September 18, 2023

Marriage: A Promise to Love

Written by Boyd Bailey

Your promise to love buys time for the feelings of love to catch up.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 18, 2023

[Love] puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. Love never dies. 1 Corinthians 13:6-8, MSG

When my wife, Rita, and I “fell in love,” it was like igniting an emotional flame, all of our senses seemed to be captivated by one another. We couldn’t get enough time together. We hung on each other’s words. Being in each other’s presence was energizing and mesmerizing. But we soon learned that for our flame of love to continue to burn brightly, it required the promise to love in marriage as the relational engine to sustain us over life’s ups and downs. “Being in love” was just the beginning of learning how to truly grow in oneness over a lifetime of keeping our promise to love, even when our feelings of love retreat. The promise to love embraces the attributes Paul outlines in 1 Corinthians 13: Forgiving love, trusting love, hopeful love, persevering love, and love alive. A loving relationship built on a promise to each other and to the Lord…lasts. 

Marriage and being in love are much more than an emotional high…it is a promise. Love is a promise to be committed to the Lord and your spouse when feelings of love fly away like a distracted bird. Love is a promise to stay submitted to the Lord and your spouse when suffering brings pain and strain to the relationship. Love is a promise to the Lord and your spouse when financial pressures squeeze the joy out of your carefree circumstances now that the responsibility of children blesses your home. Love is a promise to the Lord and your spouse when emotional hurt from the past exposes itself in unhealthy ways toward the one who knows you the best and loves you the most. Promises rooted in righteous love fight for the relationship for Christ’s sake. Love works to change itself, not the other, while passionately pursuing the Lord and your spouse.

C.S. Lewis rightly explains the difference between being in love and making a promise to love:

The idea that ‘being in love’ is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy. The Christian law is not forcing upon the passion of love something which is foreign to that passion’s own nature: it is demanding that lovers should take seriously something which their passion of itself impels them to do. And, of course, the promise made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live commits me to be true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry.

Promises without play can grow cold and rigid, so make sure you embrace the playful aspect of keeping your promise to love. Let joy be your relational lubricant. Yes, there will always be the logistics of calendar coordinating, financial management, and serious life issues. But in the middle of doing life, keep a playful life in your promise to love. Collaborate and dream as you walk together, dine together, and take trips. Instead of penalizing each other, laugh at yourself when things do not go as planned. Learn how to communicate better as you seriously play together so fun intimacy replaces dull intensity. Your promise to love buys time for the feelings of love to catch up. Being in love excites for a time, but a promise to love gives sustaining peace!

“Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure.” (2 Corinthians 13:11-13, MSG).


Heavenly Father, I praise you for your promise to love me, your beloved child, through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Consider this Wisdom Hunter Resource – 4 Ways to Love One Another

Related Reading

Genesis 1:27-28, 2:18-24; Proverbs 3:3-4; Malachi 1:14-15; Matthew 19:4-6; Romans 12:10, 13:8; Ephesians 5:33

Worship Resource

Hillsong Young and Free: PEACE


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