When we see couples celebrating their silver, golden or diamond wedding anniversaries, we wonder what their secret is, since we know that there are so many broken marriages, especially in this generation. In fact, there are those who cannot even survive ten years of being together. What seems to be the problem? For us to get a better perspective on the commitment that marriage entails, it is best to consider a thought-provoking question that God asked Israel due to their unfaithfulness. He asked, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (Amos 3:3).
This is an apt question that needs to be asked from those with troubled married relationships. Did they walk together because they agreed to do so? Indeed, marriage is a result of an agreement. If by their own freewill they agreed to tie the knot, there should be no reason why their marriage would fail. However, the reality is that there are many broken relationships these days, since they did not have a good understanding of what marriage is all about and the commitment that it entails. They break their relationships even though they know that “what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Mark 10:9).
As mentioned in the Book of Amos, the key to a lasting relationship is the agreement between the parties. This is particularly so in marital relationships. For as long as each one of the parties does his/her part in the agreement, the relationship will stand. But what should they agree on? Each party should agree to:
Accept one another. Since they agreed to marry each other, they should accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses. If one of the parties cannot accept the other’s failings, the relationship will be turbulent and will not last. For this reason, the apostle Paul said, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Rom. 15:7).
Give oneself fully. Marriage involves mutual trust and requires that each one should give himself fully without withholding anything. The apostle Paul said of the husband, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). Of the wife, he said, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). Each one should be ready and willing to make some sacrifices to make the marriage work.
Resist temptations. There is no relationship that is subject to more temptations than marriage. The reason for this is that marriage is authored by God and the devil will come to destroy it in order to weaken the family. We must remember that the family is the basic unit of society and if the devil is able to destroy it, then we have a weak society. Therefore, we are commanded, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). In particular, the apostle Paul said, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18).
Enjoy each other’s company. Marriage is meant to be enjoyed. God instituted marriage in the first place because Adam was lonely. Adam needed someone to enjoy life with. God gave him Eve and blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28). In the Book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon said, “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun- all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun” (Eccl. 9:9).
Entrust marriage to God. Since God is the author of marriage, it is best that we entrust our marriage to him. The strength of our married relationship is dependent on how strong our relationship is with the Lord. And because we trust in God to keep our relationship, the apostle Paul said, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Also, both parties should always be reminded of Jesus’ words on married couples: “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matt. 19:6). May the Lord keep our marriage strong as we unite ourselves in love. Hallelujah!