Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated Twenty-Two years of marriage. To some that may seem like a long time. To others it may seem like just a blink of an eye, but, in today’s society, staying married for Twenty-Plus years is not that common anymore.
In the last few weeks, several of my Facebook friends have celebrated being married between Twenty and Thirty years. Congratulations guys. I recently heard of one couple who were about to celebrate their Eighty-First wedding anniversary and another couple who had been married for Eighty-Three years. According to Wikipedia, the record for longest marriage in modern times is almost Ninety-One years.
When I’ve heard couples share their secret to a long marriage it’s never a cookie cutter answer, but what they say always boils down to the same thing; Commitment.
Sadly, these days marriages are getting shorter and shorter, with some lasting only a year or so, while others have ended after only a day. I read of one that lasted only fifteen hours. So sad.
I was watching a movie called COURAGEOUS and one of the characters said, “Divorce comes with the territory.” Another character said something like, “Only because we make it an option.” I totally agree.
My first marriage ended in divorce, so I understand there are bumps, valleys, hills and mountains in every relationship. That’s why, when I married again, my wife and I both vowed that divorce would never be an option. We had our share of problems, and yes, our marriage was tested. Humans are selfish creatures. Times change and people chance. Sometimes we get caught up in the cares of life and lose sight of the big picture.
That’s where Commitment comes in. We have to be committed, not only to the marriage but to each other as well. Some people with bad marriages stay married for the children, but if both people are not committed to each other the marriage can’t be a happy one.
When two people get married, they vow before God to “have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward, until death do us part.” Then the minister, quoting Jesus in Mark 10:9 says, “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
In the previous verse, Mark 10:8, Jesus said, “And the two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh.” No wonder divorce is so horrible. It’s unnatural. After being joined together by God, splitting “One Flesh” into Two again is devastating to both people, and neither of them can ever be the same again.
To prevent this unnatural split, it’s vitally important to be committed to the One who created marriage in the beginning; the same day he created Adam and Eve. (Genesis 2:21-24)
I’m sure there have been long lasting marriages where God was not put first but, I’m sure they would have been awesome if he had been put first. God wants to see long lasting marriages, but he also wants those marriages to be happy ones. He loves us and he’ll work with us as much as we’ll allow him to.
Time and time again, I’ve heard, “Marriage Takes Two,” but really, marriage takes three. The Man, the Woman, and God. I’ve also heard, “In A Marriage, It’s Give And Take; 50/50,” but actually, each person has to give 100% to make it work. God will definitely give 100% if we allow him to be part of our marriage. So think about it for a minute. That’s 300% being put into it. A marriage like that will be happy and it will last until death separates the couple.
So the secret to a long and happy marriage is Commitment. Commitment to God first. Then Commitment to our spouse. Commitment to the union, and Commitment to the vows we made before God. Simple? Maybe. Maybe not. But, With God, all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).
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