I’m not writing this because I have marriage all figured out. I want to share this because it might help anyone wondering how to keep working at this commitment . It’s not about appearance, like you get along and living a happy life on the outside. It is a commitment between the two of you, keeping your vows no matter how easy or hard it is sometimes.
How do two people who come from completely different backgrounds, get along and stay committed? It certainly is easy to think that giving up might be a solution, after all we constantly see popular celebrities such as Christie Brinkley, Barbara Walters, Louie Armstrong, all went through four marriages. They go through one divorce after another. They are in the spotlight where many people can hear about their life . There are too many to mention, honestly. Priorities don’t appear to involve commitment to stay together. Why don’t they work things out? They don’t seem to even give themselves enough time to go through ups and downs and go through a good growth period, where they can learn what makes each other “tick”. It appears to me that they are not willing to learn from each other and about each other. They believe that they are just not made to be together instead of working hard to stay together.
We are heading into ” wedding season” very soon where many get married specifically in June. Many brides scramble to get details in order to make that special day as great and memorable as they always dreamed it would be. Most grooms let their bride enjoy making everything look great and go smooth. For some though, details don’t come together as planned. The bride wants one thing and the groom wants another. The brides family believes one way and the groom’s family sees it differently. What do they do. Depending on the families involved, some are willing to compromise for this one day, but from then on, trouble starts. What looked like such a happy couple on a happy day, slowly(or quickly for some) does not stay this way.
So what is this day really for? The memories, the pictures are nice to go back to from time to time. They are nice to show our kids, it’s nice to look at pictures with family and on our anniversaries. So many though, are incredibly consumed by focusing on this day only, instead of what this means for the rest of their lives!
Some couples learn to compromise, for instance, on holidays, where they will go and what they will do. Deep down though, one spouse is hurting. One problem after another builds up and then there is an explosion. They want to hide though. The spouses don’t want to look like anything is wrong. They want to appear that they get along great. After all, they recently got married.
I find that it was easy to talk about commitment when going through marriage counseling. We easily agreed that we would work with each other, that we agree to consider what the spouse wanted. We thought that we would calmly agree and everything would work out just fine, right? Not so much! Life actually happened! We worked our jobs, started seeing each other’s perspectives and daily habits like which way the toilet paper goes, and many insignificant differences that we each have. For one spouse, a habit really matters, to the other, they don’t care and don’t think it should be discussed or made an issue.
Money starts really becoming an issue, when each one values different things and believes the bills should be handled in a different way.
Then the kids start coming. Early on, the babies are so sweet. Even then, one believes they should be picked up as soon as they start crying , the other believes the baby should cry a while. Both parents are exhausted from getting up in the middle of the night with their baby. The kids grow older and discipline/ behavior issues come up. These are things we never thought to discuss or if we did, our kids are nothing like what we thought they would be like. Some are easy, some are not so easy.
We are totally baffled as to how to handle them. Jobs change, one spouse (or both) continue their education and now with a family, we try to juggle work, school and family time. Working things out as a couple really becomes incredibly difficult.
Then a new curveball is thrown into the mix. One spouse is having several health challenges and is diagnosed with an illness and disability. This often means that one spouse can no longer work outside the home and sometimes in the home, they have many limits. Some of these situations describe how things went, and still happening for my husband and I.
The commitment that we once made, seems extra difficult some days, but we made a decision. We decided to make it work.
Let’s look at the main components of most standard vows that are promised at alters each time a couple gets married.
” I take thee____, to be my wedded husband/ wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…
My husband and I have been there, still there some days . We’ve had better or worse times, been very poor and done well, we’ve both been physically sick and had better health. But we committed to love and cherish until death brings us apart. It is a commitment to move on, despite the circumstances and not let tough times tear us permanently apart.
A covenant is a promise, a vow, a treaty, a bond. It implies that the two parties will “stick to it”
A contract is legally binding but if one breaks their part, it is over.
I see a love factor in a covenant that I don’t see in a contract. I see that it is a promise, it is saying ” I care about you and I’m going to stay committed.” In the contract, it appears to be legal and when one messes up, it is easy to give up and it’s over. I see in the Bible though that the exception is in the case of an affair, and of course death as it says ” till death do us part.”
I believe that when real love exists with both spouses, there is a commitment to hold on together to what we promised. It takes two, and not 50%/50%but 100%/100%.
Although we each have feelings, feelings aren’t what keeps us committed. It’s a choice, A promise, a covenant.