Archive for the ‘Commitment’ Category

Read Part One.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

Genesis 2:24

One of the keys to blissful marriage is promise, dedication and obligation to your spouse, but that does not mean you need to abandon everyone around you. It does mean commitment to your spouse obtains priority above all other commitments (save your faithfulness to God).

A proper prioritization of commitments not only allows for a beautiful marriage, it also strengthens our relationships with our friends, coworkers — everyone we come in contact with.

Kristin’s Story:

I grew up in a formal atmosphere. My family’s love for each other was a quiet comfort — like a warm blanket fresh from the laundry. We respected each other’s privacy and did not intrude unless invited.

Eric’s family, on the other hand, was like an alien culture to me.

  • Where my family was quiet, Eric’s was loud.
  • Where mine was private, Eric’s was embarrassingly open.
  • Where mine was small (I grew up with two siblings), Eric’s (with seven children, and more aunts, uncles, and cousins than I care to count) was enormous.
  • Where mine was a warm blanket, Eric’s was a day at the carnival.

Upon engagement, my in-laws were ecstatic and took me in as if they were gaining a new daughter.

I confess their joy was a bit overwhelming.

Due to their exuberance, I felt intruded upon simply because their boundaries differed from those I grew up with. I used my formal politeness as a shield to keep them out. I was often uneasy inside.

Eric was a great help during all of this. I think he “left” his family before we met, so when we became engaged, he was ready to cling to me.

He patiently encouraged me to spend time with his family while being a buffer when I found interactions uncomfortable.

After seven years now, I have opened myself up to my in-laws. I have shed most of the formalness and am more casual with them (as they are interacting with one another).

Kristin’s Analysis:

Eric’s family had their priorities straight, so leaving them was a simple affair.

Commitment HandsThey supported us in becoming a family, and they created an atmosphere where I felt comfortable to go to them for advice, but I could also ignore them and focus on Eric without offending them.

I feel the biggest difference between the way my family reacted to my engagement and the way Eric’s did is that my family was not prepared to see me leave, where Eric’s had already let go.

Eric’s Story:

While going through my rebellious teenage years (and I rebelled against my parents to the point it shames me), I terrorized my mother.

After fighting with her over something I can’t remember, my father came to me and said in his you-need-to-pay-attention voice, “I better not ever hear you talk to your mom like that again. I love her, and if I have to protect her from you, I will.”

Eric’s Analysis:

My father’s statement taught me a lesson: Your wife needs to be the most important person in you life. By prioritizing his commitments, my father was able to courageously stand up with conviction and tell me I was wrong.

One of the fundamental principles in any happy marriage is commitment to your spouse. In certain circumstances, commitment needs to be to the exclusion of others. In other situations, it needn’t be so drastic.

A shift in commitment — from the family you grew up in to the family you start — is what it means to leave your old family in order to begin a new one. If you aren’t committed, your family will suffer.

Where do your commitments lie? What are your obligations? Are any of them greater than the one to your family? Could you leave them all behind if your family needed you to?

Spend some time thinking about this. Talk it over with your loved ones. Prioritize who and what is most important to you. Here’s a little hint: A “who” that you love should always come before a “what.”

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/khilagan


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