For better or worse.
Little did my husband and I know what those words would mean when we repeated our marriage vows nearly three decades ago. Worse wasn’t just one deep valley but many strung together to become a deep trench.
Five babies lost to early pregnancy loss and caring for a child who will never grow up intellectually has tested and stretched our bond. Marriage isn’t easy in even the best of circumstances. Pregnancy loss and raising a child with disabilities definitely challenges things.
Still, we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary October 7! And I believe a big reason we are still married is because we are committed to the promise we made before God and our friends and family members.
Yes, we love each other, but so do most couples before their marriage unwinds into divorce. This world can be unforgiving; throwing lots of things our way that test any couple.
The feeling of love is not a strong enough glue to withstand its battering. We need to be fiercely committed to standing on our promises. Not only our promise to our spouse*, but foremost, our promise to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
At my Baptism I became a child of God. At my Confirmation, I confirmed my desire to live for Jesus Christ. Because of His work of faith in my life, I committed my life to Him.
For Better or Worse Stay Committed
Like my marriage vows, this commitment to the Lord is for better or worse … during times of great blessings and times of great strife.
Yet how often have I tried to back out of the “for worse” part? Not me, Lord! My faith is not strong enough to handle this. I only want your good stuff please.
Jesus wasn’t vague when He told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24, HCSB).
And Paul didn’t mince words when he declared, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Because of the fallout of sin, living in this world holds many difficulties. They strain our marriage and our spiritual walk.
Yet we shouldn’t be surprised by those hardships. In fact, since we know they are coming, we should prepare for them.
Prepare for the Worst
Here are a few ways I gird myself to hold fast to the vows I made to my husband and to my God, regardless of whether I always feel like keeping them or not.
Seek reminders that you aren’t fighting this battle alone.
Both in your marriage and in your faith walk, the Holy Spirit is with you to guide and strengthen you for the long haul. Be intentional about talking to Him in prayer and being encouraged through the Word.
Listen to or read about people’s successes in both areas. Meet periodically with a mentor or other Christians who can relate and encourage you.
Feed regularly on the promises of God.
Remember you are not expected to do your marriage or walk with Christ on your own strength. God wants your total commitment in both your Christian walk and in your marriage.
But He doesn’t leave you to do either through your own strength. He promises to strengthen and equip you, and what He promises, He delivers.
Trust He sees what you can’t, and He knows what you don’t.
Here are a few of the Lord’s wonderful promises to hold onto (feel free to click and download):
Remind yourself that this life is not ultimately about you or your happiness.
It’s not what we want to hear, but this life ain’t about us! Our reason for being is to bring glory to God, to shine the light on Him, not us.
We need to get our eyes (and thoughts) off ourselves and onto our Creator and Savior.
Accept God’s grace for your failures and missteps.
Perfection can never happen for us this side of heaven, but we can make progress. When we falter in either our marriage or our spiritual life, repent and move forward in the full forgiveness of Jesus Christ. He paid dearly to give us that gift; walk in it.
Pray for Protection and Guidance
The enemy wants nothing more than to destroy our marriage and our relationship with the Lord. Ask for God’s protection from temptation and the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our thoughts and actions.
With God, the Worst Becomes Our Best
In the end, no matter what happens during our race, if we run for Jesus, the worst always ends up being the best for those who persevere.
Because the Lord is faithful to do as He promised, we can find the strength to walk out our commitments. A practice that in turn grows our faith as we experience His unmerited grace.
So don’t give up. Stay committed through better and through worse!
“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us” Hebrews 12:1
Reflections: What has helped you stay committed to your promises, even when you don’t feel like it?
*Disclaimer: Of course I’m writing here about a typical marriage, with normal highs and lows. If you are in an abusive relationship, seek help immediately!
I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time. Yours in grace ≈ Julie
I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Yours in grace ≈