st century! I had already forgotten about her and had not seen her in a while. All of a sudden she starts visiting me again. What would you have done in such a situation? I was living in the faith realm which I will never forget. God just had to confirm who my wife was supposed to be. Within me, I was growing to love Monique though we were not in a relationship as yet. All this happening in a space of a week!

 

I went with that medical student girl to a fast food outlet and little did I know again that the response of God was going to flow. We were just friends and decided to ask her where we stand as friends. What was I doing? The woman of God had confirmed something. My friend pastor had also confirmed something. Surely Monique knew how to cook better than me. I remember the end of year parties we would have at the foreigners’ Christian fraternity, she would do most of the baking and cooking and her food was second to none. God really works in mysterious ways we will never be able to comprehend. We ate at the fast food outlet and when I was about to open my mouth she told me some information which had me praising the Lord all day. For sure, I don’t know if she liked me but this came as an advantage. She confided in me not to tell anyone what she was about to tell me, don’t know why though. She told me that she had decided to leave the country and go to the United States of America. That meant her leaving her career, something to do with Cuban-American politics. I was overwhelmed with this one. Here I was about to do the most stupid thing and there I had a divine blanket thrown over me (Psalms 91:1). We parted our ways and that was that. God had intervened again. He is a God of the dry fleece-wet ground. I was now on track. This was getting so exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

 

God loves to work in extreme situations. Samuel was called “when the word of the Lord was rare”, Isaiah “when king Uzziah died”, David, “tending the sheep”. Many others we could mention in the bible. The bottom line is that our Father is too loving that he lets it come easy to us. He wants us to have it strong and to be founded upon the Rock. I went to my Resident Pastor and will mention his name as I dearly love him. Pastor Humberto has made a great impact in my life with the word of his testimony. As I said, I was walking in the faith realm. I went to him and told him the same thing I had told my youth pastors. I did not want to tell him who it was so I just told him that I have seen someone. He smiled like I have never seen before. I had to ask him why he was smiling like that and this is what he said: ‘tiene que ser aquella mulata’ [it has to be that light-coloured girl]. There were a lot of light-coloured girls in Cuba. He went on to tell me about Monique. Remember Monique was not from my church. People had seen me many-a-times singing with her. This was too good to be true. I tried to hide it but we cannot hide anything from what God has already spoken. I succumbed. Things were going too fast, from concentrating on my spiritual level to this and in the same week. God had confirmed so many things in my life.

 

I have mentioned some of the confirmations that God provided for me which were significant in my life. Does everything go through this tough line? Not everyone. Some people without thinking about it are presented with their spouses at a shopping mall, some at a funeral. The church of today has doctrinated the whole a process of beginning a relationship which is good at some stage. Some have gone to say that you cannot go direct and tell the person that you like him or her. Some tell you to go to the pastor and pray for three months and when you have gone through this time then it will be deciding time. There is nothing wrong with all these doctrines as long as they are founded on the word of God. They are meant to equip us more in our lives and not make the wrong decision. In the next chapter we will look at how couples came to be in the bible. Whether you have gone to the pastor or it’s a little birdie which comes and whispers into your ear, you need confirmation for your relationship. God even used a donkey to speak His word (Numbers 22). We worry so much about how God is going to speak to our lives but to each and every person, He has a unique way of doing it. As I write this book, my mind repeats these events as if they happened a few days ago. It’s because what God imprints in your life will have a lasting impression and makes a permanent mark in our lives. What a spiritual journey! Be open to let God work for you in your search for your soul mate. It does not need physical effort at all. It needs your disposition to let God untangle your life. Remember, He is waiting on you just by the door of your heart. You don’t need to tire seeking His presence. Judges 6:33 “Do not be angry with me. Let me make one more request”. We just have to be sure. The Lord loves these challenges, “…that night God did so, only the fleece was dry and the ground was covered with dew”. Don’t get weary but stand strong and spread those eagle wings (Isaiah 40:28-30).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparation

In this chapter we look at the final of this exciting “but where does everything begin”. We have been laying a foundation which during courtship will never be shaken, I mean never ever moved. We focus on couples in the bible and how this can influence our beginning. Remember these stories are not for amusement but for reproach, rebuke and to teach us the truth about God. We just have to cling unto them. As you read this book, you may have found it absurd to call this book “can two walk together?” whereas the real thing lies in that God is the third element in any relationship. The bible puts it this way: “Two are better than one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12). We just need God to intervene in our relationships right from the start. When God is at the centre of this cord then know that nothing will prevail over it. It just takes God to be at the apex for a successful start to your courtship. We are often taught about the importance of a spiritual life during counseling time as two people who are getting ready to wed. This is good as then you really know each others vision in terms of accomplishing the Great Commission. We resemble Christ and the church as we undertake a relationship. As we are going to learn, getting started comes in assorted fashions and never discourage yourself in the way your relationship could be taking off, if and only if there is a third element being involved in the cord. Yes, two may be better than one but who can just break a threefold cord with ease. Samson was bound by two new ropes but they just became as flax that had caught fire (Judges 15:13, 14).

 

The first couple we are going to take note of is Isaac and Rebekah. Isaac got his wife in one of the most fashionable way, now used as benchmark by many Christian Pentecostal denominations. Abraham was a man full of wisdom, close to the heart of God. He was the patriarch of that day and goes without saying that he is also for this modern age because of his faith. We are going to learn different concepts to the run up to a good courtship some of which have already been detailed in previous chapters. As earlier stated, Abraham made a declaration (prayer) to God that ‘he wanted a wife for his son’ Genesis 24:3. It’s very important that when we reach a point of making such declarations, we be in the right state with God. In verse one; we learn that “…the Lord blessed him in every way” meaning he was walking with God. He had all the right to make this declaration. This type of beginning has been used by many men of God to declare a love relationship between two young people. Isaac in his bare mind did not know but the spirit of God revealed who was to be the mother of the two nations. Remember Isaac was now at an advanced age but God had prepared a wife for him, declared through the prayers of someone else. Many a times, like in my case I became skeptical when my youth pastor made the same declaration. God already set up the stage but with my little faith, I did not know I was going to receive the greatest miracle in my life. I love the word of God. When Monique opened the door and asked me what I had forgotten and slammed the door to my face, something inexplicable happened. The word of God says this about Isaac, “He went into the field to meditate and as he looked…Rebecca also looked up and saw Isaac” vs. 63-64. This was exactly what happened the moment she slammed the door. I became more determined as I knew that this was a different situation.

“Isaac was told everything by the servant about what he had done” vs. 66. In the world we live in, we are used to the boy approaching the girl style but in this case it was different. The girl (Rebekah) approached the boy (Isaac). Remember a declaration had been made to that effect. Isaac did not even dream about a wife. He was the prayer guy (vs. 63); glued to the sacrificial worship his father had once done at Moriah. As soon as Rebekah saw Isaac, she took her veil and covered herself. Unfortunately for me, I had a door slammed into my face, ouch! After some time into our courtship with Monique, she told me she had even been eyeing me long before. She had gone to talk to her pastor, Reverend Day in Belize and had time of prayer during the holiday to the run up of this beginning. I myself was out there in the field (was in England that holiday) and little did I know that there were some negotiations going on at Nahor’s house, better known as Labans house because Rebekah was Laban’s sister. The battle field became so intense on Monique’s side because a word came to her just before we went for our vacations in 2006. Monique was about to get married to another person that vacation. I remember wishing her well for the wedding before dashing to catch my plane. Little did I know that whilst I was in the field, the chief servant was crying on my behalf. Recounts Monique, they spent the entire holiday praying and fasting about this.

 

As we read through this exciting beginning of Isaac and Rebekah, we recognize the hand of God in everything that transpired. First we hear the servant saying, “what if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land” vs. 5 and Abraham responded cheerfully in vs. 7. This had the Lord’s intervention. Abraham stood by the word of God, believed in a wife for his son, a word that the Lord himself had given to him. Therefore it was of no coincidence that when he was at the well, he spoke directly to the chosen one. Here we learn about another great aspect of “but where does it begin?” The servant prayed a Gideon prayer long before Gideon came along. He goes on to say: “Oh Lord…give me success today…may it be that when I say to a girl please let down your jar…let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac” vs. 13-14. I love the word of God. It goes on to say before he had even finished praying, Rebekah came out with a jar. Did the servant rush to conclude that this was the one? No! I mentioned that to begin my courtship with Monique, I went through a great deal of confirmations some which seemed silly and natural but later realized it was the hand of God. I remember one other confirmation I pleaded before God and turned out to be a false alarm. Remember my run up to this great relationship with Monique came in almost 3 weeks as we started courting on the 19th of December when all this drama had begun at the commencement of the month. I just wanted to know if it was really God speaking to my life. I was in my room and I prayed a small prayer like this: “God, if you are the one leading me to this relationship, when I go to Monique’s room, let there be no other guys in the room so that I can talk to her about what was burning in my heart”. To explain a bit further, Monique is the likeable woman. She was like a Wendy in the story of Peter Pan. She was like a mother to the Christian fraternity. You are hungry, you knew you could have some eats at her place , did not have money then definitely she would starve herself so as to help; so it was natural that her room was always full of people.

 

Looked into the mirror and guess I was ready. To my surprise, I knock the door and I see a whole bunch of boys watching The Diary of a Mad Black Woman. I was devastated. “Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful” vs. 21. Mine definitely was not successful! Again we learn about the timing. Was it my timing or Gods timing? I did not know at that instance but now I know that it was my timing. I just had to go back with my head low and I can still hear Monique trying to talk me out of what I had really come for but could not say it in front of all these people and remember I had never really asked anyone out so it was a tough situation for me. I did not even know how to do it. Tried it again and this time around there was one person in the room being taught programming by Monique.

 

The bottom line is to continue glued on the word of God. Abraham’s servant had his doubts even when the first confirmation came out perfect. There is no harm in that. Some critics would add: ‘better later than never’. You have to continue seeking the presence. The moment Rebekah told him about her household, he was relieved but this does not mean the battle was over. It was far from starting. As you endeavour to begin, do not conform to first hand sign; push faith harder because the outcome is going to be greater than you would imagine. Was Rebekah given to the servant at that instance? Alas, it was a struggle. Am I saying everyone has to struggle to be in a relationship? No ways! But remember you will always have to labour for that perfect love. How you labour, it’s up to your uniqueness. No one should determine the course of how it is supposed to be done, only the Father in heaven. Look at Esau and Jacob. Jacob practically had the same predicament as his father in acquiring his wife but Esau went on to get a Hittite woman without the blessing from within and the results were devastating “they were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah” Genesis 26:35.

 

Everything confirmed on the servants part and ready to go, “but her brother and her mother replied, Let the girl remain with us ten days or so; then she may go” vs. 55. Where my 10 days of fasting going to be sufficient to have another confirmation so that I could really know if Monique was meant to be mine? At this juncture, not even nationality difference mattered to me. I had to go on that ten day fast so just to know how this was going to end up. People tried all sorts of tricks on me, guess love is blind and as Abraham’s servant, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey” vs. 56. I was really getting more and more assured as different confirmations were coming to me. It was just time that they would say, “lets call the girl and ask her about it” vs.57. I was also waiting for the “I will go” vs. 58 and this was the ultimate confirmation for me.

I went to Monique’s room on the 19th of December and the ‘I will go’ is what I was hoping for. First of course I made my little prayer but this time it was different. There was an interdenominational Christmas concert at a nearby theatre. It was winter but I fancied wearing some jeans and a white shirt. This may seem foolish but what happened next blew my mind. I was going to ask Monique if I could accompany her to the concert. As I enter her room, she had a black outfit on her bed. That was it! Before I had gone to ask Monique to go with me to the concert, I had looked at a black shirt and had told God my little secret prayer: ‘if Monique is going to go out with me to the concert, then she will be in black’. Stupid prayer, I guess but it worked for the good. She was going to wear black. I asked her if I could accompany her to the concert and she just said to me in front of her room mates: “I never thought you would ask, ‘yes I will go” vs. 58.

 

The dilemma in my head: was I doing the right thing? At our church our pastor had precisely talked about how relationships were to be treated in church. When a boy sees a girl he likes, he should inform the pastor and then pray together for 3 months and then at the end it was when a decision was to be made. I was not prepared for that long neither was Abraham’s chief servant. “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted me success to my journey” vs. 56. I felt within me that I had received enough confirmations to just cap this one. Was I going to be expelled from church because of the route I was taking? Monique was going to a different church but they practically had the same rules. I then said to myself, I will see when it comes to that but I know this is the woman who is supposed to be my wife. I am not encouraging you to go against the doctrines of you local church but I want to assure you that what God has brought together no man can put asunder. I think I was just mischievous!

