Thoughts on a great love….It may surprise the outside observer but even strong marriages go through tough times. It is the nature of human relationships that there will be moments when things aren’t always going to be perfect and sometimes wounds can result. That’s why I wish more couples could be taught from the beginning of a relationship this vital principle. Good times are the season to enjoy in a relationship but it is how you handle the tough times that will determine if you’re going to live a great love affair or not.
During a recent meeting of our marriage enrichment group at FWC, we explored what may be one of the greatest truths in marriage I’ve ever looked at. Over the years I have often heard people say with all sincerity that they are committed to their marriage and they will do everything possible to make things work. The words sound so right. The response correct but unfortunately it might be the one of the reasons so many marriages fail.
There is no place in the Bible that says that we are to be committed to a marriage. Although the concept seems sound it isn’t Biblical. What the Bible tells us is to be is committed to each other. The idea of being committed to your marriage sounds right but what you are really saying is that you are committed to a social connection and an institution. Sometimes I think we for forget we didn’t marry an institution. We married living, breathing people who if they aren’t treated as such, can eventually fade away.
If you live for awhile everyone experiences the basic truth of life. It isn’t always easy. The pressures of children, financial concerns, work and can I even dare say the general boredom we all face at times, can leave us looking for a way out. These pressures have a way of making us start to view any change at any cost a necessity. The problem is that change doesn’t come without cost and the price of some change can lead to a lifetime of regret.
I have seen in my years of ministry how some couples see their marriage as the definition of their lives. As the pressures of life pile up if there isn’t a commitment to a person instead of to an institution it can become very tempting to think that walking away will solve everything. When things are tough…replace. That would be fine if we were dealing with a car or something of similar value but a life is never easily replaced and its value is priceless. Unfortunately in this throw away culture we live in, marriage can seem like one more piece of baggage that is easily replaced.
In a few weeks I will have been married 23 years. That is almost half my life. It has come as fresh insight that I can say I am not committed to my marriage. What I am committed to is a person. She is a person who knows me more intimately than any other person on the face of the earth. She has seen me grow from a young man to a middle aged one and has loved me through it all. I have failed her and she has forgiven me. She has brought my children into this world and given me a legacy. She makes me laugh. She can make me sad. She is the first face I see every morning and the last one I see at night. She knows my fears and comforts me through them all. She is real and she is my great love.
I have often told my wife if everything fell apart in my life if we had each other we would just rebuild and go on. A marriage can’t give you that. It takes a real living breathing relationship. So may I offer a suggestion this Valentine’s Day? While the cards are nice and the flowers are beautiful they are just things that will fade away. What really says I love you is when you give yourself to another. When your commitment to that person is stronger than whatever life throws at you and they know it.