Things I’ve Learned in Twenty-Five Years of Marriage – Part 3

It All Begins with Commitment

Photo Credit: www.joycescapade.com

Photo Credit: www.joycescapade.com

Commitment is a charged word for married folk. It is a word that makes some fearful, while others take it too lightly. At the beginning of our marriage, my wife and I would have fallen into the latter category. We took it too lightly, but I don’t believe we did it purposely. We just had no real idea what commitment in marriage meant, or what we were being asked to commit to as a couple. In an earlier post I stated that we came into our marriage, as do many couples, very self-centered (selfish). We were basically committed to ourselves and the idea of being happily married. But if you or anyone else would have asked us about our commitment level, we would have pledged that we were undyingly committed to our marriage and to one another.

Something Had to Change

When the marriage got rough, we knew something needed to change. It wasn’t until we really understood that our primary commitment couldn’t be to ourselves, or to each other, that we began to see sustainable positive change in our marriage. The key word here is sustainable. We’d tried sheer willpower to make our marriage better. We just determined to commit to it. The resulting changes would last for a week, maybe even a month, both nothing that could be sustained over time. Sustainable positive change in our marriage only came when we committed ourselves, individually and in our marriage, to God first.

“Sustainable positive change in our marriage only came when we committed ourselves, individually and in our marriage, to God first.”

Commitment to God Can Be Easily Overlooked

The concept seems so simple, but it is so easily overlooked. We had talked about having a relationship with God before. We’d stood at an altar and pledged our marriage to God. Be we hadn’t truly committed ourselves first to Him. That’s why it was so easy for us to be selfish. As far as we were concerned, our lives belonged to us, and this marriage was for our benefit (whether individual or collective).

Commitment to God is a Process

I wish I could point to a bellwether event in our relationship, a day on the calendar where it all changed. But in reality it was part of God’s progressively setting us apart and becoming more than just our Savior. It wasn’t until we willingly allowed Him to sit as Lord, the One to whom we’d completely committed ourselves as a man and a woman, that things began to change.

No matter how hard I’d tried to love my wife before committing fully to God, I always fell short in my attempts. No matter how much I wanted to trust that she loved me and always had my best interest at heart, that too always fell short. Maybe you can relate to the cycle. You see, we cannot commit to loving our spouse until we commit to being loved by and loving God. He is our first commitment.

“No matter how hard I’d tried to love my wife before committing fully to God, I always fell short in my attempts.”

What Does It Look Like?

What does committing to God first look like? Well, for us, it meant that I put my full faith and trust in God, and His ability to be everything I need. In that moment I no longer depended upon my wife to fill the empty spaces in my life. When we committed to God, we immediately recognized how unfair it was to put another person who was so dependent upon the strength, power, and grace of God to be what God alone was meant to be in our lives. We began to recognize our relationship as a tangible expression to others of the grace and love that God desires to bestow upon us all.

We came into our marriage wrapped in our own selfishness. Try as we might, we couldn’t turn the corner. That only changed when we recognized that our first commitment needed to be to God. Then we were able to truly commit to each other as God intended. I’d love to hear your story. How have you come to see commitment to God as vitally important for the health and growth of your marriage? I can’t wait to engage with you in the comments.