 

For sure when I went to my room, I dressed up smart and went to pick up Monique. She looked stunning than never before. I almost told her that I was not going to take her to the concert because this was becoming too much to handle. Was that not the powerful and great wind which shattered the rocks? Monique told me that I would have been stupid if I had not taken her to the concert because this was also going to be her last time she was going to meditate upon this issue as she later recalls. Had I taken too long to decide on this? I just had to be sure of this one. We walked to the theatre and I sat beside Monique and later as a friend of mine, Jojo would recount, he could not just help but see the flare between us. I was nervous to death. Could this be the night that I had been dreaming about? This day, was the end of my ten day fast I talked about in an earlier chapter. Something had to come out of it as they say in soccer “it was a do or die’ moment

 

Did Laban and his mother not try to detain Rebekah? I do not know the mystery that made Rebekah go against his brothers’ wish. Normally it’s the brothers who are overprotective over their sisters. Was I ready for all this? But the Labans are not only the brothers in the house; they also come in different shapes and sizes. They could say, ‘are you sure, it is the Lord who spoke to you?’ I can just imagine poor young Samuel. There was no vision at that time and all of a sudden a vision comes; like the dreamer, Joseph all full of knowledge and wisdom. This also happens in the beginning. As the concert was over, I decided to take Monique for a drink. I was determined that this was the last night as friends and we were moving a step forward. Monique, for months had waited on this to happen but for me it had only been 3 weeks. As we went into a fast food restaurant so that we could sit and talk, there comes another guy and pulls Monique to the side. Remember, Monique was the dear mother to all and so she could not resist and neither could I. What was happening? Was this another Laban trying to be overprotective? Little did I know that this guy was already asking Monique what she prefers to drink. This man had no respect! Couldn’t he see that I was with Monique or was it one of the Labans or maybe God was trying to warn me away from what I was about to do. For sure after so many things had happened towards the beginning, this could not be the end. Up to this time, I had been an Abraham at Pharaoh’s house, treating Monique like my sister whereas there was something more to it. I became so angry with this guy though I did not show it outwardly. What was becoming of me? Why was I being drawn to anger when Monique was just ‘a sister’.

 

God is just a good Lord. He works in ways we are never able to understand. Just at that moment Monique looked at me and deep inside her, she felt a fierce battle going on, I reclaiming my territory and she not wanting to do something that will make her lose me. “So she took her veil and covered herself” Genesis 24:65. Monique practically did the same thing. She quickly turned to me and asked if we could leave. I was relieved. An Isaac I had become “…and Isaac was comforted after his mothers death” vs. 67. I really got that comfort and said a little prayer in my heart-thank you Jesus because you work in ways we cannot understand. Of course this was the final hurdle. As we walked back to the university, we talked about where we were heading as ‘friends’ which was for the last time that night. We got to agree on so many things and it became the happiest moment of my life. I could not believe that Monique had accepted me as her boyfriend and that we were going to cruise on this spiritual journey. For sure this had not been “a great and mighty wind” but was the soft voice which made me just to go back to the desert of Damascus. God had provided for me in a fashionable way and he can do the same thing in your life. As we go on learning from other couples who came to be together in the bible, we realize that there is actually nothing new under the sun in terms of relationship beginnings. We just have to adhere and stand firm on His word because He is a righteous and holy God.

 

It will go without saying that not everything comes out perfect as the Isaac and Rebekah story. Just some time later, we see Jacob faced with a very difficult predicament. For sure, the same method had been used by his father. Isaac precisely told Jacob to go back to the house of Laban. By then, Laban should have been a very wealthy guy. The sister gone and now it was not only one daughter but two of them that were at stake. I can just think in African terms the amount of dowry he accumulated from all this; cattle, goats and maybe cars. It was at the same well, the chief servant had met Rebekah and then it was Jacob meeting Rachel. They had a rare kind of meeting. The bible says that “Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud” Genesis 29:11. Was this love at first sight? We read later that Jacob was offered as a wage, the daughter of Laban. It says “Jacob was in love with Rachel” vs. 18. Precisely we learn a concept of the beginning. Not all beginnings are the same. Some take longer than others but we still have to labour for them in unique ways whether this was love at first sight situation but Jacob ended up working for fourteen years to get the woman he dearly desired.

 

We discussed in earlier chapters about making clear your desires before the Lord. Leah was a woman with weak eyes but Rachel was lovely in form and beautiful. There is no one who is ugly in this world but your preferences may differ from the one next door. I don’t think there was anything wrong with Leah, only that Jacob saw Rachel much more lovely and beautiful. Here, we have to understand though that it is the Lord who has final say because a prudent woman just comes from Lord. A slightly similar predicament happened to me before I could confirm about Monique. Recalling from the confirmation chapter in this book, I talked about another medical student I liked. Speaking to young men, we are often faced with such situations whereby when this love issue starts creeping into our hearts, suddenly all the girls become nicer or vice versa all of them want to be with you. There was my Leah. Take note, Leah had not done anything wrong for being Jacob’s love. It was just the custom that she had to get married before the younger sister. How did I really get out of this predicament – a girl I like all of sudden starts visiting me after maybe a year without seeing each other? The answer came there and then when we were having our lunch or rather when she was eating the hot dog I had bought her.

 

My pastors’ wife, some four months earlier had a simple debate with the young people of our church just after an evening service. I had never understood what the bible talks about when it says when you are married to unbeliever, do not divorce her. I thought the verse meant I could get a girlfriend from the world. I argued with all my heart that it was right until my pastors’ wife opened 2 Corinthians 6:14. It changed my whole thinking about relationships with unbelievers. Little had I known the word of the Lord rebukes us about this. To me, it was completely acceptable to go out with a person who is not a Christian. Rachel was a wife of promise. She was the one who was meant for Jacob but things did not turn out the way Jacob wanted it to be like. It was a disaster discovering that Leah was the one he had been given instead of Rachel. This medical student girl was not a believer and I became the more certain that this was not from God and had to let go this Leah out of my life.

 

As young people, be it a woman or man, we are usually faced with such situations at the beginning. If it’s a woman you just start seeing guys noticing you and trying to ask you out. Be careful, there is always a soft voice which will make you to be “still and know that He is God” Psalms 46:10. We also learn from Jacob about the spirit of patience. Abraham’s chief servant took a few days to have a wife for Isaac but for Jacob it took some fourteen good years to get to the love of his life! We try to rush our way through things without many a times waiting upon the Lord. Abrahams servant just “did not utter a word…he watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful” vs. 21. We have to be prepared to soar high into the sky like eagles. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength and sour on wings like eagles” Isaiah 40:31. Interestingly enough, eagles to catch a bigger prey, they go higher and higher into the sky where other birds cannot reach and then look down with a better view of its prey and comes pounding on it. This is also what is supposed to happen at the beginning, soar higher into His mercies by practicing our Christian custom which I earlier called “kneeology” and when we have hoped in the Lord, time will no longer exist but it would be a fulfillment of God’s secret because we would have already taped into it.

 

In our modern day and age, it has become unfortunate that if a woman shows interest in a man and emails him, calls him or tries to relate to him, she is regarded a stalker. Reading an article in The Herald (www.herald.co.zw), I saw a feature edition named: Do women have choices, space? (Herald-Wednesday 30 December 2009 by Joyce Jenje Makwenda). It talked about this guy who was being nagged by this lady through emails and phone calls. As I read the article it argued that there was nothing wrong with a woman approaching a man. In fact, in the olden days, women were allowed to have a choice and one way of doing this was to get close to the mother of the man that you wanted to propose that is by fetching firewood, water etc for her. The article talked about Jenaguru (full moon festival) where young girls and boys met. At the Jenaguru, if a girl saw the man she loved, she would sing a song like “sarura wako kadeya kadeya nendoro chena wangu mutema/mutsvuku…” pointing to the guy that she is interested in and if the guy was interested he would join in the circle and the rest would be history.

 

In my entire quest for Monique, she had since been praying. She told me later that she had done every kind of style just to draw my attention to her but I was in the field like Isaac. I remember Monique cooking a nice meal and invited me over. Things were just hard in Cuba and to get a good meal needed a lot of patience. She had even baked a cake. Oh how I loved it. This was a Saturday and then on Sunday she invited me to yet another meal. As the sociable guy, I went over to her room and ate hungrily as this was just another meal to me. I did not have an idea, if this was a way of catching my attention but one thing I am sure of is that it worked. I remember the other time she baked a chocolate cake and I went visiting her with a friend. This friend was used to Monique and she would freely give my friend anything he wanted. This day was different. My friend had got used to idea of getting what he wanted without any fuss and he just stormed into Monique’s room and was about to help himself with the cake. I had never seen all hell break loose as compared to what happened this day. Guess it was not a good day for this friend of mine. You can imagine what this guy was told. I looked on speechlessly, at the turn of events and was about to go out of the room when Monique offered me a big piece of cake and offered me to come and get more whenever I desired . Was this another way of catching my attention, I will not ask. Another time, in mid-October I actually went on to tell Monique that I could offer her some phone numbers of guys in school so she could start on a new page but little did I know that she wanted my phone number as a friend later recalled. She had actually told the friend that Garikai was the weirdest man ever as he could not see any signs but God had a better plan.

 

The bottom line of all these anecdotes is not to convince young woman to be eyeing but to ascertain to you, the reader that it’s not about how you have been taught how it’s done that will give you a prudent wife but what the Lord is saying in the beginning. I could go on with different stories about women choices and space but it would be wiser to peruse though the bible and ascertain this way of beginning a relationship.

 

One fantastic example we learn of in the bible is Ruth. Ruth could easily fit in a Zimbabwean culture. She was not going to leave her mother in law; she was committed totally to her family through her husband, Naomi’s son. As in the article of the Herald, she won favour of her mother in law, Naomi. This was going to pave way for Ruth’s marriage to Boaz. Whether it was Boaz who started first on Ruth (Ruth 2:8), the bottom line is that Ruth took the action. Many a times, we fear as young man to be rejected by a young woman because of many reasons that may occur in our minds. I would have wanted to be waiting around with Boaz in the field and really tread into his mind. According to my imagination, as a single young rich man, he was eyeing the gleaners. They were so many in the different portions of the field. At the exact time, there he saw Ruth. He became inquisitive about her and he was told the history of Ruth. Could it be that he had an eye for Ruth, the bible never says anything in this chapter but later on in the next chapter we can allay our fears. Boaz presented all kinds of favours to Ruth. I guess he could have tried to talk to her but she was a Moabite! The young man became paralyzed and did not know what to do. In the introduction to this book, we talked about which route to take – dating route, the flirting route, the flowers route? I do not know if this was what Boaz was trying to achieve but it seemed as if it worked.

 

We read that Naomi made Ruth prepare herself, “Wash and perfume yourself and put on your best clothes” Ruth3:3. Ruth had taken the matter into her own hands. Finally Boaz and Ruth got married and Ruth is regarded as part of the lineage of Jesus, though a Moabite, we learn that a relationship does not always come about by the man always doing the proposing but a woman can take matters into her hands. If I had delayed, I guess Monique would have taken the reigns. Boaz made haste when he saw what was happening. He quickly moved everything a step ahead but it was Ruth who had set the pace. Whilst he was staling, Ruth was now determined about her future. All this calls for the understanding of the word of God and standing firm on His promises.

 

Reading the word of God, I then discovered that this is possible. A lady may then ask, why a prudent wife, why does the bible never mention a prudent husband? If a woman can first fall in love with a man then surely the bible should have mentioned a prudent husband. This is the mystery of the cross. Christ as the husband seeks the church to be united with him. Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave…”. It’s the man who takes the honours and not the wife. You will see that in all cases of couples in the bible that started with the woman loving the man, the final action was taken by the man. Ouch! Quiet a mystery. The man will always seek for his lost rib. The man has his obligation and a part to play in all this. Psalms 128 gives us an idea of what is to be expected from the man.

 

The issue of love at first sight has always been a controversial one. I used to be part of the school of thinking that said this is more than impossible to happen and people grow to love each other as in the last case we analyzed. From the teachings I had received, one has to grow to love someone and love at first sight is a complete right off when it comes to marriage. I for one never experienced it but it does not mean that it never happens. I believe even so that as “you grow in love” there is always an element of love at first sight.

