In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reflecting on marriage as contract versus marriage as commitment. I’ve written about how marriage is a serious commitment, a ruggedly serious commitment. You make it, and you’re in for life. It’s a done deal.
I’ve also written that you’re not supposed to live in misery. That is not why God calls you to marriage. But you’re not supposed to give up, either. You’re supposed to change. I think that’s what makes marriages work.
Cases of abuse aside (abuse is a very serious issue and needs to be considered differently), if you tell me you’re miserable in your marriage, that tells me you’re not changing. You’re being stubborn or proud. It’s like you’re saying to your wife, “Hey, I’m not going to change here. So if you won’t change, then we need to separate.” If you’re saying that, you don’t get submission at all.
You should say, “Let’s mold each other. Let’s become one. Let’s figure out what we need to do, and let’s figure it out together.”
Suppose I disagree with my wife. Sometimes she takes a position on something, and I don’t see it the same way. Should I argue with her until she does, or put my foot down and tell her that my view is the one that I expect her to share?
Or should I ask myself how much it matters? In my marriage I’ve learned that the first question to ask is, “Does this really matter?” I ask myself, “Is this really that big of a deal?” If the answer is no, then I say, “Okay. We’ll go with your opinion on this.”
But suppose it is a big deal to me. If that’s the case, then we work together. We say, “This is a big deal to me and it’s a big deal to you, so we have to mold each other right here. How can we reach the point where we see this the same way? Let’s figure this out together.”
There’s give and take. I need to ease up, she needs to ease up, and we need to figure out a way to do it together. If I’m flat out wrong, or she’s flat out wrong, then we have to be able to see that as well. That’s where you go through fire in your marriage. That’s where you’re tested. That’s where the commitment comes in.
My wife and I are committed to each other. We’re not contractually committed, with escape hatches like pre-nups built in. We are committed by a vow. I made a covenant with my wife that says, “This is what we’re here for.”
And we have two children now that are seeds of that covenant. They are gifts from God, here because of a covenant that was made. And that’s why kids are such a joy to have, because they are a fruit of a covenant, not a sin. We did not have our children because we committed sin. We had our children because we made a covenant. And they are beautiful. And it’s a good deal.
Next time I want to tell you about a man’s responsibility to his family. See you Tuesday.