What Does Marriage Commitment Mean?
Marriage commitment is the decision to continue in the relationship. The decision to remain “committed” functions on three levels:
Personal: “I want to.”
Moral Commitment: “I ought to.”
Structural: “I have to.”
Although one may appear “better” than the others, relationships benefit from viewing it from all three angles. “A threefold cord is not quickly broken” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NKJV).
Do You View Commitment at all Three Levels, or Just One or Two?
Be honest. Assessing where you are is not for condemnation. It is for God to shine a light on the areas in which need work so that your marriage will last a lifetime. Assess its strengths, and its weaknesses by asking yourself the following:
- Is your marriage on autopilot? Have you been cruising along and have lost sight of the direction you are going?
- Where would you like to see you marriage go this year?
- How committed are you to making positive changes to strengthen your relationship?
- If you continue to do the same things you did last year, will it improve your marriage?
- How committed are you to your marriage for the long haul?
- What is your spouse’s level of commitment to your marriage?
Ok, so you have examined yourself. And maybe you have some work to do.
What now? How do you strengthen it?
You Choose it Every Day. Marriage commitment is a choice, especially during tough times. It must be made and re-made on an ongoing basis. Drifting away happens when you stop making deliberate moves toward a closer relationship.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Pray. Prayer is the first line of defense every time. Seek the will of God for your life and your marriage. Ask Him to show you where you can be the spouse He calls you to be. Pray for strength and unity in your marriage.
- Show it with Action. Let your behavior reflect your marriage commitment. Be available when your spouse wants to talk. Build hedges of protection against areas of temptation and distraction. Spend time alone with your spouse. Have fun together. Date each other.
- Speak it Out. Express that you are committed to the marriage for the rest of your life. You may think they already know this, but speaking it out loud reminds them, and you.
- Remind yourself of what you love about your spouse. Celebrate your differences. Focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. How has the marriage blessed you? What are you thankful for? Ask God to bring these things to mind. Make a list and review it often.
- Set goals. Even marriage needs goals. In what ways would you like to see your marriage grow or improve? Make a plan for how to achieve those goals and work toward them. Seek outside help if necessary.
- Get others involved. Iron sharpens iron. Surround yourselves with people in your daily life who support your marriage. Form relationships with others who want to see your marriage succeed. Attending Christian marriage conferences are a great way to spend time around others who share our values. Your relationship needs marriage conferences more than you may realize.
For Better, Or For Worse
Marriage Commitment is the promise to make the choice, every day to work on the marriage. It is the vow that for better or for worse I am sticking with you.
If you are struggling with commitment, or unsure how to strengthen the cords, try the following:
- Seek out a licensed, Christian marriage counselor
- Attend a marriage seminar or retreat.
- Read educational materials focused on marriage commitment such as Focus on the Family’s Commitment Series.