Biblical wisdom and popular research show that couples with thriving marriages tend to make progress in certain areas of marital life. This couple devotional is focused on lifelong commitment.

Pray

Begin your devotional praying that God would impact both you and your spouse with His truth.

Assess

Read the following thriving marriage statement out loud together:

Lifelong commitment: Thriving couples highly value their marriage. They are committed to devotion, loyalty, fidelity and hope. They have a deep conviction that divorce is not an option. They are committed to a shared purpose and dream of a positive future together.

On a scale of 1-10 (1 = low, 10 = high), how do you and your spouse evaluate your relationship in regards to upholding lifelong commitment? As a couple, what could you do to increase effectiveness in this area of your marriage?

Read

"Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in Our image, to be like Us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.’ So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them . . . But still there was no helper just right for him. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and He brought her to the man.' At last!' the man exclaimed. 'This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called "woman," because she was taken from "man."' This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame."
(Genesis 1:26-27, 2:20b-25)

"Here is another thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because He pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, ‘Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?’ I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. ‘For I hate divorce!’ says the LORD, the God of Israel. ‘To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,’ says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. ‘So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.’"
(Malachi 2:13-16)

"Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
(Matthew 19:6)

Reflect

You may not remember too many details from your wedding ceremony. You probably were concerned that something might go wrong. Maybe you were so focused on controlling your tears that you tuned out the minister. Maybe you were awestruck by your spouse and everything else paled in comparison. But in all likelihood, you may recall saying "I do" as part of a vow like this:

Before God, do you take this man/woman to be your lawfully wedded husband/wife; to have and to hold from this day forward; for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health; to love, honour and cherish; and forsaking all others, do you promise to be faithful to them as long as you both shall live?

This vow reflects God’s desire for your marriage and shows how marriage is a reflection of God Himself.

The creation story in Genesis describes how God made Adam, the first human being. We see God create something and then declare that it was good. But then, in stark contrast, He makes the first negative statement in the Bible. He looks at Adam and says, "It is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). So, God made humans – both male and female – in His image. This implies that a man by himself or a woman by herself is not a complete expression of what it means to be made in the image of God. But a man and woman joined together in marriage is a more complete expression of this.

Unfortunately, as we know from the rest of the story, Adam and Eve sinned. They chose self-centredness over God-centredness, resulting in the deterioration of all that God created as good. Shortly after, dysfunction rushed into the realm of all human relationships – the marriage relationship in particular. Still, God’s ideals for marriage remain clear.

From this passage, we see three values of marriage:

  1. Oneness. God could have designed marriage with many wives for a husband or many husbands for a wife. But when you look closely at the wording of this text, it says that one man shall leave his mother and father and be untied to his one wife, and they shall become one flesh.
  2. Faithfulness. Faithfulness means loyalty, devotion and commitment to one person only. God reiterates this idea of faithfulness in the Ten Commandments when He says, "You shall not commit adultery." God values the durability of marriage and intentionally designed it to remain exclusive and permanent.
  3. Intimacy. God uses the term "one flesh" to describe both the physical and emotional union of a husband and wife. He speaks of them being naked and unashamed. Marital intimacy allows for emotional and physical vulnerability between a man and a woman without fear of hurt or rejection.

God stresses oneness, faithfulness and intimacy in marriage because He experiences them within the Trinity. These are His relational ideals. As God’s image bearers, He desires us to reflect His own image within the covenant of marriage.

God is grieved when we break or distort that image because it is a reflection of Himself. The Old Testament prophet Malachi chastised the people of God because they treated their marriages as if they were disposable contracts rather than holy covenants (Malachi 2:13-16). That’s why Jesus, when asked of marriage, reiterates Genesis 2 and then gives a powerful declaration: "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matthew 19:6).

God was present on your wedding day and was enjoying one of His finest creations – the union of one man and one woman in marriage. He wants your marriage to be one that not only endures but also expresses His relational ideals. Isn’t that what you want for your marriage as well? Imagine the security and peace you can enjoy when both of you are committed to God and to each other. Together, you can more fully experience what it means to be created in God’s image.

Discuss

  1. Which of the three values do we identify as most evident in our marriage?
  2. Which value would we like to see become more evident? How can we make this happen?

Going deeper

Why not take a moment to renew your vows with each other? Use the script below and insert each other’s name. Or, if you’re feeling creative, write an expression of your commitment to one another and then read it aloud.

Before God, I take [spouse's name] to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife; to have and to hold from this day forward; for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health; to love, honour and cherish; and forsaking all others, I promise to be faithful to you as long as we both shall live?

Pray

Listen to God, express your concerns to Him and ask Him to help you reflect His relational ideas within your marriage.


Reference to the individuals and organizations quoted does not constitute a blanket endorsement of either the individuals’ external work or their respective organizations.


© 2017 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.

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