The True Strength of Marriage

“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect. I didn’t even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them – it was that promise.”  -Thornton Wilder

Promises kept make for a strong marriage - social card

What do you think of when you think of marriage? What images pop into your thoughts when you hear that word? There are hundreds if not thousands of memes & social cards on the internet intended to be funny, sarcastic, sweet or inspirational concerning marriage. Many I’m sure were written with sincerity and from life experience… and many of them are just plain stupid!

Here’s one seen recently – “Marriage is when a man loses his Bachelor’s degree and a woman gets her Master’s degree”.

Simply put, the true strength of a marriage is not found in pithy inspirational quotes found on the internet. I don’t think it’s even the magic of finding the right person. I say this because even if it feels like they are the right person on day one, that’s no guarantee that it will feel like they are the right person on day 3,650. The flaw in thinking like this is that a strong marriage is going to be built on feelings at all and that is a false notion.  While feelings are good and a good marriage is capable of generating a boatload of good feelings, they are still not the standard that a strong marriage is measured by.

The strength of a marriage is not found in how much a man loves his woman and how committed he is to spending the rest of his live showing her (taken from a pintrest social card). This can’t work because a strong marriage can’t be built by a one sided effort.  I remember a couple who’s marriage had this problem.  I watched year after year, as one spouse did all they knew to do to be a good spouse.  The other would give strong effort once in a while.  Instead that person would comment that their spouse should just “love me as I am” but they themselves didn’t put forth very much effort to make good on their promises. Sadly, this couple didn’t make it.

The strength of a marriage comes from both people making covenant promises, and both hearts committing to keep them. God gave us promises and through hearing these promises and taking them to heart, we have faith in Him (Rom 10:17). God also tells us in Hebrews 6 that it’s the promises that He made to us and the oath that He swore with Abraham that have become an anchor for us when we are tempted to doubt His promises.  In that same way, our marriage becomes stronger when we hear each other make promises, and our marriage becomes anchored by those promises kept.

A strong marriage is built on strong promises.  To take it even deeper, a strong marriage is made more fulfilling when the wife sees and understands how serious her husband takes his promises.  I remember a story a minister was telling about a time he was counselling a couple who were having marital trouble.  The wife said “I want him to so such & such”, and the minister responded “No you don’t”, to which the wife said “I most certainly do!” The minister replied, “No, you don’t want him to do that, you want him to want to do that”.  And he was right.  It wasn’t just the act of doing what she wanted, she really wanted him to care enough about her to do it on his own.  She wanted him to want to help her.

The true strength of marriage is when both fully commit to each other, making a covenant pledge to selflessly work for their spouse’s good, and spend each day keeping their word.  Fulfilled promises make a strong marriage.

Have a serious look at your own relationships this week.  Have you made promises that you haven’t kept?  I encourage you this week to double down on your efforts to keep your covenant promises.

If this has helped you, please leave a comment & let me know.  I appreciate the feedback.  Also, please consider sharing this post with anyone you think it might help.

I appreciate you guys!

Art

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