Edgar Banks Jr.
Marriage was designed by God. Then, why do so many marriage relationships go steadily downhill to ultimate destruction and ruin? I believe it is because before marriage, many couples never made
in their hearts certain foundational commitments that can strengthen and sustain marriages for this life we are called to live in. In many more cases the couple arrive in marriage as non- Christian, and fail
to adjust their thinking AFTER they receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. We read secular and non-secular reports that link the failure of marriages to money, sex, children or that old-time favorite of the
world – incompatibility! What most us fail to look at is that these problems are only symptoms for the real failure.
In a recent “ordeal” that I found I had subjected myself to in my marriage, I found myself talking with many couples, and found that they have not developed one or more of ten basic commitments, which I
have just recently found in my own life. I observed that the majority of these couples were destined or were now experiencing severe difficulties that should never need come up. Husbands and wives need
to grow into these commitments as the need for them becomes clear through the teaching of the Holy Spirit. But God in His wisdom granted that you should be reading this or hearing this at a time that
the Spirit has appointed for you to hear or read.
Most couples didn’t fully understand these godly concepts before they got married. Many don’t take the time to understand them, now.
These ten commitments, which must be made in the heart – for the heart is “the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23) – and by faith, since faith is the only way to please God (Hebrews 11:6), are as follows:
To Commit your marriage and your family to the Lord Jesus Christ. Many marriages begin with a vow to be under the authority of God, but then fail to follow the promises on this vow and others that the
marriage vow ask. We are to make a decision and commit our family to God in a deep and meaningful way. “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve, but for me and my house – we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua
24:15). Only by having Him as the head of both husband and wife will the marriage prosper.
To grow in Christ for the Rest of My Life.
Not every Christian has decided to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18). Instead, Christians often think that they have already arrived or that there is “nothing wrong with me.” There is nothing wrong with a two year old acting like a two year old, but the child should eventually grow out of that behavior. In the same way, none of us has matured
enough that our present state should be classified “mature” we are only able to be “maturing.” We must seek growth. We must seek to grow. The result of a lifetime commitment to growth in Christ is that
we become more mature in every area of life.
In marriage, which demands increasing maturity in character, responsibility, and wisdom, non-growing Christians cannot make it. Their pride will not allow them to accept the learning, correction,
rebukes, and questions that require them to humble themselves. Only an open and teachable person can develop the characteristics needed to make a good marriage partner.
To stay committed to my marriage for life, and to work to solve all problems that arise.
This commitment provides the security of permanence and keeps us from running away from problems. Either we face up to them and solve them, or we live with them.
Christians and Christian leaders are part of the climbing divorce rate in our society, but God still requires faithfulness to our marriage vows (Malachi 2:14). He declares, “I Hate Divorce” (Verse 16).
Does this enslave me as a Christian? No! Instead it gives security in the midst of a world in which “you will have trouble,” as Christ stated (John 16:33). And, it means living in hope that no problem is too great to be solved.
God is working in marriage to fulfill His own desires as well as all married Christians. He is “seeking godly offspring” (Malachi 2:15) from our homes, and therefore He requires faithfulness in marriage.
To be faithful to my mate in both mind and action.
Unfaithful actions can be headed off by commitment to think romantically ONLY about the husband or wife. (Matthew 5:28).
To decide, “My mate is the only one I will allow myself to think about in this way” will cut off a lot of problems before they begin. The result in marriage will be a greater level of mutual trust.
To practice and allow to be practiced the “help meet” of Genesis
Mankind has heaped years and years of garbage upon the alter of marriage by downgrading the role of the woman in marriage. Many women have allowed themselves to live under these conditions in the interest of peace, Mostly to no avail.
God created woman to complete man, which transmits the idea that man was lacking in some areas, and this lacking has existed since man began and continues today. Too many men refuse to accept this gift
from God for completion and “macho” it out trying to be all capable and “support the little lady!” Well, God, in His wisdom set a wife on the life of a husband to allow them to be presented to Him as “One
Flesh” and complete in their TOGETHERNESS!
