What does it mean to be committed to your spouse? When a couple says "I do" in their wedding ceremony, what exactly are they committing to? In Matthew 19 Jesus is asked about the permanence of marriage, and his reply was clear, " ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.' Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Since the creation of the first marriage in the Garden of Eden, marriage was designed to be a permanent union.
Despite God's desire for the permanence of marriage, there is a surprising number of divorces every year, even in couples who claim to be Christians. Rarely do spouses go into the marriage thinking about the marriage ending. Couples go into marriage with great hope and excitement about what the future holds for their relationship - believing they are signing up for a lifetime of commitment. Sadly, many are disappointed when their spouse reveals that they have "fallen out of love," or "just can't live like this any longer." But, Jesus speaks to the sanctity and enduring nature of covenant commitment in marriage. Through his interactions with the Pharisees regarding divorce, Jesus reveals the divine intention behind the covenant of marriage. He emphasizes the sacredness and permanence of the marriage relationship.
Jesus reminds us in Matthew 19 of the creation story, where God established the blueprint for marriage: "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?" (Matthew 19:4,). Jesus underscores God's original design, portraying marriage as a sacred union ordained by God Himself. Marriage is not a man made contract. It is a God ordained covenant, for it was God who brought Eve to Adam. God solved Adam's problem of aloneness by giving him the gift of a spouse. This verse underscores the profound unity established in marriage, where two individuals become intertwined in a sacred bond. The unity of the one flesh relationship in marriage is one of the things that sets marriage apart from every other human relationship. Like two pieces of duct tape stuck together, it's impossible to pull the two apart without both being irreparably damaged.
It's such an easy thing to commit to on our wedding day - to be committed to one another through all the ups and downs of marriage. But usually on that day, we aren't thinking about the downs. We're only thinking about the ups. We're only thinking about all the benefits and blessings of marriage. We aren't thinking - my spouse is going to disappoint me. We aren't thinking - my spouse is going to fail to meet my expectations. We aren't thinking - my spouse is going to betray me. We aren't thinking - my spouse is going to stop doing a lot of the things that caused me to love him or her when we first met. Yet. . . . all of these are a possibility. I'm not saying they are right, but they are a reality in many marriages.
We must be reminded that we are broken fallen people. We are sinners. We fail. We disappoint. We betray. We get lazy. The strength of a healthy marriage is the couple's ability to press through during those times and remain committed despite the failures. They don''t have to accept failure. They don't have to say that betrayal is okay or acceptable. But they do have to remain committed during the tough times. Some of the strongest marriages have endured some of the toughest struggles. Their willingness to maintain their covenant between God and one another produces a permanency and safety in the relationship that produces great joy and satisfaction. What's your level of commitment to your spouse today? Are you committed in the good times and the bad times? Or is your commitment only evident when things are pleasant and going your way?