Hello again!!! It's me, your friendly marriage counselor!! Just kidding. But I was thinking about making this a weekly post for awhile, anyway. Last week my post was about the vast differences between males and females, and how God uses those differences to make marriages great! This week, I would like to explore a bit about the actual covenant of marriage. That is what our Fireproof class studied this week, and it was really interesting.
What is a covenant? According to the dictionary, it is a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment. When a man and woman get married, they enter a covenant agreement with God. They make vows to honor, respect, love and care for each other in all circumstances. I would like to share with you an excerpt from our Fireproof your Marriage book:
"The vast majority of adults find someone to fill their need for a partner and companion- approximately 90% will eventually marry. Unfortunately, around half of all marriages end in divorce. Most perish from what is called 'irreconcilable differences' which is a catch-all phrase for 'it's just not working out anymore.' Other common explanations include 'I've fallen out of love' or 'We're just two different people now.' In reality, there are days in every relationship where there are irreconcilable differences. But God intended marriage to last a lifetime.. marriage is a covenant. In our culture, however, marriage is sometimes treated more like a 50/50 contract- spouses do their part IF they feel the other partner is doing his/her part."
There are two points that I really love in this:
1. Marriage is hard work. Do you enter into it lightly? Do you enter into it with God as the center of it? Do you view your marriage as a lifelong commitment or a if-it-works-then-great attitude? I believe that too many people get married without fully contemplating or understanding the commitment God intended when he made marriage a covenant.
2. God wants each person in a marriage to give 100% of who they are to their spouse, no strings attached. It should not be "Well, if he does this, then I get that." That can be so hard to do!! As humans, we feel a certain sense of equality is needed. We want things to be fair, darn it!! But God does not view marriage this way. He wants us to fully, unconditionally love our spouse, even if we feel we are not being loved the same way.
Now, I am not going to delve topic of divorce and when God says it's okay and when it is not. (Not in this post anyway!) But overall, I believe that there are so many unnecessary divorces in our world today that could have been avoided if God was the center of the marriage.
I would like to end with a passage from Ecclesiastes dealing with vows.
"When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it". (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5)
If you are married, take a few moments to think about the vows you made to your spouse. I have included some common ones below. Rate how well you feel you have kept each vow in your marriage. ( These also came from the Fireproof book.)
*To have and to hold (how well have you bonded and held to your spouse?)
*For better and for worse (how stable is your treatment of your husband, regardless of circumstances?)
*For richer or poorer (how well does your marriage stand up to financial pressures?)
*In sickness and in health (is your marriage affected by health struggles?)
* To love and to cherish (do you show your spouse unconditional love?)
*I pledge my faithfulness (are you faithful to your spouse?)
I would love to hear what you think about this topic. If you feel comfortable, please leave a comment about how your marriage has or has not held up to the vows you took. In my marriage, the hardest vow for me to uphold is "the better and worse". How often do I treat my husband differently (harshly) because of the tough times we are going through? because of the little things he does that annoy me? Does my snapping at him about not listening to me help our marriage? NOPE!!!! These vows are reminders of how God wants our marriage to look.
Dear Father God, help me to love my husband unconditionally, just as you love me, despite my innumerable faults. Pour your holy love into my heart so it overflows to those around me, most importantly my spouse.