When my husband and I were in Seattle to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary recently, we took a “duck” tour of the city. In case you’ve never heard of these, they were built during World War two, mostly by Rosie-the-Riveter women. The ducks are oddly shaped trucks that can go into the water and behave just like a slow-moving boat.
Near the end of the tour, the guide proudly declared that he had been married twenty years and that he had learned the most essential thing to keep a marriage healthy: forgiveness.
Now, I’ll admit, that forgiveness is a pretty important element of a healthy marriage. But if I were to name the number one quality that keeps marriages going into the third, fourth, fifth decade, I’d have to say it’s not forgiveness. It’s commitment. That decision to stick together no matter what, through hard times, through economic downturns, through serious or chronic illness, through crisis and tragedy.
Our former pastor preached a short message at a wedding recently. He’d discovered a Hebrew term for this kind of commitment: “Chesed.” The English translation of the Hebrew word literally means: covenant loyalty.
I love that. It’s a term used many, many times in the Bible. Most of the time it refers to the kind of loving kindness that God shows us. And that is the kind of loving loyalty we are to show to our spouse.
God has promised us, as believers, covenant loyalty. He cannot break His word. He will always be loyal to us, He will never leave us. He would not be God if He broke His word.
So even when you are in the midst of crisis and you feel completely alone, rest assured that God’s presence surrounds you. As a loving husband promises his bride faithfulness, So God promises His Bride, the Church—and each believer is part of the Body of the Church—covenant loyalty.
No matter if we have just celebrated our first or our fifty-first wedding anniversary, the daily recognition of God’s consistent presence and loyalty helps us to reaffirm our own commitment to our husband or wife.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with kindness.” (Jer. 31:3 NIV Bible)