Having just celebrated our wedding anniversary, we’re going through a reflective time. We LOVE being married this long! And the rewarding part is that we love each other more than we ever have, which is truly remarkable. But it wasn’t always that way. It was a long, painful journey to get here. But thank God we are here, and it is good… so very good. Our lifetime commitment is going strong.
We hope you are at that place or that you get to that place too. May you also be committed beyond the first few years. May you weather the storms that come your way to get to that better place. But above all, may this be for you, a lifetime commitment that leads to good… God’s good (as it has for us).
Marriage: A Lifetime Commitment
Having lived through and learned A LOT, we appreciate others with the same lifetime commitment. Dr James Robison and his wife Betty were married 41 years when they wrote an article on this issue. It is titled, “Committed for Life.” In it, they talked about different aspects of “loyalty and faithfulness,” which has helped them in their marriage.
Here’s a portion of what they’ve learned. It’s something you might benefit from prayerfully reading. See if there is anything you can glean from it, to use in your own marriage. The Robison’s have experienced a “fulfilling lifetime of partnership.” And that is mainly because they’ve “held a steadfast commitment to each other and to God.” This involves loyalty that goes beyond their comfort zones. To get to this place they have learned that:
Loyalty starts with commitment to God.
Our commitment to each other begins with a commitment to follow God, both individually and as a couple. Both are lifelong promises. Neither commitment allows us to say, “Let’s try this for a while and see if it works.” Both are tough. Both call us to live a disciplined life. But both, in the end, are life giving.
Loyalty depends on communication.
When there’s a breakdown in communication, a breakdown in commitment is sure to follow. Communication isn’t simply talking to each other; it’s making sure we really hear each other. We try to listen to and understand the heart of our mate, not just the words they speak.
Communication is especially important when situations aren’t particularly easy or pleasant. But knowing that we’re committed to each other helps us confront, confess, and open up more freely.
Loyalty means we give our spouse the benefit of the doubt.
One issue we’ve worked through has been when one of us says something that the other spouse takes the wrong way. An offhanded or unthinking comment can wreak havoc on our thoughts and relationship.
Dr. Jimmy Draper, our pastor for many years, said something about his wife, Carol Ann that put those statements in perspective: “If I ever think she’s said something to offend me, then I know I’ve misunderstood her, because she’d never do anything purposely to hurt me.”
That’s an awesome reality when we stop to think that neither of us would intentionally hurt the other. When one of us says something that hurts, we stop before we react, and think, “Did my mate say that intentionally to hurt me? We can answer, No; I know my spouse didn’t say that in a mean spirit.” That helps us confront the issue and not the person.
We’ll say, “I know you wouldn’t hurt me, and I know you didn’t intend this, but let me tell you how this came across to me. Let me tell you what I heard. Let me tell you how it felt.”
Loyalty willingly compromises for the other person’s good.
The Bible tells us we must lose our life for Christ’s sake in order to find it. (Matthew 10:39) That same spirit applies to marriage. Although it doesn’t make human sense, when we put the other person first, God grows our marriages.
Early in our marriage, I (James) loved to fish, while Betty enjoyed shopping. But we quickly discovered our hobbies and interests could have caused us to spend less time with each other.
We knew that wasn’t what we wanted our marriage to be—two people that “did their own thing.” So we made a conscious effort to do things together.
That meant when I went fishing, Betty joined me. And when Betty shopped, I tagged along. When we made up our minds to give each other’s hobbies a chance, we found we enjoyed the activities. That’s because it meant being with each other. It simply required an attitude check.
Their Loyalty and Attitude Check Also Led Them To:
…Honor Each Other
Since then we’ve learned to say “no” to many invitations that come our way. We discuss our ministry and work opportunities with each other and, together, prayerfully decide which ones we believe are truly in God’s will. We try always to honor each other.
Once we got in the habit of planning together, it became natural. It no longer feels like a sacrifice or compromise.
We’re still pursuing life. We’re still pursuing God. We haven’t settled in or retired from our marriage. The apostle Paul says Christians are running a race to win (1 Corinthians 9:24). That’s also true of marriage. While it’s not always easy when we keep running on course, determined to cross the finish line —marriage gets sweeter.
(You can read this article titled, Committed for Life, in its entirety, at the Todayschritianwoman.com web site.)
We realize that every couple travels a different road in their marriage. A lot of what works for us, for the Robison’s, and for others, may not work in your relationship. But one principle is true for us all. Our commitment to reveal and reflect the love of Christ within our marriages is an important mission God gives us. He gave it to us when we say, “I do” to the promises set before us.
A Lifetime Commitment To God and to Each Other
As the Robison’s conclude, and we agree, the following is a mission we all should keep before us:
“As we go through life together, we realize more and more that we need each other in order to do what God has called both of us to do. It’s an awesome responsibility. It’s also a great challenge to be there completely for each other. But it’s a tremendous opportunity.
“For us, everything started with our commitment to God, then our commitment to each other. Out of that, we’ve been able to impact the world with the love of Jesus Christ. And isn’t that what it’s all about?”
To that we say, “AMEN!” We hope you will join us in being joyfully, prayerfully, and unswervingly “committed for life” in your marriages, for the glory of God. It truly should be one that is a lifetime commitment.
Cindy and Steve Wright
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