I continue to be blessed in a marriage where we are healthy, employed, content and faithful. Yet we have experienced so much change in the last five years that there were times it would have been easy to throw up my hands and say "enough!" I haven't because I believe that God has brought us together for this crazy roller coaster and I trust God enough to trust German. Although by the time my thoughts get to computer screen they are aligned (re-aligned) and following German's lead, they certainly don't get there immediately. There have been many a difficult discussion. I'm sure there are days that German, too, would throw up his hands and cry "enough!" But he doesn't. He doesn't because he believes that God provided us for each other and we need to support each other in the chaos. He chooses to trust God enough to also trust me. That is how we personally view our commitment to each other--it is first a commitment to God. Your experience will be specific to your situation. Even a "first commitment to God, second to spouse" will look different when you do it than when I demonstrate what I mean.
I look around me and see that, for better or worse, that commitment to God first may not always appear to be the case. We have watched friends' marriages fall apart. We have been part of the "who gets custody of the friends" situations. We have seen other marriages hang together for no other visible reason than God must be holding it. I have recently uttered for the first time in my life "they would be better off divorced"--and meant it. The psychological abuse that is evident breaks my heart and not even separation has helped. In other situations I am praying fervently for restoration. And I only know tips of icebergs in each of these situations. Obviously, I am not privy to all the details. In some cases there appears to be unreciprocated commitment. Others reciprocated, but in languages that are not communicating to one another. Others, maybe the commitment is to a feeling but not to something with a strong enough foundation. In other words, commitment is nigh impossible to judge from the outside. So we shouldn't. We should be willing to pray and to offer support as requested. But judgment needs to be reserved.
As we journey through life we will see marriage commitments that seem to fail. Let us be careful in how we respond. Let us be quick to extend grace and slow to judge. May we remember that demonstrations of commitment are personal to the individuals in the situations. How you would react may not be generalized to everyone should react the same way. If we can do that, maybe we can show a little of Christ's encouragement to others.
Please join us at Chrysalis Cafe for more discussions of commitment.