This does not mean that a wife simply takes orders – it means that SOMETIMES she is the ONLY messenger God has to get through some thick skulls of some husbands. The wife must be able to deliver
rebuke, reproof and exhortation in accordance with the leading of the Holy Spirit; However, it is IMPORTANT that the wife recognize that her responsibility ENDS when she delivers the message! God has ordained that the Husband be the head of the family – not the dictator – the HEAD “just as Christ is the head of the church” and with the same servant manner and sacrificial attitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ! When the husband has COMPLETELY lived up to the standards set by God, THEN he can dictate! Until then God has seen fit to have another person come along side and travel the road of life with him, and he had better listen to what she says. Most of the time she can be the KEY to success and failure to listen can result in failure.
The wife must realize that she is commanded to obey her husband. Not blindly, but in accordance with the Word of God. God has set up a plan for marriage and families and the plan works to the good of those who follow the precepts, and disaster results in straying from the plan. The wife should OFFER her advice and admonitions in LOVE and not in confrontation. Communicate to him in the same manner as God communicates to you, with overwhelming Love – AGAPE love! If the husband wants to do something you don’t really care to do, and it is not against the laws of God, then God asks that you follow your husband. (I Corinthians 11:3)! If you follow his request just as you would follow the request of Jesus Christ, then you will be blessed in ways that you never thought possible. Trust in the Lord.
To communicate – NO MATTER WHAT!
Most people learn not to reveal many of their thoughts and feelings because these are personal and so easily judged by others – “You shouldn’t feel that way.” This fear of judgment from others brings about an attitude of “I’ll never mentions that again.”
But just as nothing can separate us from the Love of Christ (Romans 8:35-39), so nothing should stop us from communicating in marriage; silence, tears, explosions of anger, defiance, defensiveness, the children, or lack of time.
This is a commitment to communicate not just facts and accomplishments, but feelings, thoughts, problems, and failures. Both the positive and the negatives in our lives need expression.
To be a Servant
God created both men and women to be servants of God, of each other, and of their neighbors. The husband and wife are equal in dignity and worth, and work together as “joint heirs of the grace of
life” (I Peter 3:7,RSV) to achieve common goals.
Yet each fulfills different roles. The husband takes responsibility as the leader in the marriage (I Corinthians 11:3), but his success begins and ends with a servant’s attitude. A willingness
to serve each other will bring about mutual dependence and appreciation.
To assume in everything that my mate’s intentions are good
We are told not to impute evil to God (James 1:13), and in marriage we are likewise to assume the best about our partner’s intentions. Some of our mate’s actions may not seem to be good, but we must believe that the intent was good.
Let us give our wife/husband the benefit of the doubt. He or she may be immature in some ways and may act out of jealousy or revenge- but even these are cries for help. By avoiding the accusations, each
of us will have far less grounds for conflicts and hurt feelings.
To forgive and forget the transgressions of our mates.
The hardest act for a human to do is admit to a wrong and ask forgiveness. To be met with a list of acts of contrition that must be followed before forgiveness is “granted” creates a schism in the very foundation of marriage. To compound this error by “dredging up past offenses” is a direct sin against the very Word of God when God tells us to keep “no record of wrongs” (I Corinthians 13:5). This sin is not reserved for any single partner – it is practiced by both. It is sin. It is to be confessed and repented and washed from us. Then the healing of God’s power will be able to be received!
LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
It may seem strange that I make this the last of the commitments, yet it has been the critical facet of each of the previous nine.
The “norm” heard in the divorce courts is “I just don’t feel any love for ….. anymore!” The world teaching is that Love is a feeling. The Bible tells us that Love is a verb – an ACTION.
We are not called to “feel” love, we are COMMANDED to LOVE! We are to love our spouse, and sometimes we must love them in spite of our “feelings” and “please God and not man (ourselves)”(Acts 4:19). We must commit all the other nine commitments in our heart and attach this tenth one to every one of the other nine. Only by His power can we join the Lord when He told us to “be of good cheer for I have overcome the world” and we need so much to be overcomers. Allow the world and our own families see the Rock that our lives CAN be founded on. Let us enjoy the life “and life more abundantly” by following the plan that God laid out for us in His Word, The plan that many times counters our own plan because it requires the Lordship of Jesus Christ and not ourselves. It requires that a husband Serve his wife! It requires that we ALL have the servant nature that sees us washing feet in the spiritual manner that Jesus provided such a physical example of. Let us each ask our spouse the simple question that can very well blow our present “ship” out of the water of the world and settle us on a Rock, the Rock of Jesus Christ. That question is “What are your REAL needs and how do you think I could be more able to supply them?”
Computers for Christ – Chicago