 

“Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David” I Samuel 18:20. This was another lady who went through the odds. His father wanted this to happen so it becomes a trap. The bottom line is, she was the first to love David. When David had been thinking about Merab, Saul’s daughter was going to be his; Michal already had an eye for him. Her love for David was well demonstrated in that she even allowed David to escape the hatred of Saul as we read in 1 Samuel 19. We learn a very interesting concept here. Michal gave her all for the beginning to be good. We see her later warning David about his imminent death by Saul’s hand. Starting off will always need a sacrifice and confiding not only in God but also in the person you chose. It’s not easy but it is possible.

 

We continue to tap into the biblical couples and we now look at David and Bathsheba. As we learn about David and Bathsheba, we have to bear in mind about the concepts we have discussed in earlier chapters and see if they apply here. “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing” 2 Samuel 11:2. For sure this was love at first sight as we read later that David made her conceive. They fell in love and they were already in bed, ouch what an error! Thinking about it, David was a human being just like us who had feelings but he directed his feelings the wrong way. We learnt in the first few chapters that a relationship built on Gods word is the one which shall stand all odds. David had demonstrated love at first sight but had been at the wrong place at the wrong time. David was supposed to be at war with other kings (2 Samuel 11:1) but he chose to “remain in Jerusalem”. Had David been at war just like any other king then he would not have gone to the extent of killing Bathsheba’s husband, a thing he later repented of in Psalms 51. So is love at first sight bad? Here in the story of David we learn about the concepts which will make us distinguish it as a good thing. When David ‘saw’ Bathsheba he had options before him. Yes he has seen and fallen in love, nothing wrong with that but when this happens then we have to consider the following option that David had at this juncture. When he saw Bathsheba, he could have looked away or even left his roof top perch. Remember this was someone else’s wife. But let’s say she was not anyone’s wife. Then this is the time to look up for inspiration. There is no need to look and “sleep with her” 2 Samuel 11:4. David could have also gone with the troops. There was still ample time for that. You can also consult other people and pray about it. The bible in Proverbs says in the multitude of counselors there is great advice so it could also be a good opportunity for you to seek other peoples backing in prayer and advice. He could have contacted Nathan or other godly friends to support. Here we learn about something very important to the start of a relationship. When we realize we are in love, do not keep it to yourself. There is an extra blessing when you announce it to your immediate godly friends and godly people around you.

 

Just after the night I asked Monique to be my girlfriend, I did not keep it to myself. In my case, it was a bit different in that some of the people I went to tell already knew that it was going to happen but one thing I did was to go back to those people and still announce my beginning. This was supposed to be a public relationship and not one held in clandestine. When I went back to Zimbabwe, I quickly told my youth pastor, Rev Faithful and here comes the extra blessing in it. She would pray for us and with us though she had never met Monique personally. When you realize that your relationship is in secret then you dare go back to the drawing board.

 

I remember going to my friends house on the 21st of December 2006 and coincidentally he had his birthday and some few friends from church had gathered at the house to have a meal and there we announced the start. Save the emotions and the crying for happiness, we just felt right doing this. We now had the support of other godly people. We quickly announced our relationship in church on the 31st of December 2006. It felt even better when the whole church threw their support for us. When I started visiting Faith World Ministries, I quickly announced about my engagement to my youth pastor, Rev. Faithful. She helped in prayer and fasting and her support overwhelmed us. She did not personally know Monique but through her another confirmation came by. What I am trying to say is that yes love at first sight may be there but the basics never change. You have so many options and go on to avoid the ‘the great temptation’. I have noticed something that when a relationship becomes an open book to everyone then those sins associated with courtship matters vanish. Just doing everything in the open really helps.

 

On a lighter note, we learn about how Esther was chosen to be the queen of Persia. It was the equivalence of a Jenaguru in Zimbabwe. “Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any other and she won his favour” Esther 2:17. We see another classical style of love at first sight. Many women had passed through the kings’ royal residence but it was her who got the most votes. So is it right to have a voting squad where you select the best out of ten candidates? I am of the school of thought that this should not be applied to Christian ethics. You can’t have a selection like it was a pair of shoes. This will not be correct. One thing I can assure you is that when you follow the basic rules of the beginning then you will not even have a selection to go through. But King Xerxes went through the same procedure of selection you may ask. The bible is there to reproach and rebuke. It’s meant for us to learn so that we do not fall into the same trap. Xerxes was king of Persia and had no idea of the customs and respect of the Jews. It was therefore natural for him to have a ‘catwalk’ in his palace and parade all the beauties and then select the one he was attracted to. As a child of God, we definitely do not need a catwalk. We need the power and spirit of God to move upon our lives and receive that prudent wife.

 

Not all beginnings are smooth. Sometimes there are rough detours but when you know you are backed by the Holy Spirit, do not fear about anything. “Because Joseph, her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly” Matthew 1:19. Wow, quite a beginning! Before they even began, it was going to be over because of a rough patch. Was Joseph wrong? He was not married to her and even if he was married to her, he had every right to divorce her. This was outright adultery. Not wanting to be disgraced, he sought to leave her. What transpires after this is common knowledge to everyone. This was a typical beginning also evident in our modern world. Not necessarily does it have to be a pregnancy but a detour comes in all forms and shape. Monique was all excited and above the moon about our start. With all this excitement a rough patch was coming. Monique decided to tell her mother about our relationship. There was nothing wrong with that although personally just thought it was early but when was it going to be right time? Five days into the relationship did not seem realistic to me, so I thought. We used to share the cellphone at school so that we could receive calls from our parents. But before this arrangement happened, I was the owner of the cellphone. I then told Monique on Christmas day that she could send a text to her mother to wish her a Merry Christmas. That was it! Her mother asked for whom the cell phone was for and Monique happily said it’s for Garikai and she asked who that was. “Mum, it’s my boyfriend” she said. To cut the long story short, we had to pray and fast because my now dear mother-in-law did not want to hear anything from her daughter. She felt betrayed but to our part it was one of the roughest patches we had for the beginning. Whilst everyone was supporting us, one of the most important people was against it. The bottom line is not all beginnings are going to be smooth. There is going to be some resistance of some sort.

 

I remember at my friends wedding on the 23rd of December, a good friend of mine started giving me a hard time; this was just 4 days into our relationship. I had no idea that he liked Monique but well it was one of those detours. What did I do right there at the wedding? I prayed a little prayer and asked for God’s wisdom. Whilst the people were merrying and enjoying the reception, I took this guy for a walk and talked to him. For sure he was giving me a hard time but I never knew until I talked to him that night and everything came to the light. It was just one of those patches which just needed mending.

 

I could continue with the beginning of different couples in the bible. We have model beginnings like Isaac and Rebekah and we also have strained beginnings such as David and Bathsheba. All these are relationships in the beginning. Your beginning will definitely set your pace for what you are going to experience in your marriage. In the introduction to this book, I purposely put it this way; ‘It’s only natural when beginning some new relationship/courting/dating…’ These terms are so common in the world we live in. When two young people start out and are asked by others you could possibly hear such an answer as: ‘we are an item or we are dating’. As I close on this subject on ‘but where does everything begin’ it will be of importance as a child of God to know where you should stand on these terms. I will speak from my own experience. When I talked to Monique about where we stand, this was not a date. A date is usually something temporary and with no flings attached. There is no commitment within it and usually everything is done in secrecy. You do not want to be seen because you are just not sure. You cannot even announce it to your pastor that I am going to lunch with this girl because it is a clandestine act. We learnt from David that this dating procedure of ‘trying out’ alludes to disaster. When dating you are not in fear of anything and you can do anything permissible on this earth. Is therefore dating wrong? As for Christians it’s not even an option, only one man for one woman. We are not the King Xerxes’ where we first test each one that passes through our palace to then see the right one. Food for thought!

 

When two people decide to walk together, they enter into a relationship. Relationships are everywhere, be it in a Christian environment or not. The difference that arises from the one in the world is that our relationships are not earmarked for ‘itemizing’ or dating but for courtship. When courting, the ultimate goal is for marriage. There are no two ways about it. As Christians when we are sure of the person God wants us to be with, we enter into this period of courtship. Courtship arises because of the need to prepare and get to understand the person you are with. Everyone would have loved the Isaac way. It was instant. He just saw Rebekah and got married to her. There was no delay whatsoever. We live in a different world whereby we have to prepare for dowry, our wedding etc and all this needs money which you have to start accumulating. Normally one does not start putting money for dowry aside before you even meet ‘the one’. You start when you know you have found someone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beginning

The beginning is an exciting time because you are surrendering all you are to the Almighty to start doing a work in you. The basic principles which include prayer, trusting, confirmation are supposed to be what you have to be on the watch as you begin your search. Ecclesiastes dwells in depth with the issue of purpose. There should be a purpose for entering a courtship. We are children of God and that we cannot run away from. A purpose should be clearly inscribed as you seek your beloved one. Your purpose should be God oriented and should be after the Great Commission. There should be an element of why this one, for what reason? We learn from Gideon that purpose is more than essential. There was a purpose of the visit by the angel of God to Mary’s life and let it also manifest in your life.

 

Now you have practically gone through the beginning, we now want to go on a journey of some the things you are may experience during your courtship. These are going to differ from couple to couple but there are certain elements you cannot run away as we now cruise in a totally different world, courtship.

 

We are now in the phase that some feel like giving up. A stage which is supposed to be exciting becomes marred with so many problems. Problems for sure will come but they are not supposed to overtake what God will have placed in your hearts for each other. This will be a whole new world. You are moving from independence to interdependence. You can no longer just make decisions as you used to do when you were alone. You start developing a sixth sense and in my case is called Monique. Will this happen in one day or in one month? This takes time and you will have to be prepared for this. I continue to insist that every relationship is unique. You can never be able to compare what happened to your pastors’ courtship and yours. There are doctrines to be followed in every church we visit but these ingredients I am going to state in this book are universal. These, as I have seen with many married couples need to be gained from the start.

 

One day, as I spoke to Monique some 2 weeks after we had started our courtship, I echoed some statement to her. I said: ‘Monique, I just don’t get it. Why is that people fight so much in their relationships, whereas we never do that’. She just looked at me and again looked at me. Monique is not the kind of person who just answers. She thinks through and then presents her answer in a fashionable way. ‘Garikai, its not that people love to fight. Do not take for granted of what we are having. It does not mean we are never going to argue. We are still starting that’s why everything looks so rosy. I am not predicting doom for us but be prepared for anything that may try to come and disrupt our lives. This is a season we are going through (she is an expect at this season-reason thing) but we should always know the reason (purpose) why we are together’. I was stunned. Never did I know that such wisdom was just waiting to be unlocked. Later in the evening, I left her refrigerator door open and there it started. She screamed at me for being careless. In my anger, I used my foot to close the door. This was even worse than I had even imagined. Was this the same person who had unlocked such wisdom in the afternoon? I could not believe it that she screamed at me. I went out of the room and went back to my residence and stayed all night awake thinking. Is that what I was in for? Was I going to support this kind of life? To put it straight out, Monique is more of perfectionist whereas I am more of a carefree person. What works for that time is what I go for. She instead, will want to find out the pros and cons of a certain process.

 

God had blessed us with a network at school so we used to call each over the local area network (LAN) at night and we would talk over the network for some time and then we would go to sleep. Not this day. I switched off my laptop but would switch it on occasionally to see if Monique had sent me an email of apology for what she had done. One the other side of the university, Monique was doing the same. Night went and day came. I could not withstand this anyone so I decided to go back. I could not withstand this anymore so I decided to go back to her room and TALK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talk

Talk, communicate, whatever the word you may desire to use, constitutes one of the most important ingredients in your courtship. Whether it is for only 6 months or is long as mine was, this is a skill you have to acquire. Ecclesiastes 10:10 “If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success”. When you start your relationship, you are a dull axe; you don’t know what is at stake. Maybe you were in another relationship before; you can’t go on to say I never used to do this before. That is now in the past. We just do not deal with the past.

