“Anyone who has been married for more than 5 minutes realizes that it takes so much more to have a good marriage than we were ever told. It takes more than love, more than sincerity, more than compatibility, good communication skills, or hard effort. It takes more than a good upbringing, more than a romantic nature, a willingness to listen, or mega-doses of ‘quality time.’ These alone will eventually prove inadequate to bind one imperfect person to another, forever.” (Dr. Ronn Elmore) A truly good marriage truly is an outrageous commitment.
This is a commitment that truly pleases God. Read further for some additional thoughts on this subject by Dr. Elmore (from his book, An Outrageous Commitment: The 48 Vows of an Indestructible Marriage published by Harper Resource):
Marriage: An Outrageous Commitment
We label something outrageous when its benefits aren’t plainly in view but we are called upon to do it anyway. Unconditional love seems outrageous to us when the object of that commitment has by no means earned it. Or it’s when it demands more of our resources than we’re willing to dispense.
Something as slight as a kiss can seem like an outrageous offer after our mate has broken a promise or ignored a request we’ve made. Somehow we’ve come to believe that love is a finite. It’s an irreplaceable commodity that we could use up.
Still, our souls desire something this high and pure. We desire something that makes ordinary marriages extraordinary, struggling marriages as solid as granite, and dead marriages resurrected to new life. In spite of all our best arguments against it, self-sacrifice is the facet of love that most reflects the height, the depth, the width, and the breadth of God’s love for you.
Ronn tells how his wife has challenged all that he thought would be demanded of him as a husband. But it has been the best thing. Still, it has seemed to be outrageous at times. He goes on to write:
…Outrageous commitment, and the self-sacrificing acts that demonstrate it, are hard to explain, let alone defend. It is unearned, often unappreciated, and not always reciprocated. Sacrificing our own interests for the sake of another person disarms our tendency toward self-centeredness. Making lofty vows to each other takes little effort. Keeping them, however, will take all your strength and much more besides. It is not to be accomplished by well-kept rules, but by your willing embrace of selfless sacrifice.
You may have demonstrated outrageous commitment and not known it. Wherever it exists it will show itself in abundantly practical, observable ways like:
Some “Outrageous” Acts:
• Waking up each morning and deciding, yet again, to offer your best today. You do this in spite of what happened yesterday.
• Deciding to keep talking about and planning for your future together. You do this even when the present is troubling.
• Delaying (or sacrificing altogether) the night out, the exciting vacation, the new car, or any long-awaited pleasure. You do this so that your mate can gain something infinitely more valuable.
• Giving the one you love the space to show he/she is profoundly human, but not in danger of losing your devotion because of it.
• (Or like in my case) making your feelings known to your spouse but investing the extra time and effort to make your desires sound like requests, not demands.
Outrageous commitment is in making and keeping vows like these that transcend mere marriage and establish holy matrimony.
Joining This Outrageous Commitment
Cindy and I believe that if we’re going to become “Outrageously Committed” to one another, we will also need to understand something else that Elmore noted:
“In marriage, your self-sacrifice will not always be noticed, appreciated, or reciprocated. But it has the power to disarm our natural tendency toward passionate self-centeredness.”
In other words, we’re not going to employ these principles for any other reason than to love our spouse the way we’re commanded and expected by God to love.
“Be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Jesus Christ loved us so much that He gave Himself up for us. Now THAT is outrageous love! It’s also the type of love we are to lavish upon our spouse. We do this as God’s colleague in loving them and being committed to revealing the heart of Christ in our marriage.
May it be so …so help us God!
Steve and Cindy Wright
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