Committed to the Commitment

Recently, I heard a famous person say that the reason why his marriage didn’t last was because neither he nor his ex-wife were committed to the commitment of marriage. This blew me away! I’d never heard someone pinpoint the issue in their broken relationship so candidly. There was no blaming, hiding behind excuses or dodging responsibility, just a realization of the truth. Most people that get married, or those that have a deep desire to marry, don’t go into the commitment thinking they won’t remain committed. They go into it with an expectation that feelings and emotions they’ve experienced during the initial stage of their relationship will sustain them through any obstacles, and that these feelings will continue to grow and deepen. Many of us never really think through the possibility or inevitability that our feelings will change, and we need to manage this change in order for the relationship to thrive.

Marriage can be as beautiful and fulfilling as God ordained it to be, but He didn’t create us to be robots, so He won’t overstep or manipulate our feelings and emotions when we’re headed for trouble. This is an area that He’s given us the authority and dominion to govern by walking in the example of Jesus Christ. The reality is that we will make mistakes, and for many of us, our greatest relationship mistakes rests within the realm of our emotions.

We are born with sin in our bodies, and we are born into a sinful world. It is 100% guaranteed that we will have issues at some point. We’ve got some ingrained shortcomings passed down to us through generational sin, and these things can quickly spawn negative habit patterns. They can eventually turn into strongholds as we mature and develop into adults. A whole lot of us are oblivious to this. We don’t think about the impact of entrenched patterns, nor do we think about the emotional fall-out from having someone infringe upon them, or how we will be changed by a person continually posing the threat of triggering something we don’t like.

In Job 3:25, Job said that the thing that he feared most had come upon him. This is a lesson for us, whether we’re interested in marriage or not. Internal sore spots and wounds are ways of describing the condition of what the heart carries. The heart has storage capacity. It’s a treasury; it holds stuff, and sometimes it holds the wrong stuff. Remember when Adam and Eve sinned, and when God asked him about it, Adam said, “It’s the woman you gave me, she made me do it!” Sin ushered in shame. Before they sinned, there was no knowledge of shame and no experience of it. Their sin caused them to have this emotion, because the knowledge of evil was in their hearts and minds. This knowledge opens the door for all kinds of remnants of fear. This is what shame is, it is a derivative of fear.

Adam deflected to Eve because he didn’t want to go to the place of accountability and responsibility. It was painful, and he didn’t want to experience pain. He didn’t want to own the reality that he had violated God’s Word, bowed to the devil, and disappointed Heavenly Father. The darkness of his action was just too heavy for him to deal with. This is how those of us living today handle our baggage as well. Part of our self-preservation tactic is to deflect, blame or lash-out when a nerve is struck so that we don’t have to revisit or touch the sore place in our hearts.

This is one of the reasons God gives single people that are praying to be married a good bit of time these days prior to marriage. He wants us to deal with some of the issues that might hinder us from choosing the destiny partner He has ordained. Many of us are raised with values that don’t lend themselves to accepting responsibility and acknowledging our stuff. We don’t surrender it to the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, we cover it up and make excuses. God has commanded that we renew our minds to the mind of Christ. This means cultivating a different way of viewing and dealing with remnants of fear.

Ephesians 5:33(NLT) tells us, “So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” A good friend of mine gave me some really good advice that will help keep God’s command in Ephesians 5:33. She said “Keep God at the center of your union, love on each other as much as possible, and don’t sweat the small stuff.” It takes prayer and a willingness to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit to come to a place in our walk in Christ where we don’t sweat the small stuff.

When two people become one, a process takes place. You just don’t get married one day and have your oneness solidified in your hearts and minds the next. You have to go through some ups and downs in life together, so that your commitment and faith in God is purified by the fire. The reality is that it’s possible and likely that your partner will hurt you in ways you can’t begin to imagine from where you’re standing today. They will know you best, and also know your most vulnerable places. Those places where fear is hiding out will be exposed in a marriage. It ain’t pretty, but we must be anchored in our commitment to God and be willing to allow His love to fill the place where hurt and fear resided. If we’re obedient, our commitment to Him will strengthen our marriages through challenging times.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Committed to the Commitment”, written for Copyright©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

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