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Friday, February 17, 2012

Don’t be misled by the title of this post. I’m am definitely BIG on commitment in marriage. It's essential!

A while back I shared my thoughts  on the importance of commitment in a post entitled “Ceremony vs. Covenant.”   Here is what I said then and what I still believe
It seems we’ve mixed up what marriage really is. Marriage isn’t a certificate or a ceremony. The paper and the pomp are but impermanent symbols of what should be a much deeper and more lasting covenant. Marriage is to be a holy and genuine commitment to live as a husband and wife, growing evermore toward being inseparably one in body, soul and spirit.

It is the marriage covenant that forms the basis for our commitment. There is a Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote that I really love. It comes from a letter he wrote to a newlywed couple:
It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.

The point he is making is that we need to remind ourselves that marriage is a covenant and a commitment and allow that to fuel our love for one another. We have turned it around backwards in modern times such that in seasons when giddy feelings are hard to muster, we think it must be time to bail. That is not how it is supposed to work.

So yes, I firmly believe that commitment is hugely important. But as important as I think commitment is to a lasting marriage, commitment alone is not sufficient to sustain a marriage for the long haul.

I believe it also takes two other important ingredients: faith and a willingness to change.

A Sure Faith

What is faith? The Bible puts it like this:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1
Why is faith important in marriage? Because sometimes things aren’t going to look like you think they should. Sometimes what you hope for might not bear much resemblance to what you are actually seeing. That’s when you need to look at your marriage with the eyes of faith, believing that God has the power and desire to make your marriage all it can be.

God is very pro-marriage. He is very very much FOR your marriage. He wants more than for you to just hang in there because you said you would at the altar, as great as that is. No he wants you to have hope in him.

God, the author of your marriage, is our source of hope and our reason to have faith.

A “Change Me” Attitude

As important as commitment and faith are, they aren’t enough either. The third ingredient that is essential for a lasting marriage is a willingness to change.

You can have a 100% commitment to your marriage and have all the faith in the world that it will turn out like you hope, but sometimes, in order to make your marriage all it can be, you will have to be the one to change. .

I know it’s tempting to think, “If my husband would just do X, I know our marriage would be so much better,” or “If my wife would just do Y, I know our marriage would be great.” You can believe for X or Y with all your heart.

Consider, however, that maybe your spouse’s lack of X or Y might not be the actual problem. The thing between where your marriage is and where it could be might be that something in you needs to change.

Are you willing to ask God to change you however he wants to in order to strengthen your marriage? Are you willing to let him adjust your expectations to align them with his idea of what your marriage should be?

What do you think of my three-fold formula for a lasting marriage? If every marriage was founded on a firm commitment to the covenant, an enduring faith and a willingness to be changed, would that be enough to make marriage last?

Do you have some other "keys" for an enduring marriage?

PS - Call it prophetic if you want, but just as I was putting the finishing touches on this post, I got the following Tweet from @JoyceMeyer :
Take some bold steps of faith and change anything the Lord leads you to change.
Thanks, Lord, for that little bit of divine confirmation.

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Suggested Further Reading on Other Blogs:


Wilbur Holz said...

I think it is a very good way of looking at thing. It is so easy for us to make it about other things, about them, to be stuck in surviving our marriage. God wants it to be delightful. What does God need to do in me to make it so? A question I am afraid is not asked often enough.

Scott said...

Thank Wilbur, I agree that God does want marriage to be a delight!

Markus said...

Good stuff. Thanks for sharing. Love your blog! :-)

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