Commit to Your Marriage
Every time I visit the grocery store, I’m reminded how easily promises are made and broken in relationships. While I am putting my food items on the conveyor belt, my eye is drawn to the magazines for the latest Hollywood gossip. This couple is history. That actor dumped his actress lover for another. Secret sexual trysts. Some of these people change partners as often as they change clothes. I assume that not all of it is true. I understand that the drama is what gets the press. And I know that much of the world doesn’t hold the same values as these people. But because of the inundation of careless disregard for commitment that permeates our culture, we can’t help but be influenced by it in our thinking.
When a marriage experiences tough times, there are some who turn to other options way too soon.
Our wedding day was perfect. But two days before, we had the biggest fight we’ve had in our entire relationship. Brent and I spent several hours working through a fundamental issue that drew in several people in our wedding party. Looking back, I suppose we could’ve called it off. But we didn’t. Because our minds were already geared that we were in it for keeps, we took the time to wrestle through the drama and get down to the core issue. After the tears dried, we were freed up to thoroughly enjoy our wedding and honeymoon.
Even though we were very young, we understood “for better or worse.” True and unwavering commitment requires a purposeful steeling of the mind. It’s an attitude that doesn’t consider divorce an option. And it is the glue that will hold a couple together through the messiest of times.
The Escape Clause
It doesn’t matter how awesome your guy is; there will be a time when your mind will be tempted to entertain other options. Boredom, loneliness, a grass-is-greener moment, another handsome uniform—there are lots of temptations that come along that threaten your marital commitment. If your mind isn’t engaged for the long-haul, it could get you into trouble. When I married Brent, I gave my whole heart to him. Or so I thought. A year or two into our marriage, I realized that there was a little spot inside me that I reserved for the “what if ”. What if he is killed on duty? What if he leaves me for someone else? These were fears that I held in the back of my mind. For a time, I developed a place to retreat to in my mind, just in case these fears came to life. I call this protective inner wall the escape clause. And when things got a little tough, I’d retreat behind that wall and let my mind wander. I’d put together a plan. Where I’d go, how I’d react, and, sometimes, whom I’d consider dating if Brent were gone. Eventually I challenged myself to stay away from the escape clause; it made my commitment waver. And when things got more difficult, I didn’t need the temptation to run.
The escape clause has to be taken in context. I am referring to secret thoughts of a woman that are meant to protect but actually hinder her from commitment and complete intimacy. These thoughts are based on a fear of being hurt. By no means am I referring to a relationship in which the husband is abusing his wife emotionally, physically, or sexually. In these situations, there are cases in which separation can actually save a marriage.