The Bible teaches that all commitment is based on a loving relationship. Being loved leads to commitment and willful decision-making, not the reverse. (Cloud and Townsend, Boundaries, (c) 1992. bold mine).
While in college I had a huge crush on a friend. I decided I was going to “make” him fall for me too. I planned surprise picnics, had him over for dinner and served his favorite meals, whatever I could. I would have been successful if our paths hadn’t changed.
In hindsight, I am grateful. Love that is not built on honesty has little chance. We cannot will love, it cannot be forced. Love grows from trust, selflessness, time, and valuing the other person.
Many wedding ceremonies include the reading from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, and 13. But it’s the other words in those verses -besides love- that need to be camped on for the rest of the marriage to make it work.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Our hearts may be willing to love another, but our love will never be enough to maintain the relationship. If love were the only thing keeping my husband and I together, we wouldn’t have stayed with each other beyond our first disagreement. We needed our willingness to love to be the foundation for the rest of our marriage.
On top of that love we have built commitment, forgiveness, mercy, grace, kindness, laughter, memories. Through our individual spiritual journeys and our marriage covenant, we have built a marriage that can weather the storms of life. It has not been pretty all the time, we bear the marks and the scars – but I wouldn’t trade it. We have stood side-by-side, choosing to stick together in the rotten moments, celebrating the wonderful moments.
O Best Beloved, I know not everyone has the kind of commitment from their spouse that may be growing in their own hearts. Please know I am praying for you. Your heart may be raw, tattered, even broken completely into a zillion little pieces, but God can do miracles. He can restore. He has restored, He continues to restore. Cry out to Him for help. If you can’t cry, whimper.
He will hear you. All you need to do is be willing to love.