Since the dawn of civilization, men and women have joined in union to become husband and wife! And while the battle of the definition of marriage continues to plague our country due to the redefining of what “is” marriage, i’m not going to write on that subject today. Quite honestly I believe there is a bigger problem lurking within our society; one that I am sure is the catalyst of many other things haunting humanity; the starting point to the dismantling of values and morality in the world. It is the growing epidemic engulfing humanity today; our inability to commit to another person for a lifetime; till death do us part!
I would like to start our by sharing a verse from the bible which pretty much sums things up.
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Again, I will not focus on the fact God “made them male and female”! We could debate for years on that sentence alone. I will not judge! I will, however, focus on two other key points made here.
One, that the “man shall leave his mother and father and join his wife, and the two will become one flesh”. Becoming ONE is no easy task. It requires COMMITMENT, DETERMINATION, HUMILITY, FORGIVENESS and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! In other words we must ENGAGE in the life of our spouse! For those understanding the true covenant of marriage, you know that the commitment is three in one; God, Husband and Wife! We can be assured that God does his part! But what about the rest of us?
For most of history, husband and wife stood before their pastor and swore a covenant to God and to one another. In short they spoke this simple yet deep commitment to one another; I will use my vows to my wife to share my example.
Jeff, do you take Jessica to be your wedded wife, to live together in marriage. Do you promise to love, comfort, honor and keep her; For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. And forsaking all others, be faithful only to her so long as you both shall live?”
WOW! I said those words for the first time in 1990 when I was blessed enough to marry my soul mate! At the age of 22, I will be honest with you when I tell you I can’t even remember saying those words! I was so nervous; everything happened so fast and quite frankly my mind seemed to be in a bit of a fog! But I do know this much; it wasn’t a trial run! We spent time during the ENGAGEMENT discussing our future; what we wanted, how we would raise our kids; etc. It wasn’t something we just did on our own; we had the assistance of our pastor; actually he INSISTED on it because even though we weren’t looking past that magical day, he understood that THIS WAS FOR LIFE! Soon after the reception was over, the guests went home and we picked the rice out of our hair (yes, we weren’t protecting the rights of birds just yet), we retreated to our home; and it was just US! The engagement was over; or was it? Does becoming married mean we are no longer engaged? Actually it means your “option” to be engaged is over and the “requirement” to be engaged at a level you may have never considered begins!
It’s when you have to learn to forgive your spouse for EVERYTHING; yes EVERYTHING! It’s when you have to DECIDE to love long after that being “In Love” feeling diminishes. As a matter of fact it has been proven scientifically that the “In Love” feeling is equivalent to the chemical release occurring in dogs in heat! It requires little effort to “hook up”! It does, however, require enormous determination and dedication to LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY! No matter what, you are here for the duration; till DEATH DO US PART!
Unfortunately, our society has slowly been moving from this commitment level of relationship; one of sacrifice and hard work, to one of self gratification; one’s personal agenda and a focus on MY desires; not OUR desires; not OUR goals and DREAMS; MINE! If we only spent the same amount of time engaging in planning our lives together as we did planning the wedding, possibly we would improve our odds of success. Yet for a growing number of couples, when the going gets tough, they get going, ELSEWHERE! Rather than working on ourselves as individuals, we carry our baggage to the next relationship; and the next, and the next! When will we STOP; LOOK at our spouse in the eyes; LISTEN to their hearts; LEARN from our mistakes and begin the life long process of CHANGING OURSELVES!?!?!?
When we commit to ANYTHING of value for the long haul, it is going to be tough; be it our marriage, relationship with our children or family members, a business, etc. We are going to get scarred and wounded; you can guarantee it! BUT in the end, we are stronger and we have more to give to the one’s we love!
Many people throughout their lives may say the vows I listed above more than once; I myself have numerous times; but I thank God that they were to my first wife; my only wife! We have exchanged these vows numerous times as a re-commitment to one another and to our God who has seen us through things that divorce most couples. It wasn’t by our strength alone, but by the grace of God that we had enough belief in our hearts that He brought us together for a reason. Despite the devil’s best efforts to split us apart, our love and commitment to one another and to our Maker has been enough to endure 23+ plus years together!
I look forward to continuing to STAY ENGAGED daily to my wife as we work on ourselves; and God knows we are still a mess! But we are a mess TOGETHER! The reality is all of us, all 7+ billion of us on this remarkable planet are a mess; and getting through it alone is nearly impossible. The good news is we are not alone. But before we can begin reaching out and being more to the world, me must first learn to be more the person we share our bed with, our spouses!
Oh and one last thing, since I said I was going to touch on two points from the scripture above. It says “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” If you found it important enough to include God in your marriage, then remember this; He is with you! Even if a judge or court has declared your marriage null and void, God has not! It is never too late; turn to Him for guidance, healing and peace and you never know; you may find yourself once again “engaged” to that person you committed to; TILL DEATH DO US PART!