Commitment. It has ten letters, but it’s often treated like a four-letter word.
I may be over-generalizing, but people seem reluctant to make commitments these days. Maybe it’s because life appears increasingly uncertain.
News reports shout about terrorist attacks and countries either at war or on the brink of it.
Economies are shuddering under the weight of unstable currencies and high unemployment.
Doctors are fighting antibiotic-resistant diseases and government mandates that cause them to wonder why they practice medicine at all.
Families are breaking up almost as fast as they are forming.
The phrase, “Until death do us part,” has been included in marriage vows for at least 400 years. But expressions such as “For as long as our love shall last” are being substituted in wedding ceremonies in growing numbers. The combination of a desire to personalize the wedding ceremony along with the reality of rising divorce rates have caused couples to shy away from the more permanent language.
So what’s the big deal? It wouldn’t matter if marriage is merely about two people living together. But what if marriage is a picture of something greater?
Ephesians 5:31-32 tells us:
“‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”
When Christ died for us, He didn’t do it to create a temporary relationship. And when a husband and wife are united by marriage, it’s not meant to be temporary, either.
Staying together through the proverbial “thick and thin” is not easy. It requires commitment and a dogged perseverance that holds on.
In good times and in bad.
In sickness and in health.
When we feel like we’re in love and when we don’t.
In the face of unemployment and foreclosure.
Through job loss and nasty in-laws.
Despite weight gain and hair loss.
Feelings come and go. Commitment says, “I’m here for the duration. Others may leave you, but I won’t.” And that’s what God tells us…not just with words, but with actions. He’s serious about loving us forever… serious as in the crucifixion of His Son. Forever as in the eternal life He confirmed through Christ’s resurrection.
Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world. Sometimes divorce happens despite our best intentions. But let’s not allow that sad fact to cause us to shy away from committing to each other on the basis of all that marriage is meant to be – for better or for worse.
Marriage vows…“till death do us part.”
What do you think?
Ava, thank you for writing this. We all need to be reminded what marriage is all about–a picture of God’s forever commitment to us. I write about the same subject often, and I’m working on a book about this. Let’s keep the truth out there.
Thanks, Elaine. Looking forward to your book!
I agree completely with your post and truly believe those words should be kept in the wedding vows.
My marriage ended because of physical abuse, for 23 years. I know that many followers of Jesus do not think of the opposite end of this spectrum, but I lived it. My children and I had to flee, with the assistance of a Christian couple, because my then husband threatened our lives. If I had stayed, it would have been my death and possibly the death of my sons. I remained as long as I could before we went into hiding.
As much as I do believe in those words, I do believe that the body of Christ has to offer grace to those who need assistance, and acceptance. The man who abused us was active in our church. I took the Biblical steps in seeking help. We were finally believed and received into the home of a friend until we became established.
If God ever blesses us with a “Boaz,” I will say those five words in my vows. My marriage ended because of the sin and lack of repentance of another, God did not intend for it to be so. But for grace…
Thank you, Grace. You’ve raised several good points. We both agree, sin has corrupted what God intended to be a picture of our relationship with Him. I’m so sorry for what you experienced, but I’m glad you’ve come through your ordeal safely. The Body of Christ does indeed need to come alongside to protect those who are in danger or hurting, even while upholding God’s ideal standard for marriage. Your response is a perfect example of this.
It boils my blood that they would change up the vows like that, but it also frustrates me that people rush into marriage without realizing the kind of vows they ARE making. I don’t know which is worse because divorce is happening whether we like it or not. 🙁
Thanks for sharing and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
Thank you, Renee. It is sad that people rush into marriage as a temporary contract rather than a permanent covenant. Unfortunately, “no-fault” divorce does not mean “no pain” divorce. And while the marriage might be considered temporary, the pain lasts a lifetime. 🙁