Monday, August 20, 2012

Lessons From the Front Lines - part 2

Did Your Marriage Vows Say: “I Will, But Only if You Will?”

I recently read that wedding vows are speeches that a husband and wife make to each other on their wedding day.  Speeches?  Really?  While I disagree with the idea that vows are nothing more than words, I can’t argue that this is a common mindset in our society. 

 Do you remember your wedding vows?  It is possible that they went something like this:  “I   take you, as my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, to love and to cherish until death do us part.”

When a bride and groom stand before the Lord and promise to love, honor and respect each other - come what may for the rest of their lives - it represents far more than a sentimental speech or a contract with one another.  Vows represent an unbreakable covenant with God and a binding promise that spouses make to each other and to the Lord.   

There are huge differences between a covenant and a contract.  A contract implies the following: 

·         Promises are conditional

·         I have to do my part only if you do your part

·         I will, but only if you will first! 

·         If you blow it, I’m outta here!

In contrast, a covenant is a commitment with no strings attached. 

·         Promises are unconditional

·         If you fail to meet my expectations, I must uphold my promise to love you as the Lord loves me.  

·         When you disappoint me, I remain obligated to treat you with love and respect. 

·         “I will, no matter what” (this sounds like our wedding vows, doesn’t it?)

We can expect that disappointment in marriage will come.  When it does, how will you respond?  Will you focus on what your spouse has done and act in retaliation, or will you ask the Lord for strength and perseverance as you fight to uphold your promises to Him?  As we rise each morning, we must choose to fulfill the covenant we made with God and decide moment-by-moment to love, honor, and cherish our spouse.  No matter what. 

When Christ surrendered His life, He proved His unconditional love.  May He provide us with the strength to love our spouses the same way, keeping in mind our unconditional marriage covenant.  

Questions? Comments? Please post them here. We’re here to minister to and pray for you and your marriages. Please let us know how we can. We know that we’ve touched just the tip of the iceberg, and we’d love to continue the dialogue. Let us know your thoughts (anonymous comments are welcome).

Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (NASB)
Michael & Cathy

This post is part of a series that details what we've learned over the last 25 years about honoring God with our marriage. Click here to the last post.


  1. Cathy,
    These are vital lessons--as you've shared your wealth of experience. I love the series title. Keep 'em coming and mega hugs from us both!

  2. Thank you, Bobbe. Partnering in writing with Mike has presented a new set of challenges in trying to mesh our schedules, but the blessings are rich!

    God's best to you and John!!