Dear friends, I have a question for you. Do you think that marriage is a dying institution and that there is no longer significance in our society to enter into the sacrament of marriage? I want to address this very personally as someone who has been married for 46 years that it is still of great value and even more so in our culture today.
We live in a culture that is not as attuned to commitments. To be honest, there are so many distractions in our world, mobile life styles, access to so many stimulants, that commitment is one of the balls that sometimes just has to drop to the ground. So often I end my day with a great big “whew….” happy to be at the end of my whirlwind day and there stands my husband who wants and needs some time with me just to regroup. But all I want to do is drop in bed! We are overcommitted not under committed by so many choices and opportunities. So what is my point? When you have too much of something (too many commitments) then the value of commitment is challenged, weakened or even forsaken.
I am speaking from experience. If any of you have not had a chance to read my book Tell Your Heart to Beat Again, get a copy and read the chapter on my stressful time with small children and my slight mental break down. I blamed the stress on my husband caused by the commitments and demands that I had allowed to squeeze into my already overcrowded life. The very person I had committed to– from this day forth in my wedding vows — was the source (I thought) of my stress.
The enemy doesn’t play fair. He will have us blame anyone for our over commitments and then he will work on stealing the joy out of the most significant commitments God has given us in which to invest. The commitment of being a friend and encourager to our spouse becomes a ball that is too heavy to carry, yet meant to bring us the greatest joy.
Back to my story. One day when I was rushing around as a young Mom (and later in life fell into this trap as well- any stage of life is at risk) I was praying and reading the Bible early in the morning. I was complaining to the Lord that I was exhausted, stressed and my life was out of control. Gently He led me to the following Scripture:
Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. ((Philippians 4:8).
God spoke to my heart that day to quit complaining about my husband and stop blaming him for my stress and over-committed life. His word spoke life to me and I began to thank the Lord for him– for his admirable qualities, love for me and the children. God spoke to my heart that my busy life had been squeezing out the person to whom I was called to be most committed to.
For those of you who see marriage as a dying institution you may be right, but not in the way that you think. It is an institution in which we must die to ourselves; one in which we must consider others above ourselves. But truth be known it is not an institution. It is a covenant between a man and a woman described by Paul as the union between Christ and His church. It is a sacred holy commitment and though it has been quite the journey for my husband and myself, it has been worth it. True commitment is hard, but the beauty of this sacrificial bond is eternal.