“Till Death do us Part” Addressing the Theology of Perseverance within Nigerian Christian Marriage by Re-Interpreting Pauline's Concept of Marriage
Marriage is believed to be the first institution God established in the Garden of Eden. It is a union of commitment and taking of vows right from the Old Testament down to the New Testament. The scriptures support marriage to be a lifelong commitment that is outlined in Paul's letters. The phrase "till death do us part" is common in a substantial number of Christian weddings where the couples take the oath either by saying it after the person joining or they read it themselves. This begs the question: what kind of death is the phrase "till death do us part" referring to within Pauline's letters in salvaging theology of perseverance that is oppressive to women? Several marriages appear to be dead spiritually, socially, and emotionally, but not physically yet. For instance, many marriages are suffering from gender-based violence in the name of "till death do us part" and the theology of perseverance. Many women are suffering and most churches in Nigeria preach perseverance in marriages which appears to be one-sided due to many reasons that this paper seeks to address. It is on this backdrop that this paper attempts to re-interpret the "theology of perseverance" that is being preached by most members of the clergy within Nigeria through a "hermeneutics of life" and the salvific act of Christ as found in the Pauline letters on marriage. To also balance theology of perseverance to both men and women and not one-sided. Such re-interpretation helps in understanding and re-defining the concept of "till death do us part" and the "theology of perseverance" in salvaging women specifically from gender-based violence, subordination, and exploitation within the Christian family in Nigeria through balanced theology of perseverance.