What’s the secret ingredient? Commitment. It’s easy to promise but harder to keep. What does commitment look like? How do I stay committed? What one decision can I make that will keep me committed? We will examine those questions in this post.
“A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” Genesis 2:24. The word “be united” in Hebrew is “dawbak” it literally means to glue together, to paste together, to adhere to. It means to stick, to super glue. Like welding, the bond becomes stronger than the two pieces you welded together. That’s what marriage is to be.
A great illustration is to take two colors of construction paper and glue them together. That would be an illustration of what the Bible calls “being united.” Once dry if I were to try to separate these two, some of the color one side would come off on other side. That’s what happens in a separation. That’s what happens in a divorce. That’s why it’s so painful. When you’ve lived with somebody and then you separate, it tells both people, “There’s always a little of you left behind.”
And then we go out to the singles’ bar and we show the good side (the unglued side). And another person who has been through a separation shows their good side. They think each other is wonderful. They don’t realize that on the back are scars that haven’t been dealt with.
To “be united” is an act of commitment. It means to say “I do”. The problem with our marriages is that many people who say “I do” — don’t. Instead of marrying for better and for worse, people ought to just marry for good. “I do” is a commitment.
What is God saying? God is saying good marriages are a result of choice, not chance. They don’t just happen. They’re the result of choices you make. Good marriages are a result of commitments, not convenience.
Some of us think, “I am trapped! And I don’t know how to get out of this relationship. I’ve got more than I bargained for — false advertising! What I thought I was getting was not what I got.” We think we’re stuck. What do we do? There’s nothing more hopeless than feeling like you’re trapped in a relationship that you cannot get out of. What are you going to do?
The first commitment that Niki and I made is that, “we will never, never, never divorce.” We said we’ll also never, never use the “d” word. Divorce is not an option, murder? Maybe! But not divorce!
Some of you are already divorced. I don’t mean your past. Your past is over. I mean the relationship you are in now or if you ever plan to be in a relationship. I mean right now. Make a commitment: “If I ever marry again or if I’m married right now, I will not divorce.”
The other commitment that we made was this: “We will do whatever it takes and whatever it costs for as long as it takes to make this marriage work.” Whatever it takes, no matter what it costs. That’s what it means to be united. We’ll go to Christian counseling, retreats, conferences, read books, talk to others, whatever it takes.
Experts tell us that about 75% of all marriages need counseling at least some time in their married life. Because some people are too proud to get it, they never get the help. A lot of people will divorce before they go see a counselor.
I prefer Christian Counselors. A non- Christian counselor does not have the resources available to change a marriage that a Christian does.
We made the commitment — whatever it takes and whatever it costs, for how long it takes, we will make this marriage work! We usually never change until we get desperate.
“The only way any marriage will stay together is if you will it to stay together.” It’s an act of volition. You will it. You choose to make the marriage work. It will work! Whatever it takes. It’s a matter of choice. Love is a choice.
The foundation of marriage is commitment, for the sake of your marriage, lock the escape hatch and throw the key away. Never use the “D” word, it cracks the foundation. Intimacy is built on security. You can never be one flesh intimately, totally with your spouse if there’s always the possibility in the background that there is an option of divorce. When the problems come it’s just too easy to walk out rather than face the problems even though divorce is very painful.
You leave and you be united. Leaving and uniting are the process.
The Result: Total Intimacy “be united…and they will become one flesh.” vs 24
This is a blending of two lives. God’s talking about more than just sex, although that is a very important part of it. He’s talking about total intimacy.
No situation is hopeless as long as you give the pieces to the Lord and are willing to change. Change is scary. Both of you are going to have to change. So many marriages are missing this emotional bonding, but it can be developed if you follow God’s directions. Commit to each other completely and throw out the word divorce.
It doesn’t happen overnight. You can have a physical relationship overnight but to “become one flesh.” Means it’s a process, an ongoing process. It just doesn’t happen. It happens through facing these situations that test our commitment.
In Marriage and Divorce magazine they gave these statistics: Right now in the United States an average of 1 out of every 2 marriages ends in divorce. That is not very good odds. However, in a relationship where the couple were married in a church, the divorce rate is 1 out of 30. [One guy said he was married by the justice of the peace and he’s got neither since — justice or peace.] In a marriage where a couple attends church and prays together, the divorce rate is 1 out of 1000. That’s the difference Jesus Christ makes in a marriage!
Marriage begins and continues with commitment. I encourage you to make two simple commitments in your heart.
- First commit your life to Jesus Christ. “Jesus Christ, I need Your help in my marriage and life.” You may be Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Mormon, Moslem, an atheist, an agnostic — it really doesn’t matter what your background is, you need a personal relationship to Christ. I’m not talking about a religion. I’m talking about a relationship to the One who made you. “I need Your help in my marriage and my life. Jesus Christ, come into my life and help me please. Save my marriage and my life.” If you prayed that He’ll hear you and you’ll find a new sense of power that you’ve never known about that will help you make the changes you know you need to make. Commit your life to Christ.
- Commit yourself to your spouse. Would you right now in your heart determine to be united? Would you say, “I will eliminate the possibility of divorce. If I’m married now, if I ever marry in the future, I will not marry with the option of divorce.” Some of you even now with your marriage under tension need to say, “I will do whatever it takes or costs to make it work.” If you make those kinds of commitments in your life, you are on your way to total intimacy.