Monday, January 28, 2013

Marriage Monday--Personal Commitment

The Marriage Monday topic for the week is commitment.  I would have liked to think that it would be a cinch to write about how to stay committed in marriage.  But, it isn't.  It's been almost five years since we tackled the topic of divorce in this forum.  It was there that I began to articulate some of my thoughts of how the commitment is to God, and the relationship with the spouse grows from that.  It is how to traverse the difficulties of life in marriage.  I still believe what I wrote.  But five years of growth and watching other marriages and experiencing the roller coaster of life my husband & I have been on, I've come to a further conclusion.  Commitment is very personal and cannot be generalized.

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.


Denise said...

Amen, beautifully said.

Constance said...

From my own personal experiences, I would hope that I would never judge others for what I have done myself. I would pray that I never get so smug in my Christian walk, that God would have to bring me to my knees. (He did that once years ago regarding FAITH. It is one of my spiritual gifts and I hate to admit that I found myself lacking compassion with others who struggled).

Since God holds first place in our individual hearts, I know that Dave will always be respectful, committed and loving to me, the same holds true for me.

These many years we've been together and have been resolute in our commitment, we have managed to weather many storms. Now as we once again face the uncertainty of Dave's health (preliminary blood work indicates his cancer may have returned) we are anchored to God, our commitment and our faith. Life is hard enough when the storms move in, how comforting to have the anchor of commitment to ride it our=t!

Thanks for sharing!

Beth said...

I think it's great that you've highlighted the need for grace in this discussion of "commitment" in marriage, Miriam. I have seen way too many horrendous situations in marriage to say there's a hard and fast line for individuals or couples. But, like you, for me it's been all about God's grace filling me and not my own personal will to stay married. Thanks for your wise words here!

MyJourneyBack said...

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing your heart. You Blessed me today.
Have a wonderful week,

Anonymous said...

Wise words from a wise woman! Extending grace is so key.

As a teen, I was utterly perplexed as to why my parents' marriage fell apart. Now of course, as an adult, I can fathom how marriages go awry. It's the fallout for the children that troubles me the most about divorce.

I like this thought: 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. How true! That's the beauty of writing/blogging about marriage, don't you think?

Thanks for joining us today, MiPa.

Hugs, e-Mom ღ

Tami Boesiger said...

I'm hearing the Twilight Zone theme song again. How is it that we are on the same wavelength so much of the time? Commitment to GOD first. Yes. And I also appreciate your idea that commitment looks different in different relationships. Pure grace.

Julie Arduini said...

I'm late reading all the marriage posts, but so glad I came here. Too many people cry enough, what a great testimony that you were honest enough to admit you've had struggles, but the only enough you're clinging to is that God is enough for the both of you.