A Change of Mind. Day thirty-seven...
“I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”
For traditional weddings performed in church settings here in the United States the groom and the bride speak these words (or some variation of these words) to each other as a sign of their commitment. These words, along with the legal rights/privileges granted by the state and the God‐given rights/privileges granted by God's Word, form the basis for the covenant of marriage.
Can you imagine the shock of attending what appeared to be a traditional wedding, but hearing the following vows instead?
“I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward—as long as things are going good, as long as you bring in enough money, as long as you are healthy—to love and to cherish; from this day forward until I find a better deal.”
I can't imagine any couple, traditional or untraditional, who would be willing to agree to such terms. But while no couple would be willing to even think about beginning a life together with such vows, most marriages will resemble these vows in a few years time (or less).
Individual rights must become a thing of the past when a man and a woman marry.
Otherwise, the marriage will deteriorate in direct proportion to the amount of individual rights each person tries to maintain.
While there may be good reasons to keep money in separate bank accounts, or to hold assets in one or the other's name (for instance, couples who want to make sure their existing assets go to their children from a former marriage), any relationship will suffer to the extent that a spouse keeps his or her private life separate from the marriage.
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:21 KJV)
To submit to another person is to willingly put yourself under or make yourself subject to that person.
The other person has nothing to do with your decision. It is an internal decision made entirely on your part. Submission is a completely voluntary act; otherwise some kind of oppression is in operation.
For marriages to work properly, “each” person must submit to the other. Just keep in mind that this submission must take place in an atmosphere of reverence toward God; otherwise submission can (and probably will) become abusive.
In a healthy marriage you no longer think or act alone.
Instead, you “listen” to what your spouse has to say with an even greater intensity than you listen to what your accountant has to say, or to what your attorney has to say. You want to “know” the heart of your spouse on a matter, and you want to take any necessary action “together” with your spouse.
I don't want to convince Sherrel of anything. I don't want to even intentionally influence any decision we make. I don't want to because it would be foolish for me to do so. I am not my own. I belong to Sherrel. Sherrel is not her own. She belongs to me.
I realize that this thought rankles our independent nature.
But we must change the way we think about any covenant relationship with another person and, more importantly, about our covenant relationship with God.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20 NKJV)
When we think about our relationship with God we usually think about what is expected from us. As long as we play by the rules, and perform a hundred other things on our list of what we think makes us acceptable to Him, we hope that He will help us.
But the minute we can't or don't perform up to expectation, we lose all hope of getting any help from Him. This kind of thinking, however, is extremely destructive.
When I was sick last year, I could not do the things Sherrel normally expected from me. But I never even considered that she would not help me in my weakness. She took care of me when I couldn't take care of myself. This is what happens in a covenant relationship.
If you are a born‐again believer you have a covenant relationship with God.
He loves and takes care of you when you are operating in strength. But He also loves you and takes care of you when you are operating in weakness.
Thinking, however, that God won't help you unless you are performing reasonably well becomes a self‐fulfilling prophecy. Any unwillingness on your part to believe that God has an obligation to you just as you have to Him cripples your ability to receive from Him.
Just remember that you are not your own. You were bought at a price. And God takes care of His own.
Have a good day,