There are great benefits to a long kept commitment.
Today just happens to be my 24th Wedding Anniversary. My wife, Stefanie, and I have been committed to each other for a long time and have promised to be so for the rest of our lives.
The other day we went on a mini-vacation to celebrate. Prior to going on our trip I gave my wife and I some homework. I made each of us a little book where each page represented a year of our marriage. I made her book with the even years (ie: 1990, 1992, 1994, etc…) and my book with the odd years (1991, 1993, you get the picture). We were each to write all the memories we could remember about that particular year of our lives together. I thought it would be hard to do, but the pages were small and I was amazed that on most years I could fill the page.
When we went on our trip, every few hours we would get out our books and share a few of our memories. The memories were about our starting out together, having kids, watching them grow, enduring hard times, surgeries, losses, victories, challenges. We have been together now over half of our lives. We learned that we have shared a lot together.
It hasn’t all been great. We have not always been easy on each other. To add to the mix I am in the ministry and often the demands on me and my family are relentless. That has tested our metal. Not to mention having four kids. Lots of drama there.
Sometimes we have lost sight of each other. But through it all there has been one constant. We have kept our commitment to stay together, to keep on supporting each other and our family. We have done it when it was easy (which isn’t very often). We have done it when it was grueling and the rewards for sticking it out seemed non-existent.
I can remember one time in our early years of marriage where it had become hard. We had been under stress for a long time and had begun to lose touch with each other. The relationship was no longer fun. If fact it was painful. We were struggling to have hope.
During that dark time I remember each of us coming to the other and saying, “I don’t like this. I don’t even think it will get any better. But I made a commitment to you and to God and I will not back down from it. Even if we are miserable for the rest of our lives I am sticking it out in this marriage.”
I know, that isn’t very romantic. Or isn’t it?
You see if we had not exhibited that commitment through the toughest times some two decades ago, we would not have been able to celebrate 24 years of family life just a few days ago. The fact is that it has not been all misery. If fact it has been the opposite. We have supported each other, raised four amazing children, and built a meaningful ministry to a lot of people. We love each other.
But we would have not known those good years if we hadn’t stuck it out even when we didn’t feel the hope.
You see, hope was there, we just couldn’t see it. But that was ok, because we had commitment. Commitment can carry you through the valleys of hopelessness and take you to new mountains of hope in the future.
That is what our commitment has done for us and I am so very thankful to God that it has.
The benefits of commitment are rich and wonderful, though they are hard won.
This post is dedicated to my beautiful bride of the last 24 years. Thank you for your commitment. May we continue to celebrate many more years of milestones for many decades to come. I love you!
Question: In this post I have spoken of the benefits of commitment in marriage. Can you think of other relationships where commitment pays off? You can leave a comment by clicking here.