Fifty Years of Commitment

No. 83 - 03rd June 2018

My wife and I were up in Macclesfield last week. We had a dreadful journey there. We drove up towards Manchester on the Friday of the Bank Holiday weekend. It took us two hours just to get a quarter of the way around the M25. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the people who get caught up in that every day. It must be soul destroying. We were actually going to Macclesfield for the 50th Wedding Anniversary of two very old friends of ours. My wife grew up within a couple of hundred yards of them both and was a bridesmaid when they got married. Last week, there were about thirty of us at the party. Apart from my wife and me, there was only one other couple that wasn’t actually related in some way. The rest were all sons and daughters, grandchildren and cousins. For what was essentially a family gathering, the atmosphere was tremendous. That really is what family should be about.

50 years of marriage is quite an achievement these days. It usually takes a lot of commitment and hard work on both sides. I don’t mean just sticking together through gritted teeth, like driving round the M25 every day of your life. I mean sticking together with a determination to make the relationship work, and work well. Stephen Kendrick once said, ‘The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.’ True love is a decision, not a gooey feeling. That’s the glue that holds a marriage together.

There’s a passage in the Old Testament where God says to His people, “I hate divorce”. I’m sure part of it is because of the pain that it causes. Pain for the children, for the Grandparents, and for friends who are forced to take sides in the breakup. But I think there’s an even greater reason why God hates divorce, and it’s this: When I became a Christian, I committed myself to God rather like in a wedding ceremony. In fact, the Church is actually called ‘The Bride of Christ’. But when I committed myself to God, He committed himself to me. Over and over again the Bible repeats this phrase: ‘God is good. His love endures for ever.’ His commitment is rock solid. Even if I’m selfish, unloving and unfaithful to Him, ‘His love endures for ever’. Someone once put it this way. “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It’s what we need more than anything.”

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