 

When I went to Cuba, the family which took me as one of theirs, loved me with all their heart but they could not stand the statement I used to utter; ‘en mi pais’ that is ‘in my country’…this and that. I never used to approve of some of the things they would do. First it was the food. I had never seen rice and beans cooked in the same pot and to make matters worse the beans were black. I will then utter my usual statement. I had never seen cold meat like polony, neither ham fried, nor had I seen people in Zimbabwe having rice with boiled eggs for supper. This was a whole new world to me. Of course I had heard that in the Caribe they eat crabs, shrimps, prawns but this was something totally new to me. The reciprocal was always true. I would tell them that we eat sadza (mealie pap) with hands. To them that was a backward culture. They could not understand how someone would use their bare hands to eat. They could not understand either that our maize (corn) was white or not yellow. Only when I received a packet of maize meal from home that I had to prove to them that for sure there was white maize. Better still they did not understand how I could talk about baked beans and later talk about beans in a can. This was all confusing. They ate green tomatoes like they were normal red tomatoes. We just had to start opening up about our cultural backgrounds. Before we came to talk, I even wanted to leave the denomination because whatever I said they would openly criticize my culture and likewise I would do the same. I had been taught to wash my hands before eating so as to avoid cholera and for them it was straight to the table. What a mess!

 

You may be wondering why I mention all this when we are talking about relationships. It was only at Christmas dinner that we sat down and talked about our cultural differences. Talking about it relieved a lot of stress which was upon my life. I never knew the difference it would make one day. Communication is a powerful tool in any relationship and ultimately in a marriage. We take the classical example in the bible. Genesis 11 talks about the Tower of Babel. ‘Come let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other’ Genesis 11:7. You may say how cruel but mankind caused this upon itself. They had selfish ambitions. Most of the time, this strains a somehow good relationship. Genesis 11:1 ‘Now the whole world had one language and a common speech’. These people had understood each other because they spoke the same language. We have to endeavour to speak the same language although this may seem insurmountable. Monique and I went on this reel like the people who were building the Tower of Babel. For sure we all wanted it to work but we were just not on the same page. She wanted things done in her own way and I was used to doing things in my own way. I went back to her room to talk. I told her that I was used to leaving the door opened as fridges normally have a spring effect whereby the door closes on its own, if you give it a little small push. She told me that she had never seen and heard of such and was used to the conventional way. Who was going to win? Talking it through, I saw I was in the wrong. We settled to do it the conventional way and a bit of my way- I could push it but not too hard that it bangs. We were on good books again.

 

The Tower of Babel teaches us that to speak the same language is very important. Some may say it can be boring as we would speak the same language but for sure can two walk together unless they have agreed? Some may even be of the opinion that ‘I will see this later in marriage’ but this is an erroneous option. The beginning should have this ingredient. The Preacher in Ecclesiastes warns us against this ‘at the beginning his words are folly-at the end they are wicked madness and the fool multiplies words; no one knows what is coming-who can tell him what will happen after him?’ Ecclesiastes 10:13-14. You begin on the wrong track; at the end you become unpredictable. Because of communication skills, we have established during our courtship life is easier as I can quickly predict how Monique is going to react and likewise she can convince me on certain issues. Did this come by as miracle? We talked about how to improve our communication skills. We actually sat down after the fridge incident and discussed about our no-communication problem and how we were going to go about it. We decided that it was imperative we spoke out and aired our grievances to each other, compliments were also supposed to be part of our daily dialogue. There was no way Monique was going to help me in typing my assignment and I just assume that she knew that I was thankful. We then decided to even change the way we addressed each other. Now instead of Garikai, Monique we went for babes, baby, darling, honey, Gary, Mr. Katsere, Casey, Mons etc. This was a way of showing affection to each other.

 

It’s amazing how quickly a partner in your courtship can jump to conclusion about the other. Joshua 22 is a typical chapter. The armies of Joshua made this mistake. They jumped to conclusions. They went into action against their brothers before they bothered to find out what had really transpired. The new altar that the eastern tribes built appeared to Joshua to be something completely different from what it was meant to be; an altar that was competing with God, when in reality it was only built to remind the tribes of the very same God that the western tribes worshipped. Joshua and his people chose to prepare for war rather than prepare to talk first. For you to be able to start talking, you have to build that essential level of trust. I was the co-praise and worship leader at my church in Cuba. Monique continued to visit her church whilst I was still in Cuba. On Tuesday, I had time of prayer with the group which would go way into the night and that meant that I would talk to Monique barely 5 minutes before I dashed to my room. On Wednesday, we had a service so that was another night out. Thursday was day of prayer and fasting at church and Friday we had the foreigners’ service so these two days were definitely out. Saturday, we would go to Monique’s church which was much further than mine so we would retire to our respective rooms and not talk. I had service on Sunday in the morning so the week was over. I was concentrating on my thesis so Monday was out as I would have spent the whole day collecting and processing data. Monique would just go like ‘I know you are busy’ but it was eating her inside. She could not understand what kind of boyfriend just comes and talks to her for five minutes and goes. To me, everything was so perfect. Who could not have loved a boyfriend like me, keen on the things of God like this? One day as I came to say my goodnight I saw Monique sulky. I asked her what the problem was and she related it to me. I was shocked. I did not know how to take this one but afterwards we reached a compromise. I was not going to cut on my activities but was going to try to always leave earlier to accommodate Monique in my busy schedule.

 

“If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a fore were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend with who I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God” Psalms 55;12-14. The last part of verse fourteen talks about how Godly relationships should start. They are sweet. Mine was the best and up to now I thank God for putting it this way. What relationship can’t relate to the words of these verses? As communication between the two develops, it will naturally open criticism. Sooner or later, whether intending to be critical or not, your partner will off-handedly critique something you do (or don’t do). That’s when we join with the Psalmist, “if an enemy was insulting me, I could endure it… ‘But you, my soul mate!” This is true. We have gown up in a world where everything is intended to be perfect…and they happily lived ever after, so goes the famous fairy tales. Yes, you can live happy in your relationship from the start if you are going to communicate effectively.

 

Because of our difference in nationality, we had to visit both countries of birth that is Belize and Zimbabwe. We had never traveled together on a long journey and going to Belize together was a first. We really were tight on money but we were going to make it. At the airport, I asked Monique if she would like something to eat before we boarded the plane. She frantically told me a confident no. Good for us that was part of saving money as we would be having a meal in the plane just some few minutes after take off, so I thought. After some few minutes Monique said she was hungry. Could I take that? Don’t get it wrong. Monique is a woman who would never ask me for money. She would make sure she has enough money of her own. She was hungry and had to buy her something before we boarded the plane. For sure we had not eaten anything since morning as we were in a hurry to catch the plane. We started an argument. To me it looked so foolish to why she just had said no to my proposal five minutes earlier and all of a sudden the same thing she refused was the one she was asking for. This could not be true. I criticized her heavily for this and it did not end up well. We boarded the plane on each others neck. We almost changed seating arrangements because of this argument. To anyone, it looked genuine. Who would deny I was right? But was that the right way to respond? After some few minutes the plane had taken off, we were talking again and we apologized to each other for these unruly characteristics we were demonstrating as Christians.

 

Communication is a two way attribute. It involves talking but it also involves listening. Listening is vital for a good relationship. I remember when I learnt about this part of communication whilst conversing with Monique. A phone conversation went as follows:

 

Monique: Hello baby

Garikai: Hi babes

Monique: So how are you?

Garikai: I am cool and hope you are blessed…

The phone just became quiet. Not that there was an interruption of service but I suddenly became quiet on purpose. After some 30 seconds the conversation turned this way

Monique: Baby, why are you so quiet? Is anything wrong?

Garikai: I am okay. Why do you ask?

Monique: Say something, are you sure you are not lying to me; tell me if there is anything wrong?

 

I started laughing and then said:

Garikai: Babe, the thing is I have learnt to listen and not just be the bla bla bla guy. Today I just want to hear you speak. I want to hear about your spiritual, physical and emotional life.

 

She was stunned. She was used to me only talking and talking and never listening to what she says. Nothing is more irritating for a partner to start telling you something and you realize your partner is not even listening. Fortunately when we talk to God, (1 John 5:14) we don’t have to work to get His attention. Listening is more than politely waiting for your turn to talk. To really listen, you need to focus on what the other is saying and you need to listen with all your hearing organs which is not only the ears but also the heart. Am I being an extremist? You could call me that but the whole point of communicating is to be able to understand each other. Listening takes a great deal of skill. Remember this is now your soul mate. You don’t want to miss out on anything he/she says to you. It has happened to me. Monique would send me to get something at the shops. I would just say ok I heard. When I would reach the shops, I would look around the shop to see what she really wanted. Worse still I could be looking at the item but to remember what type she wanted was an uphill task and would end up going back with nothing.

 

Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone”. Starting off and during your courtship this has to be your motto.

 

Salt is a different product altogether. Food is tasteless without it. Be it a nice lemon pie, a sponge cake without that pinch, the sweetness does not really come out and well, so salt is also a sweetener! We think of it as that bitter product but look at what it can do- it also sweetens! Salt has also been used as metaphor in many bible verses and in this case applies very well to courtship. Skill is just needed to reach that desired communication. It often starts by demonstrating kindness, honesty and compassion in the way we speak to our partner. The mythic view of waiting for marriage to practice this is long gone. Monique used to tell me that we should start practicing our oneness in our communication. I thought at first that this was far fetched and this was for marriage. I later realized that the moment I made a decision to start the courtship I was no longer independent and was now interdependent with someone else. This then calls for extra effort and time.

 

Your speech in your courtship is of importance. Being counseled later by my dear Mother General Rev. Apphia Manjoro of Faith World Ministries, words can change a relationship in a different direction altogether. Words can be harmful or a blessing in a relationship. She went on to say the woman in particular is good at preserving words which is another character of salt. The bible in particular talks about Mary ‘but Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart’ Luke 2:19. Looking at the preceding verses, there was some graceful words which had been said. A woman in particular is good at this. They say a woman has a big heart which takes everything and ponders it within and normally a man is a GIGO (garbage in garbage out). Wise communication helps you as a 50% shareholder to build a lasting relationship. I mention wise communication and not foolish communication. Your time of talking with each other is not a time for scrutinizing other people but things which build you up as Christians. One day Monique was talking about a trip she went to a conference in another province in Cuba. She relates to me that as she was in a train and she could not help but notice a friend of ours with his girlfriend. She was full of praises for them. It so happened that when she wrote me an email. She mentions this in passing and when I replied her email I asked her first about this friend of ours. How come this friend of ours had a new girlfriend when I knew him with another girlfriend, I quickly pointed out. Monique replied, ‘Baby I don’t mean to upset you but I think we are now prying in areas of no concern to us’. When I read this second email I was moved and learnt that wise communication would have made a suggestive prayer towards this friend of ours and not this foolish talk.

 

Zechariah 8:16 “These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other and render true and sound judgment in your courts”. My babe is one of the cautious ones, not wanting to kill an ant. I for sure will comment on anything rashly and pass on to another matter. Sometimes in these comments, I would literally be joking as I would plainly say it. Many a times I would not tell Monique that I am joking and would let it rest like that. I just think Monique scrutinizes every word I say, I mean every word I say and later she will come to me and ask ‘where you serious about that’? I would start laughing, not because she was serious about every word I said but she would look so innocent asking me. Jokes should have a limit. Its okay to laugh but there should be a limit. A lie should be totally eliminated in a courtship. You can’t have a situation whereby your day has just not been good and when asked over the phone you just go ‘I am blessed’, that’s a lie. When you are now in a relationship, the truth has to be reinforced more than ever.

 

Your partner becomes a reflection of yourself. What you portray in your speech has a ripple effect on your partner. The danger of deception is that it only gets worse with time and with repeat offenses. We need the truth in our relationship to go along with God’s promise because He is the way, the truth and the life. When a communication path is opened in honesty, the truth will prevail and pumps life in our lives and that’s Jesus for us. If you are not happy about something in your relationship say it out. If there is something that has made us glued together though we were apart for a long time is being open to each other. Clothes have always been a sticking point for us. Monique loves the way I dress but when she sees that there is something not right, she directly tells me. I remember one day I decided to wear these pair of jeans. I had put on some weight and when she saw me in them, she told me to go and remove them as they were too tight for me. I had to consent to this. Though I really wanted to try them out but someone came out real and frankly told me a seemingly hurtful truth but this was for the better. Just to think of all the effort I had made to iron and actually get into the jeans (it was a struggle because they were tight on my thighs), Monique told me directly. This was sound judgment. Likewise, I have told Monique that a dress, a skirt, a top etc is not looking right. It is seemingly hurtful to be told to go and change but if it’s done for the good, no harm is done. Let your communication with your partner be based on the truth.

