The topic of the TAFES Dodoma Associates dinner we went to was ‘The Rising Divorce Rate’, and after contributions from several members, the speaker gave his point of view. He largely argued that the reason for divorce is that people have left God’s design for marriage. What followed was an exposition of some key passages on marriage, applied to a Tanzanian context.
The speaker was a Pentecostal pastor with the TAG and he showcased many of the fine things we have noted about that denomination. He was thoroughly biblical, and had radical and culture transforming stuff to say by way of application. Here are a few of the highlights:
- It is not a woman’s fault if the marriage does not bear children (this being a common reason for divorce.) Both men and women contribute to the conception of children. But ultimately, children are not a gift of one to the other but a gift from God.
- When you read Ephesians 5 and it says, ‘husbands love your wives’, that might seem weird – how can you command love? Rather than going down the ‘love is an action not a feeling’ line, he cross-referenced with 1 Cor 13 and said, read those words into Ephesians 5 i.e. ‘Husbands, be patient with your wives; husbands, consider your wives better than yourselves; husbands, keep no record of wrongs, etc.’
- Many men demand their rights from their wives, but there is no place in Scripture for this. A wife may wash her husband’s socks because she wants to honour him, but this does not make her his servant, and it comes out of her desire to fulfill the position God has given her, rather than because the husband claims it.
- A powerful man is one who can do what other men can’t. That means that a powerful man is one who can admit his wrongs and ask his wife for forgiveness.
- You must expect that your bodies will change over your marriage. There was lots of joking at this point about manboobs and women with flat chests, but also wonderful pastoral moments speaking about how women’s bodies often permanently change when they have children, and that is to be honoured.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.