When You Say “I Do”

Marriage is much more complex than I thought some 30 years ago. The vows we take are shrouded usually in a pre-wedded bliss where the immensity of the commitment your about to take can not be truly realized.

When your young, or even not so young  and the minister says, “For richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do you part” I think we hear “for richer in health we shall never part”.

Marriage is a lot of work, and it’s rewards for those who understand that fact, can not be measured. My basis for marriage centers around a word which I use interchangeably with the word love, that word is commitment. I believe this word more aptly describes this union between a man and a woman.  Love often is said and /or felt from the seat of our emotions and is the word we most often will use to convey the intensity of our feelings towards another. Commitment is the action behind those words which I think is the basis for 1 Cor. 13.  In fact I have read this chapter replacing the word love with the word commitment. I would even be so bold as to use this interchangeably throughout the bible.

That statement may raise the hackles on some, as it seems to somehow add a sense of practicality to love that many may not be comfortable with. After 25 years of marriage I am more committed than ever to our relationship, it has been a tremendous blessing in my life and I can never thank God sufficiently for this incredible helpmate I call my wife.

It seems commitment in our society has been severely lacking as we are continuously bombarded with messages that it’s better to divorce than be unhappy, or why bother getting married at all… why not just live together after all it’s just a piece of paper, and a number of other messages justifying non-committal.

This is a huge topic and one that will not be addressed simply in a blog post, but one nonetheless worthy of discussion.

I would prefer making this an inclusive discussion that incorporates both people of faith and others if for no other reason than it seems whether you are of some spiritual persuasion or not the statistics are eerily similar in regards to longevity in a marriage.

When someone says commitment what do you think of and how do you define it in your relationships?



About JT

I am a happily married man with 6 children and have an autoimmune disease. I hope to share my story and explore others' stories and perhaps together both of our lives will be enhanced.
This entry was posted in freedom, God, introspection, life, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to When You Say “I Do”

  1. jennw2ns says:

    A number of years ago when I was dating someone other than the man I am about to marry, I used to joke that one day I was going to write a novel about two people who have nothing going for them but fall in love and decide to get married “for poorer, for worse and in sickness,” and then what happens when they do that and their circumstances change for the better but they become different people because of it. (Was that novel idea based on reality? Um . . . maybe. But we didn’t get married. Nor have we yet become entirely different people–as far as I am aware.)

    It seems to me that you’re right that the Biblical concept of love at least is interchangeable with commitment. Have you read “Sacred Marriage”? The premise is that marriage is a spiritual discipline, much like fasting or prayer, which builds our spirits and our relationship with God whether we are “happy” in the world’s sense, or not. (It’s a really good book!) I think nowadays commitment is almost a term people have forgotten the meaning of, and not just in relationships. It’s tough, if not impossible, to find anyone committing to anything–a person, a group, an idea–anymore, because the rubrick for such decisions becomes what you “feel” like. Feelings change pretty regularly; therefore no one commits, and people who do are viewed as close-minded, stuck in the mud, dishonest with themselves . . .

    It’s a pretty easy mindset to get sucked into, especially when the suck is coming from all around!

    • JT says:

      Wow, that novel idea sounds worthy of exploration, sadly it isn’t based in the reality we face today … still perhaps the premise is worthy if for no other reason than to spur on the ideals explored here. I have not read “The Sacred Marriage” but given your recommendation, I will.

      You raise an important distinction above in saying “the Biblical concept of love” , I hadn’t made that distinction in my effort to be inclusive of others… still it does kind of fly in the face of what we see today perpetuated as love. If by some chance we are able to get past the perverse distortion of the idolized physical manifestations love is promulgated on the same level as a chocolate bar, movie or name brand jeans. What bothers me more is why commitment isn’t chosen as a subject worthy in our culture to identify and even raise up as a standard to be honored, promoted sought after.

  2. Jeanna says:

    Sigh…. trust me. Going through a divorce currently and the part that breaks my heart the most, is the ease of which one can walk away. From a family. From commitment. From promises. I know that for me, standing there saying my vows… I meant every word, and in divorce… I would still battle to stay married. Many of my friends and family members tell me I am crazy, that I need to walk away… that he doesn’t feel the same about commitment as I do, so it isn’t fair to me… but it reminds me of footprints… and in that moment I carried you. I would be willing to carry him right now, if I thought it would make it work out. I suppose I feel like signing the paperwork will mean my word is no good anymore. That my promises go unkept. I loved your post. It’s nice to see a man speak of commitment, because what it does give me… is hope.

    • JT says:

      Jeanna, My heart goes out to you at what must be one the most difficult times of your life! I have a passion to speak in particular to men… because by and large men are the ones that can walk away with little or no sense of the incredible dis-service they are doing to their wives, children, themselves and the society in which we live. I paint with a broad brush here in the hope to stir a revolution of sorts. I realize every situation is different and unique, however what I believe is NOT unique is, that in most every situation it is a selfish motive which perpetuates this continuous spiral away from commitment and throwing off of responsibility! I believe little to no emphasis is placed on our men today to see the big picture and if they are painted a portrait of how these acts will perpetuate dysfunction beyond belief in the fabric of our society I wonder even then if they will get out of their self centered minds and be willing to accept responsibility and the needed sacrificial commitment it would need to just….Stay! Unfortunately if only one side of the union sees and believes in the big picture, as long as it remains one sided it is highly unlikely to work out. Unfortunately the old cliche “it takes two” is more than a cliche. My prayers go out to you at this time and my hope is that a mentor would come beside you both to promote a positive re-direction.

  3. wildgrain says:

    Amen brother! “Love is not a feeling, it’s an act of the will!” Sometimes marriage is tough and we misunderstand one another and hurt feelings can fester. As we stick with it and realize WE may be at fault in some way we will be rewarded with a renewed relationship and love blossoms once again. It’s well worth sticking with it even in the hard times. It seems the longer we’ve been married, the more our love grows.We will soon be celebrating our 50th so I can vouch for that 🙂

    • JT says:

      Hi there Win,
      Wow the big 5 0 That is wonderful and a testimony that sticking it out works! I am so encouraged and thank you for modeling for us the reality of loving ie being committed to a partner through all the ups and downs of life!

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