Two people meet, fall in love and decide to get married. After months of planning and thousands of dollars spent (usually by the bride's parents), the man and woman become husband and wife. This scenario has been played out billions of times for thousands of years in one form or another around the world.
For the most part, the actual couple getting married is so caught up in the moment that the significance of the vows they make during the ceremony mean very little to them. Besides, when they make those vows they are young, healthy, happy and in love. The depth of the reality of what those vows really mean if they stay together is a foreign concept.
Although most couples now days write their own Â€ÂœpledgeÂ€, and in some cases their vows, the traditional vows exchanged during the wedding ceremony are usually some variation of the following:
"[Name], do you take [Name] to be your wedded [husband/wife] to live together in marriage. Do you promise to love, comfort, honor and keep [him/her] For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. And forsaking all others, be faithful only to [him/her] so long as you both shall live?"
When two people get married, the vow they make is supposed to represent a commitment to stay together, love each other and take care of each as long as they both do live. Marriage was never intended to only be someone done during the good times and as long as the spark of passion was there. Marriage is supposed to be the commitment to forsake all others and remain faithful to one's spouse throughout a lifetime.
The marriage commitment is not limited to fidelity only. In a bigger sense, the commitment is to stay faithful to each other whatever life may bring. After infidelity, the things that usually cause a marriage to disintegrate are financial matters (both poverty as well as wealth), health issues and apathy resulting in lack of love.
My parents were married by a justice of the peace (they eloped) in 1939. A year later my sister was born and shortly after that my dad went in the army as World War II broke out. Without the benefit of cell phones, computer email or mail that didn't take weeks to deliver a letter my parents stayed married through the nearly 4 years of total separation forced upon them by the war.
In the 59 years my parents were married (until my dad died), they honored their marriage vows no matter how difficult it became. Through my dad's years of alcoholism, my mom's decision to work the midnight shift as a nurse, years of adjunct poverty and my dad's plethora of health issuesÂ€Â”they stayed together until the end.
Compare this to the fleeting commitment found in couples today. They stay married as long as things go great, but the minute money, kid, health or emotional issues arise there seems to be an escape clause built into their marriage vows no one knew about. For many, the onset of tough times or the appearance of someone better gives just cause to hire a divorce attorney and find a way out of a commitment that was to last a lifetime.
Now, before anyone starts yelling at me, I know there are times when a marriage has to end for the protection of one of the spouses or children. Abuse is a legitimate cause for separation in my estimation, for I went through such a marriage and I ended it because of the threats made. But, rare indeed are the times when this happens in marriages. Most of the time people just "fall out of love" or buckle under the pressure of debt and/or health issues.
When I remember back to my dad adjusting his entire routine to help my mom with her mobility issues, my mom spending countless nights sleeping on cots in hospital rooms when my dad was in for one of his many operations and my parents doing without so as to provide food, clothing and housing for us kids; I see the kind of commitment that there is supposed to be in marriage.
In some ways our commitment to our Lord Jesus is similar to the marriage commitment. In many ways I see Christians break that commitment for the same reasons married couples split up. When financial or health issues build up many Christians walk because they felt like they were lied to in that there were no supposed to be in problems like that after getting saved. I see Christians lured away from their relationship with Christ by the appealing wares of the world. I see apathy set in after years of being together the same way it does in married couples at times.
What is needed to combat these issues both in a marriage and in our relationship with the Lord is commitment. Yes, the absolute commitment of Romans 8:38, 39:
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
Nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
If we are this fully persuaded of our commitment, then that commitment will carry us through and be the wind beneath our wings that allows us to "having done all--STAND". Without commitment the ordeals and affairs of this life will sooner or later cause us to stumble or lure us away from what our heart committed itself to do. The foundation to any relationship lasting a lifetime is the absolute commitment that nothing in this life will break it.
During our second year of marriage, my husband and I found ourselves out of college and unemployed. Neither of us could get jobs in our field. Indeed, neither one of us were able to even get full time jobs as the economy was bad and for the first time in my life I started hearing people talk about the homeless, food shelters, etc.
As we struggled to make ends meet, with not one but three part time jobs cleaning offices (we got runs together as we only had one car and raced to three different locations all night long finishing up about 3 a.m.), I remember a brief period when things got a bit "tense". In the midst of all of this, my husband suddenly quietly asked me if I wanted a divorce and that stopped me in my tracks.
I gulped and started to cry as he quickly assured me that wasn't what he wanted either but it was time for us to make a commitment. This time, not in the moment (although we never did take our vows lightly) surrounded by family and friends but in the trenches of life. Were we really in this for the long haul; for better or for worse or were those simply pretty words?
That night we both decided that we were in it for the long haul. For nearly 29 years (next month), this has meant that we have NO other option. We are committed to this and therefore we must continually bring our marriage under the protection of the very author of marriage itself, God!
We have faced times of wondering how to put food on the table as well as times which were much more comfortable. We certainly have done the in sickness and in health part over the last two and a half years! However, God has faithful and enabled us to stand together before Him hand in hand... no matter what; committed to Him and to each other. Isn't that what marriage is all about?
Yes, I have proven that too. I have been married for 34 years, and I tell you, we have been through a lot- my husband lost his job, a few days after our son was born. There were times when we skipped meals so that we could buy milk for our son. My husband had to work at difficult and odd jobs . I was very young then, and I don't know that married life could be so hard.But I have no regrets. Because God never abandon us- and we always turn to Him and surrender and because we stood by our wedding vows . And we have endured. Our son is now 33 years old , professional and most important totally dependent to God. He has our deep faith to our Father and his son our Lord- Christ and the Holy Spirit. When I looked back, I know that our marriage work because we let God ruled our lives. Thank you for your blog- I almost forget that I love being married. I pray that many would realize this about their marriage.
Excellent blog and message. "The foundation to any relationship lasting a lifetime is the [u]absolute commitment[/u] that nothing in this life will break it." This is the commitment I have made with Jesus. I believe absolute commitment is what Jesus wants with Him and within our marriages. Thanks! revgenlink
I have never been married but am married to the Holy Spirit! Hebrews 10:35 Therefore do not cast off confidence , which has great reward. Elvis Presley "priests" in Las Vegas, what next? Inciteful blog, Brother B2Y! May you and Blest have a long lasting fruitful marraige! Dave
It is "spot on" solid spiritual doctrine to compare our relationship with Jesus to marriage! After all, He is "the Groom" and we are the "bride groom." His blood has cleansed us so that we are holy and acceptable to the Son, and the Father as well. He has commitmented to us His fidelity, which will never lessen, nor fade away over time...ever!
We owe Christ Jesus our all. Thanks for sharing these thoughts!
Rest In Him,
Our 34th year is approaching, really 32nd, but I count from the first time I meant her.
By world standards we should of broke up in our second year of marriage.
Even with tattered sails this boat is sailing on with Hallelujah sang all the way to the end of this journey.
As long as the Lord don't let go I ain't going.
Wonder truth - commitment.