In our living room is a symbol my husband, Dale, and I used in our wedding. It’s a three-fold cord of red, white, and gold. It symbolizes that the commitment we made to marriage wasn’t just between the two of us. The covenant is between three of us, with God at the center. Scripture says “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). That’s how we want our commitment to be, and that takes making daily choices to keep our commitment strong.
Of all the major decisions in life, making a commitment to marry is one of the most important and for some, the hardest. Hopefully, this decision is far more important than buying your first car or house or deciding where you’ll go on vacation.
A commitment to marry is more than just signing a contract. Marriage is a sacred covenant, a plan God created for our benefit. In the Bible, God made covenants with His people, but others made covenants, too—like Jonathan to David and Ruth to Naomi. They were committing to love, serve, and care for each other. Covenant promises are unconditional—there is no escape clause or money-back guarantee. It’s made on the foundation of faith and love—and it’s permanent.
Permanent is a word seldom used today. In our culture, everything seems disposable—even relationships. Commitment wavers when it’s based on what makes us feel good or is convenient for us personally. God’s plan is so much bigger. Just as He has never left us or forsaken us, even in our worst sinful state, so He wants us to know and enjoy the permanence of an intimate relationship with our mate.
We all know couples, maybe even our own parents, who divorced. Maybe they grew tired of each other or one of them “found someone new.” Whatever the reason, they broke the commitment they made, and the painful consequences of their choice affected many others.
That’s not God’s plan for any of us.
We also know couples, married for decades, who are happy, despite the challenges they’ve faced. Our friends just celebrated fifty-five years together! Bob and Gayle love each other dearly. They are the closest of companions and deeply committed to each other. Dale says, “When we grow up, let’s be just like them!” Couples like them give us hope for our marriage. As you journey through your marriage, find one or two couples who model what marriage should look like, especially if healthy marriages have been rare in your life.
Who are your role models for marriage? Tell them what a blessing they are to you. I’d love to hear about how they made a difference in your marriage.
Adapted from Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage. Copyright © 2013, all rights reserved.
Susan Mathis is the author of The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness and Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice-president of Christian Authors Network. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com.
MaryAnn DiorioOctober 8, 2018 - 08 : 19 : 53
A much-needed post, Susan. Thank you for writing it.
My husband Dom and I will celebrate 49 years of marriage this month. We are a testimony to the three-fold cord of which Scripture speaks and of which you write. When a husband and wife keep Christ at the center of their lives and of their marriage, nothing can stand in the way of God’s purpose for marriage—to reflect Christ’s love for His Church and His Church’s responding love for Him. God is faithful as we trust Him!
May we continue to share this truth with the next generation, many of whom are afraid to marry because they do not understand the true meaning and purpose of marriage. Blessings to you for sharing this vital message!Reply