I take you to be my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
These hope-filled words of love and commitment are spoken once — at a wedding ceremony — and then perhaps repeated at a twenty-fifth anniversary. We vow our undying love to our spouse. But unfortunately, because of the pain and hurt that can occur in marriage, the promises we made on our wedding day can easily fade from our minds.
When old wounds resurface, tensions and arguments boil over with anger, battle lines are drawn, and weapons are unleashed to strike back, it suddenly becomes more difficult to see our spouse as the love of our life. Instead, we view them as the enemy. And the ultimate strategy of war is to wound the enemy, not to love and cherish them.
However, there is another way to win the war and maintain our promises. Jesus lays out the plan in Luke 6:27-28: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (NIV).
Jesus was talking about everyone in our lives, including the people who live inside the walls of our home. Jesus uses challenging active words of engagement that require implementation:
- love your enemies
- do good to those who hate you.
- speak well of
- pray for, intercede for
Jesus did not come to make us comfortable Christians; he came to make us radically courageous. He pushes us to do things that are fundamentally different than what the world teaches. Kindness and love toward an enemy are unheard of.
In marriage, there is no battle worth winning. Surrender to a loving and giving God by both partners is required. There are times when you will be the one that God asks to raise the white flag. And when that happens, the battle is over, never to happen again . . . to be forgiven, the blood washed away, the wounds healed.
Take the time to prominently display your marriage vows so you’ll see them everyday. They will provide a great reminder that you do not live with an enemy, but with the love of your life.
Copyright © 2016 Sheri Mueller, Growthtrac Ministries