Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Monday, July 27, 2009

On Marriage and Commitment

Due to a lot of things happening with people we know, Lisa and I have been talking a lot about marriage and relationships lately. Obviously, when talking about marriage, the conversation is completely intertwined with the concept of commitment. Even when you aren’t using the word and might not even be thinking of commitment as being the topic of your conversation, there is no real way to extricate it from a conversation about marriage. (I suppose this can also be said of other relationships, but with marriage it is taken to a different level.)

And so, today I would like to explain just one of the many reasons why I am committed to Lisa in our marriage and relationship. What follows is by no means the only reason why I am committed to Lisa, nor is it the only reason I choose to stay faithful to her, but it does factor in to my decisions and behavior with regards to our marriage.

I’m all in.

That’s it. There’s no easier way to say it. When it comes to my commitment to my wife, I am holding nothing back. I’m playing for keeps. I don’t have a Plan B. There is no escape hatch. I’ve burned my ships and am committed to surviving in this world of marriage.

I’ve told Lisa that if she were to ever cheat on me with anyone else that I don’t think I could deal with it and would probably have to run away, never to return. While I don’t believe that Lisa would ever do such a thing, it helps me to reflect on how I would feel if it were to happen to me. And so, because I have thought about how I would feel on the receiving end of such terrible treatment, I am able to better avoid the snares that Satan sets before me to steal, kill and destroy not only me but my marriage as well.

Since I am not holding back anything in reserve, I am forced to make sure that I behave in such a way that prevents me from hurting Lisa in such a way. I find that it is a good way to approach being married. In thinking about the effects that sinful behavior would have on our marriage, I am less likely to consider pursuing such avenues of thought and activity. This is not to say that pondering the results of the action is enough to keep me from doing it. The fact remains that I must rely on God’s strength to allow me to remain fully committed to Lisa every day.

I must choose to love her today in everything I say and do. Do I fail at this? Unfortunately, yes. But I am striving to eliminate those areas of failure as God continues to work in me. I believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit living in me that I can be changed and transformed into the husband God not only wants me to be but commands me to be. And that is just another reflection of the Christian life being lived out in a marriage.

Marriage is two sinful people setting aside their individual identities, acknowledging that God has made them one, realizing that God is still working to make them better suited for each other and choosing to love one another for who they are and forgive one another for where they fall short.

And so, I’m all in.

Lisa sees the worst of me more than anyone else. My goal is to make sure she also sees the best of me as I strive to be the husband that God wants me to be and that she deserves to have. I know I will fail and Lisa knows it as well. But she is forgiving and loving me through my mistakes, praying that I will allow God to work in me and through me.

You can’t hold back any part of yourself. You must selflessly allow your spouse to have the ability to know all of who you are, opening yourself and being vulnerable.

It’s not enough to merely say “I do”. You have to choose to follow through every day with proclaiming “I will.” A spouse that does not remain committed every day of the marriage has failed to honor the promise and vow that began the marriage. This foundational element is often glossed over, but the realization of that initial promise is lived out every day in bedrooms, kitchens and phone calls of marriage. There is no down time. There is no vacation from that initial commitment. It is binding. It is a lifetime promise. It is the reality that every day is another opportunity to renew that vow or crush it and destroy the union that God has created.

Let us not think casually about the fact that marriage is God-ordained and, in doing so, allow ourselves to be deceived into allowing our marriages to crumble due to a lack of commitment. Let us capture every day as another opportunity to grow our marriages stronger, to develop our relationship with our spouse further and to pursue becoming the person God wants us to be. If we focus on our marriage as a relationship that matters, perhaps we can stem the tide of Christians who are discovering that their marriages have crumbled around them due to a lack of effort and commitment by one or both members involved.

To my beautiful bride, Lisa: I look back with amazement to how far we’ve come from when we said “I do”. I’m thankful that we’ve both been willing to say “I will” when it comes to not only choosing to love each other each day, but also in forgiving each other. Know that you have my heart and I am fully committed to you, Lydia and our marriage. My identity is wrapped up in you and I am a lesser man without you. I pray that God will continue molding and shaping me into the man and husband that you deserve and I am thankful for how far He has brought us.

I’m all in!

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