Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV)
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,
5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
This weekend my parents celebrated their 56th Wedding Anniversary. Also, my mother-in-law celebrated her birthday (I won’t give her age but I will say that my in-laws celebrated their 51st anniversary this past April.) These two events got me to begin thinking about long term commitments. Lisa and I celebrate our 24th anniversary in just a couple of weeks, which I know is not forever but it is now more than half of our lives. We have crossed over into the group that has been married longer than being single. As I reflected about these things this weekend, I thought about several lessons I have learned from my parents as well as my in-laws.
- A commitment to God and God’s Word is of utmost important. As I have stated in previous postings, I was raised in a family who went to church together, prayed together, as well as talked about who God is and what He wants together. My parents had a commitment to God as well as the church and they taught us as very young children that same commitment. Now, my oldest sister is an elder in her Presbyterian church and my other sister is married to a preacher who past0red for a number of years. A personal relationship with God is a very strong key to long term marriages.
- A commitment to the relationship has to be made. I am sure that there would be several times that if it weren’t for a commitment to the relationship many marriages would not make it to the Golden Anniversary or longer. I know that my parents stated that they were in it for the long haul from the very beginning. They came from not so good backgrounds and decided that they would not put their children through that. Therefore, they despite some difficult times, they stuck it out because of the marriage covenant; not necessarily because of each other.
- Love is an action much more so than a feeling. Sometimes in a marriage, the feelings of “love” are so far pushed down that it seems impossible to bring them up. What do you do? You act in love. I have heard many times that I love my spouse but I am not in love with my spouse. My comment many times to that is “love your spouse then.” We do what is right. We show agape love during those times. There has to be a commitment to the action of loving our spouses even in the times that we think they are unlovable.
I guess I could think of some other things to write about today. I am very fortunate to have such good examples from my parents as well as my in-laws. I know that their marriages are not perfect as I know mine & Lisa’s is not. I know that we all have flaws and go through rough times. As we think about this, we need to realize our marriage is more than just a commitment to our spouse. It is a commitment to God, the institution of marriage and the action of love.