Summary: Discusses the commitment and spiritual, mental, emotional toughness required to fulfill our wedding vows. Ends with renewal of vows option.
Desperate Households—Part 1
Does one of the following describe your marriage?
You fell in love, the question was “popped”, the wedding was a wonderful success, and marriage is now a continual joyride for both of you.
You fell in love, the wedding was a mixture of stress and success, and marriage is a wagon-train trip across the plains and over the mountains of the old west.
You fell in love, the wedding was a series of problems to be solved, and marriage is a marathon run on a hot, summer day through hill country.
You fell in love, the wedding was an expensive headache, and marriage is a bloody gunfight at the OK Corral.
I am a big believer in marriage. I have never seen happier, more deeply satisfied people than men and women who have made their marriages work. But neither have I met many people in highly successful marriages who got there without an enormous expenditure of energy and determination.
TOUGHNESS IS THE ESSENCE OF MY COMMITMENT
Virtually every successful marriage requires toughness. Early in the marriage issues arise and the partners don’t have the necessary skills to manage them. They essentially have two choices: give up and run away, or get about the task of developing the required skills. Tough people always adopt the second alternative. They wouldn’t think of giving up.
When is the last time you considered the original promises you made to your spouse when you married? Those are some hard hitting, heavy duty vows!! Unfortunately they are often treated with incredible superficiality.
As a nation we have reached the edge of total family collapse.
I read a study of 100 couples in extremely healthy marriages—I was overwhelmed at the frequency with which they emphasized the critical importance of commitment. One man wrote, “Marriage demands toughness, and toughness proceeds out of commitment.”
Song: Tuff Enuff—(This will be included in the Fairmont DVD. Camera zooms in on singers and musicians and pans slowly. No lyrics will be displayed for this song)
Jeanette and Robert Lauer published the results of a powerful study a few years ago. They surveyed 351 couples married at least 15 years. 300 said they were happily married. They were asked to select from 39 statements the ones that best explained why their marriages had lasted. Two rated most important for both men and women were “marriage is a long-term commitment” and “marriage is sacred.”
They took an oath to the Lord with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns.  All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side. 2 Chronicles. 15:14-15 (NIV)
"It has been said, ’Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’  But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:31-32 (NIV)
You ask, "Why?" It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.  Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. …So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. Malachi 2:14-15 (NIV)