I’ve been listening to a lot of Christian popcasts recently, and I came across a sermon on marriage as a commitment and priority presented by Pastor Timothy Keller. Before marrying Tim, I had a clear understanding of the definition of marriage: a permanent, exclusive, legal and public commitment to share every single aspect of my life with my husband. But knowing it doesn’t make me immune to the things that may cause my marriage to fall apart. I need a good reminder.
MARRIAGE AS A COMMITMENT
I had no idea how my marriage will be like when I agreed to marrying Tim. I said “yes” when he popped the question, because I knew how much I love him and that I want to live the rest of my life as his wife. There was a time when I was writing my vows, I asked myself what was the essence of my love for him. Is it a feeling? Or is it really a decision? I needed to ask myself this question, because I wanted the answer to be reflected in my vows. As I re-read my vows today, I remember why I chose these words: I’m committed, I pledge and I promise. The essence of my love for Tim is not a feeling which comes and goes, but a decision. On August 3rd 2013, I made the decision to commit myself and continue to love him, regardless of all the difficulties that life throws at us.
And then I asked myself: how can I show my commitment to him? As I reflected on this question, I remembered the answer given by our pastor during our wedding church ceremony:
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24 & Ephesians 5:31
MARRIAGE AS A PRIORITY
The reason why I sometimes get overwhelmed is because I don’t have my priorities straight. I often times want to please everyone. I want to make sure my parents (including the in-laws) are happy with the decisions that Tim and I make for our lives. I want to spend as much time as possible with our sisters so that they don’t feel like we’ve forgotten about them. I try to attend all of my best friends’ outings so that they don’t think “I’m no longer fun ever since I got married”. I want to serve more often at church because I know it pleases God, but being married to Tim has made me realize that what pleases Him is making my marriage the priority of my life.
God didn’t put a parent and a child in the Garden of Eden, but a man and a woman. This tells me that my marriage should come first, it should be the center of my life. I’ve learned and recently experienced that if everything (career, money, relationship with family and friends, etc.) around me is weak but my marriage is strong, then I can face the world in strength. However, if everything around me is strong, but my marriage is weak, it wouldn’t be long until I lose everything.
As I read this verse again and again, the more I see the dynamic of marriage as similar to salvation and the way we’re redeemed. Redemption is a fresh start, so is marriage. It’s a new beginning for Tim and I. Our parents may have a great influence on us, in the way we treat each other for instance, but we shouldn’t cling on them. We may sometimes be reminded of our past mistakes, but since marriage is a new start, we should forget about them and forgive each other.
I’ve come to realize that marriage has the power to uncover my flaws and weaknesses to make me a better person, just the same way as the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to change me.
Anna Lou Chen
photos by Junophoto