Imagine that you spent your childhood with missionary parents in the Amazon. You’ve never actually touched an automobile, let alone driven one. You’ve seen pictures, sure – in fact, you’ve collected photographs of cars that make your heart race. But you’ve never been behind the wheel.
That’s a little of what it’s like when you start out in a marriage. These days the matrimonial success rate stinks – divorce occurs at least half the time – so how can you make your marriage (or your future marriage) the exception?
“’Haven’t you read,’ [Jesus] replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate’” (Matthew 19:4-6).
Think again of that kid and the car. You may know the design of a hot car, but if you’re like our missionary kid, you don’t know how it works. The only way to have a great lifelong marriage is to understand not just the design but also its dynamic … how it works.
Keeping a vehicle running well requires oil changes and tune-ups and good tires and so on. Without them you’re going to see a dashboard full of warning lights in a hurry. But there’s something even more crucial if you want to reach your destination: fuel!
If the gas tank is empty, you ain’t going nowhere.
We can apply the metaphor to marriage in the form of the fuel of commitment.
No relationship will last long without commitment. I’m talking about a lifelong choice of unconditional love to an imperfect person. Repeat that after me. A lifelong choice of unconditional love to an imperfect person.
Yes, it’s lifelong, but it’s an everyday choice. Every day, every week, every month finding ways to communicate your oneness. Your fidelity and loyalty and exclusiveness and unconditional love.
You say it with words. You say it with actions. You say it with nonverbal communication. But here’s the message: “I’m in it for good. I’ll never leave you. I’ll never forsake you. I’m committed to you.”
So the first step to having a marriage that is an exception to today’s trends is to keep that fuel flowing. What does your gas gauge say today?
Your unconditional love for one another will keep you going through thick and thin. Don’t let your marriage putter out!
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip