Haddad: What’s happened to commitment in marriage? 5 suggested promises
Five frogs are sitting on a log. Four decide to jump off. How many are left?
Five, because deciding is very different than doing. Decisions are of no worth unless we turn them into commitments.
Deciding to get married is one thing, but being committed to staying married and nurturing love seems to be a fading concept that was once held sacred.
Too many people give up on marriage, jobs and friendships when faced with adversity. But a truly committed person does not quit just because something takes work.
I heard a story once of a 5-year-old boy who fell out of bed during the night. He came crying to his mother’s bedside. When his mother asked, “Why did you fall out of bed?” the boy replied, “I fell out because I wasn’t in far enough!”
It has been my observation that in many cases of divorce, one or both of the individuals who fell out of love were not committed to being in the marriage far enough.
Not long ago I was asked to play a part in a renewal of vows ceremony for a married couple who wanted to recommit themselves to their marriage. As I pondered what I might share I suggested the couple make the following promises to each other:
1. Be best friends
It’s wonderful to be lovers, but you must also strive to be the best of friends. You should not only love each other, but work to develop a friendship so you also like each other. As best friends you promise to be kind. You promise to place your friendship above all else. A true friend will remain committed to a relationship. In marriage this means both parties promise to not let anything — be it occupational, social, political or any other interest or hobby — take precedence over the companion spouse.
2. Be honest and truthful to each other in all things
Truth is light. Where there is complete truth in a relationship love and friendship can shine bright and take you through the darkest storms of life. You should consider your marriage a promise to be fully truthful to one another. You promise to be ever faithful and give to each other your deepest loyalty, in good times and in bad. A wise man once told me, “It is better to be trusted than to be loved.”
3. Be humble and patient
American author Arnold H. Glasow said, “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” I have seen countless marriages crack because one person did not learn the art of patience and humility. When two people promise to be patent and humble with each other — refraining from rising voices — love is better able to restore peace and find solutions. Furthermore, we must be constant, being the same in private as in public. Scholar, educator, and religious leader Neal A. Maxwell once said. “We cannot keep two sets of books while heaven has but one.”
4. Be forgiving
It has been said that the most successful marriages are made up of two great forgivers. American religious leader Robert L. Simpson taught: “Every couple, whether in the first or the 21st year of marriage, should discover the value of pillow-talk time at the end of the day — the perfect time to take inventory, to talk about tomorrow. And best of all, it’s a time when love and appreciation for one another can be reconfirmed. The end of another day is also the perfect setting to say, ‘Sweetheart, I am sorry about what happened today. Please forgive me.’”
5. Be on the same team
A committed marriage partner will be quick to praise and slow to find fault. Their actions will show that both are on the same team. The great Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” And that is what it takes to make a marriage work. Be a champion for your spouse.
Richard Haddad is News & Digital Content Director for Western News&Info, Inc., the parent company for Prescott Newspapers, Inc.