It’s All about Commitment

committment“God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.”  — Max Lucado

I am a fan of committed marriages.  Whenever I hear of a couple celebrating 50 or 40 or even 25 years together it makes me smile.  It amplifies the “two become one flesh” commitment we read about in the bible.

With all the talk about gay marriage in the news, I think we miss the boat on what we should really be talking about; commitment!  Long term commitment! The “committed to doing whatever it takes to make this relationship work commitment!”

A few years back, Diane and I attended an out of state wedding.  The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was amazing and the wedding cost more money than either of us could ever image.

At the reception, I had the opportunity to talk with the groom, whom I had just met, and offered him my wishes for a long and healthy marriage.

“Well, if it doesn’t work out we can always get divorced” he shot back laughingly!”  His response shocked me because his apparent lack of commitment was obvious.  The marriage lasted less than six months.

It is said that between 40% and 50% of all marriages end in divorce and the number is even higher (60%) for second-time marriages.  And, the number one reason people get divorced is, you guessed it, commitment.

A 2012 study at UCLA’s Relationship Institute, followed 172 couples for 11 years and found that people’s understanding of commitment can mean two things.

For some it is “I really like this relationship and I want it to continue.”  And, things go well until there are problems, conflicts, and pressures of life circumstances.  Once these things happen, and the relationship isn’t going well, the marriage is over.

A deeper understanding of commitment goes like this, “I’m committed to doing what it takes to make this relationship work.”  This kind of commitment requires sacrifices, and couples who are willing to make sacrifices in their relationships become better problem solvers.

“As God by creation made two of one, so again by marriage He made one of two.” — Thomas Adam

Having a great marriage takes work.  When the groom at the wedding said “if IT doesn’t work,” he missed the point.  IT doesn’t work, YOU DO!

Here are a few things you can do to have this deeper understanding of commitment.

  1. Pray together.  Ask God for unity in your marriage and ask for the strength to handle life’s challenges together.
  2. Tell each other, I Love you.  Do it every day, several times a day.  Reinforce that you are willing to make those sacrifices necessary to make the marriage work.
  3. Be friends.  Couples who spend time together, genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and consider their spouse their best friend are willing to go the extra miles when times are tough.
  4. Build family traditions.  Recalling special moments together with family and each other are a precious reminder of the love and memories that bind a couple together.
  5. Attend Mass or Religious activities together.  Divorce rates are much lower for couples that share their faith experiences together, attend services together, and make their faith a central part of their relationship.  As Christians, we call it a Christ Centered Relationship.
  6. Laugh.  You will enjoy each other more when you can find the humor in life and the not so funny situations.

When elderly people are asked, “what was the secret to their long and successful marriage?”  They will tell you, “it’s commitment!”

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