Lately, I have spent a fair amount of time really trying to parse out the reasons why marriage vows are so powerful. To be fair, the reasons could fill an entire chapter of a book, if not the whole book itself. Nonetheless, I am going to do my best to merely give some of the highlights here.
The Contentment in Commitment
Marriage vows have traditionally implied a long-term and widely accepted commitment. Just ask anybody you know how long they want to be married, and most will say, "for life." Or ask how many times they want to be married, and they will say, "just once." I realize this answer will change for someone who feels that they are already in a bad marriage, but we will set aside that exception for now. The point is that most people want their marriages to last "until death do us part," they just don't quite know how to accomplish having a marriage that lasts forever.
The reason couples want their marriage to last forever is that there is great contentment in that kind of lifelong commitment. Think about that for a minute. To begin with, a lifelong commitment means that someone will love you forever in spite of your shortcomings. Who doesn't want that? It also means that you don't have to keep playing some superficial dating game where you are always trying to make the other person think that you are perfect for them, while at the very same time, they are trying to make you think they are perfect for you. In a properly committed relationship, each of you will enjoy the freedom to drop these false pretenses… and love each other anyway. This kind of vulnerability and contentment is one of the secret ingredients to lifelong marriage. It's truly such a powerful and amazing thing!
The Power of Belief
Most people would agree that it is wise and also beneficial to fully believe in marriage: to not hold back but give your all to your most important relationship. Knowing that you are investing in something (a marriage relationship) that is greater than the sum of its parts (your lives individually) is a profound thing. You must realize that this marriage relationship you are investing in has the power to positively change the two of you, and others also even after you are both long gone. This applies both to your children and to any other people whose lives you touch along the way. What an amazing legacy to leave behind; that love really does last, that marriages are worth working hard for, and that families will benefit from a solid foundation called marriage for generations to come.
This is accomplished largely by choosing daily to believe in two very important things. First, you must be convinced that marriage as a lasting covenant has the ability to positively shape both husbands and wives into better people than they were individually. Second, you must be deliberate about believing the very best about your spouse. Let me explain these two thoughts further.
Believing in Marriage
This is really all about your attitudes towards marriage. Do you hold marriage in high regard? Or are you always waiting for the next disappointment? Don’t get me wrong, there will be disappointments, however that does not mean you should sit around and wait for them and then say, “See, I knew marriage wouldn’t be perfect.” It does mean that you hope for the best that marriage has to offer the two of you and you do your very best to create that kind of marriage by being the kind of person you would like to be married to!
Believing in Your Spouse
After you choose who you are going to marry and choose that you are going to marry, you still have a few choices to make. Like being deliberate about choosing to think the best of your spouse every single day. Maybe I can explain this concept best by helping you realize what it would look like if the opposite were to happen; if you chose to think the worst about your spouse, and they think the worst of you. Chew on that for just a moment. Not only will you both be miserable in no time at all, but when you are complaining to your friends that you married such a loser, they may be thinking, “What’s wrong with you that you didn’t choose more wisely?” In other words, when you make your spouse out to be a loser, you will end up looking like one as well. Zig Ziglar once said, “If you treat your wife like a thoroughbred, you'll never end up with a nag.” Well said!
Marriage vows are more than just words that we say, they are promises we make. And it is through these promises that a marriage enjoys it's fullest expression of love.
We also wrote There is More Power in a Marriage Vow Than You Realize - PART 2, which you can find here: https://tandemmarriage.com/post/?permalink=there-is-more-power-in-a-marriage-vow-than-you-realize---part-2
If you have any comments or questions about this post, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.
By Brad & Tami Miller. Contact us at brad@TandemMarriage.com. Copyright © 2018
Link to: https://tandemmarriage.com/vows