 

We had a different courtship from the usual ones. We were apart for a long time more than we were together. I left Cuba for Zimbabwe in 2007 when Monique was going for her fourth year and we spent almost two years without seeing each other. I was surprised that we felt very close to each other without seeing each other. Communication was the most essential tool for this closeness. We endured this time apart because the Lord opened communication doors for us in marvelous ways. We had to rely on email and phone calls for those two years. When I came back to Zimbabwe, a phone call to Cuba was about 500% cheaper than it was to call from Cuba to Zimbabwe. I did not understand how God opened this door but this opened a powerful communication tool for us. We would talk and talk and this was only a miracle. For sure we had not known how we were going to survive this period of time but avenues were opened for us in a special way. I could call Monique literally every other third or fourth day of the week. This was very important to both of us. It strengthened our relationship.

 

Many people have declared that long distance relationships will never work. It worked for us! We got even stronger. One tool which made it a success was communication. Am I encouraging you to have a long distance relationship? The answer is just that you need to be close to God for you to be able to stand the time I stood. I remember a time I started going to work; it became difficult for me to write an email to Monique. The company I was working for only had internal email circulation as in Microsoft Outlook and no gmail or yahoo available to its employees. This became difficult for us because she started thinking otherwise about the relationship. Later Monique admitted to me that she thought I had downed tools. No phone call, no email from me. She ran around asking if anyone had received an email from me and nothing. Literally at the same time, God placed in our hearts to create filters for our emails. She had access to internet on Sundays so she tried it and it worked! We rejoiced in the Lord and I was able to send my first email to Monique from work. God had opened another avenue in our communication. Not only could I call Monique but email was better. For more than two years we used this avenue. It was hard but it was for our good. Someone has said the pen is mightier than the word. I think if we had been seeing each other physically then most of the thoughts we expressed via email will not have come to the light.

 

During your courtship, practice these communication skills. There are things which you can only practice when married like sex but there are essential tools which will help you build up to that. Seems harsh but the bible hints us on not including it in our speech – sexual talk. How then do I appreciate my partner? Remember courtship is preparing you for your marital life. It’s not yet marriage and it has to be like that. You would ask, then how does one survive this? When I would start some kind of sexy talk, Monique would go like: ‘Baby let’s leave it for our marriage’. At first I used to think this was this lady who had a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. But with this, it could have opened other areas of your soul that are not supposed to open and usually when open are very hard to close. ‘Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial’ I Corinthians 6:12.

 

 

‘I hear the words coming out from your mouth but I just don’t understand what you mean’. This is a typical start to communication problems in courtship which can also go into marriage. ‘Well you’re the only person who does not understand me when I talk’. This could be what I could have said to Monique. She speaks with a different English accent to the one I speak. Though I now understand her much better and clearer, though many people have to say to her ‘pardon me’ and that includes her mother in law. The conversation could have continued like ‘I am not like you Gary, analyzing everything, picking apart every word’. I could have then said, ‘I know. I just wish you weren’t so emotional when you talk’. I can’t get what you’re saying, we just can’t communicate’. You just have to tongue twist to conform to a new a language in your courtship. The truth is every couple communicates whether they want to or not. Saying nothing is communicating. When Monique visited Zimbabwe to see my family, things were not the easiest. Monique had to learn of a new culture she had no idea about. I would be watching TV and then she comes and stares at me. As someone concerned I would then ask her what will be wrong. Typical to many relationships she would say nothing. This was then the opportunity to continue watching my favourite music program JCTV Top Ten videos. Actually what that ‘nothing’ meant was ‘there are so many things bothering me that I have ‘nothing’ to say! Good communication just takes time. You just have to slow down meaning less likely to give hasty orders and solutions. True listening will bring about true understanding. So slow down! Allow your mate time to mull over it if need be. Don’t rush to fill in the silence. Talking can happen on the run but understanding takes more time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third Cord

Though we have been talking about communication as a vital tool in a courtship, without the third part of the cord, there is no way you can achieve it! I am talking about God being part of your communication. How does this come to be? How can God be the director of people who are ‘walking together unless they have agreed’? When we started our relationship, life was not easy as one would have thought. The year ended on a bitter note. Just a week in our relationship, we already had stress around us. This was all part of God’s dealing. An excited Monique decided to text her mother to wish her well for Christmas. I had been the one who had actually encouraged her to do that. To her surprise her mother called back and they were all excited on the phone. I could see a heaven on earth mother – daughter bond. All of a sudden the mother asks for whom the phone was, she went like: ‘Umm, it’s for my boyfriend’. That was it! The heaven on earth bond just snapped. Monique’s face started frowning. It was not a good moment. To make matters worse (or better), Monique then suggested that I speak to her. This was unheard of in my culture; speaking to your mother-in-law without having formally introduced yourself. Away with culture, so I thought though I had been totally against speaking to her. I just thought it was too early. I spoke what I could and gave the phone back to Monique and they started exchanging some words, now in Creole, a dialect in Belize. The bottom line was, that the mother did not approve of this; a start to a new battle.

 

You may be wondering what this has to do with God being part of your communication. We then realized that in our quest to convey our message, we had left Him out. We thought everything was going to be smooth. Jesus warned us that some things do not just go by prayer but by fasting. We had not even prayed about it. In our excitement, we had taken matters into our own hands. Here I warn you; this is only the beginning. We did not know what fate waited for me from my parents’ side. They had advised me on marriage and now what were they going to say. We then sat down after the dust had settled and decided on one thing. If we had made a fuss about praying, then this was the time to start communication with God.

 

This should be the first and foremost driver to your relationship that you are commencing. In the secular world, for one to start a relationship it should be marked by sex but not so for us as Christians. Our start should be marked by prayer and I mean good prayer. We decided to have fasts on Monday. You may ask why Monday and not any other day. We chose Monday, as remember I had a busy schedule from Tuesday to Sunday. Besides Monique did not have class on Monday because the Cubans would go for some lessons or whatever it was. This left us with Monday free. We would try to meet in the morning and then at midday. We also decided to meet at least once a day for prayer and studying the word of God. I have to admit, evenings were so difficult for me in that by the time Monique would finish praying, I would be asleep or dozing off; so we preferred the mornings but this was to be done strictly after personal devotion. This was a tool which was going to aid us in growing to know each other and I can tell you, up to now we still have our fasts on Monday come what may. They have been a blessing and we have seen God working.

 

Trust in God and lean not on your own understanding – Proverbs 3:5. This came in handy for us to improve our communication. To tell you the truth, I had been taught that these things are developed when you are married but I can tell you that this is just a myth. You need it from the word go but you need to be grooved in the Lord. Communication with God in your courtship is a weapon which will help you even as you get into the marriage bay. One may ask, in our church we are not allowed to be alone so that we can have prayer. What then can we do about it? We started our courtship whilst at university and it was sought of easier to have our prayers. We tried by every means not to have prayers in my room as I lived alone preferring Monique’s place as she had room mates. The rooms were divided into two and we would have our prayers on the other side. We did not need to shout and at most, we spent more time meditating on the word. If need be, especially if we had our devotion in the morning, we had to do it in my room as the girls would have been preparing for lectures and the like. Was this right? As I said in preceding chapters, every relationship is unique in its own way. We did not have time to walk to church to have our prayers there but we needed to pray together. To answer someone who may have asked the questions above, I have this to say to you. I left Cuba after only 6 months into my courtship but this did not stop us from praying together. As we started our relationship on this prayer and fasting note, we did not want it to end there, so we set a time for us to be in prayer together at different times of the week. There is a five hour difference between Cuba and Zimbabwe, so I had to compromise most of the time in terms of the timing for our prayers. When we had an opportunity, I would call Monique and tell her to start praying. Was it easy doing this? It became easier as we acquired the skill of communication. Therefore being told that you can’t be seen together is no excuse for not praying together. The good thing that came out of these prayers was that we saw tangible results.

 

This is another tool to communication not only with God but within your courtship- tangible and visible results. There should be a vibe seen when you are in good communication books with each other. You tend to respect each other more when dialogue is open and true. Unity becomes a key player in your relationship. I fancied a five bed roomed house with different accessory rooms but Monique preferred a small house easier to maintain. Was it bad to have two different opinions? That’s the part of walking together. I went to write Monique an email telling her that we could have like a competition whereby we prayed for the house and see who God was going to listen to first. Was this still part of walking together? She replied to the email and said: ‘Baby, I don’t think it would be right if we started praying competing, its better we start practicing our oneness and communicate the same thing’. I was stunned with this and later, I remembered a verse ‘…every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined…’ Matthew 12:25. I quickly communicated with Monique on this matter and consented to what she had said. Had been our communication skills been shaky, then you may know how this could have ended.

 

It starts therefore with a firm foundation that is laid down. If your communication is all going to be about ‘I love you, what lovely eyes you have’ etc then that’s the relationship you are going to build. ‘Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down…yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock’ Matthew 7:24-25. Foundations are interesting. You can’t see them, yet you can’t build anything that will last without them. Think of a house or building. It is built on top of a concrete foundation and steel that can’t be seen. As far as the strength and stability of the structure is concerned, the foundation is important. Even tornadoes and hurricanes can’t shake such a foundation. The shingles and windows-even the whole main floor-could be blown away but the foundation will remain. When we consider how this relates to our courtship, it’s not the outside appearances that hold the relationship together when storms come…it’s the foundation!

 

You may have wanted to know how it ended with my mother- in-law. After months of prayer and fasting, crying before God an unexpected thing happened to Monique's mother. Before this, we had declared to the Lord earlier in the year that we were going together to Belize and I formally get a proper introduction to the family. We prayed in earnest with tears. It was time of just wanting to dialogue more with God. At this time, we no longer had any communication from both of our parents. This was a battle in our communication I will never forget. Sometime in March, my mother-in-law was riding a bike. Yes, riding a bike and she fell and broke her leg. Don’t know if this was an awakening on her side. On our side, we continued to stand firm on the word of God. I told Monique that we were going to book our tickets to Mexico.

 

Belize is a country in Central America and one of the easiest and cheapest ways to access the country is transiting through Mexico. Visas to Mexico are gold, hard to find so they say. We had no money in our coffers for the tickets. We went on to book for July. This was communication with God through our faith. We felt within us that it was now time to write Monique's mother and tell her of our intentions. The more furious she got. We continued to trust in God and after a month, she finally accepted and this was a start to another great relationship which I revere so much up to this day. I can tell you that when you start communicating your needs to God, His ear is not heavy that He cannot listen to them. Some people have defended themselves by saying praying together, ah we will see that when we are now “one”. The moment you start your courtship you are already “one”. Don’t get this “oneness” wrong. It does not mean you can now have sex and be husband and wife but it just means that you are no longer independent but interdependent especially in the decisions you have to make. Courtship is a tradition that basically prepares you for your marital life. If you look at Joseph and Mary, they did have this time of courtship to the extent that Joseph wanted to run away when he saw his ‘virgin’ pregnant. But God communicated to him and he raised our Lord and Saviour- ‘and Jesus grew in wisdom and stature’ Luke 2:52.

 

You have entered into a covenant with God and do not leave this tool for later. You need to start laying your foundation with good talk. Remember this is not a day’s event. You have to practice it each and everyday. The more you practice it, the more you learn to be a better speaker and listener in your relationship. It may only be 3 months or 3 years but you just need to develop this skill. When you hear of marriage breakups, search for the root. You may think it was because of adultery, money, children’s behaviour out of hand etc. but as you look deeper into where all these problems start its lack of communication. Can one reach a level of perfection communicating with their partner? It’s not about perfection but its more about willingness to be part of the dialogue; dialogue with God and dialogue with your partner. Was it easy for us? No, it was not. As I mentioned earlier, we could spent days without communicating with each other because of some miscommunication. As you are now in this exciting relationship, make dialogue your number one goal. Let there always be a fire in your speech and be willing to listen. When you learn of these two great aspects of communication, then you are now on a roller coast in your courtship. Do not wait to say: ‘I told you so, you never listen to me or you are ever shouting at me’ to ruin your courtship. Had Joseph had optimum communication, he would not have wanted to run away form Mary. He decided to go the quiet route and kept it in his heart knowing well that just opening his mouth would have made him receptive in his heart. ‘If you confess with your mouth…and believe in your heart’ Romans 10:9; there is a relationship between the heart and the mouth and they work hand in hand.

 

Therefore for effective communication we need an element of openness of the heart. Opening the heart takes a greater deal of effort than speaking a word. It is the link between saying a word and listening to a word. Your space becomes null and void and you start being interdependent on your partner. I did not say dependent but interdependent. Your heart has to shift from “I” to “we”. This transition is so hard especially in learned partners where different doctrines are being taught on these issues. One doctrine may tell you the wife is in a marriage to take control to her own life. She has to build her life knowing that if her husband decides to leave her then she has ground to stand on. While this may seem non-debatable, this is a serious offensive doctrine which those who do not love the idea of marriage are purported to. You need an open heart to be an effective communicator.

