Bukari and his wife don't sit next to each other during Church services.
Even when going to Church services, they go in different vehicles; and when they travel in the same car, it is usually a very quiet and uncomfortable ride.
Bukari sat at his usual spot in the Church service; the fourth line on the far left row. His wife sat on the center row.
The Pastor took to the podium.
"Husbands, stop wasting your time praying" the Pastor began.
The congregants got alarmed. No one expects to hear a pastor saying prayer is a waste of time.
"I am not here to discourage you to pray. I am here to encourage you to pray right.
Husbands, stop wasting your time praying if you are not treating your wife well.
The Word says that when you treat your wife badly, it hinders your prayers. Men, you claim to be prayerful.
You come to church driving your expensive cars, giving your offertory and tithes, active in Church, some of you are Church leaders; but how are you treating your wife?
You may look good to us Church members, but it is your wife and children that know who you truly are" said the Pastor.
Bukari turned to face his wife. She looked at him. Bukari could see her eyes.
Her left eye swollen from the blow he gave her last week when she confronted him about his alcoholism, pornography use and mischievous behavior.
People couldn't tell she had a black eye because of the make up she had on, so well done.
The Pastor continued, "People have perfected the art of cover up. Here in Church, so many are hurting but you wouldn't know.
People come here wearing their nice clothes, shiny smiles, they are active in ministry but hurting a lot in their marriage.
We have become numb and plastic, brushing things under the carpet. But today we shall heal; we shall address those wounds we hide"
The Pastor cleared his throat and continued, "Many of those who are hurting their spouse are using the church to hide.
They think that because they give offertory and tithe, because they make public prayers, because they stand in front to read the Word or because they hold a Church leadership position that they are right with God. God is interested in what you do in your marriage and in your family.
Your first ministry is your home. Stop trying to blackmail God with your service in Church yet you are mean and hurtful towards your spouse"
Many of the members of the congregation got restless and unsettled.
The Pastor continued, "Many of those who are being hurt by their spouse hide their pain and want to project an image that all is well to validate that they are blessed and in control.
Some of you are active in Church to run away from the pain in your marriage"
The congregation was silent. Some straightening their ties, others fidgeting with their Bibles, adjusting their sitting position.
This pastor was preaching truth and it was uncomfortable.
The Pastor continued, "The husbands are not the only ones guilty. Wives, don't you know the Word says when your husband found you he found good and you bring favour?
Then why are you the source of your husband's headache and stress? Have you been so toxic that you have turned your prayerful husband into a prayerless one?
Do you make him regret marrying you because you bring more complications than he had before marrying you?
How you treat your husband can be a stumbling block in his walk with God or an environment that encourages growth.
Many of you married your husband primarily because of his relationship with God, why are you now destroying his relationship with God instead of celebrating and nurturing it?
Why are you being a burden to your husband emotionally, spiritually, socially, sexually and financially instead of being one who brings favour?"
Bukari's wife looked at Bukari. Bukari looked at her, she looked away.
The Pastor paused to drink his glass of water.
The Pastor paused to drink his glass of water.
The Pastor continued, "When I am thirsty, I drink a glass of water.
When your spouse gets thirsty, will you allow God to use you to bless your spouse?
You've been told many sermons that focus on you as an individual, that God will make you prosper as an individual.
I am here to tell you your blessings are tied to people, you are blessed to be a blessing to others. Our God is not an individualistic God.
Your blessing is tied to your marriage, your family. It's not about you, you, you; it is about Jesus and Jesus is about love.
What good is it to prosper and be successful when you have no love? It is all vanity.
God cares about your family, how you treat your spouse and children"
"Yes, we pray. But what kind of prayers does your spouse pray because of you?
When your spouse prays, is it largely to cry to God because of the hurt you bring?
Is it to plead with God to change you from the monster you've become?
Is it to plead for grace to deal with how difficult you are? Or is to give thanks for you?"
"Are you really prayerful? Do you really value prayer?
Then why is it that many of you find it easy to come to us pastors for us to pray with you as an individual, you find it is easy to pray in public in a Church service or Bible study, but find it so hard to pray with your spouse?
Isn't that telling of what is going on in your marriage? Don't you know that the more you pray with your spouse the stronger your marriage will be?
But how can you find it easy to pray with a spouse you hurt or who hurts you?"
The Pastor paused and looked at the congregation. Eyes staring at him.
"I challenge you. I challenge you to pray with your spouse and to treat your spouse well.
Husbands, you are the head of the home. I challenge you to stand up and go to where your wife is and pray with her as a start of a more prayerful chapter in your marriage.
Don't do it because I asked you to but because you want to. Your choice"
One by one, the husbands present stood up.
Bukari stood up too.
Bukari walked to where his wife was.
The face of Bukari's wife overwhelmed with love, she looked on as her husband walked to her.
She almost stood up but he gave hand gestures at her to stay seated.
Bukari reached where she sat. Their eyes met.
Bukari knelt down. He stared at her then kissed her swollen left eye.
"I am sorry" he said.
"Can I pray with you?" He asked.
She got up from her seat and knelt down too.
There, on the floor as the Church service was still ongoing, husbands prayed with their wives.
Bukari prayed kneeling with his wife.
They prayed for forgiveness, for thanksgiving, for love, for renewal, for peace, for direction; for their marriage.
Marriages were healed.
If You have been blessed by this massage please share. You might just be saving a marriage about to collapse.
Let there be love, favour, fear of God in our homes, marriages and relationships and allow God to bless us to have a blissful home and heal all hurting marriages.