“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love….’” (Jeremiah 31:3a)
A few years ago, my beloved and I were roped into serving as contestants for a homemade version of “The Newlywed Game” in front of a crowd of friends.
Even though we’d been married nearly three decades at that point, we were stumped on several questions (I couldn’t think of his favorite restaurant, for example—it was a “duh” moment when he told me).
While I don’t remember the last question, it resounded with both of us—we had separately written down the exact same answer, word for word: “I would never leave you.”
With that, we kissed and bounded out of the limelight, satisfied with the finale of our round. We didn’t win the competition, but we didn’t care. What we had then—and continue to have—in our marriage is a lasting love.
If you ask enough long-term married couples this question—“What’s the secret of your success?”—I’ll bet most of them will answer with two words: mutual commitment.
All romantic relationships ebb and flow in the intensity of love feelings. I was blessed to marry a “Mr. Wonderful,” which makes things a lot easier, but we still quibble and get irritated with each other. And I’m way far short of being the perfect woman he thought he was getting. That’s the trouble with being roommates for more than 30 years!
But we’re committed. For the long haul. In thickness or thinness, including hair and waistlines. In plenty and in want, in pandemics and in health. When things are going right, and when things go very wrong. When we’re having a grand time with our kids one moment and worried sleepless the next.
There is no such thing as the flawless marriage. It can only survive when it’s rooted in Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him…when it’s firmly bound by vows before God to stick together with super glue, no matter what. If that’s the definition of perfect married life, we’re there.
Could one of us turn crazy and go off the deep end, running away? I suppose that’s possible. But not while we’re both looking first to Jesus. We’re counting on Him and His power to hold us together.
One could argue that this kind of security leads to complacency. But I contend that it drives us to be more respectful, more loving, more exhorting to each other. We encourage and challenge each other to press on, to grow spiritually. We know we’ll have to answer to God someday.
Marriage is the sandpaper that grinds off our rough edges—the “iron that sharpens iron” from Proverbs 27:17. It’s not pleasant to have my faults pointed out to me, thank you very much. But it’s a necessary part of becoming the spouses God intended us to be.
Don’t get me wrong. Commitment is key, but love and romance are essential to the joy of marriage. I still adore my man, my main squeeze for all these years. He continues to surprise me with special gifts he knows will bring me delight. And our best moments are when we’re completely selfless with each other.
If you’re married, use this coming week to pray for your spouse and your marriage. Think of some gift—simply a handwritten card or a special meal—that would be meaningful to the one you love. Show your love with words and actions. Remember your vows to each other.
If you’re not married, pray for a couple who need your prayers. All marriages need prayer. If you’re seeking a spouse, pray for God to prepare someone to be a loving, committed partner to you.
May you find His hope, His guidance, and His love in supporting His institution of marriage—blessings to you in this month of love!
Father, the One who created Adam and Eve and planted them in the first marriage, please bless our world with better relationships. Give us Your guidance and wisdom, Your love and joy, as husbands and wives. Let us look solely to You for Your power in staying together for the long haul. Call us to serve You as we serve each other. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.