 

We have been raised differently as a couple. Our home backgrounds made us closed up to some issues of life. Without having to mention them, these issues had made us have a different perception of effective communication and up to the extent we could not open our hearts to each other.

 

‘His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child…he had in mind to divorce her quietly’ Matthew 1:18-19. We have been sworn to lives of secrets. Secrets are part of our life. We learnt earlier that even God has His secrets that He keeps for His chosen. They are just part of us. Joseph had decided to go the secret way. He was determined to leave Mary because of being sworn to secrecy. He wanted to divorce her quietly. Secrets are difficult to open up. You just do not know what one is going to do about a secret you open up to. This all needs prayer to be strong for the consequences of a secret. But when can I open up some things of my past life to my partner? When can I start communicating these to my partner? Should I wait for marriage? Is it necessary for my partner to even know them, if the past is the past? These are questions which haunt many relationships and lead to many break ups.

 

It was a hard decision to open up my past life to Monique and likewise it was for her to open things to me. We prayed and fasted together but as long as these secrets were kept safe in our vaults, we felt we were not progressing. But how was Monique going to take it? This is what I did. I started telling Monique that I had something important to tell her. I kept saying to her day after day that I needed to tell her something. What I was trying to do was build confidence in myself and be strong to tell her and on her side prepare her to hear what I had to say. It took me two months before I could finally say what I wanted to say. I prayed hard towards this as this could change my relationship with Monique forever. I felt our level of communication was now at a stage I could do this. Monique was supposed to understand that it was now in the past, so I thought. To my amazement, when I had finished saying everything, she started opening her life to me. I had not known that a lot of mishaps had also existed in her life. This was amazing and left us in tears for some thirty minutes. At the same time after this conversation, we prayed together promising each other not to bring this up as we understood what we had gone through. As I answer some of your questions you may have asked, let time take its place. You can’t just rush to reveal everything. You have to think of the best way to approach your partner. Some consider it not necessary to talk about it. I beg to differ. I John 4:18 ‘There is no fear in love but perfect love drives out fear because fear had to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love’. Look for the perfect timing but do not delay.

 

I grew up with both parents and Monique grew up with a single parent. Her mother became her father too. She deserves a different treatment and I deserve a different treatment. We cannot take each other for granted that’s why it is good to open up in your courtship.

 

Effective communication is like one big sponge cake. You need butter, sugar; you need the milk and the egg, a pinch of salt will just give it the unique taste. We need to listen, open our hearts and speak out to achieve a good courtship communication. This can be so hard but time is always an achiever. Take time to listen and open your mind to your partner and to God. All other things will fall into place without you making an effort. He watches over His word and when He speaks to you, it is for a reason and God accomplishes it in due season. Put on your seat belts and brace up for this exciting tool of your courtship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am sorry

I AM SORRY”. This was one of the most difficult phrases for me to use when I started my courtship with Monique. Remember the fridge incident, I was determined that Monique was supposed to say sorry for shouting at me. She had shouted at me so she was the one who was supposed to say sorry. She was supposed to come and plead with me. As I went back to her room, this was the thing that the Lord taught us from that day. We learnt to take away our pride when situations come by and say the magical word. This is difficult to achieve and like effective communication needs time to become an everyday tool for the growth of your relationship. As I told you earlier, when I started courting Monique, everything was a wonder. I never thought we would quarrel one day, never thought we would want to keep away from each other like the case of the fridge

 

Asking for forgiveness and granting is one of the most healing experiences in a relationship. Forgiveness is the beginning of resolving a conflict. It’s the beginning of breaking down the wall between two people. We will always make mistakes because no one is perfect. In your courtship and effectively when you are wedded, you will hurt each other, whether intentionally or unintentionally. So it’s important to decide ahead of time to be quick to forgive and quick to ask sincerely for forgiveness. Psalms 32:3-4 describes the distress a person feels when confession had not been made. The inner turmoil of David feeling as if his bones were washing away because he kept silent, graphically describes a person experiencing tremendous emotional pain. Not being forgiven can consume and hurt us as individuals and partners. Difficult it may to be admit wrong or forgive wrong, it is mandatory for our well being. Sincere confession should be purchased so regularly that they become a health cleansing habit in our lives.

 

I will continue referring to the fridge situation as it made a huge impact in our lives. Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him so that the Father in heaven may forgive you for your sins. Wow! That day I could not pray, let alone pray for Monique. When I pray for Monique, there is something different I always feel. If I had not been praying with much faith but when it comes to praying for Monique it’s just something else. I remember telling Monique that ‘babes I do not know how it happens but when I start praying for you, goose pimples are the order of the day! This was not so for this day. Trying to pray for Monique when holding such a grudge; stupid it may seem was already shaking us. Being honest, holding something against your partner the first thought is not to pray. More likely you are thinking: How can I get even? I didn’t deserve this and my partner is going to know this! It is this kind of thinking, no matter how natural, that guarantees more problems for your courtship and eventually your marriage.

 

So what is the alternative? Well, it’s not to get down on your knees and the tips of your fingers together and say a sanctimonious prayer. The solution as Jesus points out in verse twenty five is found in forgiveness: “…if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him…” Its there in plain language! In this single verse, Jesus pinpoints a common relationship problem and provides a succinct solution. Yes, you say, but how do I forgive? Forgiveness begins when you put yourself in your partners’ shoes and see the world from his or her perspective. It begins when you sympathize as well as analyze. Bringing both your heart and head into the situation is called empathy and the best model of empathy is our Lord Himself. If Jesus had merely been sympathetic to our plight, he would have watched our struggles from afar, shaking his head and feeling bad. If he had been merely analytical, he would have told us exactly what to do, stripping us of freedom and solving our problems for us. Instead, the Son of God chose to become one of us. If we are going to overcome grudge and offer a genuine prayer on behalf of your partner, it is going to be because we practiced empathy and learnt to forgive.

 

“I AM SORRY” comes with being able to explain mix-ups and controversies. It does not help to just be quiet and keep it in your heart. We learnt earlier that Mary kept everything and pondered in her heart. The heart is a place where not only the spirit resides but it’s where the mind and soul are processed. It’s a place where you ponder about all things you have been thinking about and feeling about. Whilst the mind may forget and the soul does away with the feeling; the heart will continue to keep track of all important events in life. That’s why you would say ‘he hurt my heart’ and not my mind nor my soul. It’s the heart which searches the hidden hurting things. In an incident with Monique one day, I ended up hurting because of not speaking out and discussing about it. The good thing was that I was able to go to the drawing board and talk about it. The interesting thing was that after just speaking about it, everything just started flowing in a positive direction.

 

We both have friends and not necessarily are all her friends my friends. In this case it was a friend of ours. Monique wanted some advice on some issue. I was within reach and she could have consulted me, so I thought. She went on to ask this friend of ours how she could handle a certain issue. Unfortunately or fortunately, I discovered about it. You can just imagine what went though my mind. Was I not good enough to give an honest opinion? Maybe I was just not good enough for her and this friend of ours was better. Did she know why I was ‘quiet and furious’? The worst thing was that she would ask me if I was okay and the obvious lie came out that I was okay.

 

Keeping it to my heart was making me lie. James 1:14-15 says that our desires (evil) drag us away and they conceive and give birth to sin and sin to death. Was this an imminent death of a good relationship coming up? I decided not to be ‘dragged away and enticed’ James 1:14 and explain what was on mind. After explaining all this, I felt so relieved. The lump which was birthing in my heart was just removed even before Monique said anything. Why? Because I had spoken out. When I was about to say sorry, Monique took over the show. She just said the golden phrase just like that, ‘I AM SORRY’. For sure I had gone out of hand thinking the impossible. What my heart had now conceived and now about to birth (conclude) was jealousy. The moment she said sorry I did not have time to even start questioning why she had done it. I was like Joseph who had a visit from the angel after he had decided to leave her quietly. This and similar situations arise during your courtship and can also extent to the marriage. The end line of the message is to be able to say the magical word ‘SORRY’. It means a lot to someone and even to God. Psalms 51 says it all. David was really sorry and God was able to forgive him from the Bathsheba saga, up to the point that their child became king after David. This word strengthens your relationship and is a must to be practiced in any relationship. To be honest enough as I was growing up, my parents would quarrel over a genuine issue but after resolving their issue, I never heard that magical word come out.

 

It is a hard word to use. Funny enough when we were young this word would come out without thinking but as we grow and pride develops, it becomes difficult to use. To say ‘I AM SORRY’ goes a long way to show your humbleness, not only before your partner but this goes to a greater dimension; humbleness before God. Is this too much? Not at all! It’s one step at a time. You can’t expect it to work at once. The fridge incident made me to have a different way of thinking. You do not have to force ‘a sorry’ to come out from your partner. Sorry has to come from your heart where everything has been cooking. As you can see, taking grudges brings a lot of sons and daughters along with it.

 

‘Nor should there be obscenely, foolish talk or coarse joking which are out of place…’ Ephesians 5:4. I had gone to Monique’s room to ask her to come over my room to pray with me and maybe later catch a movie. This was a Sunday afternoon just after church and this was one of the moments we regarded as precious as we barely saw each other during the week. Monique has an issue with her hair. She tries by every means to maintain it by spraying, relaxing, shampooing, conditioning you name it and usually last but not least, the rolls in her head. When we were at university, she had always tried to do this on a Sunday when she had time and another thing was that she made sure was that I would never see her with the rolls on her head. When I saw them, it looked ridiculous to me. As we started walking towards my room and were half way to my room, I could not help but marvel, not only marvel but went on to joke about it. To me, Monique looked outrageous in those rolls and I could not help but start laughing without ceasing. I had never thought Monique would take a case on me. She warned me that what I was doing was hurting her. She did not like me joking about her hair that’s why she had made it a point that I never see her in rolls, so she said. To me, it was nothing but to her it was a big issue. The joke turned into an argument right there half way to my room. All of a sudden, she turned her back on me and went off to her room. All this time I was still laughing but she was hurting. When I reached my room, I opened my laptop and tried calling her over the network. She would deliberately cut the phone and I would call and call but to no avail. That’s when I realized that there was something wrong. I had not been sensitive enough to know that she did not like what I had done. I made a bold decision to go back to her room and ask for forgiveness. Before I left the room, I thought to myself, why should I do this? I was not in the wrong, was I? This was something I had done in a jokingly manner. What was sincere to me was hurting someone. I had to make a decision and go and ask for forgiveness.

 

Monique grew up in an environment surrounded by boys as she is the only ‘sister in the house’. She is not the crying type. Reaching her room, an hour later she was all in tears. Later she told me that she had been crying from the time she had entered the room. She could not understand why I was laughing at her. She had asked me to stop laughing at her head with rolls and that’s when I increased the laughter volume. I just had to say I was sorry and it was not going to happen again. All of a sudden, having seen sincerity in my apology, the tears started seeping away and a smile started showing up. What really changed her was that I admitted I was wrong and also saying the magical word ‘sorry’ brightened her face for the rest of the day.

