“I DO” Choose You

Choose Jerry King Wedding_CartoonAfter promising, “I do” on our wedding day, we can forget what we vowed. We can forget to choose to give our spouse more priority than other people and other things. Life has a tendency to smush in between us, pushing us apart. It’s amazing how easily we can fall into taking each other for granted, after marrying. When did the marriage license turn into a license to ignore each other’s deep emotional needs?

We will go to all kinds of lengths to please each other, and spend time together before marrying. But after saying, “I do” we often forget to hold onto those same priorities.

I’m not throwing stones here. I fell into the same trap after marrying Steve, and can still do that sometimes. Thank God I woke up, or I wouldn’t still be married to this wonderful man some 45+ years later. The Lord continually wakes me up to remind me again and again to be intentional in showing Steve my love. If I stop doing that, I could be the cause of our marital relationship starving to death.

Choose Your Spouse

This came to mind, as I posted a quote on our Marriage Missions Facebook page (written by Dave Willis):

“Never be too busy for the people you love [ESPECIALLY your spouse]. Never allow pursuits or possessions to become bigger priorities than your relationships [with your marriage relationship, being above all other human ones]. Love is what gives meaning to life.”

The scripture (in 1 John 4:8) comes to mind:

Whoever does not love does not love God, because God is love.

Showing love and making others a priority in life is a godly thing to do. But let us not neglect to showing love to our spouse —the one we promised to do that for, above all other human beings. Lets not let him or her get pushed aside in the shuffle of making life work for us.

On this same issue, I’m reminded of another quote I came across recently:

“A great marriage doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning, but how well you continue building love until the end.” (Unknown)

So, no matter what the dog thinks (we also have a little dog who thinks she should be a higher priority than she is… sorry Popo), and no matter what mom and dad, and others think (those that used to be our first human priorities before we vowed to let “no other” come between us, or “separate” us), lets hold to the vow to choose each other. That’s what we promised when we said, “I do.”

Don’t NEGLECT Others

That doesn’t mean that we have to completely neglect other people and things that interest us, or even that we should. It’s good for our marriage, for us to take some individual time to pursue other healthy interests. But they shouldn’t be pursued at the neglect of growing our marriage relationship. There is balance that is needed.

And that includes our children. Yes, they are important. They’re an expression of our love. And yes, they have needs… many, many needs that must be tended to. But something that Dr Debbie Cherry comes to mind, and I agree with her completely:

“One of the best things any of us can do for our children is to provide them with a strong marital model. Children need to know that their parents love not only them, but each other. The child’s sense of security grows as he/she sees parents loving each other. To put your marriage on hold for 18 or more years while you raise the children is not only detrimental to the marriage, it’s devastating to the children. We must learn to “childproof” our marriages during those parenting years. If we don’t we’ll soon learn that the marriage withers and dies.

When the parental team breaks down and begins to disintegrate, the children become the biggest losers. They lose their family unit, which is where they build their sense of security. When children don’t feel secure, their whole world seems to unravel. No amount of baseball, dance, piano lessons, or toys can make up for that kind of loss.

Consider Your Spouse When You Choose What You Do

If we don’t want to make our spouse our most important human priority, then why marry in the first place? We’re warned in 1 Corinthians 7 that marrying will and is supposed to change our priorities. We don’t have the same amount “free time” that we had to pursue God and other interests. Once we marry, we have our spouse to consider in all major decisions we make, “from this day forward.”

That’s not a horrible thing. It’s a GREAT thing, if we keep our promises, and “walk in love, as Christ love us and gave Himself up for us” as we’re told to do in Ephesians 5:2. That is especially true as it pertains to our bride or bridegroom.

Let us remember what we’re told in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Choose God and Each Other

May we not break that, which God put together on our wedding day. We are to be a married couple devoted to each other and to God to bless this world and make it a better place. And as we do so, may God use our love and our lives together to cause non-believers to question their disbelief in God.

Keep in mind that just because you’re married, it doesn’t give you a license to take each other for granted. Hug, kiss, share, show you care, and say “I love you” OFTEN. Be intentional in growing your love, or it may die from neglect.

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.

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