What Can Be More Precious Than Jewels?

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” (Proverbs 31:10)

From early childhood, many of us absorbed the idea that marriage is a natural and integral part of normal life. I remember the games we used to play as I was growing up in the mining town of Luanshya; games that conditioned our minds to the reality of marriage. As dusk set in, we gathered under the faint shadows of the moon, and the slim silhouette of the closely built houses, singing “Nsale, nsale chinkamba, mulesala bawama...” or “I want to see my Jane, my Jane, my Jane.” Today, our visually-enthusiastic generation watches the Disney cartoons and fairly-tale characters like Snow White and Prince Charming, Shrek and Fiona, and early on in childhood, they receive signals that society expects them to one day be numbered among the married.

So it was not unnatural for me, with slightly more than a year remaining before I graduated from Bible college, to begin to seriously pray that God would bring into my life a godly young lady who would answer to the challenge of being a pastor’s wife. I had no idea where she would come from, and when I would meet her. I met several ladies in the course of time, corresponded with some of them through postal letters (those were days when e-mails and cell phones were not even in my remotest imagination), but none of these struck any note in my heart.

In April, 1995, we broke off from college for one month holiday. I travelled to Lusaka on a short attachment as a “trainee pastor” in one of the local churches. I was then in my third year at the Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA) in Ndola. During the one month that I was to spend in Lusaka, my friend and former college mate at TCCA was going to get married, and she had invited me to this wedding. The day of the wedding came, and I woke up with a swollen right foot, and it gave me a great deal of pain and discomfort. When I was all dressed up, and tried to force my swollen foot into my shoe, a bolt of pain rain through my entire body as if I had stepped in a pot of boiling water. I was determined to go for the wedding, but how was I going to make it with such pain?

I took a pain killer, waited for a few minutes for its efficacy to be felt in my body, and attempted again the unenviable task of squeezing my foot into the shoe. The pain was less severe this time, thanks to the pain killer. I literally wobbled to the bus stop, and got on the bus to the wedding service, and later the reception. God’s providence directed my steps to this wedding, in spite of the pain, and caused my path to cross with that of a fine young lady who two years later was to become my wife. The puritan John Flavel said “The providence of God is like Hebrew words - it can be read only backwards.” And that is true. As I look back, it was through that seemingly ordinary choice to put my swollen foot into my shoe and limp to this wedding that God began to unravel his intricate plan for my marital life, and as they say, the rest is history, or to put it differently, living the reality of history in the present.

Now, you may wonder, what has prompted this line of thought? Well, the 9th of August this year, marks our 14th wedding anniversary. Shupe and I got married on this date in 1997 in Kitwe, and what a blessing she has been to me all these years. The Lord couldn’t have given me a better wife! And humanly speaking, I couldn’t have made a better choice. I know that writing this way about my wife might attract stern rebukes from her. She is not the kind of person who seeks glory or attention to herself, and might express some embarrassment at this public acknowledgement of her great qualities. However, I will gladly bear with her rebuke in that area.

One of the great paperbacks that I would recommend to husbands is a short book, The Christian Lover: The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers, by Michael Haykin (with assistance from his daughter Victoria).

Dr. Haykin has assembled together 32 personal letters from noted Christian leaders through history with the purpose of illustrating, celebrating, and encouraging the delightful and passionate love that a husband and wife can (and ought to) have toward one another. Reading this book will have a rewarding experience in your marriage. One of the letters in this book was written by the forty year old Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones to his wife Bethan after they had been married for twelve years. Dr. Lloyd-Jones wrote:

“Bethan dear, you are dearer to me than ever and I feel prouder of you than ever before…There is no one like you anywhere. The more I see of others the more obvious does this become…When I think of those days in London in 1925 and ’26, when I thought that no greater love was possible, I could laugh. But honestly during this last year I had come to believe that it was not possible for a man to love his wife more than I loved you. And yet I see there is no end to love, and that it is still true that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ I am quite certain that there is no lover, anywhere, writing to his girl who is quite as mad about her as I am.”

I have taken a cue from these godly men to unblushingly express myself in this way to and about the wife of my youth. The liveliness and cheerfulness that Shupe exudes; her gentle and kind spirit; her godliness, simplicity, humility and generous heart are just the kind of virtues any man would want in a wife, better still, a pastor’s wife. In her courage to gently but firmly straighten me, I have found a suitable helper without whom much good in me would not abide. And not on a few occasions have I thought to myself, "I don’t think I deserve her."

I thank God for this precious gift. Happy 14th Anniversary dear!!!


  1. We thank God for his blessings! May the Lord grant you many many years together as you serve Him!

  2. Congratulations on your 14th Anniversary for sure!!!!
    The posting has been very nice and romantic and for us who are going to celebrate 5 years on the 12th of August we are thoroughly encouraged.
    thank you.
    Belinda Mkandawire

  3. happy 14th anniversary......i was in grade five n i still remember miss chilembo leaving and coming back as mrs makashinyi...lol... may God continue to bless you and the family...i am inspired.

  4. Congratulations Isaac and Shupe! Mavis and I consider you kith and kin and we enjoy your company tremendously. May the Lord add many more years to your marriage and may it be an endlessly happy one.

    Charles Bota

  5. Welcome back to blogosphere! I have looked and looked and looked in vain for a posting from your pen for almost one year. So, I was all eyes when this one came through. I hope it is only the first of many more to come from your pen--even if all of them will be about Shupe!

    Some years ago, a church member who is also a personal friend came into our bedroom when I was ill and found a card on my wife's side of the bed. Curiosity got the better of him. When he read it and found me pouring out affections to my wife in words that would perhaps be too deep for the public eyes, he asked, "Pastor what offense did you commit? Men only do this when they are atoning for their sins!" He could not believe it when I told him that I had not done any wrong.

    Well, Isaac, I hope no one out there is thinking, "What offense did Isaac commit that should have caused him to atone in such a [public] show of affection?" I think this ought to be normal practice!

  6. Now Sir, we met yesterday (after sharing a phone call in which I belatedly wished you Blessed 14th Anniversary) & mentioned thou not that this blog posting had been done!
    I should say I'm one of the undeserving owners (& reader) of the compilation of love letters 'The Christian Lover.' All my reading of the of the said book only brings afresh my own feeling/ realisation of unworthiness. What with the abiding remnant of the 'old man' ! Add to that the inherent deficiency in the area of expressiveness........not being as endowed as your good self Sir.
    We shall not think for once that the fond sentiments you make are something of a goat you're dragging to the alter of atonement. We understand it as being a hearty grateful acknowledgement that indeed 'thy lot has fallen in pleasant places..'

    Blessed 14th Wedding anniversary.

    Christopher CK KANGWA.

  7. Happy 14th wedding anniversay Pastor Isaac. May God continue to pour His love and grace upon you and your dear wife.

    Joseph Mwanza

  8. Wishing you happiness and love on your Special Day
    A loving wish that's meant for two-
    May all your future dreams come true..
    And love be yours to have, to hold
    as Happy days and years unfold

  9. I am happy for you 2 I have no picture of your wedding but I remember very well Keep going