 

In a relationship, there is always a tendency to defend yourself when such situations arise. We need to know that forgiveness is not just to make your partner feel good but it’s also for your benefit. Just to say sorry and be truly repentant brings comfort in your life. That’s why the word of God speaks about how can you love God when you hate your brother? It’s impossible therefore to love God without asking for forgiveness from your own partner. I am wondering how I could have prayed with this cloud hanging over me. Sorry is a key which opens doors of blessing and closes doors to other haughty spirits like pride and jealousy. You may ask, but what if my partner hasn’t asked for forgiveness yet? Can I forgive her/him before they ask? Genesis 42 takes us to depth into this issue of forgiveness. When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt – the same brothers who had sold him into slavery – Joseph had a chance to seek vengeance. Joseph’s brothers don’t recognize him and ask to buy from him. Obviously Joseph had already decided to forgive them, even though they hadn’t asked as yet. As a basic principle of relationships, God requires that we forgive those who have wronged us, whether they ask or not. Each of us has a freedom and responsibility to chose to forgive those who have offended us. The build up to a good relationship includes many moments of hurt. Love does mean having to say we are sorry, but more importantly, love means choosing to forgive even before you are asked

 

Courtship should be an exciting phase whereby you get to experience a different you. It will now be part of your nature and you cannot escape it but it does not have to be dull and boring. The moment you set up systems and principles from the start then what comes later is just to strengthen your relationship. We have learnt two great principles which should apply to every starting relationship. When you get rooted in communication and the magical phrase ‘I AM SORRY’ everything will flow positively. Think of this, had Eve actually apologized to Adam for taking the forbidden fruit, then all the blame game would not have been there. If they attentively listened and communicated wisely with God, then they would not have fallen into this sin. Interestingly enough, though Adam blamed Eve for the fruit eating, he was also there listening to the conversation and doing nothing about it, to the extent of accepting to eat part of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testimonies

A God driven courtship should be marked by testimonies and miracles. I mean you don’t want to be just known as that couple but “the couple”. Not intending to be proud but all the glory be to God, my relationship has changed the perception of many people’s ideas about courtship. What people thought was impossible has just been brought to the light that it is possible. As Bishop Manjoro was preaching one day and said that, as a human being leave a mark here on earth so that people may always remember you and Proverbs 10:7 just says it all. We do not wait for miracles when we reach the marriage bay. Testimonies should be the order of the day and this comes by searching His promises. Though we have already discussed the importance of prayer as part of a communication tool, more emphasis should be put on this very important aspect of good courtship. It is nice to say lovely words to each other but God should be the apex of every relationship. With prayer, come dreams and visions for the relationship and with vision comes provision. As I said earlier, prayer together can be done whilst one is in Hong Kong and another is in Hawaii, it does not matter, it still works as long as you are in it together For sure, two cannot walk together unless they have agreed. Fasting and praying, reading the word of God should be your daily food as partners.

 

As I continue with this book, I would like to share some of the testimonies we have had as a couple, at times miles apart but it worked! You will remember about the anecdote about my dear mother-in-law not wanting to do anything with our courtship. Yes, afterwards my mother-in-law accepted but we prayed and fasted, reclaiming His promises day and night. Another side to this coin was that though we desired so much to go to Belize together, we both did not have any money to pay for our tickets. When I say no money, I mean no money. By faith, we went and booked our tickets on a Thursday. When we reached the agent for the airline, they told us we had until the other Thursday to pay for the tickets or else they would remove our names from the list as there were other people on the waiting list. This did not intimidate us a bit. We prayed in earnest and on Friday, when we least expected, my embassy calls me to come and collect US$1500 for my stipend. They had never done this as we used to nag them but for the first time they had done it. To tell you something, this was just the hand of the Lord. We had gone to the Mexican embassy and they needed US$1 000 as surety which is some kind of travel insurance. The money was a breakthrough but how were we going to deal with this one? Now was time for wisdom in action! We had prayed and we now needed to see our prayers in action. Remember, we also needed money for the tickets. That same Friday, I hurried to the bank and opened an account at the bank with US$1 000 and went to the Mexican embassy with a copy of my bank book. This account only survived the weekend and on Monday as soon as I got my visa which was a ‘praise God visa’ as Mexico is difficult with visas; I quickly closed the account so as to pay for the tickets. Bet I was a Jacob the trickster, but I guess that was just wisdom in action. Truly speaking, our prayers had not only provided for the money but also the visa and off we left for Mexico on the 20th of July 2007 so as to reach Belize.

 

Did it only end there? No, God continues to work in ways we do not understand. When I was now going back to Cuba from Belize, I had to transit through Mexico so as to board the plane to Cuba. This time it was different requirement for the transit visa. They did not want US$1000 but wanted US$36 or BZ$72 for the surety. That was a breakthrough as we already had spent most of the one thousand dollars that we had. The issue was that we were left with US$200 and some few loose dollars which comprised of US dollars and BZ dollars. We did not want to change the US$100 dollar notes as this was going to be part of my traveling money. We reached home and when we counted the loose money that we had, it was exactly BZ$72. We were so happy and we just praised God because He is an exact God. He works with specifications; Noah’s ark and Solomon’s temple had exact measurements. This did not end there. Monique decided that I take part of her luggage, as she was not coming with me. I was only allowed 30kg and I had 50kg. We almost decided against the idea and then I decided to take the luggage along with me. I was given this vibe in my heart as when I had gone to England in 2006, I had extra luggage, 60kg when I was only allowed 32kg. Other people were told to go and throw away their things if they could not pay for the extra luggage but when I went to check in my luggage they just told me to go and weigh my bags at the overweight section and come and check in. This same God who had done this at Gatwick was going to do it again in Cancun, Mexico. If God had opened doors for us from the beginning of this journey, why not now? I reached the Cancun airport in Mexico and as soon as I reached the airport and was checking in, I said to God that I do not want to pay for the extra luggage as I was tight on money and could not afford to pay for this. He is faithful even in our relationships, never doubt Him! When I handed my passport to the agent, the guy at the Mexican counter looked at my passport and started perusing page by page. Was anything wrong with my passport? It was a passport which had traveled to some few countries so it had different visas for different countries so that should have caught his attention, so I thought. Excited he called his friends and they started asking me a lot of questions. They had never seen such a passport and better still they did not know that a country like Zimbabwe existed, guess they are part of those who do not listen to the news as my country was always in the headline news because of the political and economic turmoil at that time. I became a tourism ambassador for Zimbabwe in a few minutes as I started explaining about Zimbabwe. With all this excitement, I put my luggage on the scale and it reached 57kg, oops that was 27kg more than required. The officer in charge then told me this in Spanish: ‘Muchacho esto es tu dia de suerte, normalmente no permitimos esto pero como no sabiamos nada de tu pais, tu puedes pasar pero para la proxima, no trae tanto’ [this is your day of luck, we normally do not allow this but since we did not know anything about your country, you can take your luggage with you but next time don’t come with so much]. I was over the moon, what he thought was luck to me was God’s power demonstrated in a special way.

 

Monique was now preparing to come to Zimbabwe for a return visit as I had done. Sincerely we had tried our best to get the ticket, saving the little bit we could find but something always came up. We had to pray and fast for almost a whole year for a breakthrough but this time it was different. Monique was in Cuba and I was in Zimbabwe. We would set out time of prayer and fasting and we went on a roller coaster crying before the Lord. To cut the long story short, after almost a whole year of prayer, something extraordinary happened. I told Monique to book a flight for January as she would have finished class by then. There were so many interruptions to this booking. She tried sending a friend to book for her but to no avail. Whilst talking with a friend, Andrew from Zimbabwe about going to book for the flight, this friend of ours asked Monique why she was going through all this fuss when she could be on the chartered plane that plies the route every year with Cuban doctors who work in Zimbabwe. She then mentioned to me what our friend had said and I was quick to act on this declaration. To her, as she wrote in an email, it was going to be a bit difficult for her to be part of this ‘entourage’ but God willing it was possible. She put forward a theory of not being Zimbabwean and the like. I told her to raise her faith and we were going to get this one as He never fails us. I wrote the ambassador and I remember before sending the email I touched the computer screen and spoke to my email. It was an email asking if Monique could be part of the flight to Zimbabwe. I love the ambassadors’ response. He said that Monique was already part of Zimbabwe and we do not have to beg but just demand a seat for her. What is exciting about all this is that we expected to fork out a lot of money but God provided for free, Monique’s maiden trip to and fro Africa.

 

You may be saying that this is a show off. Of course it is a way of showing off what God can do when you start on the right track in your courtship. Many challenges may come but with the backing of your prayer, you will sail through. I mentioned earlier that I did not know the fate that waited for me at home. Monique’s mother became my mother as she treated me with all her love. But were my parents going to accept my relationship? It so happened that at almost the same time Monique’s mother stopped calling that my parents stopped calling. Not that they were also angry but only that there were network problems. I had decided before to write a letter to my parents explaining to them of my decision to be in a relationship with Monique. It was a very long letter but it did its work it was sent to do! To my amazement, they never replied or mentioned it in any of the emails we exchanged. I thought to myself, were they being rebellious or maybe angry? To cut the long testimony short, we prayed before I embarked on my journey to Zimbabwe. When I reached the airport, I expected a lot of questioning about Monique. To my surprise, everyone was happy, not only that I had finished my degree but that I had got ‘married’. Married no, but engaged so I corrected them. My parents were so happy and over the moon about this development and encouraged me daily to keep this relationship with sacredness. Wow! They had never met Monique in person and they were already talking about this. So the long hours of crying before the Lord had really worked. For sure he keeps count of our tears before Him and blesses us accordingly (Psalms 58:6).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acceptance

Acceptance is very important for your relationship to go to greater heights. The bible talks about how Esau’s wives grieved Isaac and Rebekah. They just felt that this was not the right person for Esau. Yes we may be happy walking together as a couple but we need the backing of our parents, friends, pastors and colleagues. It’s always a challenge but when you stay focused on your courtship and expect the best of it, it will work. Not that you need the approval of everyone for your courtship but you need the necessary support. There are definitely some who will be against it but do not worry about this. Not everyone loves the union of Jesus and the church, so don’t expect everyone to celebrate over yours. We did not go through a hard time of having our families, friends, and pastors accepting our relationship but do not think it’s always going to be like that. When you have your relationship not accepted, you roam about like Esau who got so stressed that he went to Ishmael to seek for a woman who would please his father. Acceptance becomes easy when you have made the right decision. Sometimes you just feel that you have made the right choice and people don’t just accept your relationship. I bet Hosea went through a bad patch. Which parent could have accepted such a relationship? Hosea provides us with a secret to acceptance of a relationship. He kept on loving his wife besides her being a harlot – Hosea 2:19-20. This is a secret which should be used in conjunction with the principles mentioned in the first part of this book.

 

Moving from an independent life to one of interdependence brings along with it some more situations. When I started courting Monique, a popular saying among my friends was that I never had time for them. For sure, I started courting Monique when I had so many activities lined up. It was hard for some of my friends to understand why I had suddenly ‘abandoned’ them. The truth was that I had not abandoned them but as with the acceptance issue, they were not just ready to accept that I was now at another stage in life. I lost a few friends along the way but my true friends stood by me all the time and up to now. What do you do then, balancing between friends and your partner? Do you just chuck them out? There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother! We need friends as a daily requirement for our lives to move on. Even Jesus had close friends who helped him to go through the day. Some friends understand but some can be a bit harsh and nonsensical. You just have to deal with both. Having a partner in you life does not mean you throw away your friends, you just have to limit and remain with those who support you and are ready to accept what you have become.

 

You have to strive for respect for your courtship and not only acceptance. People should be able to respect the choice that you have made and live with it! Respect comes about when you respect yourselves first. Respecting yourselves means doing away with things that mar your relationship. This could be sexual activity, foolish talk and even gossip. There is no such bad thing as a partner who is always talking about the ills of another without talking to him/her – Proverbs 26:20. Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. Its good to ask for advice about certain issues but to talk something bad about your partner goes out of hand. There are going to be hardships, weaknesses but you have to know how to deal with them. Protecting your partners’ confidence and keeping a secret are critical to building a trustworthy courtship. You have heard of people who called off their engagements, it’s because some partners can’t just keep their mouths shut. Unfortunately, some couples become hooked to gossip- not shop gossip or parly gossip but gossip behind their partners back about the state of their relationship. This should sound familiar: ‘I probably should not be telling you this but…’, Monique would kill me if she knew I told you this…’, ‘You wont tell Gary I mentioned this, will you?’ Whatever the reasons, gossip – no doubt, is evil. The apostle Paul warns about the destructive power of gossip and the condemnation that comes to ‘gossips and busybodies’ who say things they ought not to say (1 Timothy 5:13). You may then ask, what do I do when I feel that my partner is not doing things the right way? Should I not talk about it with another person?

 

This is what I call building a relationship. We learnt of a very important tool called communication. You just have to know how to communicate. When walking around with Monique, most people may not even know that I can be having issues with Monique but because we have had an open door policy on communication, there are few people, I mean few people who know our weaknesses. Its better they become secrets between yourselves than for the world to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mentorship

Socrates taught Plato, Plato taught Aristotle and Aristotle taught Alexander the Great. We probably all know about Alexander the Great but nothing will ring in our mind about Socrates. ‘Wisdom is with the aged and understanding in the length of days’ Job12:12. Throughout human history, mentoring has been the primary means of passing on knowledge and skills in every field and in every culture. In the past, mentoring took place in the university where a student learnt not only in the classroom but also in the home of scholar. It took place in a studio where the artist poured himself into the formation of his protégés. The bible is certainly filled with examples of mentoring (Eli and Samuel, Elijah and Elisha, Moses and Joshua, Naomi and Ruth, Elizabeth and Mary, Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Timothy). Mentoring was a way of life between the generations. But today mentoring is in short supply.

