I Promise Because . . .

I'm on my last week of my Derek and Me series!  I obviously miscounted, because this series was supposed to take us right up until our five year anniversary on July 12th.  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to come up with something else for next week!



I talked last week about the wedding vow "for better or worse", and everything that it could encompass.  I can't pretend that it would be easy to stay together through any of that, and I know some couples have to go through some really hard things together.  

The hardest thing to deal with, I think, is when emotionally a couple just isn't there together.  And that can happen.  Many couples (maybe even most) may reach a point when it becomes really hard to want to make it work.  That's why the divorce rate is so high.

When I was trying to think about how I would finish the sentence this week, the phrases "I promise to keep my vows because I love Derek so much", or "I promise to keep my vows because Derek is so great," did initially come to mind.  I think those kinds of phrases (or something similar) may be what most people are thinking when they say those vows to their spouse.  Listing our spouses virtues may often be the initial thought when thinking "I promise because . . ."

And of course I do love Derek, and I do think he's great!  I want to emphasize that, because I am married to an amazing man, and I feel so blessed to have him as my husband!  I can't think of anyone else I'd rather spend my life with.  But when I thought about it further, I realized that loving him and thinking he's great aren't the reasons I'm going to keep my vows. 

There may be times (in the midst of arguments or whatever) when I won't have those loving feelings toward Derek or when I don't feel like Derek is so great.  If either of those things were the sole basis for my vows, it would be over right there, as soon as we hit a rough patch (and I think if you are married long enough, you will hit a rough patch at some point - probably more than once).

But the vows didn't say I would love, honor, and cherish Derek, for better or worse, until I just don't feel like it anymore. 

The vows said "until death do us part".  

I promised that I would keep my vows because I love Derek, because I want to spend the rest of my life with him, but also because I believe God brought us together to bring more glory to Him.  And I bring honor God and our marriage relationship by keeping those vows to be faithful and love Derek until death.

I gave my word to Derek that day, and I did it "with God as my witness".  I take that seriously.
I'm not going to keep my vows because of anything Derek does or doesn't do in the course of our marriage.  I'm going to keep them because I promised to love Derek, until we die.  It's not about Derek.  It's about me and my promise to him, in front of God.  

I'm not perfect either, and I can't guarantee that I'll always feel like keeping my vows, but I know that with God's help, I can keep my word.  That's because I believe that true love isn't a feeling.  True love isn't something that happens to you.  True love is sticking with your spouse, even when it's hard.  It's choosing to love them, even when they are sometimes unlovable.  

I'd like to say here I'm not just talking about my feelings toward Derek, I'm talking about his feelings toward me too - trust me, I can be pretty unlovable!  And it means the world to me that Derek chooses to love me and stay with me anyway.  That's true love.

  With God's help, we can stay true and be that old, wrinkled couple celebrating their 50th (or more) wedding anniversary.  

I know we can do it, because we both knew what we were promising that day.  We knew we were promising through thick and thin.  And we promised "in front of God" because we knew we wanted Him to be at the center of our marriage relationship.  I think He's the best chance we've got to stay true to the words we said to each other on our wedding day.  I'm glad we have Him on our side.

(Derek and me and our furry little family, the first year we were married.)

Also, stop by my friend Rebecca's blog, and check out her "Simon and I" series! She's taking these questions and answering them for her honey too. If any of you want to use the questions, you can see the full list here - and let me know if you do, because I'd love to read your answers!
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Bethany G said...

Awesome post!

Melanie said...

Love it!! If more people took their marriage vows more seriously..the divorce rate would be soo much lower. Its something taken so lightly these days..scary because its a vow you take before God!

Brittney said...

This. This post is my very favorite (been reading all of these but have been poor at commenting:/)..I agree that marriage is a choice we have to make for our spouse every single day. And that those vows should be held sacred and never taken lightly. Love that you and your husband are a living testimony of them! Happiest Anniversary (soon;)) to you both.

Unknown said...

I've really enjoyed doing this Callie and I have loved your answers. So honest and true!

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