Commitments for Great Marriages

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Recently my wife and I were having a conversation with some friends about marriages that have fallen apart. It saddens all of us to hear of family members, co-workers or friends who once enjoyed a happy marriage but now are experiencing the heartbreak of a broken marriage. Over this past year, I have had a front-row seat on both marriages that broke apart and that have been restored. For certain, there are few things more heartbreaking to me than to see a man and a woman, who had once stood at a wedding altar and vowed to be committed to each other until death would part them, parting in life. There is so much heartache, hurt and tears. Many observe these type of situations and a say, that will never happen to us! Believe me, I hope and pray it does not! However, maintaining a growing, close, open, committed marriage takes more than mere intentions and words. It takes work! What are some commitments you and I need to to make and keep in order to have great marriages?

Commitment to Jesus:

Genesis chapter two records for us the first marriage. It was designed by God. It was really great! God designed marriages as being between one man and one woman. Though society has redefined this, it does not change was is naturally and Biblically true. Many trying to make marriage work apart from God, but it was never intended to work without Him. One man said it this way, “If you want to be a good spouse, be a good Christian first.” Those who are in love with Jesus and His Word make the best spouses. Are you committed to Jesus about everything else in life—your dreams, your jobs, your family, your spouse? Who or what holds the highest place in your life? It needs to be Jesus! Does His Word have first place in your daily life? Do you prioritize serving Him by serving others in your church family? Do you demonstrate first love to by loving His followers and assembling with them? Are you committed to responding to His preached word with determined steps of growth. A lack of commitment to Jesus will always produce struggles in our marriages.

Commitment to Your Vows:

Do you remember standing at the wedding altar and saying something like this to your spouse? “I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto pledge myself to you.”  That is a serious vow! God says it this way in the Bible, “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” (Ecclesiastes 5:5)  We should not enter vows with a mindset that we can break them if we change our mind or times get rough. If divorce is an option in your mind before you make the vow, then you should not make the vow. In fact, the word divorce ought be erased from your marriage vocabulary. Remain committed to your vows by the grace of God.

Commitment to Making it Better:

There are some marriages that remain “committed” to their vows in the strictest sense, but are cold. There is friction, years of unresolved differences, emotional baggage, little communication, fear of transparency and the list could go on. Publicly, the marriage is together, but privately it is not really twogether.  Great marriages do not just happen, they are diligently built and maintained. Marriages need regular investments. What will you do in the near future to make your marriage even better? One of the reasons my wife and I host a couples retreat is that we desire to help couples make their marriages better. There is room for improvement in every marriage, including mine. I encourage you to make it better!

Can you think of some other commitments that should be made in our marriages? I would love to hear what you think in the comments below! If you are struggling in your marriage, there is hope! God is able to do what we think is humanly impossible. Please seek counsel from your pastor. If you have been divorced, please know, that God love you no matter what and still has a beautiful plan for your life. While God hates divorce, He does not hate you! You can find all the healing you will ever need in seeking Jesus with all your heart. 

Also, I would like to invite you to join my wife and I at our church’s annual Couples Retreat on March 22-23, 2019, you can find out more about it here.  We pray that it would be a blessing to you!

 

Lessons from Ten Years

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Sheila and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary, and it is amazing to us how fast the time has flown. It literally seems like yesterday that we were getting to know each other, planning our wedding and honeymoon. Now we are looking back on a decade of marriage!

Today, as I reflect, I am reminded of the sweetness of a life following Jesus. I remember back to when marriage was a dream. God had to teach me a lot about waiting on Him. He taught me that if I would trust Him, He would intersect my life with the woman He created just for me. God did just that! I will never forget the day I first realized Sheila was the one for me. I saw a real, genuine, godly and fun loving young lady.  That was about twelve years ago now.  I have learned many lessons over these years. Here are a few of them.

  1. God is good all the time.
  2. God knows exactly what we need and can be trusted completely.
  3. Following God will always lead to the greatest blessing.
  4. Marriage is a journey—it keeps getting better as long as Jesus is the center.
  5. Any problem can be overcome with God’s help.
  6. Marriage is one of the greatest gifts God gives.
  7. God’s provisions are always on time and just enough.
  8. The Bible’s instructions can be trusted no matter what.
  9. Communication is one of the most essential keys to a harmonious marriage.
  10. Chocolate is always appropriate.

Your Impact

 

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You have the unique, unspeakable power to impact others who live around you. When I speak of impact, I am talking about the ability to influence the direction, decisions and destiny of others. You have heard the statement, “No man is an island unto himself.” Simply put, every action, word and decision that you make influences the actions, words and decisions that others in your life make.

Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

None of us slip into life and back out without making some kind of impact in the lives of others.

Take a moment to consider both the kind of impact and the amount of impact you are making. If you are like me, you will be left thinking, “How can I impact others more?”  The best way to maximize impact is to simply love God with all of your heart, soul and mind. Your impact will be directly proportionate to your relationship with God.

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus

Love and Hate

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All around us we see hate rising. Hate is not a new thing. Since the fall of man there has been hate. Do you remember Cain and how his hate toward his brother Abel led him to commit murder? Hate is the result of many other sins like envy, pride, greed, covetousness and prejudice. It is rampant in our society!

Jesus taught His followers to be different. He encouraged them to show love no matter if they were shown love. Luke 6:32 says, “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.” Society around shows hate to those who hate them and love to those who love them. The followers of Jesus are to love and keep on loving. People around you toward are thirsty for genuine love. Refresh someone today with a loving spirit just like Jesus.

More Love To Thee

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The daily focus of our lives ought to be our love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many things the world calls us to love. Jesus asks that we would Continue in the identical love that He demonstrated to us. That love was sacrificial.

To love Christ more is the deepest need, the constant cry of my soul … out in the woods, and on my bed, and out driving, when I am happy and busy, and when I am sad and idle, the whisper keeps going up for more love, more love, more love!
—Elizabeth Prentiss

 

This was the heart cry of Elizabeth Prentiss, the wife of a Presbyterian minister. She lived from 1818-1878. Though strong in spirit, she was weak in body. It was a very rare day that she was not in physical pain. Yet, she was known for her bright personality and sense of humor. The key to the joy she possessed was her relationship with Jesus Christ. She found that as she love Him and others sacrificially, Jesus gave her His joy. May this be our prayer today and everyday going forward.

More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee;
this is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee …

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
now Thee alone I seek—give what is best;
this all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to Thee …

Let sorrow do its work, send grief and pain;
sweet are Thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
when they can sing with me, more love, O Christ, to Thee …

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise;
this be the parting cry my heart shall raise;
this still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to Thee.