Unforgettable Love Story: A Study of Love, Marriage and Romance
The secret of a lasting marriage is summed up in one word: commitment. Not romance. Commitment. It takes far more than romantic feelings to make a marriage last simply because there are times that we or our spouse are not very romantic. There are days when you will be on the mountain top and marriage is all that you hoped it would be. But then there will be days when you are between mountain tops in the valley. Suddenly things are not all that you hoped they would be. Real commitment can and will get you through the days in the valley. But it is not that easy. Most married couples claim to be committed, but do we truly grasp or fully understand the concept? It is a concept that culture has used, abused and improperly modeled for so long that it is easy to lose sight of what genuine commitment looks and acts like. Which is why we concluded the Unforgettable Love series on this subject.
Something To Talk About:
There’s a big difference between liking being married and doing the tough work to deepen the relationship. How well a marriage does is often predicated on commitment. But commitment is not a one-time snapshot in time. In fact, it must be made and re-made, on an ongoing basis as your marriage relationship evolves. There’s more to it than just saying you’re committed to your marriage or simply “feeling good” about your relationship. Commitment must be played out in your actions, like the following four actions we talked about in Sunday’s message.
- Give up my rights: I choose to willingly relinquish my rights in order to demonstrate my love and commitment to my wife. A servant’s heart and action will overcome our natural selfishness. Commit yourself to acting in your spouse’s best interests. Do at least one unselfish deed for your husband or wife every day. Subrogate your rights while elevating her rights and you will deepen your relationship.
- Hold on: Commitment can keep you from panicking during a crisis. And make no mistake, most marriages will experience a crisis or two or at least some bumps in the road. If we lean on our commitment to our spouse and the security of Christ in our lives, we will weather the storms. Hold onto God as your source for strength, peace, guidance and wisdom, comfort, and the foundation for your relationship.
- Be vigilant: This is an effort to protect each other. It also enables us to watch for pitfalls, traps, and the land mines the enemy places in our way in order to do damage to Christian relationships. Be vigilant and have faith in your spouse and in your Savior. Instead of allowing yourself to drift away from your spouse, make a deliberate move toward a closer relationship. Strengthen and nourish your marital commitment by being on watch for those things that could damage it.
- Be content: Are you content? Are you at peace because you found what makes you happy and content? When you and your spouse are content in your marriage, you are aware that you love and accept each other based on who you are, not on what one spouse has done for the other lately. Contentment is knowing that even though you still have “room to grow” as a couple, God is in your marriage, and He is enough regardless of what you do and do not possess.
- So what does it mean to be committed to your marriage? Does your view of commitment change over time?
- Are there times when your commitment to the marriage has been on auto pilot? If so, why?
- Where would you like to see your marriage go this year? Do you expect your marriage to get better by doing the same things you did last year?
- Are there rights you need to give up? Do you have the level of commitment that will see your marriage over the long haul? Are you vigilant? Are you content?
- Do you have the type of commitment that enables you to resolve conflict together? What is stopping you from having that level of commitment?
- Does your level of commitment bring out the best in both of you?
- Are you committed to making positive changes in your marriage/relationships?
Take One Thing Home with You
I hope you enjoyed the Unforgettable Love Story series. As we conclude the series I want to leave you with this last thought on commitment. To me, marriage isn’t a goal or a target that you reach. It’s a fluid, active concept—a verb, not a noun. French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said, “Commitment is an act, not a word.” It is something you learn to do, slowly, clumsily, and not without error. But that commitment gives us the stability that allows you to take those risks, make those mistakes, and to continue to work on the relationship.
When we said our wedding vows, we stood in front of family and friends, and promised to build a life together, to create a home together, and to make the conscious decision each day to love each other and choose this life together again, day after day. We vowed to love what we already know, and trust that we will continue to love each other even as we change and evolve.
There is no typical marriage, but if there was it would include a lot of not so good times, a bunch of laughs, adventures and special moments. It would also include some some dull, boring, and ordinary ruts and serious rough patches. But when a couple has developed true commitment in their relationship there’s a bond forged that will see you through when things get rocky. But it takes action. It takes hard work. It takes resolve. It takes sacrifices. And it takes a relationship with God. It all adds up to a history and a perspective that you can’t buy and only time can build.
Commitment is the difference between talking about it and doing what it takes to make this relationship the model that God gave us in the Bible.