The reading for the next two sections focused on this Principle: Nurture truth. “Nurture Truth?” At first that seems to be an odd combination of words. We know all about nurturing children, but what does it mean to Nurture Truth.
Mark Dietrich said,
“It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”
When you think of the principle of nurturing truth and contrast it to this quote, it should open our eyes to a new way of viewing marriage. Your love may have gotten you down the aisle, but marriage is the vehicle in which our love is nurtured.
Lesson 7 was about Commitment with this main idea:
“God’s covenant to love provides an example of the way you are going to love your spouse. Marriage is a commitment not a contract.”
When you got married, you made a covenant with each other, not a contract. God’s expectation is that this is permanent. Unfortunately, our culture does not view it in such a way. In fact is quite the opposite. If you look around, it’s not too hard to see that marriage is really viewed as a temporary convenience that only lasts as long as the other person is meeting my needs, rather than a lifelong institution. Love this from the lesson,
“Much of our life operates under the guidelines of contracts…Our ideas about contracts often carry over into our marriages, where we love and expect to be loved, sacrifice and expect sacrifice in return, and try to our spouse happy and expect them to do the same.”
Wow!! That sure is a conviction about not letting the world’s influence corrupt what marriage was designed to be! The book continues with this…
“The contractual view of love is the opposite of how God loves us and how we are supposed to love our spouse.”
“God’s irrevocable commitments to His people are called covenants.”
Marriage is an IRREVOCABLE COMMITMENT.
When you look up the definition of irrevocable, it means “Incapable of being reversed, retracted or revoked. So in other words God’s commitment to us is incapable of being reversed, retracted or revoked.
Real Love has no Plan ‘B’…So how would that look in your marriage if you took that same mindset? Lesson 7 gave this advice…
“Jesus made a new covenant with us by His death on the cross – not because we deserved it, but in spite of the fact that we were His enemies.”
Romans 5:10 says
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life?”
The book made this incredible parallel
“Since God is a covenant-keeping God, He expects us to keep our covenant with our spouse.”
“Covenants are serious, and when we keep them, we love the same way God does.”
So how could you apply Roman 5:10 and these two quotes in the way you look at your marriage?
For me, my marriage is an Unconditional Commitment!! Divorce HAS NEVER been and NEVER WILL be an option. The promise I made to my wife and God 15 years ago is the best decision I made, second only to receiving Christ.
The key is to “Commit to your spouse the way God does.” Here is what the book taught on what “Commitment In Action” looks like.
Commitment In Action.
- “Commitment is often an internal decision. It’s not thinking about escape, or wondering or fantasizing about what it would be like to be married to someone else; instead, it is daily reminding yourself of God’s commitment to you and that your spouse is a gift from God.”
It is a decision or choice. Just like last week when we said that we have to choose to forgive our spouse, we have to choose to remain committed to our spouse to the vows we both said in the presence of God on our wedding day.
- “Externally, commitment looks like never mentioning divorce.”
This is important because too often spouses threaten divorce as a weapon to beat the other into submission which is the complete opposite way that God has intended our covenant marriage to be like.
- Commitment in action…”looks like not becoming close friends or flirting with anyone of the opposite sex or getting emotional needs met from someone other than your spouse.”
Need to establish boundaries and maintain them. Don’t give the enemy a foothold in your marriage.
- Commitment in action…”looks like continuing to reiterate to your spouse that you love them and plan to meet married to them until one of you dies.”
When I got married, I had wanted to change our marriage vows to replace the phrase “until death do us part,” to say “for all eternity.”
In the reading they talked about shutting the doors of escape in our marriage.
- Divorce or separation.
- Escape by staying busy with work, friends or activities that keep you from dealing with the issues in your marriage.
- Giving up or just living as undivorced roommates.
Look at this and think about your marriage, do you have any doors open or still unlocked in your marriage to escape from? What do you need to do to shut and lock them?
“Commitment looks like shutting and locking all the doors in the room; telling your spouse that you won’t leave, become apathetic or preoccupied; and working it out no matter what.”
Amen!! This lesson is so incredible. We all have a choice, we can live our marriage as a contract or a covenant. They also made this profound statement,
“When you commit unconditionally, you will be amazed at how you can work through issues, deal with difficult seasons and move to new levels of intimacy.”
In the supplemental reading, it said that:
“The #1 most probable determiner for whether a couple makes it: did you view your wedding vows as a commitment or a contract?”
What is your view?
James MacDonald said,
“Marriage is focused delight in a single person. It is maintained by maintaining that focus.”
Mark 10:7-9 (NLT) says.
“‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
And Malachi 2:16 (MSG) says,
““I hate divorce,” says the GOD of Israel. GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.”
This verse is such a powerful statement from God which many people have misunderstood because they read that God hates divorce and make the jump that God hates them because of the divorce but that is a LIE OF THE ENEMY. Look at it again, God said “I hate divorce,” NOT the “DIVORCEE.” Divorce is real; many of you reading this may have experienced divorce in your life, whether it was your parents or yourself. And if you were asked the question if you liked going through the divorce or watching someone you love go through it, you would undeniably say “I hate divorce” and so did I. From firsthand experience, I know what that “dismembering” felt like, having experienced this at the age of 5 when my parents divorced. That description is right on, it was a violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’.
I have always related my parent’s divorce like a chess match where I was a pawn pinned between the King and Queen who were battling one another, using me to hurt the other. Now I don’t mention this to condemn anyone but to show what God intended for marriage and what He thinks of Divorce. If we want to stop from becoming part of the statistic of yet another marriage gone south, we need to view it as a covenantal commitment, not a contract!
If you would like to read the next installment to the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Truth ★
If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…
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