Remember the day when you said “I do?” How did you feel that day? What were your hopes and dreams for your marriage relationship? Do you remember what exactly you promised your new spouse at your wedding?
Most of us had a combination of the following and maybe a few others:
- 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.
We promised to love forever, in all circumstances, when things were good and when bad. There were no ifs, ands, or buts that day. We meant what we said and we were sure that love would conquer all in those bad times, if they ever came. But maybe they wouldn’t because we were perfect for each other!
A ways down the road of married life reality hits and we see each other for the imperfect people that we are. Sometimes we hurt each other with words or actions. We disappoint our spouse. We find out things about our spouse that we didn’t know before, like habits, coping mechanisms, addictions, and extended family. Maybe some of our dreams will never be realized because of sickness or financial strain. These are the worst, the poorer, and the unhealthy times.
When in those hard times, some couples lose sight of their wedding vows, me included. I acted like my vows read more like this:
- I will have and hold you when it’s better
- When it’s worse, I will probably keep you at arm’s length.
- I will love you as long as you love me.
- Maybe I will cherish you, unless you hurt me.
- I will take care of you when you are sick
- But I will take you for granted when healthy.
That’s not what we dreamt of ever! How can anyone possibly undo all the damage?
If you see yourself in some of that, there is hope to turn things around. I discovered that Jesus has the perfect remedy for the sin of selfishness—confession and repentance to him and your spouse. And because healing rarely happens all at once—continual confession and repentance. There was freedom from selfishness and joy in serving when I turned from sin to Jesus. And now, instead of shame and guilt after each failure, there is forgiveness and reconciliation.
At the center of our marriages there should be the same unconditional love that Jesus has for us. His love for us does not depend on what we do, say, think, or even how we treat him! When we can love our spouse like that then we can truly have, hold, and cherish in all times.
Sometimes it’s good to go back to the beginning to evaluate the direction of your path. For your own growth look at how you have kept the promises you made to your spouse. If you’re really brave, ask your spouse how you’ve done! Listen and learn how you can be a better servant to your spouse. You will find the path to a soul mate marriage!