I’ve been married 30 years. My husband and I have planned an anniversary trip. We plan to listen to live music, eat at an outdoor restaurant, preferably Irish, watch Magic shows, and participate in one adventure we have never done before. This is our recipe for having fun; it’s a little bit of him, a little bit of me, and a whole lot of us. We are intentionally investing time and finances in celebrating our 30 years of saying “I do”.
As I have shared our anniversary plans with others, I have been asked innumerable times, “what is your secret?” or “what is the key?” I always stop and clarify the question – are you asking what it takes to gut it out or are you asking what it takes to have a marriage worth celebrating? Everyone, so far, votes for the marriage worth celebrating.
I have thought long and hard, why are my hubby and I able to truly celebrate our married life together? I’m truly grateful for those nosy friends who thought I’d have a magical answer because it has made me reflect and evaluate and narrow down the essential attribute to a marriage worth celebrating. What is it? Faithfulness.
Faithfulness reflects the heart of God in His relationship with us. We never have to question God’s commitment to us; God is faithful and therefore, He will always act in accordance with who He is. He acts in faithfulness because He is in character faithful. We never question His love, His presence, His Word and because of that, we have infinite security. We are at peace with God because of His faithfulness. 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “He who calls you is faithful, He will surely do it.”
As believers, we reflect who God is (Eph. 4:24). The more we are like God, the more we give Him glory and the more we will experience peace and joy in this life He has given us. I think this is especially true in marriage. When we reflect God’s quality of faithfulness in all elements of our relationship, then that peace and joy we have with God is also possible to be experienced between spouses in marriage.
- Faithfulness doesn’t take a break – ever, for any reason, and at any cost.
When we know our spouse will be committed to us whether we are with them or whether they are completely alone. and they are faithful not only in action, but in their mind and emotions, then security becomes a foundation for all other elements of the marriage to thrive. We don’t worry; we don’t feel devalued; we don’t feel alone.
- Faithfulness is seen in all ways, without exception.
Faithfulness means exclusivity. Sexually, physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually – I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine (Song of Solomon 6:3). It is not enough for someone to avoid adultery; it means I do not give others room in my heart, my thoughts or my emotions that should only be given to my spouse. It also means I only see and seek the best for my spouse always. I faithfully pursue to stay in love with them and only them!
- Faithfulness is not only what we do, it is who we are.
Faithfulness is first a character quality which is then reflected in our choices and actions. It begins with a faithfulness toward God and honoring him in all of our thoughts, motives, emotions, and even actions.
- Faithfulness allows for security and intimacy.
The key characteristic to intimacy is self disclosure. No one wants to be authentic, honest or vulnerable If they don’t believe the person they are talking to is 100% in their corner. Faithfulness gives a security which results in both parties wanting to know the other person and to be known by them.
- Faithfulness is a shared responsibility.
Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher, talked about faithfulness in marriage as a mutual responsibility of both spouses. Faithfulness is the key to delight and contentment in marriage just as our faithfulness in our relationship with Christ results in our delight and contentment in Him.
Dear Reader, is there really only 1 key to a marriage that can make it for the long run and be celebrated at the end of it? No. Yet, there is an essential characteristic that without it, a marriage might last, but it won’t be celebrated as God intends marriage to be. Friend, we all would do well to take an inventory of our faithfulness in our relationships, first to God and then to our spouse or family. May God find us faithful, reflecting the amazing faithfulness that He displays to us daily.
Faithfully yours, Elizabeth