 

It was difficult to start my relationship with Monique because I had no experience whatsoever with girl issues. I could not just understand her behaviour, her likes and dislikes. On her part, I was the weirdest looking guy on earth. It had nothing to do with my physical appearances but it was the way I presented myself. From my personal research, I was told girls were there to milk you of the dollars you have in your pocket and I went into my courtship with that mentality. Was I supposed to spoil Monique with lavish gifts so as to show my affection? That was what I thought. I remember the only piece of advice I got from my youth pastor was that I was to try to avoid situations whereby we are alone to prevent any sexual interaction. That was the only piece of advice I got. How to deal with finances, prayer, and communication was unheard of. During courtship, more emphasis is put on the sexual aspect and nothing more. For me to be writing this book is for someone to be helped throughout their courtship whether long or short but to experience it better than I did, which is the whole purpose of mentoring; to be a better person.

 

Sometimes effective mentoring is not only about what you have read – it’s who you are as a couple. Regardless of education, training or relational skills, my courtship story along with my willingness to share it, is what I need to be well on my way to marking a difference in another relationship. There is nothing that makes a strong relationship than learning about how other couples and how they have dealt with their problems. Counseling comes about when you decide as a couple to seek advice and help of other seasoned and happy couples especially married ones who have already gone through the process of courtship. Do you really have to follow every piece of advice you get? That’s to your own judgment. It may have worked for them but with your situation, it may not be working but there are not two ways about it, it will help you in your courtship.

 

Though our relationships are unique, we need models we follow. Monique and I have our model couples we just look up to. Not to ask for anything but just how to see how they act on different situations. We have two model couples in Cuba – our youth pastors (Humberto-Lazara and Dallan-Irelis). We would spend loads and loads of time at their houses just fellowshipping with them. It was not only about prayer and reading the word of God. We could decide to go and spent a weekend at their places or we could decide that the six of us have a sleep in. They were married couples and they had gone through this phase. Times like these were precious to us as not only did it enlighten us but there was much joy. They would talk to us about their ups and downs and not only during courtship but even in their marriages. It strengthened us so much in that we knew how to deal with different situations in life. Pastor Humberto and Pastor Lazy, Pastor Dallan and Pastor Irelis just have a huge impact in our lives. They became model couples for us. They had different situations but we intercalated their solutions to their different situations into our courtship. As you are now courting, you need a model couple to look up to. They just reflected what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 “we loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us”. For sure we became dear to each other but I can tell you it was the best decision we ever made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

As I conclude this book, we have learnt different principles of relationships and the ups and downs. To be able to mention all of them would require much more time but we have dealt with the most important of them all. You may now be asking why is that this book does not talk about sex, kissing and so forth. We have read so many books which talk about how to behave sexually in a courtship. The things mentioned in this book are principles seldom talked about. To just spell it out ‘IT’S NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE’. But how do I avoid it? As you could read in between the lines of this book, we tried by every means to be away from each other. You will discover that most churches would only allow for a short courtship because of the risk of sexual sin and this is the best that I can advise; a short courtship. I guess you may now be wondering why mine was so long – 3 years to be exact. It came about that Monique had not finished school as yet. I remember when we discussed about our wedding date some time before, Monique put across a simple thought. In all my excitement, I had purely let it pass. She asked me if we were now capable of taking matters into our own hands and leave the dependency of our parents. Fair enough, we were not prepared to do that but that could also have helped us to figure life on our own.

 

This book is about respecting the principles which lead to a good courtship. Doctrines are best left in different denominations and how each one decides to treat the how and when is left at their own discretion. As you may have realized, the foremost principle is to involve God in your life and that includes your beginning and your courtship. It’s never too late to do that. It’s a matter of willingness. Not that everyone gets to have the blessing I had. I have heard pals who themselves were not committed but their partners were. Dealing with such a situation can be very tricky but not impossible. Remember Job’s wife went on to say “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” She knew that provision had always come from God. When faced with such situations just read the book of Hosea. Sometimes God uses unexpected methods to teach us about Himself; the prophet Hosea was a case in point. The book of Hosea is a vignette of God as a lover who is repeatedly abandoned, letting us see God’s hurt and anger as well as his unrelenting devotion to his people and His willingness to forgive them time and again. But does that mean we can go about hooking with non-christians? No, the bible as we learnt earlier on prohibits us from yoking with unbelievers. There is no justification for you to hook with a non-christian. You may well say but I can’t find anyone suitable for me within the church confines. To answer you on this one: you are the one who is not suitable for the people around you. When you try to seek outside the church confines, it practically means that you have ulterior motives that you do not want exposed in a church environment. You may say, Gary that is a bit harsh but it’s very true. Isaac and his family had been living among the Canaanites but he prohibited Jacob from marrying among them. They too had good looking woman but the promise lay in God’s people. Am I saying that it’s bad for people from different denominations to get married to each other? Not trying to justify my case, as long as you know that this a Christian, then do not worry. There is nothing more frustrating than a partner who does not understand the principles you follow. Monique and I were both part of the foreigner’s Christian fraternity and were both praise and worship leaders in our different churches. Our churches were practically the same in terms of principles as my pastor would go and preach at her church and vice versa so it was not a difficult issue intercalating our principles as Christians as were had the same base. I was about to write that there is a need for you to get married within your church environs but I just have to change that statement. It’s compulsory to get married within the church environs and better still within your denomination.

 

I already knew how to approach Monique by the time we got together as I knew her character. Funny enough, she was someone I had studied for a long time, not because I wanted to be with her but because of the somehow weird character she had (forgive me Monique for this one but this was very true). I later understood that I too had a more weird character than hers so she says (I forgive you for that one).

 

With all these principles, I learnt how for sure I know that I am in love and how I have the right partner? First, you have to understand that’s it’s not always about you. It’s about God’s desire in your life. You may have been like me, if you are a young man. Up to now I do not know how I got to speak to Monique on that 19th December. Listening to Joel Osteen’s (Lakewood Church, Senior Pastor) testimony or anecdote however you may want to call it, he relates to how after having seen Victoria (his wife), he spent two weeks trying to compose himself so that he could ask her out. In the mean time he would say to himself, no girl can refuse such a fine man like me and Victoria would definitely lose out if she said no. When he had spent so much time in front of the mirror and now confident, he decided to give Victoria a call. Whatever they talked about, I do not know but when Victoria finally said yes, says Joel that he fainted for some few minutes. He was overwhelmed.

 

But what really made him or made me know that I am really in love? These are a few tests you may want to run before you ‘faint’:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Love is outgoing. It reaches out to the other one, wanting to make happy and not just wanting to be happy yourself.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Real love gives strength and does not take it away. It makes you eager to accomplish.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Love is a we- feeling. You tend always to think like this: We could enjoy doing this and that, or we would like to do this and that etc.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. You must like as well love one another. This means that you love your partner with her/his shortcomings. You are no longer bothered by these shortcomings.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Love gives and receives respect, Love cannot live without respect. Do I respect her so much that I would like her to become the mother of my children? Girls you must ask yourself this question: Do I respect him so much that I would like him to become the father of my children?

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Time is the safest test. Real love has to live through the stormy times as well as the good ones. Have you had a quarrel? You have to be able to forgive each other.

 

A teaching by Mother General, Rev A. Manjoro of Faith World Ministries in Zimbabwe at my dear friends wedding; Wisdom and Fortunate would make you ponder into what gear of love you are in. She taught that love consists of 3 different aspects:

 

1. Love relating to the physical nature of man (Eros in Greek)

This is sexuality. This includes a desire which draws two people together. It is good and necessary but only in a God ordained context. In Genesis 3:16 we read that the woman will desire her husband, whereas in Song of Songs 7:10 the husband desires his wife. When God created the human body, He also equipped it with the necessary nervous system which enables man and woman to enjoy their union and I am not necessarily talking about sex. This eros love covers that tinglish feeling that you just have when a person you like is beside you. Your heart becomes heavy and you cannot contain yourself. Remember then that this has to have a limit. What limit – “…I tell you that anyone who looks at woman lustfully, has already committed adultery with her in his heart” Matthew 5:28. 1 Corinthians 7:2 becomes even stronger and tougher. You cannot be having eros love for everyone you meet on the road. Then this is no longer love but a sexual desire which goes out of the bounds of love. Proverbs 5: 15-20 is a prototype of this love.

 

2. The brotherly, friendship type of love (Phileo in Greek)

That is the enjoyment of being together, sharing in the joys and sorrows of life. It includes communication: that is when two people can talk to one another the way they think and feel, their ambitions, hopes and desires. It is being close friends and bet not just close friends but best friends.

 

3. God-kind of love (Agape in Greek)

This is self-giving, sacrificing love. This love means that you want to give yourself to another person, wanting to please him or her more than pleasing yourself. Agape-love is summed up in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is proud. It is not rude, it is self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It is always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers”. It is the love with which Christ loves us (sinners).

 

True love does not keep an eye on who spoke to my partner which alludes to a spirit of jealousy. But God is a jealous God, you may say? Jealousy comes by when you want to protect your own but it does not stretch to doing outrageous things which now will be called envy. Love will make you defend your partner in whatever situation that may arise. I have always told Monique right from the start that I will always defend her when she is in the right but will not compromise when she is in the wrong. Stern, but good for the relationship to continue reflecting a Godly kind of jealousy.

 

But how can I really choose the right partner? I do not want to end up in a relationship I can always be on the run. Here are a few basics that can help you.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The first and basic principle would be to pray about it and ask God’s guidance.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. “Do not be yoked with unbelievers” 1 Corinthians 6:14-15. If you are a child of God, God says you may not choose an unbelieving partner.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Think seriously on what you expect of a life partner.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Take time to make a decision. Never rush into a relationship.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Age: Any relationship where there s a big gap between ages, will cause problems in most cases. Most people would not agree to same age but it has worked well for me. We are the same age Monique and I and we can see that our maturity level does not differ much only when Monique wants to have chocolate and biscuits and I prohibit her!

#
p<>{color:#000;}. BE SURE THAT BOTH OF YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

 

As a conclusion, I encourage you to take a first step towards a good relationship and that is seeking God’s love. When we seek Gods love through prayer then everything should follow suit. Is it going to be easy? It’s going to be full of tears and actually God is waiting for those tears; “…Put thou my tears into thy bottle…” Psalms 56:8. You need to confirm your relationship with God and get His approval. There are so many situations which arise during courtships but when you master the two most important principles: COMMUNICATION and ‘I AM SORRY everything becomes easier Everything that comes easy, easy it goes but its not impossible to get a loving partner who you can cherish for the rest of your life.

 

To the young man, wait upon that prudent wife from the Lord (Proverbs 19:14) and the young ladies, wait upon that God fearing man (Psalms 128) and both will rise to love and respect each other embraced in Gods wings (Psalms 91 :1).

 

 


Can Two Walk Together? The Beginning

I can never forget one thing I said when I was in high school. My mom and I were watching the news and I was so frightened and impacted by the portrayal of Africa to the point where I blurted out, "that is one place I will never visit". As I think back to that day, it brings a smile to my face, because I have been to Africa and I grew to love and care for Africa, so much that I miss living there. This brings to memory a bible verse, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there? Nathanael asked." Likewise I asked, "Africa can anything good come out of there?" My answer is a resounding yes; my husband is a testimony that something good can come out of Africa. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband who has helped me to grow, specifically in my spiritual life. There has been times when I was rebuked by him but I have learnt that he does it out of love and also for me to continue growing. If I tell you that life has been a bed of roses, that would be a blatant lie; we have had trying times but because of love and with God's help, what could be stumbling blocks are turned into stepping stones. We are about to reach 5 years of marriage and it seems like just yesterday. Our lives have intertwined, we are neither Africans nor Americans something new has come to life a splendid mixture of both cultures. This book tells how two persons from different continents with very different cultures, can successfully become one in marriage. You will read about our courtship and the difficulties we experienced before our families gave us their blessings for marriage. For those of you who are thinking about getting into a relationship, this book gives information on how God guided the author through prayer and counseling from pastors to find his soul mate. No matter what your age, go ahead and read of how God guides his children even when it seems like He's taking you down an impossible path.

  • ISBN: 9781310117503
  • Author: garikai katsere
  • Published: 2015-12-24 11:20:08
  • Words: 39102
Can Two Walk Together? The Beginning Can Two Walk Together? The Beginning