Commitment to Each Other
COMMITMENT TO EACH OTHER
by John and Beth Reese
If you are still choosing a spouse, choose a person with similar commitments; build your courtship on prayer and spiritual principles. If you are married, commit yourself to be the best spouse: loving, communicative, affectionate, attentive and sacrificial.
A. Commitment to Stay Together
1. Joined by God (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:6,9; John 3:29).
2. Lifelong commitment (Matthew 19:6,9; Romans 7:2; Malachi 2:16 )
v There should never be any doubt with each other that both spouses are committed to the marriage. Words like ‘divorce’ should be banned from your minds and speech.
v The marriage commitment must be recognized as more important than other commitments (except your commitment to God). It will need to be in place regardless of what job the participants hold.
v Since your commitment is there to stay, work out solutions and adjustments.
v Develop skills in conflict resolution.
- Set a time and place for discussion.
- Define the problem or issue of disagreement. (Select ONE important issue you would like to resolve.)
- How do you each contribute to the problem? (Without blaming each other, list the things you each do that had NOT helped to resolve the problem.)
- List past attempts to resolve the issue that were not successful.
- Brainstorm. List all possible solutions. (Pool your new ideas and try to attain ten possible solutions to the problem. Do not judge or criticize any of the suggestions at this point.)
- Discuss and evaluate these possible solutions. (Be as objective as you can. Talk about how useful and appropriate each suggestion might be for resolving your disagreement.)
- Agree on one solution to try.
- Agree how each individual will work toward this solution.
- Set-up another meeting. Discuss your progress.
- Reward each other as you each contribute toward the solution.
B. Commitment to Stay in Love—your relationship as a couple is your second priority. Before the children arrive, and after the children leave home, the marriage remains the core. The best thing you can do for your children is to love your spouse (Malachi 2:15).
1. Husband (Colossians 3:19).
2. Wife (Titus 2:4).
v The marriage covenant is a commitment made to each other before God and family.
v Tell your spouse you love him/her every day. Demonstrate this love with touching, hugs, or kisses.
v Be creative in ways to show appreciation and affection. Often local ideas will put limitations on demonstrations of affection, so work out your own love languages and signals.
v Slip Remember to express the things that you are thinking and feeling. Quite often a spouse will appreciate many things but will fail to tell the other.
v Choose to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
C. Commitment to Avoid Temptation
1. Adultery (Matthew 5:28-29).
2. Marriage honored (Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
v Avoid situations that undermine commitment. Stay away from places that could offer temptations.
v Avoid entertainment that teaches immorality, selfishness, or worldliness.
v If you find yourself unduly attracted to another, make changes immediately.
v Meeting each other’s needs reduces temptations.
v Be aware that when you are tired or discouraged, it is harder to stay away from temptations.
v notes in the other’s Bible to be found later, in their briefcase to be found at work or in their suitcase to be found during trips.
v Pack special lunches for those days when the spouse will be out all day.
D. Commitment to Honor & Respect
1. Husband (1Peter 3:7; Ephesians 5:21-23).
2. Wife (Ephesians 5:33; Ephesians 5:21-23).
v Compliment your spouse to other people.
v Acknowledge your spouse’s feelings. Allow them to express their feelings and emotions without being critical of them.
v Be committed to honesty and integrity.
v Even at stressful times, speak respectfully to each other.
E. Commitment to Meet Each Other’s Needs
1. Physical Needs: (1 Timothy 5:8).
2. Sexual Needs: (1Corinthians 7:3-4).
3. Emotional Needs: (I Peter 3:8; I Corinthians 12:24; Romans 12:15; 1 Corinthians 13:4; Ephesians 4:31).
v Intimacy is part of the commitment. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain because of such busy lifestyles. When both are committed to the relationship it is easier to work on a plan.
v Realize you are not alone in this problem.
v Organize your lives so that there is time for one another. Plan your days or weeks so that there is time for intimacy.
v Put the children to bed so you have some time alone.
v Take time together when the children are busy elsewhere.
v Don’t be so busy that you don’t reserve time or energy to spend time together.
v Realize that sometimes conflict between a husband and wife can be because they have not had recent sexual relations.
v When children come along, the needs of the spouse still need to be met. Children demand time and attention. Often the spouse will not be so demanding, but that does not mean he/she can then be neglected.
v Show your spouse you love them by taking care of yourself. Don’t take chances. Keep yourself healthy.
F. Commitment to Grace
1. Christian virtues (Colossians 3:12-14; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12).
2. Love (1 Peter 4:8; Colossians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 13:5).
v Praise the other person as much as possible (even in the heat of a disagreement).
v Be humble enough to admit your own wrong-doing or harsh words.
v Respond to criticism in a positive way instead of responding with more criticism.
v Don’t keep bringing up past mistakes and patterns.
G. Commitment to Growth
1. Husband (Ephesians 5:28-29,33).
2. Wife (1 Corinthians 7:34).
3. Christian (Matthew 7:3-5; 1 Peter 3:8-9).
v Be the first to improve. The only one you can change is yourself.
v Beauty wanes with age. As you mature develop your commitment to one another by learning to appreciate character on a deeper level.
v Parents need to discuss changes in their roles as life changes.
H. Commitment to Communication - (Ephesians 4:29; James 1:19,26; Proverbs 31:26).
v One of the biggest problems today seems to be communication. Many people may spend many hours of the day ‘communicating’ outside the home, so they want to rest when they are at home.
v It is common for a family member to assume that their own family will understand them without taking time to communicate with them.
v Talk to your spouse everyday about the things going on in your life and work.
v If one spouse travels a lot, work out ways to share your lives when you get back together.
v Sometimes it is good to take some time apart from others and interruptions just so that you have time to talk in depth on some subjects.
v Allow your spouse time to say what he/she wants to express. This is especially good for the talkative partner to remember. Try not to finish the other person’s thoughts for them. Take time to really listen.
v Be an active listener. Summarize the other person’s comments before sharing your reactions or feelings.
v The more expressive partner can develop skills to help the other spouse to communicate more fully what he/she thinks and feels. This can be done by asking gentle, probing questions, allowing time for responses, following through on indications of thoughts, etc.
v Take advantage
v and honestly and constructively.
v Look for the good in the other person and give him a compliment.
v Express your feelings with “I feel” statements rather than “You” statements.
v Find some truth in what the other person is saying, even if you feel they are wrong or unfair. of email, cell phones, journals to communicate when apart.
v Communication involves talking, listening, and understanding.
v Communication does not involve judging, put-downs, blaming, or sarcasm.
v Communicate openly
v Allow your partner the privilege of “venting” about things that frustrate them. That spouse should try to express their frustrations in “I messages” but even if the aggrieved spouse does not say it right, be patient and serve as a sounding board.
I. Commitment to Sacrifice - (Ephesians 5:25; 1 Peter 5:5).
v One of the main tasks of a Christian couple will be to help each other grow spiritually.
v When one spouse thinks the other needs to ‘change for the better’, learn when and how to discuss the change needed.
v Sometimes the wife may feel that she is stagnating, especially if she is with small children every day. The husband should make a plan to take the children some to allow the wife to do something she wants to do. He especially needs to take the children so she can have some time alone with the Lord.
v Husbands, consider practical ways that you should sacrifice to bless your wife.