Marriage is beautiful. But it can also be a battlefield. Hopefully our battles smooth off our rough edges and we become who we were intended to be—grace-filled, loving, compassionate followers of Christ. How do we safeguard our marriage? How do we make it worth fighting for?
This past weekend I was feeling inspired to clean, so I tackled the master bedroom closet. In the middle of the chaos Michael wisely escaped the house to mow the lawn, and Emily joined me in the bedroom to help me decide if I should keep, donate or toss (every good organizers process for purging). With clothes everywhere, Emily pulled out my wedding dress and said, “You should try it on!”
I have never taken my wedding dress out of the bag since our wedding day almost 20 years ago. Why not? It’ll be fun! I had forgotten how beautiful it was—all the tiny buttons and intricate beading. It might be a bit out of style with the puffed sleeves but as I slipped it on I still felt a little giddy. “You’ve got to show Daddy!” Emily squealed.
I made my way downstairs and opened the sliding door. He was still mowing the lawn. By this time I was laughing. It was crazy: me in my wedding dress after 20 years of marriage! I called out to him. He looked up from across the yard and his face lit up just like it did 20 years ago. He came running and almost touched the dress with his grubby hands. “You look so beautiful!” He kissed me a bunch of times between my laughter. He looked so cute with his eyes twinkling. “I can’t believe it still fits!”
That’s when I turned around so he could see that I could only zip it up part way. We laughed even harder. It was a silly yet sacred moment. Since our wedding day we’ve experienced many joys and many hardships together… our college graduations, the birth of our children, Michael’s career transition from pastor to network engineer, our marriage almost falling apart, Michael’s bipolar diagnosis, me becoming a credentialed minister and writer.
Later that night I found Michael staring at me. This is not our usual habit—staring at one another. We are both a bit pragmatic. “What are you doing?” I asked him. “Just thinking about our day.”
The Foolproof Way to Safeguard Your Marriage: Commitment
And that’s it, that’s the one foolproof way to safeguard a marriage: Commitment to us.
A commitment to stay true to our vows—the best of which is the vow to forgive.
A commitment to refuse to let personal opinions, other people and petty differences to come between the goals of the team.
A commitment to family, humility, love and compassion.
A commitment to us.
What commitment are you making to your marriage today? How will you support and uphold the marriages in your community?
To find out more about how we have fought to cultivate commitment in our marriage and how you can too, read my book: How to Love Your Crazy Family: 52 Quick Reads for No Ordinary Days.