A Sacred Spiritual Commitment
It is significant that Holy Scripture speaks of Christian marriage as much in terms of commitment as it does in terms of love. And even the term “love” (which the world sees primarily as romantic love), when used in Scripture (agape) includes something greater.
The “love” in Christ’s relationship with His Church and the husband’s relationship with his wife is much more than a feeling. It is first and foremost a commitment.
Our definition of commitment might be “a sincere desire and promise to someone or something.” Next to our Spirit-worked faith covenant/commitment established at our Baptism and reaffirmed on our Confirmation Day, the second most significant “commitment” we will ever make is that of Christian marriage.
The word describing the institution of marriage is especially telling (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5): “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall be one flesh.” The word cleave is sometimes translated joined (NKJV) or united (NIV) and is sometimes expressed as being bonded, fused, adhered, even superglued.
You get the picture. The commitment is so great and the bonding before the Lord so strong that husband and wife literally become “one flesh” — joined together.
Try prying apart a laminated board, a fused bone, a grafted branch. It soon becomes obvious that separation was never part of the plan. Even more so with Christian marriage.
The Christian husband and wife recognize this, rejoice in it, and reflect it in their attitudes and actions toward one another. They are one. The other’s feelings, desires, needs become their own. “Nourishing” (caring for) and “cherishing” (treasuring) each other become joyous objectives for their marriage.
And so their relationship becomes a love-commitment in Christ. Far from being a burdensome obligation, the honoring and fulfilling of one’s marriage vows become a fruit of the Gospel in their lives.
In loving one another for life, husband and wife serve and glorify God. In seeing their marriage through all of life’s challenges, obstacles, and trials, they reflect the love commitment of their Savior to His Church: unconditional, unselfish, unwavering, and unending.
One of the key elements in any good relationship is trust. With commitment comes trust.
In the spiritual realm, trust is the very essence of our faith. Implicitly we trust our faithful God. He has proven Himself totally deserving of our trust. His grace and mercy, His Word, His Gospel, His loving care have always been there for us.
What a wonderful blessing for us to have such trust in our relationship with our God. Securely our hearts rest in Him–fearing, loving, and trusting in Him above all things!
The same is true in marriage, our closest human relationship. A foundation of trust between husband and wife is esssential to a blessed marriage.
It is a God-pleasing, beautiful relationship when husband and wife can implicitly trust each other in all things. Likewise, it is a frightening, even devastating, experience when that trust is threatened or shaken, much less destroyed.
Trust often seems to be the missing ingredient in today’s alternatives to marriage.
* Living together by its very nature presupposes a lack of commitment or trust in one another and in the permanence of their bond.
* The increasingly popular “pre-nuptial agreement” (designed to protect oneself financially) is almost like admitting marital defeat in advance.
* Adulterous, extramarital relationships shatter the sacred bond of trust, in many cases, beyond repair.
* Unscriptural divorces, now socially acceptable (even “no fault”), do untold damage to the institution of marriage.
All of this is really no surprise in a world characterized by a selfish lack of commitment to one’s own word and to others.
The Christian marriage love-commitment is a wonderful foundation for a blessed relationship of trust between husband and wife.
A promise made before the Lord at His altar is always “a sacred spiritual commitment”–whether it be on our Confirmation day or our Wedding day.
–Pastor David Schierenbeck